Monday, November 1, 2010

What Attorneys Need To Know About The New Google Places Release

The summer of change for Google hit full throttle last week with their latest changes to their search results pages. First came Google’s May Day Release this summer followed by the introduction of Google Instant in September. But they saved the biggest change for last with the release last week of their integrated Places search results pages.

What Happened With Google Places Search?

For those of us who use Google (everybody please raise your hands), you know that Google displays a maps or local listing on their search results pages for many of the more popular local searches. Prior to last week, this included a separate map display and up to seven local business listings prominently at the top of the organic search results. With the new changes, the map has been shifted to the right-side of the screen and replaces the top 3 paid listings on the right-hand side of the screen. Places markers along with address, phone details and photos are now added to the end of the organic search results listings.

What Is The Significance Of Local Search?

Local search is one of the fastest growing categories online and Google now claims that 20% of their search queries are local in nature. Furthering this is the rapid growth in mobile search where Google now claims that over 100 million people conduct maps searches from their mobile devices each month. By 2013, mobile device searches are expected to exceed PC based searches. But Google makes money off the their paid advertising and when local online advertising is expected to grow at 18% compared to only 11% for all online advertising by 2011, it is little mystery why Google is looking to profit from it.

The Impacts On Attorney Searches

Up until this point, many attorneys have been able to create visibility and generate new cases from either high organic search results, a prominent listing in a Google Places listing, or both. Attorneys who performed well in the organic search results would often complain how the maps display would be stacked above the results page. Alternatively, there were attorneys who focused on optimizing their Google Places listing to try to create visibility for the more common targeted searches. With the new changes to the Google Results Page, it is no longer an either or proposition. The law firms who will benefit from these changes are those attorneys that optimize for both. Furthermore, if your firm does Pay Per Click advertising, it has also become clear that the top three listings (immediately above the organic search results) just become a whole lot more significant in visibility – be prepared to pay more for these prime positions.

Why Every Law Firm Needs To Do Now

1.) 1.) Fully optimize your website and web resources such as pictures, videos, blogs, facebook, social media, etc.

2.) Claim and optimize your Google local listing. This includes everything from keyword optimization, citation building, video and images, tags, etc.

3.) 3.) As previously discussed, encourage Google Places reviews to help build authority for your listing and increase conversions.

4.) 4.) Remove duplicate Google Places listings that commonly share the same address, phone, etc. These can impact your Places performance and ultimately get all of your listings flagged and even banned from Google.

5.) 5.) Readjust your PPC adverting and try to shoot for the top 3 positions in those searches that include a map display. If you can’t afford it, simply look for other terms that you can.

It used to be relatively easy for attorneys to claim and optimize Google Places Listings but for most, it is better to leave it to the pros now. Due to advanced options, increasing competition, and years of abuses and recent clamp downs by Google, Google Places SEO should be left to a professional. In short, unless you can fully optimize your website, you will have the same challenges with Google Place listings either now or in the very near future.

Contact us today to learn more about Google Places Optimization and how we can put a strategy together for your law firm to successfully grow online.


  1. New google places is really a better advancement in its technology area where its focusing each place pared on which help users to find place & better way with its original look almost.
    Thanks Google

  2. Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing.

  3. Awesome post ! Thanks for, writing on my blog mate. I will message you again. I didn’t know that!

  4. Actually in concert with the Google Instant launch, Google disabled the ability of users to choose to see more than 10 search results per page