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Google Pigeon to reshape local listings

Google layoutOn July 24, Google released a new algorithm, nicknamed Pigeon by Search Engine Land (SEL), which alters the way local search results are generated in Google Maps and Google Web. The Pigeon update is designed to make the local search results more accurate and relevant.

Google told SEL that the new algorithm relies more heavily on their hundreds of traditional web search ranking signals. It also draws on features like spelling correction, synonyms and Knowledge Graph. This change will make local search results align more closely with organic search rankings.
The algorithm is also designed to improve distance and location ranking parameters.

Currently, the algorithm affects only U.S. English results. Google has not confirmed whether or not Penguin will be introduced in other countries or languages.

The Pigeon algorithm is still new, and it will take some time to get a feel for its full implications, especially since it’s possible that Google is still smoothing (more…)

Where did the map go?

mobile search for lawyersGoogle released an update to its local search engine algorithm, dubbed the Pigeon update by Search Engine Land (SEL). The update was complex, including a number of changes designed to improve the relevancy and accuracy of local search results.

The biggest impact of Google’s Pigeon algorithm update has been seen in the local “7-pack” results, the groups of two to seven pinned, local results that appear on some local queries. It has also impacted Carousel, the scrolling list of local establishments that appears with some searches.

Since the implementation of Pigeon on July 24, the number of search queries that produce local 7-pack results has decreased significantly. According to a recent Moz report, local 7-pack results have decreased by 23.4% since the update. It should be noted that while the cumulative effect was a decrease, certain query results have actually gained pack results.

Among the terms that have lost pack results are (more…)

Google Author Removes Your Picture, Retains Author Credit

profile picturesThose photos of you and your staff that once displayed next to your search engine listings has been removed. Google has removed everyone’s pictures with the author still retaining credit for their work, although some author photos may still appear on Google+ based on relevancy and level of interaction with others.

This move caught many lawyers by surprise as no one foresaw Google completely removing pictures from their Google Authorship program. There had been indications prior to the June 2014 announcement that Google was revisiting their position on author photos and how they affected content quality. At one time, author photos appeared in approximately 21 percent of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This change has dramatically affected the visual impact on SERPs but there is no data to suggest it has reduced click-through-rates.

When Google Authorship was first introduced in 2011, the intention was to “highlight authors and rank search results.” Over (more…)

On Google Plus You Can Now Be Anyone You Like

email subjectThree years ago, Google launched Google+, but along with the new network came a myriad of tough rules, one of which earned them backlash. You could only use a real name to become a part of Google+ based on the reasoning that members who chose to join the community should be real people. While it did create a community of authentic people, it also acted as a barrier to others who wanted to be involved, but not use their real names.

There were smaller changes made as Google+ aged, but nothing that allowed those in the wings to participate in the way that they wanted to become involved. With those incremental changes came more confusion: it was not clear what names would be allowed and which were not.

Last month, Google changed their policy, acknowledging they had not been clear, which in turn created difficulties for some of their users. It is always (more…)

Google Places is now Google My Business: Why that matters to your law firm

AndroidAs you may have heard, Google Places is now Google My Business. Billed as a versatile tool for small businesses, My Business is a repository for a large number of other Google services.

In short, it simplifies the communications components of marketing your law firm. Your firm no longer needs to go back and forth from one website to another to manage its business.

With this change, Google is entering into direct competition with Facebook’s business services. With Google My Business, the search giant hopes to get more businesses using their products. Google My Business isn’t anything new, its more of a suite consisting of existing or upgraded Google services.

What’s included:

  • Hangouts – Video chat with customers.
  • Reviews – Rate businesses according to their reviews.
  • Google Analytics – See your law firm’s website statistics immediately.
  • Maps – Manage your law firm’s location and information, and respond as owner on Maps on mobile.
  • Insights – Determine market trends, (more…)

Manual Link Penalties are not Forever – Podcast

If you receive a manual action or unnatural links penalty on your website, it is not forever.
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Tips for promoting your law firm’s Twitter account

Last week we talked about staying compliant with Twitter’s logo guidelines. Here is a quick guide to getting more followers to your firm’s Twitter profile while correctly using Twitter’s imagery.

  • Use one of the Twitter buttons to link your site and postings to your online account.
  • Use one of the bird logos with your @username ( e.g. Harrellson Law) in print.
  • If you are not able to show the Twitter bird, type “Follow us on Twitter @username.”
  • Show the bird in front of your #hashtag or @ username in a size that matches the size of the typeface.
  • If you mention a tweet, include a direct reference to Twitter or display the brand or trademarks.
  • Make sure your brand still stands out. Don’t display Twitter logos or trademarks that are larger that your own marks.
  • Do not use Twitter terms or the Twitter name to refer to any other service. At best, misuse of the terms will confuse (more…)

Changing your Twitter logo (you’re probably using the wrong one)

Your law firm may be using the wrong Twitter logo. Since your law firm must be adhere to all trademark laws, check what you are using soon. 

Like many other logos on the internet, Twitter logo use is only allowed in precisely specific ways. Make it a point to ensure you are in compliance with their trademark policy in all formats. The link below direct the proper colors, type of font, display guidelines and settings to use the Twitter brand in marketing and advertising materials.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind (see full guidelines here).

REPLACE ME

Twitter provides this graphic as examples of “do nots”.

  • The logo must be either white or blue. No other color is acceptable.
  • Always include a safety space equaling 200 percent the size of the square around the bird.
  • Keep Twitter marks as they are. Don’t make alterations or use them in an ambiguous way (more…)

Google Gets the Searches but Yahoo Gets the Traffic – Podcast

Yahoo is back in the web traffic game – maybe or maybe not. Find out more.

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Retargeting: Never say goodbye to your law firm’s visitors

remarketing_for_law_firmsIf your law firm wants to take advantage of a 10-20 percent conversion rate, retargeted ads can help. With them, you never say goodbye to your firm’s visitors. 

Retargeting interacts with the basic nature of social media. Everyone surfs multiple types of websites. Facebook in particular is highly popular, and it offers ways to share just about anything in one way or another. 

Ever wonder how items you have been shopping for somewhere else follow you into Facebook ads and other websites? That progression is the product of retargeting –- a strategy that shows you an advertisement on a new site for something you searched for on a previous one. 

Are websites, merchants, companies and law firms colluding to track and share information on your preferences and interests? Fortunately not. They use cookies: the gluten that holds everything explored on the web together. Cookies on websites track users and store information on the their (more…)