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Google Sues SEO Company — How You Can Avoid Being Scammed

Google LocalAfter issuing several warnings, Google has sued Local Lighthouse Corp. of Tustin, California, in the U.S. District Court of Northern California. While you may not recognize the company name, you are probably very familiar with their pitch.

Google claims the California SEO agency contacted businesses through robocalls claiming to be “Google Local Listing representatives.” Business owners, believing Google was contacting them, would then come in contact with the Local Lighthouse sales representatives, who would charge them for various services.

Google sent the company a letter in July 2014 and again in January 2015 according to Search Engine Land’s coverage of the lawsuit.

The company in question has over 100 issues filed with the Better Business Bureau, a 2 star rating on Yelp out of 90+ reviews, and a 1.8 star rating on Google out of 36 reviews. They also have several pending civil suits related to their telemarketing practices.

Everybody gets calls like (more…)

Your Local Listing in Google Probably Just Disappeared from the First Page

Google has rolled out a redesign of its Local Pack, traditionally called the Local 7-Pack for its letter A – G rankings. The new search results page design shows just three listings and no direct link to a Google+ page.

Search engine ranking reports and impressions from Google are likely to decline for the four unlucky websites that no longer enjoy first page placement for their prized keywords. But are those four law firms really unlucky?

New Local Pack on Google

While the concept of losing your first page placement may sound scary at first, there is one more feature on the new, consolidated local listing pack that may be a positive change. Google has introduced a larger defined “More” menu.

This new link replaces the easy to ignore “Map results for…” text with a bigger, more defined “More” link and a menu icon. Clicking on the link takes you to a list of 20 local results (more…)

Facebook’s “See First” feature sets higher bar for social media relationships

FacebookIf your law firm is active on Facebook, you already know that “Likes” are valuable to your marketing efforts. When someone Likes your firm’s page, each of your posts has a chance to appear on that person’s News Feed – their personalized Facebook front page, which aggregates stories from the individuals, businesses, and organizations that they follow. Moreover, their friends might see a notification that they have Liked your page, further increasing your exposure.

Now, Facebook has created a new, higher bar for businesses to strive for to achieve a closer relationship with their customers. It’s called “See First.” A user may activate the feature from the page of any entity that they follow. After they do so, every post from that entity since the user’s last visit to Facebook is guaranteed to appear at the top of his or her News Feed.

The difference between a regular Like and See First is (more…)

Is Google’s ‘Search Bias’ Better for Consumers?

Google LocalResearchers at Harvard Business School and Columbia Law School as part of a collaboration with the Yelp data science team recently concluded that Google was harming consumers by giving preference to their own services. Would consumers be better served by getting a list of directories to choose from?

The study particular targets the local results wherein Google displays listings from Google My Business (formerly Google+ Local) ahead of the organic website results. Yelp’s claim is that this practice gives priority placement to a Google service (Google My Business) that directly competes with them. They also claim this practice leads to inferior results.

While the quality of local results is certainly up for scrutiny, Google has yet to adequately address high-ranking local listings that are keyword stuffing and getting rewarded for it. We are taking the position that the listings that appear under the local results is better for consumers than directory sites. (more…)

Ok Google, I Need a Lawyer

Credit: Consumer Intelligence Research Partners

Credit: Consumer Intelligence Research Partners

Smartphones help you pay bills, communicate, work on the run, tap into your inner photographer, and act as personal assistants. This technology can help people with the basics such as What time is it? Where is the nearest coffee shop? Where is the nearest fire station? It can also help people with life changes such as “I own a business, have two kids, and am getting a divorce”.

Voice search from Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana are quickly shaping popular search queries.
While Siri first made its appearance on October 4, 2011, there is likely more development in the wings to upgrade the quality of the responses. Currently, Google is on top for voice searches even though Apple’s iPhone enjoys dominating marketshare among smartphone users.

Google has been enhancing its Knowledge Vault for several years. Some industry insiders have been (more…)

The Curious Relationship Between IT and SEO

SEO and ITImagine a scenario in the “Mad Men” era of marketing where the technicians who kept the printing machines running were invited into the decision room to critique and comment on the ads they would be printing. Frankly, it would never happen. Those mechanical engineers weren’t generally going to provide the best insights on marketing, any more than the marketing personnel could solve ink spatter problems.

Fast-forward to 2015, and you may find that IT personnel are actively involved in reviewing and commenting on search engine marketing data for law firms. In fact, when presenting search engine marketing strategies, account managers often get instructions from lawyers to “explain it to my computer guy.”

The problem with this request is that your website and search engine optimization strategy fall under “marketing and communication” much more than they do “tech”. Your IT personnel will be interested to know the specifications of your hosting environment, web (more…)

Google Shuts the Door on Doorway Pages

youtube one channelThere has been speculation for a number of years that Google would have to include mobile factors when it ranks websites/pages. While not a surprise, the actual implementation of mobile factors is bound to have a large effect on many sites, including law firm websites. If you do not have a mobile-friendly website, this could cost you points in terms of how your law firm ranks on mobile Google searches. It may also cost you new clients. But that’s the only change hitting the search giants legendary algorithm.

Google’s other algorithm modification involves doorway pages to improve user experience. This announcement has come as a surprise to some as these pages were frowned upon years ago and many people stopped doing them. There are still people who create these pages specifically to garner search traffic only, not for user interest. Or as Google said in its Webmaster Central Blog: “We have a (more…)