George explains why Google Places is so important for lawyers and law firms across the country.
The Importance of Google Places
Gerry: Hi it’s Gerry Oginski, I’m the Founder of the Lawyers’ Video Studio. I’m coming to you from Scranton, Pennsylvania in the lobby of a beautifully restored, what used to be a turn-of the century train station here in Scranton. I have the privilege of speaking with George Murphy who’s a search engine optimization expert, who has a company called the Search Ninjas. And the reason I wanted to ask him questions is because I think what he has to say is gonna help you and is gonna benefit you when you use online marketing for your business. Hi George, welcome!
George: Hey Gerry thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Gerry: My pleasure. So tell us, let’s get right into it, tell me about and tell us what it is that’s so important about, you know, we hear of Google Places and how important that is. Explain to our viewers what Google Places is and why it’s important.
George: Sure. And especially for lawyers and other small local businesses that rely on key words, and search terms that are geo related, such as “Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer”, or “Orlando Bakery”, whatever it may be. Because now that Google Places is integrated into organic search results, most of these geo terms, you’ll see Google Places not only come up, but you’ll see them come up along with the organic listings, they’re actually integrated into the lists themselves. So a good Google Places presence is actually only half of what you should do to appear above the fold or attain better search engine rankings. It used to be you have a good website, with good content, a good amount of authority, you have a good chance for ranking for some of those geo specific search terms, but now because Google Places is just so important, it’s imperative as a lawyer that you actually have a positive presence on Google Places.
Gerry: I know there are a lot of attorneys who sit and wonder, you know, “if I have to do something else online, I’m going to have to pay for it.” Do you actually have to pay to participate in Google Places?
George: Um no, it’s actually a free service. And it’s as easy as just claiming a Google Places profile. Now taking it to the next step and making sure you stay ahead of your competition is a whole other story, but to get started, no Google Places is actually completely free.
Gerry: What is it do? In other words, once you sign-up for a profile, how does that actually help you as an attorney try and market your practice?
George: Well, like I mentioned before, some of those Google Places actually come up on the searches and also people also search on the maps feature, people can search on their iPhones or Android for so many small businesses, so it actually puts you in the driver’s seat, and you take the first step to actually being found, and then there are other obstacles, or other things you need to do ahead of the competition and make sure you’re actually ranked well for some of those searches.
Gerry: Now what happens…you had mentioned to me earlier, before we started shooting, that there are, you know, a couple of myths that are circulating around the world of the legal marketing sphere…tell me about some of those myths that lawyers think they know about, but really don’t.
George: Sure, and a lot of it has to do with times are changing. With the internet, everything’s always evolving. Things that were working two years ago, may not be working now. Google Places is especially important when, you know, you’re talking about your local market, but it’s also changing more rapidly than a lot of other techniques. So the old Google Places algorithm, one of the main parts of that algorithm was something called the “proximity to [cities] the Centroid of a city”, which means basically small businesses and lawyers which were located close to the actually center of the city that they were in, had a better chance of ranking. As the Google Places algorithm evolves, now that actual part of the algorithm isn’t even important any more. Things like the number of citation sources that you’re listed on; citation sources are sites that Google Places actually trusts and pulls from to verify information. The number of positive reviews that you have, not only on your Google Places profile, but also on some of those other citation sources is also important. So in terms of myths, there’s just a lot out there that used to be important, that is not as important now and the most important thing for you as a lawyer to stay ahead of your competition, is to know what is actually working right now based on the algorithm changes.
Gerry: Now there are lawyers who like to get in and, you know, roll up their sleeves and get in and do it themselves, and those people, you know, they have to struggle with it and try to learn it by trial and error. How can you help those lawyers who don’t want to do this at all. They just say, “George, do me a favor. I just want to practice law and do what I’m good at. How can you help me solve my problems?”
George: Sure. And in my opinion, I mean, a lawyer’s more than a full time job, so the lawyers that do their own marketing, sometimes it seems they succeed, but most of the time, because they’re having a hard time, you know, running their own firm, running other parts of the business, helping, or finding someone to help them with their internet marketing is usually the more effective way to go about it. So we do full Google Places and organic SEO for lawyers. We build the citation sources that you’re listed on, which is very important for Google Places. We monitor the number of impressions that your Google Places profile receives, as well as how many actions it actually receives in terms of did someone click on your Places profile to get driving directions? Did someone visit your website from your Google Places profile? Did someone actually look at some of the offers that you’re looking at? So we not only go out and actively market your Google Places profile and manage it, we go out and take the necessary steps to improve its rankings and we also monitor some of the calls to action and other parts of it that should be the end product of just driving more, more clients to your firm.
Gerry: That’s the bottom line that attorneys want to be able to do. They wanna know, “hey can you help me get more leads? Can you help me get more traffic?” Can you help them and can you make it happen without getting them involved at all?
George: Absolutely. We pride ourselves on limiting the amount of effort that you need to put in. We handle pretty much everything that we’re able to handle, which is, I would say, 90% of the process, is actually completed by us. You only, pretty much are brought into mix when I report back on a call or, you know, we give you a status update, which is pretty regularly. So, what we do is not dependent on your availability, or how often you can answer an email, or pick up the phone and talk to me.
Gerry: That’s a good thing. That’s a very good thing.
George: Yeah, it’s pretty much, I don’t want to say it’s on auto-pilot, but we know the steps around what is necessary to take up your time, and we’re able to handle that for them.
Gerry: Good. So now, how can people get in touch with you if they want to talk to you further, find out more about how this stuff works, find out how you might be able to help them?
George: Sure, no I pride myself in, you know, the company as being able to found, we’re all about transparency. We have a website, it’s TheSearchNinjas.com. You could probably, usually find me on Facebook. If you’re a lawyer, I probably have some mutual friends of yours; I’m pretty active on Facebook. We’re on Twitter, we’re on LinkedIn. But visit the website TheSearchNinjas.com, it should have all the information about the services that we offer, how we can help, and you know, we’re always able to be reached on the website and through social media. Do a Google search for George Murphy, SEO, I’m pretty easy to be found, I’m not hiding anywhere.
Gerry: Excellent. Well George, thank you so much, it was great having you.
George: Yeah, thanks for having me, absolutely.
Gerry: Excellent, excellent. By the way, don’t go anywhere, because I have the pleasure of sitting with George and we’re gonna be creating an entire video series about other things that he does with search engine optimization, things that you don’t want to miss. So make sure to look for those additional videos. And that’s it for today. I’m Gerry Oginski coming to you from Scranton, Pennsylvania, thanks for watching.