Last week, Google introduced a new change to their search engine results. By taking pages, images, and news that people in your Plus 1 network liked and items you liked, they modify the search results by placing websites liked by your friends higher.
You may not have remembered signing up for a Plus 1 account but if you have a Gmail account, you probably have activated Plus 1.
Let's use an example to show you how this can improve your online law firm marketing.
Emily visits the brand new website of a Boston divorce lawyer. She hits the Plus 1 icon on the page. This is the Google equivalent of the Facebook “like”. Joe connects to Emily...perhaps Joe and Emily have emailed one another from Gmail or perhaps they have actively set up their Plus 1 account, circles, and settings. Regardless of why, Joe and Emily are connected.
The Boston divorce lawyer's website is brand new and not ranking well on its own. But, when Joe does a search for a Boston divorce lawyer, this particular website is going to be ranked in the top 5 of the search results. Why? Because Emily, someone in his network, +1'd it.
As search becomes more social, your law firm is going to need to adapt. However, with this new change in Google's search results, you can actually increase your rankings by adding a +1 icon on your site and increasing the size of your network.
When someone clicks the +1 icon on your site, you will rank higher when their friends and connections search for your site. The bigger your network, the larger your possible audience gets.
Of course, search engine optimization is still important. If the divorce lawyer used in this example did not have an optimized site, it is unlikely that Google would rank it high even though it was +1'd by Joe's connections. This is because the website still has to prove it is relevant to a searcher's inquiry.