Today Google began allowing the use of custom URL’s for what will be most Google+ profiles. If your law practice has a Google+ page then this update is likely available now. If it is not available to you already then don’t worry as the update is still rolling out to all users.
Law Firms may now use a “vanity” url with their Google+ profile
If you are unfamiliar with Google+, it is the search engine’s social network. Prior to today most users of the service were required to have pages with a URL that was nothing more than a long string of numbers. For example, my profile ID was plus.google.com/117567098120902083632/. Now my profile will be at plus.google.com/+Lukeciciliano. While this change is purely aesthetic, it will certainly make the profile of an individual attorney or law firm much easier to share with others. Google began allowing the use of vanity domains in 2012 but this was reserved mainly for large national brands. Now this is a feature available if your account is at least 30 days old, you have at least ten followers, and you have a profile photo. It appears that a firm’s business page, however, will not have to have 30 followers to upgrade.
Google+ should be a key component to any law firm’s internet marketing
I’ve previously written as to why attorneys should not use Twitter as part of their marketing. I was actually planning an article a little later this week as to why attorneys should market their law firm through Google+. I’ll still be writing that article but, in a nutshell, the social service is crucial to any law firm’s online marketing efforts as the search engine is now including “social signals” from the service in its ranking of websites. In other words, your presence in local and internet search is now partially dependent on your presence through the social service.
I’ll be posting later this week regarding the importance of the social service to a law firm’s SEO efforts. In the meantime make sure you get your custom domain.
November 20th, 2014 update: In September of 2014 Google ceased the tracking of “authorship” from Google+ and, as of this update, is no longer including authorship in the ranking of websites. Google still does continue to track the links from social networks however. On September 24th, 2014 I wrote on why law firms should continue to make Google+ part of their social media strategy.