Google + Author Rank is Google’s way of showing what authors are more trusted than others. It helps Google rank pages and sites based more on specific author’s credibility rather than a general trust of the URL or firm. They are doing this because there is so much shady stuff going on in the SEO world where people are trying to game the system with crap content and excessive and poor link building. By showing your authors / experts / partners actual faces you let Google and potential clients know you have real people that they can connect with.
The overview of how to set up Google+ Author Rank for your law firm
For Google+ Author Rank to be established we need to put in what is called the authorship markup on your firm’s website and your Google+ personal profile. The authorship markup is the two snippets of code: rel=”me” and rel=”author”. These pieces of code are both used to tell Google that the person from the Google+ profile is the same person on the website. Google will then show your Google+ profile picture in search results, like in the example below:
Part two will explain exactly how to set up Google + Author Rank in detail.
Google+ Author Rank can improve your law firm websites visibility in search result and visitors will be more likely to click on your site.
Author Rank is only going to become more powerful in search partly because Google has a lot invested in it. Google cannot afford to let Facebook and others dominate the social space, so you had better get on board as Google Plus is not going away. And Author Rank is an important part of the latest algorithms designed to filter out the people who are just gaming the system.
Why Author Rank is Beneficial to Lawyers
If you want to build your brand you have to establish that you are reputable, have a strong track record, have high verdicts and settlements, are recognized by peers/associations and have been in business for a reasonable amount of time.
The Avvo Rating plays on some of these factors and is calculated using the information in the profile, including years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition. So mapping out the background of an individual from AVVO rankings to the Super Lawyers set of parameters and now with Google + is nothing new. What makes it new is that it is tied to your search and social media success and your credibility at the same time!
You also need to have a unique value proposition if you want to stand out from other firms and below are a few things law firms have told me when I ask them what their value propositions are:
What is Google+ Author Rank
- We are one of the few firms with lawyers who actually care. Amazing how so many tell me exactly that.
- We have been in business for 30+ years. Yes, unfortunately this is common also.
- We have an amazing team with partners who are truly top experts in their field.
While all of these are very good, people do business with those they know, like and trust, so showing off your amazing team is one of the most important. I personal don’t want a nice caring lawyer who sucks at law representing me with a million dollars on the line. And I am not alone in that I would rather have a hotshot young gun whose work I have read on a niche topic that he or she is passionate about and attitude I have gotten to know online, than a crusty old dinosaur that will barely put in any effort. If you are an older and passionate lawyer with Author Rank, now you are unstoppable.
So make sure your partners decide who will be the face of which practice areas and then get to work writing and or having articles / blog posts ghost written using each partners Author Rank profile. If you have years of experience, are caring and are an expert, why would you not want to do this and get the credit you deserve. If you don’t do it, firms that are far beneath you in quality will each your lunch at the game of law firm internet marketing.
Since lawyers can go to different law firms, they can also now bring their ‘authorship power‘ to the new domains/law practices. Keep that in mind at a larger firm when selecting for whom to set up with Author Rank but also don’t let it stop you from getting the benefit of AuthorRank for a good number of your best experts.
Obtaining high Author Rank can be the difference between your niche content being ranked above that of your competitors or it wallowing on the 9th page of Google that nobody sees. Since it is fairly new, your results with your face next to them will stand out compared to competitors who do not have it yet.
To increase your Author Rank, you will need to get in the right Google circles/niches, share quality content and write content of your own that is worthy of being shared.
Google wants to have websites they trust in the top of search results and if you are serious about SEO, this trust passing tactic is not optional.