Following Google’s announcement that they would no longer be displaying authors in search results we all thought Google authorship was dead. Me included.

Internet marketing strategist, Pam Aungst (@PamAnnMarketing) writes this week that Authorship may not be dead after all.

As way of background, Google Authorship enabled blog authors to connect the blog posts they published to their Google+ profile.

It wasn’t the tagging of posts to a Google+ profile that was key, it was the ability to tag content to an individual author, as opposed to a blog or website, to grow the author’s degree of influence that was important.

Content authored by influential lawyers appearing higher in search results is a big deal.

Aungst first points out that we may have jumped the gun on Authorship’s death. Google only said they would stop displaying authors in search results.

[T]here’s no indication that having a strong presence as an author on Google+ won’t influence your search results in a more behind-the-scenes manner.

Danny Sullivan, a widely respected SEO expert, sees it similarly in a recent post that google authorship may be dead, but author rank is not.

Sullivan thought Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt did a nice job explaining the importance of author rank in his book, The Digital Age.

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

Author rank may be more than just a theory, per Aungst. Google was recently granted a patent by which Google will show a search result from an author if that author is connected to the searcher on Google+. The author also has to be identified by Google as an authoritative source for the query used by the searcher.

Whether it will be through Google+ or not, there is little question that influence of an individual will become more and more important on search.

Google+ profiles, links to what you write individually, signals form your personal social activity on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and more will impact how Google views your influence in the areas in which you practice.

Individual versus organization is what it as all about. Individuals establish trust and authority. Individuals build social connections.

We all know things change with Google all the time. But I’d have a Google + profile as a blogger and include the Authorship markup within the development of your blog. Notwithstanding that the markup is not being used by Google now.

I’d also be doing everything I could to grow my influence online through blogging and being active on social networks.

The price for not doing so is, as Google’s Eric Schmidt says, irrelevance.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ognian Mladenov

In a post by John Mueller (@JohnMu) a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, Google announced it was eliminating Google Authorship.

If you have any doubt about Authorship being eliminated in entirety, read the discussion in the comments to Mueller’s post.

Google Authorship enabled blog authors to connect the blog posts they published to their Google+ profile. It wasn’t tagging posts to a Google+ profile, per se, that was important for bloggers, it was the ability to tag content to an author to measure a blogger’s degree of influence.

For lawyers this was pretty slick. As Google tracked a lawyer’s influence in an area of law or industry by their blog posts, Google could then refine its search results to display on search results pages the most influential content for the party doing the search.

Both the author’s influence and the searcher’s social circle (who they trust, what they like) could then be taken into account in search results. Google presumably then displays results and content from the sources we’re most apt to trust.

For quite a while an author who set up Google Authorship on their blog would have their picture and a link to their Google+ profile displayed next to search results displaying their posts. Pictures heavily influenced click throughs.

Pictures were eliminated earlier this year and with today’s news, the Google+ profile link will be eliminated.

Per Mueller, search results will still include Google+ posts from friends and Google+ pages when they’re relevant to your query — both in the main results, and on the right-hand side. Today’s Authorship change doesn’t impact those social features. So no, Google+ is not gone yet.

Why the elimination of Authorship? Hard to say. No question it will fuel the discussion that Google+ is going to be phased out altogether.

From Mueller:

Unfortunately, we’ve… observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results.

The reason why it may not have been that useful is that not everyone set up Authorship on their blog or news site. Many that did set it up wrong.

As Eric Enge (@stonetemple) of Search Engine Land shared in a great post on the elimination of Authorship, even 70% of authors publishing on major web sites made no attempt to connect their authorship with the content they were writing.

The result is skewed search results. Posts and articles by those with greater “influence,” per Authorship, could arguably appear higher than more relevant and valuable results.

My gut tells me that Google has not been giving much weight to posts with author markup for some time. Otherwise the quality of results would have been diminished — and it’s the results which keeps us coming back.

LexBlog has advised lawyers on our LXBN network to use Authorship so as to take advantage of their growing influence in search results. No more.

For those blogging lawyers already using Authorship on their blog, there’s no harm in having it. There will just be no advantage going forward.

Despite no Authorship, quality blog posts written by lawyers in an engaging and authentic fashion will continue to do better and better on search. There are so many signals ranging from social sharing to links from other posts that Google can pick up to measure influence and relevance.

We’ll be okay.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Deepak Gupta

Google+ is apt to be written off as a social media ghost town by blogging lawyers. Who could blame them looking at the numbers alone.

From New York Times technology reporter, Claire Cain Miller (@clairecm), in a piece on Google+ last Friday.

Plus has 29 million unique monthly users on its website and 41 million on smartphones, with some users overlapping, compared with Facebook’s 128 million users on its website and 108 million on phones, according to Nielsen.

For many blogging lawyers LinkedIn, more than Facebook, is looked at is a medium for engagement and distribution. Let alone Twitter.

But Google+ remains important for at least four reasons. Search/SEO, User Profile, Google Authorship (AuthorRank), and sharing to grow influence and relationships.

Search/SEO

Google+ plays a big role in SEO and search. It will help you and your posts get seen.

I am not necessarily referring to ranking for items such as “Chicago Employment Lawyer.” I am referring to long tail searches where consumers of legal services, whether looking for a lawyer now or not, are searching on particular issues.

Take “Does FMLA apply to employers with 41 employees?” If you have blogged on FMLA applying to small businesses you want your post to rank in search for that Google user.

The more know Google knows about you the better the match they can make on a search. How influential are you on the niche subject being searched on? Is your content liked and shared by people trusted by the person doing the search?

Without you using Google+ so that Google knows about you and those in your social circle, the less effective the search experience for a Google user doing research on areas you’ve blogged about.

Bradley Horowitz (@elatable), vice president of product management for Google Plus, explained to Miller:

It’s about you showing up at Google and having a consistent experience across products so they feel like one product, and that makes your experiences with every Google product better.

Miller goes on to report:

Thanks to Plus, Google knows about people’s friendships on Gmail, the places they go on maps and how they spend their time on the more than two million websites in Google’s ad network. And it is gathering this information even though relatively few people use Plus as their social network.

Larger companies see Google+ as invaluable for search.

Starbucks, for instance, has three million followers on Plus, meager compared with its 36 million “likes” on Facebook. Yet it updates its Google Plus page for the sake of good search placement, and takes advice from Google representatives on how to optimize Plus content for the search engine.

“When we think about posting on Google Plus, we think about how does it relate to our search efforts,” said Alex Wheeler, vice president of global digital marketing at Starbucks.

The Economist has more fans on Google Plus than on Facebook — six million versus three million — and its journalists use Plus features like Hangouts. Yet Chandra Magee, The Economist’s senior director of audience development, emphasized the value of Plus as a search engine optimization tool.

“There is potential there to help us get in front of new audiences,” she said. “But it also helps with our S.E.O. strategy because our posts on Google Plus actually show up in our search engine results.”

User Profile

A  Google+ User Profile will display on a search of your name and is visible across any Google properties. Your profile will include business and personal info, your social networks, and a listing of where you have contributed content, including your blog. See my earlier post on how easy it is to create a profile.

A link to your user profile and your picture will begin to display next to your blog titles displayed on Google’s search results pages. Search results with pictures of the author, especially pictures that users recognize, get clicked on dramatically more often.

I have also started to see my profile displayed in a large box to the right of the search results when someone searches for my name.

Google Authorship (AuthorRank)

Google+’s Google Authorship feature goes hand in hand with setting up your user profile. Once you create your Google+ account and profile you may connect what you publish on your blog to your Google+ profile.

The concept of linking content and peoples’ reaction to your contact (sharing) is perfect for a lawyer. Growing your influence as a niche online publisher enhances your reputation as a trusted and reliable authority. Google Authorship grows your influence, stature, and, it turns out, search performance for your content.

Content strategist, Monica Jade Romeri (@MJRomeriDDC), in a popular piece entitled SEO Has Gone Social, advises embracing Google+ and AuthorRank.

Google AuthorRank has shaken up inbound marketing and SEO in a big way. Due to AuthorRank, the social media influence and reach of content creators has a major impact on their search rankings. If you are serious about SEO and online marketing, setting up Google Authorship is a must.

Create an ample Google+ profile—featuring your main content topics in your introduction. Get engaged, participate on the social network frequently, share great content often, and establish online relationships with top industry thought leaders to foster your influence and credibility on Google+.

Sharing

Different people engage in different social networks. You are apt to connect with people in Google+ you’d not engage elsewhere.

It’s easy to engage folks in Google+. Share some of the content by third parties that you like. Share some of your blog posts adding a thought provoking headline.

Google+ will automatically archive your photos from your iPhone or Android phone. They’ll not display in Google+ until you share them. Pictures of people and places capture people’s emotions and lead to meaningful connections.

Plus sharing will only build out your presence on Google+ and help Google build out your influence and search performance.

Influence is the bottom line

Influence in your field is key for a lawyer. Whether a lawyer is influential in the years ahead will be measured by machines. What is written? How often is it shared? How often is it cited? How influential are the people doing the citing and sharing? Are the people doing the citing and sharing people I trust and respect?

Only when you create your Google+ profile and connect your blog posts to you can your influence be measured. And that influence is going to dictate what is being displayed on search and being discovered in other contexts. Your influence is also going to effect your reputation and the relations you build.

Fifteen years ago you had never heard of Google. Search would have seemed a foreign concept. Social influence and search may seem foreign today, but it will not for long.

Start using Google+, even if on a limited basis. You’ll be glad you did.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Fabrizio Van Marciano

3 reason Google+ lawyersTechnology writer, Sohail Qaisar, wrapping up a piece on the debate between Google’s Matt Cutts and Rand Fishkin’s Moz.com on the impact of Google+ on search shared three good reasons bloggers ought to be using Google+.

Here’s the three, with a little annotating by me.

  1. Faster post indexing. Google+ is used by Google to discover new content and index it faster. Traditionally, Google followed links to websites and content and spidered back for updates based on the frequency of updates. Webmasters have found that when newer web pages are shared on Google+ they get indexed in no time. Facebook and Twitter do not have the same impact as they are, in large part, not indexed by Google.
  2. Google+ shares are mini-blog posts. When you share anything on Google+, you get all the benefits of a traditional blog post.
    • The shared post has its own URL and it pulls in a 40-50 character description of the shared link.
    • Studies have proven a positive correlation between higher search rankings and longer entries on Google+. So a summary of your post may be better than a teaser or soundbite. I use teasers, but may now change.
    • When the shared post is re-shared within the Google platform, it further improves search rankings.
  3. Get to build Author Rank. While Google is not too forthcoming about whether Author Rank will play a positive role in search rankings, rumors are rife that it will and thus, as a blogger you want to prepare for Author Rank. Go to the “Contributor” section of the G+ profile page and add URL’s of the places you have published your piece; not the homepage link, the published URL. Searches today already show author image in results, thus, it will help to establish yourself as an authority figure in your niche area of law or locale.

As I have blogged before, Google+ and Google authorship is a big deal for blogging lawyers. Don’t worry about how many times the +1 or Google+ is getting clicked on your blog. We’re not writing on big time news, sports, tech, or fashion sites. We don’t get a lot of Google+ love.

But influence is everything for you as a lawyer looking to build relationships with your target audience and a word of mouth reputation as the ‘go to’ lawyer in a niche. Google+ will build trust, influence, and even search results now that search is more and more based on influence.

You need not break your neck with Google+, yet another social network. Try just a few things.

  • Get Google authorship set up on your blog.
  • Complete your Google+ profile as a I blogged here.
  • Start sharing a few posts a week in Google+. It can be one of your own and a couple from other sources. Sharing content from third parties demonstrates you are not all about ‘Me, Me, Me.’

Do this and you’ll have planted a seed in Google+, a seed that’s going to grow to benefit you over the long haul.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jukka Zitting.

20130828-231214.jpg I am starting to see items I share and discuss on Google+ rank higher in Google search than my blog posts in which I discuss the same matter. Perhaps that’s Google’s goal in driving the growth of what is now the second largest social network, trailing only Facebook.

I acknowledge Google+ is new and represents yet another social media to get your mind around. In addition there are only so many hours in a week that you, as a lawyer, can spend on social media.

But Google+, being owned by the largest search engine and growing faster than any other social media, is too important in building a reputation and relationships to take a pass on.

Here’s five tips from Shanna Mallon (@foodloves) plus one of my one to get you started on Google+.

1. Optimize your profile. Google+ is much like LinkedIn in that if you have a Google+ account, your profile is going to appear in search results when I search your name. An incomplete profile leaves you looking unprofessional. Don’t have a Google+ account so you don’t have to worry about your profile? Hardly. A profile is too valuable to pass up and with the accompanying Google authorship for your blog, search will start to perform at another level for you. Here’s my post on how to complete your Google+ profile.

2. Post periodically. You gain the most exposure on Google+ and Google search when you post regularly. If you are not using an iPad to read and share content, get one. Armed with an iPad, you’ll be able share content to Google+ and other social media from apps such as Feedly, Zite, or Flipboard (take your choice) in a seamless fashion which will only take a minute or two. Sharing a couple or three items a week is a enough to get started.

3. Include your commentary when you share articles and links. Dumping links adds nothing of value to your followers. It makes you look like a blowhard and someone not worth following. Share your take or insight in a sentence or two. Yes, that brief. Over time, you’ll start to get occasional plus ones and comments from followers. Don’t worry if it’s not many, that’s okay.

4. Acknowledge other users mentions. Respond to comments on your posts and when people mention you in a post of theirs share a comment. Like Facebook, you’ll receive a notice prompting you.

5. Add Google+ badges to your blog and website. Two things here. First, on your blog make sure there is a share button for Google + for each one of your posts. You’ll not get many plus one’s, that’s okay. Second have a badge on your blog and website that prompts people to connect with you (include you in a circle) on Google+.

6. Share pictures. Google+ will feel like a more professional network to you than Facebook. At the same time, like Facebook, sharing items that are less formal and more personal nurtures relationships with your business associates. Photo’s are the best and easiest way to accomplish this. You’ll be prompted on your iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device to share on Google+ recent photo’s you’ve taken. Share one with a little commentary. People love photos on Google+.

These tips assume you have started following others (adding them to your circles) and that others have started doing the same as to you. If not, spend a little time doing this and continue adding people you like from those Google+ suggests to you.

Don’t beat yourself up for not using Google+ enough. Look at it as an experiment or entertainment that you get to when you have the time. I find myself drifting in and out of using Google+, though recently interaction is picking up for me and I am sharing more often.

Try using Google+. For a lot of important reasons there’s no time to get into here you’ll be glad you did.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Salim Virgi.

20130720-214425.jpg I know, you already feel guilty about your LinkedIn profile page which grades out as a C minus. But Google+ is getting to be a big deal, and like it your not your Google+ profile is appearing in search results when someone Googles you. What does yours Google+ profile say about you?

Google+ is not only gaining on Facebook in number of users, but it’s quite a bit more professional than Facebook in who is using it among the people I know.

Google+ also impacts your online influence. That’s important for bloggers who want to to see their blog posts appear higher in search and to see their picture next to their blog posts in search results — much more likely to get clicked on.

Google+ offers you the opportunity to make a name for yourself. Here’s all you you need to complete for your profile.  

  • My story. Placed first, Google+ wants the world to know your tagline, intro, and bragging rights.
  • Contact info. Knowing Google could be where you get everyone’s contact info, what’s your office and home address, cell and direct phones, and work and personal email addresses? It’s not about you as a lawyer, it’s about clients, prospective clients, business associates, bloggers, and the mainstream media – make it easy for them to get a hold of you.
  • People. Who are in your circles? Motley or impressive crew? Or maybe no one.
  • Work. What do you do? What have you done? Is your track record a credible one?
  • Places. Where have you lived? Displayed on a world map, it”ll show if you’ve been around the corner.
  • Other Profiles. Google’s not shy, nor worried about competition. Get all of your other social networking and media profiles listed and linkedIn to. Google+ could become our home base — or at least where people search for our social profiles.
  • Links. Why not have links to your law firm, blog, and other sites?
  • Basic Information. Gender, birthdate, relationship status, and the like which other social networks offer.

I used to use Google+ solely to cover my ass. Google is as big as they come in search and I didn’t want to come up short when social influence became big in determining how my content and I got found on Google — like it is now.

I am now seeing the true value of Google+ for a profile and for sharing info, pictures, and commentary. With that and when people search for me or the subjects I blog about, I want people to see who I am, to see my social network, and to be able to get a hold of me — all that through my Google+ profile.

Take some time and complete your profile. Try Google+ as well. It’ll be worth your while.

Google+ two years old Two years ago last Friday Google introduced its social network, Google+. Mashable’s Christina Warren (@film_girl) provides a good assessment of Google+ at two years in saying it’s gone from “Facebook killer to ghost town to something else”

Make no mistake, however, two years in, Google+ is most definitely a social network. There are more than 500 million Google+ users and reportedly more than 300 million of those users are active.

No question the masses have been guilty of rushing to judgment on Google+ – on multiple occasions. On its launch, Google+ was hailed as the next Facebook or Twitter. People saw it as a zero sum game – if Google+ succeeded then Twitter and Facebook would suffer. Didn’t happen, all social networks continue to grow.

Last year we had all the stories of Google+ being a ghost town. People and organizations who see social networks to broadcast into saw little value in Google+ as it was not as active or robust as Twitter, Facebook, or the blogosphere. “Why should I worry about Google+ when no one is there – or least no one I am trying to reach.”

Warren is spot on that neither position represents Google+ today.

While I can’t say that I see the same amount of interaction on Google+ as I do on other social networks for all of my content, I can say that I tend to see a very specific level of engagement on certain types of content, particularly stuff that is related to Google, Google+ or Android.

Google+ is not a ghost town. By the same token, the service doesn’t have the immediacy of a Twitter nor the ubiquity of Facebook. Still, for certain types of content and certain groups of users, it’s the best sharing platform on the web.

I’m not getting the interaction Warren is getting nor I am getting engagement on items related to Google and the like. However, I have seen a significant uptake in engagement on Google+ over the last couple months.

I share other’s people content as well as some of my blog posts. One of my blog posts drew 17 comments over last weekend. I also browse Google+ giving a +1 or commenting on other’s posts. No question Google+ has the most eloquent interface of any social network on my iPad.

We’re also getting more questions from LexBlog Network members about Google+. Lawyers want to know what’s all the buzz about regarding Google+. They want to know how to set up a good Google+ account and how to use Google+ for networking. Historically, when lawyers start asking our account managers about a social media or social network, it’s a sign we’re ready to see a significant uptake in its use by lawyers.

For blogging lawyers having a Google+ account is a no brainer. That way you can use the Google Authorship feature which allows you to link connect you publish to your Google+ profile. Doing so a lawyer can increase their influence on Google.

You may find membership heavy on tech, innovators, and entrepreneurs. But that’s not all together bad for lawyers doing any kind of work, especially if you enjoy such company.

When I asked Colin O’Keefe (@colinokeefe) and Molly O’Keefe (@mollyokeefe), now at Microsoft and who interned here last year, how I ought to be using Google+ they said loud and clear, Google+ Hangouts.

Warren also sees Google+ Hangouts as the unsung hero.

The best part of Google+ is undoubtedly Google+ Hangouts. I know so many people who don’t bother using Google+ to update their status or share information, but absolutely use the Hangouts feature as a way to hold video chats with teams. Moreover, while the brand results with Google+ may be mixed, Hangouts are a consistently popular way to host discussions, interview and conversations.

At Mashable, we’ve been experimenting with Hangouts every Friday on the Tech team, opining about various news that has happened throughout the week. The tight integration with YouTube makes Hangouts On Air a great way to archive great moments and discussions too.

Part of the reason I like Hangouts so much is that it’s truly unlike anything available on other networks. Rather than trying to bring similar functionality that Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or any myriad of other services has, Google created something unique and something that really shows off the best of what Google can do.

Bottom line, Google+ is here to stay and is only going to grow in importance. Not only as a social network in the way we know them, but also on its impact on search. The more you interact on Google+, the greater your social circle is going to grow, and in time, the more what you say and write will be seen on search.

You don’t need to be using Google+ anymore than you need to be using Facebook or Twitter. But used effectively Google+ will prove worth your while. No question you ought to check out Google+ (iPad is best experience) to see how you like it and to set up your Google+ account.

20130330-172408.jpg Google+’s Google Authorship feature allows you to link connect you publish on the Internet to your Google+ profile.

The concept of linking content and peoples’ reaction to your contact (sharing) is perfect for lawyers. Growing your influence as a niche online publisher enhances your reputation as a trusted and reliable authority. Google Authorship grows your influence, stature, and, it turns out, search performance for your content.

Richard Darell (@minervity) writes this morning that Google Authorship is having an insane impact on web traffic to sites published by those using Google authorship.

Google Authorship is a way to help search engine users find content from people they know or want to connect with. Basically what you do is personalize the visual search engine result and claim it as your own. For example, it means that when you have Google authorship incorporated on your Google Plus profile and your website, Google will start indexing the content you have created with images, circle count and a whole lot more. It helps Google further rank your content, and it is said to even increase your rank if you have Google Authorship enabled.

The real interesting side effect that comes with “signing up” for Google authorship is that it has been proven that people who use the Google search engine are more likely to click search results with a picture and Google authorship information than any other search result that shows up. As a matter of fact, in some cases, it increases Google authorship user’s content click through rate up to 150%. If anything, that should be of interest for any website owner.

Demian Farnworth (@demianfarnworth), writing for Copy Blogger, shares 10 reasons blog authors ought to be using Google Authorship. Here the five most relevant to you as a law blogger.

  • Higher click through rates on search. Content published by those using Google Authorship is more visible on a search at Google. Your picture is displayed along with the content, especially so in the case of people Google believes are interested in what you write. Other content you have published may be displayed below the prominent listing.
  • Elevates the role of you, the writer. As you build your reputation in two or three specific categories, and your content follows you around, your audience will start to recognize the value of your contributions.
  • Take it with where your go. Your Google profile follows you across the web into comments and articles published on other blogs.
  • Build trust. The recognition that you have a Google+ account and a headshot beside your search listing and the listing of your content is going to separate you from the faceless law bloggers and law firm content creators. David Gould said it best: “For users, this reinforces the idea that the result is reputable: this link isn’t just the result of robotic SEO manipulation, but rather it’s from a human being who we can learn more about. Knowing that at least some minimal verification has gone on creates a trust factor with the user.”
  • Establish authority. A law blog author with a Google+ follower count of 3,000 is going to be recognized as a higher authority than an author with an account of 10. Both by people searching for content and, in all likelihood, by Google, resulting in your content being ranked higher.
  • You protect your name. When others have your same name (who doesn’t), you, and your content will be deemed more credible and receive a higher ranking.

I am using my Google+ account and have linkedin my blog to Google+ with the Google Authorship feature. There’s no question that my content is now more prominently displayed on search.

Better yet, it’s my belief that rather than Google looking to Page Rank and links to sites as Google has in the past, Google is going to look to an individual’s credibility, influence, and authority when providing search results. For me as a professional, and you, as a practicing lawyer, that’s gold.

And won’t it be great when lawyers just chasing SEO with content, as opposed to authority, trust and credibility, earn their rightful place at the bottom of the sea?

Lawyer’s want to be looked at as a lawyer’s lawyer. We all want people to listen when we talk on the subjects for which we have established expertise.

Google Authorship will help us get there. It’s a no brainer for all bloggers looking to be viewed as a credible authority, including all lawyers.

Image courtesy of Flickr by TheCreativePenn.

Google+ number two social network
Credit: GlobalWebIndex

Google+ grew 27% last month to 343-million active users.

Per Steven Vaughan-Nichols (@sjvn) of ZDNet, Facebook is still the top social network by a wide margin, but Google+ has moved into second place among Internet users globally.

Citing a GlobalWebIndex study, Vaughan-Nichols reports Facebook has almost 700-million active users. The research group defines active users as those who have used or contributed to a site in the past month.

Other interesting findings from GlobalWebIndex include:

  • All three of the major global social networks, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter are growing by leaps and bounds.
  • Twitter was the fastest growing network the last month in terms of “Active Usage,” growing 40% to 288m across 31 markets (approximately 90% of global Internet population).
  • 25% of the world’s Internet population actively use Google+ on a monthly basis, compared to 51% actively using Facebook, and 21% actively using each Twitter and YouTube.

Google+’s gains are not coming at the expense of Twitter or Facebook. Per Vaughan-Nichols, “…[I]t appears that the global networks, led by Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube, will all continue to grow at the expense of the local social networks, especially local Chinese services.”

I am finding more and more people adding me to one of their Google+ circles — about 3 or 4 a day. I also know that the mobile interface of Google+ is the most eloquent  of any of the social networks. And it’s mobile where people are logging into their social networks.

Will Google+ ever pass Facebook? Anything’s possible, but I don’t think so. Facebook is only six or seven years old. We’re just seeing the beginning of what Facebook is going to do with social networking.

Google needs and is going to grow social though. It’s the signals of trust which can picked up through social sharing and engagement which improve the search experience. In addition, expect Google to leverage the third largest social network, which it owns, YouTube, to grow Google+.

For lawyers and law firms, choosing social networks is not a ero sum. You’ll need to actively use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube to network through the Internet to build relationships and enhance your word of mouth reputation.  

20130103-222349.jpg

Is your law firm taking Google+ lightly? You could be making a mistake. Look at the Google+ stats that Jane Susskind (@JaneSusskind), Director of Social Media at Creative Round, pulled from pulled from Brian Honigman’s (@BrianHonigman) “2012 Social Media Statistics and Figures.”

  • 625,000 people join Google+ every day.
  • Those who use Google+, use it a lot. Active users spend over 60 minutes a day.
  • The “+1” button is used 5 million times a day.
  • 40% of marketers use Google+ and 70% want to learn more about it.
  • 67% of marketers plan on increasing Google+ activities.
  • Websites using the “+1” button increase page traffic by 350%.

I’ve not been a big Google+ user. But a few things have caught my attention of late.

One is that activity on Google+ is growing. More people are sharing items with me on Google+. More people are giving content I share on Google+ a +1. And more people are adding me to a circle of theirs on Google+.

Second, Google+ has a killer mobile interface on the iPad. Better than Facebook and much better than LinkedIn. The world is going mobile. Those social networking sites providing a good mobile environment such as Google+ will add members and have increased user engagement.

Third, Google is forcing people to use Google+. People who create an account to use Gmail, YouTube and other Google services, such as reviews, are also being set up with public Google+ pages.

Search experts such as Tim Stanley at Justia and Gyi Tsakalakis of AttorneySync have always told me lawyers should have a Google+ presence and get their content on Google+. Google is all about search and Google+ is going to effect search.

Talking to tech evangelist and start-up liaison for Rackspace, Robert Scoble, last fall his feeling was why not Google+. Why not get your content posted at each social networking site? Content leads to social interaction, visibility, and engagement. Get it everywhere.

Sure, there are a lot of social networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. Plus you have blogging. It’s not a prudent option though to dismiss anyone one of them.

It’s these social networks where your target audience is spending their time on line. Google+ is one of those places and its importance is growing.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Robert Scoble.