in Local, SEO

Google’s New Policy on Professional Practices & Practitioners

As observed by Mike Blumenthal:

Apparently Google+ Local (aka Places) has finally established a firm policy on how to handle Medical/Legal Practice and Practitioner listings that now requires that both the practice and the practitioners be listed.

Linda Buquet explains some of the problems this change is creating:

When you have a client come to you that says “I was ranking A, B, C, now I lost my reviews and map marker – I don’t rank in blended any more, but now just rank #1 organic” – well one of the BIGGEST reasons sites and Place pages become disconnected in the search results, is due to duplicate confusion. (There are a few other reasons, but dupes are #1 IMO.)

So I used to always teach that the best strategy in most situations is to only have 1 main practice or Dr. listing and try to eliminate any extra Dr listings (or individual attorney listings).

These types of bugs can have serious consequences for business owners. Especially lawyers that rely on local search visibility for new clients.

The process of creating a Google+ Local Page for your law firm is easy. But making sure that you’re doing it in a way that will maximize your visibility within local search results can be a real pain. Especially if you, and other members of your firm, already have listings in Google Places that were migrated over to Google Plus Local.

If you use Google Plus Local to list your firm, I recommend that you add Mike and Linda’s blogs to your feed reader to stay up-to-date as changes are pushed out. Also, pay attention to the comments on these posts as they provide specific details and examples of what to do and how to avoid many of the most common problems.

If you’re having issues with your Google Plus local business pages/profiles, it’s probably worth talking to someone with some experience handling these issues.