The future of your law firm’s search visibility won’t solely be about keywords and links. It will be about how well search engines understand information about you and your business.
Back in 2012, Jack Menzel gave us one of the first looks under the hood of the true future of search:
The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query. This is a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do.
Generating Knowledge Graph Results
The key to generating knowledge graph results is to help Google understand more information about you and your law firm. That’s pretty vague, so let’s talk some more specifics.
This will help generate knowledge graph results like this one:
Dean Dowd provides a helpful post for lawyers here.
Second, you’ll want to add a more data-driven approach to your law firm SEO campaigns. This includes creating entries in major public data sources like Freebase and Wikipedia.
Over at Moz, Andrew Isidoro walks us through hacking the Knowledge Graph. Krystian Szastok followed-up with a very insightful post about how it took him about a month to become an entity too. His ingredients include:
A few hours of your time – I invested about 6-8 hours
Basic coding skills – I am providing examples here
Ideally your own site/blog – can be on a free hosting
Social accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn
Accounts on Wikipedia and Freebase
Most of you will likely be able to 3 out of 5 of these pretty easily. The hard parts will likely be Wikipedia and Freebase.
For example, you might not meet Wikipedia’s notability standard.
Why Should I Care About Knowledge Graph at all?
If you believe that people will continue to use search engines to find information about you in the future, then you should start paying attention to optimizing for the knowledge graph now.
There’s really little doubt that this is the direction in which Google is moving.
If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Switching to “things” instead of “strings” is really a natural evolution. While a useful entry point to information retrieval, strings really provide a very limited understanding of the real world.
On the other hand, things can help search engines recognize many of the more nuanced attributes of, well, things. Including things like lawyers and law firms. This will allow search engines to deliver much richer and more useful SERPs.
To me, this represents the ultimate solution to webspam. It won’t be the lawyers, law firms and marketers that are able to merely generate link signals. It will be those that can communicate a variety of additional real world signals (experience, leadership, service, etc) that will rise to the top of SERPs in the future. While we’re not there yet, now is the time to begin to lay this foundation for your professional web presence.