Facebook is the social media application that lawyers are often most cynical about. This is closely followed by twitter, unless the firm is already on twiiter and seeing the benefits of engaging.
We can understand this. Are people really likely to 'like' a divorce package, or a 'have you been involved in an accident' company page on Facebook? Besides general marketing questions one issue that has been exercising the minds of the world's search engine professionals is 'do Facebook 'shares' affect your website's rankings on Google?'
What is a 'like'?
'Liking' a page is way of sharing it. It used to be that Facebook distinguished between 'shares' and 'likes' but now the two have been pretty much rolled into one. (See this Mashable article for more information)
Facebook describes the 'like' functionality as "being a way to give positive feedback or connect with things on Facebook". It is similar to a recommendation in that if one of my 'friends' likes a particular product, or service marketed on Facebook I will find this out via status updates, or on my friend's wall. It may be that this brings a service to my attention which I didn't previously know about which, in fact, I am interested in.
If you remain logged into Facebook and are browsing other sites which incorporate one of Facebook's many widgets displaying how many people have 'liked' it then you will be able to see which of your own friends liked that site, if any. In this way this may be seen by you as a positive endorsement of the site.
At the bottom of this post there is a 'like' button. Please feel free to click it :)
Why would these 'likes' affect Google rankings?
One of the most important aspects of any optimisation campaign is link building. This involves increasing the number of hyperlinks coming back to a website from other websites. Such 'links' are seen as being a measure of a site's importance and they have a direct effect on search engine rankings. The question being asked is whether Facebook shares are equivalent to links and, if so, should one be concentrating one's efforts on gathering more of them?
A term familiar to all lawyers, causation refers to whether an action causes a certain result. In this case the question being asked is 'do Facebook shares directly affect search engine rankings?'
The answer appears to be 'probably'.
- Facebook shares, as far as Google is concerned, do provide a measure of importance
- Earning shares will not directly boost your rankings but they may promote the activity that does (i.e. more people linking to you).
The above fits with our general approach to internet marketing: create good content and market it as much as you can. Exposure on social media platforms will increase awareness and drive interest in your services as well as probably generating links which will help with your rankings.
If you'd like help with this, or any other aspects of internet marketing for law firms contact us today on 0845 620 5664.