No matter how people initially find you, it’s likely that many of them will turn to the internet to gather information about you. And what they find (and don’t find) is likely to matter to them.
One way you can help people find you in search engines, is to make sure that you’re taking advantage of structured data markup. Using structured data markup helps search engines display rich snippets in their results. Currently, two of the more relevant rich snippets for lawyers are author information and video snippets.
In a relatively recent WSJ article, Tom Gara published some excerpts from Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s new book. One of these excerpts was related to how search engines might favor information tied to verified authors:
Search engines: “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.”
While the response has greatly over-exaggerated the impact of authorship as a ranking signal today, it seems reasonable to conclude that this is one direction search is moving. Today, there’s little debate that author information in results can greatly increase click-though-rate. And it’s not just limited to traditional organic results. As noted by Mike Blumenthal:
Author photos are increasingly showing in Google’s local search results. Since first appearing in local results in February of this year, author photos have slowly and steadily increased in frequency.
Implementing authorship markup and following Google’s authorship guidelines will allow you to display author information in search results. Authorship is intended to help users find, connect and engage with the authors of online content.
It’s worth noting that Google’s intention is to only show authorship in search results that they think is useful to the user. Unfortunately, as with many “search engine optimizations”, authorship markup is being grossly abused. In order to prevent Google from removing your author information from search results, I encourage you to read and follow the relevant webmaster quality guidelines.
Add schema.org markup directly to the HTML of your video page. When Google crawls your page, we’ll use this information to index your video. While only a few properties are required, providing additional information helps Google understand your video and enhance its appearance in search results.
You should also create a video sitemap for each video hosting platform.
If you’re using WordPress, you can simply a lot of this by using Yoast’s Video SEO plugin for WordPress.
More Structured Data Resources
Google currently supports a variety of rich snippet types. A few other that might be applicable to your firm include:
- Local Search
In the future, I suspect search engines will support a much wider variety of structured data. There’s even schema markup for attorneys.
If you’re going to implement structured data on your sites, I think it’s important to keep users in mind. There’s no doubt that providing search engines more information about your content will them understand what your content is about, which in turn, may enhance your visibility within results. However, if you lose perspective and venture into rich snippet spam, don’t be surprised when Google stops showing rich snippets for your site(s).