Mine Your Own Business

My new article in Slaw.ca “Mine Your Own Business“:

An almost overwhelming amount of information is generated and stored in disparate places in our digital world. Email, documents, tweets, posts, status updates, reports, and other data flow through our computers, tablets and smartphones. Cataloging and retrieving this information is a challenge. Fortunately there are a variety of tools that make simultaneously searching through these data mines a little easier.

Google Places is now Google+ Local

Google has incorporated Google Profiles and Google Places into Google+. In the past lawyers could boost their online presence by filling out a free Google Profile, which created a publicly available profile that included pictures, hobbies, personal and professional interests. You could link to your webpage, blog, LinkedIn profile or anything else you’d like to share.  Profiles are no longer standalone,  but rather serve as the “About” information in your Google+ profile. Since lawyers can now create business pages in Google+, you can choose to create a personal and/or professional profile in Google+ now.

More recently Google+ incorporated Google Places,  which let you add your firm to Google Maps and create a local business listing. Ultimately this means that people will have more ways to discover your Google+ business listing, as the information will appear in general search results, as well as Google+, maps, mobile search, etc. It will also make local search results more social, enticing user comments and “indeed, it gives Google a local vehicle with functionality equivalent to Facebook and Twitter.”  Google reminds you: “It’s a good idea to create a Google Places account using an email address that you don’t mind sharing with others or passing along, in case you wish to transfer ownership of your listings.”

If you already had a Google Places page you will find that it has been moved for you to Google+ Local. Google has a support page for FAQ about Google Places content migration if you have questions, or if you information didn’t completely transfer. If you are interested in doing more with a Google+ business page for your firm, see the CBA LPMT “How to… Create a Google+ Business Page” archived webcast and materials.

Additionally you can take advantage of similar local profile listings from Yahoo! Local Search, Bing Business Portal, and Yelp.