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S2 E39: Stealing People’s GMB


ICP Logo

S2 E39: Stealing People’s GMB





If you have been too busy keeping up to date with other news that is not related to legal marketing, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with our news and updates episode. From the paid search trends to bugs disrupting Facebook ads, it’s all here for you.

Have you grown used to authorize or approve any official email you get from Google? If the answer is yes, then you could be losing ownership of your Google My Business any day now; tune in and learn how to prevent this from happening to you.

Website accessibility is no longer an “optional” or “kind” effort for law firms to make; small and medium-sized businesses are being sued for noncompliance with this law. But this doesn’t have to be an intimidating project to take on; plugins like UserWay make it simple for your law firm’s website to become accessibility compliant.

Send us your questions at ask@incamerapodcast.com

Enjoy the show? Please don’t forget to subscribe, tell your coworkers, and leave us a review!


Liel: [00:00:00] Staying up to date with legal digital marketing trends can be hard, but it doesn’t have to. I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Nanato Media and this is In Camera podcast, your one-stop show for legal digital marketing news and updates.

Liel: [00:00:42] Welcome to In Camera Podcast, Private Legal Marketing Conversations, Grace, how are you doing today?

Grace: [00:00:48] Good. How are you, Liel?

Liel: [00:00:50] I’m doing great, Grace. Thank you so much for asking. And the day finally arrived, right.

Liel: [00:00:56] I know that for you, this has been a very busy and happening week. Why? Well, because of what you’ve shared with us last week, which is basically the deadline for Boy Scouts of America. So, Grace, can you just give us a little bit of an update as to how is that looking?

Grace: [00:01:13] Yeah, so today’s November 13th. Right. And the official deadline is November 16th, which means all claim forms need to be filed, submitted by 5:00 p.m., November 16th, which means it’s always rush off to the races and get it done. Get it done. Quick, quick, quick, quick. So, yeah, that’s kind of how it’s been for me the last two weeks in particular. But, yeah, we’re slowly ramping down, you know, going down in terms of the craziness that normally happens right before a deadline.

Liel: [00:01:43] And just kind of like for general understanding for those of us who are more on the marketing side of things, more so than the legal side, what happens after this deadline for this particular Mass Tort. Can you give us a quick idea of what is the next step? Because here is a lawsuit against an organization who’s already filed for bankruptcy. I believe money has been set aside for settling, I guess, as many claims as possible. What’s the scenario? What’s the scene?

Grace: [00:02:15] So that’s exactly right. This is a unique lawsuit, right? It’s not so much a mass tort per say. It is, but it isn’t. It’s what they would call a bankruptcy lawsuit. And so a bankruptcy lawsuit is sort of like what they would consider Chapter 11 is what is going on with the specific organization. They are filing for bankruptcy so that they cannot be held responsible beyond this point for all of the issues that have happened in the boyscout lawsuit. Right. As we know, abuse, et cetera, et cetera. So that’s the money that they’ve set aside. And the deadline is November 16th for people to claim the money that is due to them for the abuse that occurred back when. And as you were asking me earlier, sort of offline, what was the criteria? Well, it was at least for us, for others, it may have been a little more lax, but for us, it had to do with individual, had to be an adult within the Boy Scouts organization, harming a younger person in the Boy Scouts organization. And that’s basically what it fell down to, you know, not physical, but more intimate type of abuse, unfortunately. And so all the people, the criteria that, you know, it didn’t matter how long ago this happened to you, you know, unfortunately, some were 60, 70, even 80 years old submitting claims for this. And so that’s basically the overall idea of how it got to this claim. And they’re trying to mitigate their risk going forward because it’s now going to be Boy Scouts of America two. And Boy Scouts of America two, is going to kind of divest itself of the right files and all the bad things that happened to Boy Scouts of America One.

Liel: [00:03:57] Right. Keep us up to date with what continues to happen Grace. Now, going back to our topic for today. It’s been quite some time since we actually just sat down and have a conversation about some very recent news and updates in the digital marketing world and how can they impact and influence legal marketing. Right. And so that’s a little bit of what we’re going to be doing today. But before we jump into that, I do want to raise one more point that ties to our last week’s conversation about the takeaways for SEO from Twenty Twenty. And that is Grace, something that we did not mention in that conversation. But it’s super important and that is that the future of search is not set in stone. Right? Search as we know it right now is one version of it and it may potentially change and evolve over the next few years. Right. And I know what I’m saying here sounds very ambiguous, but what I’m trying to get to here is that Google dominates the search market right now. And one thing that has arisen quite a bit during this year is potential direct competitors to Google. And we’re not talking about Bing or some other smaller players that are trying to create a product here to compete with Google. We’re talking about Apple potentially launching their own search engine. And that is really going to be from day one, competing against Google like face to face, because Apple has access to, I believe, 60 Percent of search through their browser Safarii, right. And so if Apple is going to preset their browser to run all search queries through their own search engine instead of Google, which I believe Google pays 12 billion dollars a year to Apple to have Google be the preset search engine for Apple devices, it’s going to be massive Grace. Right. So with that being said, you know, you definitely want to keep in mind that things will inevitably evolve. And it’s very likely that Apple is going to be the one that’s going to kind of like disrupt this market. But it could also be one of the other competitors out there. So that was just one little point I wanted us to add on to our last week’s episode, if that’s possible. Right. But yeah, but we have more things to look on for this week. Let’s start off with sharing some data that was published a few days ago, and that is that actual adspend on search has grown in 2020. So why is this surprising Grace? Well, a lot of people thought with the pandemic, a lot of businesses cutting down on costs, not being able to weather the impact of the pandemic on them, and such. Those kinds of speculations are not actually panning out. Yes, for sure. There have been industries that have been terribly impacted by the pandemic. But despite that, there are many other industries that have actually benefited from it up to a certain extent. Right. And so search as an advertising platform. Right. Particularly Google search has actually substantially increased its revenues. And of course, I’m seeing substantially here, it’s six percent, but it’s still quite a bit. Right? I mean, it’s a considerable amount. And when you’re looking at these being a pandemic, it’s actually quite remarkable. So that’s one point, Grace. Now, the other thing I wanted to look into here is another important metric that has also been shared, which is where actions are happening. What kind of devices? And that’s mobile. Right. Mobile continues to be dominant when it comes down to capturing ads on search. And that’s something that we see in the legal industry as well. A lot, right. Particularly when we’re looking at personal injury, when we’re looking at immigration, when we’re looking at bankruptcy law, workers compensation, all of these practice areas that are more kind of like B2C and not so much aimed at business owners and such are actually searched and are driving more conversions from mobile devices. So this is massive, it is very important because this shift in the market is obviously going to influence and has to influence in a big way how law firms are designing their strategies. And not just that, not just the strategies, but also their organic strategies. What do you think Grace?

Grace: [00:09:00] You know, the only constant is change, right? So I do think and I agree with you in terms of trends in, you know, mobile devices are not going to go away. They never will. And if anything, it’s just going to keep going that direction.

Grace: [00:09:16] Even though I know we said sometimes and at least I noticed this a little bit, that people started went back to their desktop a little a lot more than before because of the pandemic. Right. So but I do. Right.

Liel: [00:09:29] And that’s something that’s actually a very good point that you’re seeing here, is because we did so on an update on desktop search, primarily during the first few months of Lockdowns. But still, when it comes down to pay per click on search mobile traffic converts and responds better to what’s so. I’ve always been kind of like a believer that SEO tends to perform better on desktop devices because people have more, have a better platform to explore and interact with organic content, whereas pay per click ads on mobile devices are more efficient because they actually get you what you need right in front of it without having to set you up on a journey where you have to explore. And that kind of takes us back a little bit to our last week conversation about featured snippets, because that’s a little bit what Google is trying to do with featured snippets is actually give you the specific information that your search query is about on the first piece of the screen on the search results page. So you get your response fast and you can go on to whatever it is that you’re going to do next. I feel that that’s the same effect that pay per click ads have when you are high intent and ready to buy the ad just makes your life easier. Going through organic search results means that you have to spend more time researching, figuring out, finding out, exploring. And that’s not something that we are preferring to do on mobile devices. Of course, user experience on mobile devices has become really good for many particular brands that have known how to leverage this and really provide you an amazing discovery search experience through their websites on mobile. But the reality is, for most businesses, the experience of navigating their websites on a mobile device, even if they’re fast and even if they’re mobile-optimized, right. It’s still not as intuitive, right, as it could be. So that’s why landing pages are good, are effective, and that’s why we see ads perform well on mobile devices. And it’s just a trend that I think we’ll continue to see grow and grow. And it’s not me saying it right. I mean, here in the chart that I’ve shared with you, Grace, from eMarketer, there is an actual graph that shows that the incremental revenue for search ads will continue to be increasing substantially at a higher rate through mobile devices over the years than it will through the desktop. So it’s not like, oh, this is going to at some point balance out. We’re not looking at going back to the desktop being predominantly more effective than mobile. It really has never been the case in mobile became a strong player.

Grace: [00:12:30] I feel like consumer behavior sort of states that. Right. The customer journey where you might use your desktop and you’ll use it, but you’ll use it for the research phase, sort of. And like you said. Right. When you have that high intent, when I want to buy, I’m going to my mobile device and I’m clicking and I want one, two, three clicks and I’m in. I bought it. I’m done. I don’t care if it’s a high priced ticket item. It’s because I already know I want that item. I’m going to buy it and I’m going to buy it on my mobile device because it’s so much simpler than opening my laptop, my desktop and having to spend time to do that. So, no, I completely agree with you and I just feel like that’s the trend that’s going to go.

Liel: [00:13:07] Yeah, I totally agree with your grades and I think that we can both agree that the mobile trend is continuing to dominate higher intent usage, more conversions, and definitely be a central part of pay per click strategies. Now, Grace, what else do we have here on the news?

Grace: [00:13:25] So there’s been a lot of and it kind of ties in with our cybersecurity and keeping an eye on your brand type of thing. Right. Where Google My Business listings have been hijacked. And, you know, it’s basically phishing of your listing.

Liel: [00:13:40] Yeah, right.

Grace: [00:13:41] And I know a lot of us have seen that where claim your business and click here to claim your business. This is your, you’re the business owner. Yeah.

Grace: [00:13:48] Well, unfortunately, a lot of people have been using that to their advantage, to your disadvantage and claiming you’re listing on your behalf. And then basically you have to fight, pay or do something to get it back. Yeah, Google’s aware of it. They do try to do their best, but especially with everything going on with the pandemic. I mean, there have been shut down half the time, right?

Liel: [00:14:12] Yeah. Their response has slowed down quite a bit for many issues. And Google My Business has not been an exception. Grace. And what you’re seeing here, it’s a real challenge. Right. And comes to remind us of the importance of being on top of our listings and really reading very carefully everything that gets to us. Right. And here is a little bit for those of you who are hearing about this for the first time, how the scam actually works. We all know that you can actually go to any business. Google my business listing and then there is a link somewhere that says: Own this business? Claim it. Right. That’s an actual official Google link. And you click on it and then you can actually request ownership from that business.

Liel: [00:15:00] Now, if that business has already been claimed by someone, what happens is that an email gets sent out from Google officially all very legitimate, saying, hey, this person is asking access owner right. Or some sort of ownership of your Google my business listing. Should we grant that to them?

Liel: [00:15:22] And then, you know, you’re not paying a lot of attention. Go ahead, click. Yes. And next thing you know is that somebody else now has access and ownership to your Google My business and this could be devastating. Right? If this is a major source for elites for you. You know, just think about them. Swapping the telephone number for a different telephone number or redirecting users to a different website, right, there are quite a few different things that can be done here that could directly and immediately impact the operations of your law firm.

Liel: [00:15:58] So I think, Grace, you know, the lesson here is just be extremely careful on those Google my business notification alert emails that you get and don’t just ignore them. Read them very carefully, and alert Google when you are suspecting that fraudulent activity has been committed. What do you think, Grace?

Grace: [00:16:21] And you can set up your own alerts. I mean, for mentions of your brand name. I mean, how many times have you and I talked about that. So, you know, you definitely need to be hyper-vigilant, and especially right now with all the cybersecurity problems that everyone’s experiencing, Zoom hackathon,s and all kinds of stuff that’s going on. So that includes your brand, your name, and your listing. I mean, Google is where everybody is. So if you’re not protecting yourself on Google, no one else will.

Liel: [00:16:49] Yeah. So that’s more generally speaking. But even your Google my business, that seems to be a slightly more controlled environment. It’s actually managed and it’s under the control of Google can still be accessed by fraudulent users. So, Grace, let’s move on to another topic here.

Liel: [00:17:09] We potentially may have talked about it at some point, but maybe not as much and with enough emphasis as it needs to, right. And that’s the Americans with Disability Act impact on your website, user accessibility. So here is some interesting data, Grace. Most of the lawsuits over compliance with the ADA were actually aimed at smaller and medium-sized businesses, smaller organizations more exposed to knowingly or unknowingly miss out on this requirement that needs to have their website also to be accessible for users with a disability. Right. And automatically, when you’re talking about a brick and mortar location that comes kind of like naturally, you expect to see that. But when you are talking about the online presence of your business, you don’t necessarily make that correlation as naturally as when you’re talking about an in-person business. And the reality is that a lot of law firms, Grace and I don’t want to talk here really specifically about what are the requirements that differentiate between a business that has to have their website accessible to users with a disability and which don’t. But the bottom line is that the trend points out to these becoming more and more of a normal thing.

Liel: [00:18:44] And I totally agree with that. Grace, I’ll tell you why. Number one, we should all be making an effort to make our website and our brand, friendly and accessible for any kind or any type of user with a disability. Right. It’s the right thing to do. Just leave aside any rules. Leave aside any acts. This is just good human nature, intuition. So that’s number one. Now, we all know it has it’s not been because people have purposefully said, no, I’m not going to do it. But up until now, it’s been kind of like, OK, how do I do it? Right. What does that mean? What do I do? What what are the different adjustments and optimizations I need to make to my website in order for someone who has a hearing or other kind of disability can actually navigate through the website in a friendly manner, if I may say.

Liel: [00:19:35] Right. And there are a lot of solutions now that make this somewhat easy, right? There’s a ton of widgets that you can add onto your website that automatically in their state present through your website, both mobile, and desktop, and actually let you as a user that needs some special assistance to navigate through the site that actually give you all kinds of options, like if you have a sight impairment, it will actually read out everything on the website for you.

Liel: [00:20:06] Right. If it’s another kind of impairment that you need the fonts to be bigger. It allows you to increase the size of text. If it’s another impairment that interferes with your ability to distinguish colors, it changes the color patterns or your website to make it user friendly for that kind of disability. Right, now, it’s very important to say that most of these widgets are not going to be 100 percent putting you in compliance with the requirements. Right. But at least will going to make you maybe 90 percent compliant. And if you are one of those organizations like a big, big, big law firm that has locations all over the states, all over the city, like multiple locations in the city. And so you actually should invest in making your websites 100 percent ADA compliant. Right. And I think the more that, as I’m saying, these Grace, it reminds me that we’ve had for sure talked about this before. We just need to stop looking at as an upgrade is just part of your normal website plan. And I know a lot of agencies that do websites, not just for law firms, but for general businesses. They already add these widgets and plugins that help convert websites into accessible websites. So that’s actually Grace something that as we were approaching the end of the year and we’re revisiting like who got sued for these? Well, it’s small and medium-sized businesses, right. And these are really strong and hard to overcome lawsuits that can easily bankrupt the business that is underprepared. So just putting it out there, Grace, I’m going to put up a link on our episode notes for Userway.org which is one of those plugins that I’ve mentioned. That’s what we use in our agency and on our clients’ websites. They have a free version that you can actually add to your website without necessarily having to pay for any kind of subscription or such. Of course, it has limitations. But as I said, Grace, you know, you start by taking some steps and being better prepared than just not being prepared at all. So what do you think?

Grace: [00:22:23] Well, I mean, I used to work retail. So for me, when it comes to ADA compliance, it’s extremely important. And I’ve always been a huge proponent of making sure that as many people as possible are ADA certified in one way or another to be able to help anybody that’s around them, particularly when you work retail. Right? I used to work at Target many, many, many moons ago, and I was ADA certified to literally help anyone that had any type of disability coming into the store. And so to me, online front, just another store, you need to be ad compliant. You need to help these people because they are people. What’s the difference? You need to have something that can read it out loud to them that.

Liel: [00:23:03] Exactly.

Grace: [00:23:04] It needs to do something to help anybody out there that wants to consume your product.

Liel: [00:23:10] Yeah, absolutely, Grace. So I guess we both agree and believe in this. Now, Grace, I think we have room for one more news, an update. What do you have for us?

Grace: [00:23:23] Ok, so back to these cybersecurity and bugs in this that the other kind of role.

Liel: [00:23:29] You love that grace?

Grace: [00:23:31] I sure do. I sure do. And by the way, our cyber security post was retweeted by three different cybersecurity firms.

Liel: [00:23:39] Oh really?

Grace: [00:23:39] Yes. Our podcast retreated by three different cybersecurity firms, just like.

Liel: [00:23:44] That’s a great example of social listening, Grace. Thank you so much for staying up to date with those who are engaging and commenting on our episodes. That’s always encouraging. So thank you for retweeting and reposting.

Grace: [00:23:59] Yes, of course. It’s our podcast. And I want other people to benefit from what we’re talking about, not just us. I mean, it’s great for us to have a fantastic cybersecurity person, a tech person like Nate from N8 IT solutions. But still, I mean, we want other people to benefit during that time. The last topic is more Facebook and bugs unnerve advertisers ahead of Black Friday. So we all know Facebook is one of those places. It can be trolled, it can be hacked. It could be. I mean, this is what’s going to happen, right? This happens. And we know Facebook is so open in that sense that people try to find any which way to get in there and either sit on top of your page, you know, steal your thunder in terms of your traffic, whatever it is, this is something that’s known to happen in Facebook. So, you know, what do you think about the fact that it might benefit Snapchat and Pinterest? Do you think it will?

Liel: [00:24:53] Well, so definitely, Grace, Facebook has become somewhat unreliable when it comes down to launching campaigns and managing your ad account. Right. Particularly this past month because of the elections it’s just been hard. You just encounter accounts getting deactivated as a whole temporarily. Ads that have been running and approved for a while. All of a sudden inadvertently just getting this approved is just not a very reliable platform right now to run campaigns. And as you very well said, I mean, it’s been breaking quite a bit lately. And Facebook is acknowledging this, right? It’s not like they are saying, no our platform is perfect. You guys need to sort out your own things because everything is working fine from our end. They’ve actually been acknowledging that, yes, they have been facing some issues. So now to your point, Grace, are other platform, Snapchat, Pinterest, going to benefit from these, to be very honest with you, in the shopping industry, in e-commerce, of course. One hundred percent. Are you kidding me? Like, nobody can sit. And just with folded arms and wait for Facebook to get their act together. Right. And the same thing is what we say to law firms like you cannot have all your eggs in one basket. You cannot just rely one hundred percent on your Facebook ads because there will come a day when something’s going to happen to the system involuntarily and is just going to lead to your campaigns just not being performing as they were. Maybe it’s a Facebook glitch, or maybe it’s just an overall change in user behavior. Right. And so you need to make sure that you have different touch points where you can get in front of your desired clients. And so I same thing that I would say to someone who’s only doing Google ads, for instance, hey, you need to diversify and be on Facebook as well. Same thing I say to people who are primarily counting on Facebook to be the main source of marketing. You need to diversify. You need to be on YouTube. You need to be doing some search. You need to be doing some display. And if you feel that on other platforms such as Twitter, such as Snapchat can actually be leveraged for your business, then absolutely go and test them and try them out. But to your point, Grace, it looks like. Right, with all of the activity and the amount of and as we’ve just seen, right, like digital marketing has not slowed down. As we’re moving now to our takeaways, I think I would like to start off with the first one, OK, because digital marketing has not slowed down anyone who is under the impression that the year of the pandemic has slowed down advertisers from investing in advertising on digital platforms is wrong. And that is not just applicable for big enterprises. We’re talking about the legal industry through that. A lot of people stopped their advertising during some point or another during the early days of the pandemic. But I can tell you right now, the markets are very competitive. A lot of advertisers have gone back and they’re getting into things very firstly. And those who actually remain, will they continue to advertise as they were doing so there was really not a massive dip in terms of advertising for the legal industry, and as a whole, definitely not. So you can argue also raised that because of people not being outside as much as they were working from home, they were actually spending more time online. We saw and we have statistics that are showing that the use of social media increased by up to 40 percent during the early months of covid-19. It has remained very high. Right. And so as we’ve just looked at search ad spend on the third quarter, having grown by six percent, you know, there is a lot of data that is backing up that digital marketing remains very, very strong. So that’s my first takeaway. Don’t be misled to believe that this is no time for advertising, because every time somebody is not advertising in a market, they’re just leaving more room for their competitors to just take it all. And that’s my take away no one. Grace, what you have for take away number two?

Grace: [00:29:24] So I know it kind of goes back to our previous one, but, you know, keep an eye on everything and all the things that are out there with your name on it, with your brand you need to. Because they’re going to steal your Google my business listing, if that if you haven’t already cleaned it by now, you’re not listening.

Liel: [00:29:43] That sounded like a conspiracy theory. They’re going to come in and steal your Google my business listing.

Grace: [00:29:51] You have no idea how many times I’ve seen it happen. I have seen it a lot.

Liel: [00:29:56] It could happen. And it’s not going to happen for sure. But it could happen.

Grace: [00:30:01] And then, you know, I mean, part of that is just you need to make sure you just keep an eye on everything. I think it’s super important in that you maintain your brand and your voice and everything that we always talk about and just kind of bring it home and be watchful.

Grace: [00:30:16] I mean, right now it’s the pandemic. And there’s a zoom hackathon, as I mentioned at the beginning because there’s the ability to do so. There’s more time to do this and more people online. And so just pay attention to what you’re doing. And I think that keep cyber security in the back of your mind, if not at the forefront when it comes to a business plan, you know.

Liel: [00:30:36] Yeah. You know, Grace, I agree with you. And I’m also going to use this as an opportunity to share with you, which is my favorite kind of client, my favorite kind of client is that who forwards me every single time that they get an email from search console from Google My business, just telling me that their picture has been seen two thousand times. Right. And forward that to me, just like to keep me on the loop. I love that Grace, because I know that it’s giving them the reassurance that we are looking and advising them against anything that may be suspicious. Right. And so if you have a digital marketing partner that is helping you, make sure that any questions that you have of anything that may look suspicious to you, you’re bringing forward to them because that’s what they are there for, Grace. So that’s actually a very good take away and it can never be said enough. So what would be our last takeaway for today, Grace?

Grace: [00:31:32] So for me, the last takeaway and you know, because it’s so important to me and it always has been, to tell you the truth, my father is disabled. I think that you need to make things accessible. Everything, everything that you have, everything that you can. I would do that because it’s not just benefiting you and making sure that you don’t get your mitigating risk. Right. So you don’t get sued. But it’s also to help everybody and make sure everybody can consume your product online or otherwise. So I think it’s super important to look into your ADA accessibility and are you able to serve anybody and can they hear it? Can they read it? Can they do whatever it is they need to do to be able to consume the content on your website and actually be a customer?

Liel: [00:32:18] Couldn’t have said that better Grace. You’re absolutely spot on. Do it for the users, first of all. Right. But it’s also risk control factor. So as I’ve said a few moments ago, there are tools that make it now somewhat easy.

Grace: [00:32:37]  Easier.

Liel: [00:32:37] It doesn’t have to be. I mean, yes, sure, you can partner up with an agency and you can run an audit and then you can actually hire them to do it for you fine and fair. But you can also initiate the entire process by researching some good tools out there that could help you. As I said, we’re going to be linking to one on our notes, and that’s a good starting point. Again, I do want to mention that to be one hundred percent compliant, you do going to have to have some actual specific and custom work done on your site, but you will be potentially taking a good initial step by adopting one of the solutions that we’ve suggested. Grace, thank you so much for being here today. I know you’re busy. I know the moment that you were going to disconnect, you’re going to have to jump back and deal with all of these workload sitting on your shoulders with regards to Boy Scouts of America. But thank you also for giving us a quick update on that. And we’re looking forward to hearing more of you next week.

Grace: [00:33:42] All right. Same here, Liel. It’s always a pleasure.

Liel: [00:33:44] It’s my pleasure, Grace. Take care. Have a nice day, Michael.

Liel: [00:33:51] If you like our show, make sure you subscribe. Tell your co-workers, leave us a review, and send us your questions to ask@incamerapodcast.com. We’ll see you next week.

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