1.You do a 'google' search for 'injury lawyer in New York' and you get over a million websites. What good does that do you? No much. But here's what you really need to know: When you get results from your search, do you realize that the websites listed on the right side of the page, in a slightly different background color are paid, sponsored, ads? It's true. The same is true of the three websites that appear at the very top of the google search page. Those are paid ads. In small print to the side, it says "Sponsored links." What does that mean? It means that those websites have paid to be listed in that section of the page. That brings me to tip #2. 2. There is a difference between a paid, sponsored link, and a website that comes to the top of the page on its' own merit. What's the difference, and why is it important for you, the consumer to know the difference? Here's the distinction: Those websites that appear on the first page are ranked by google as being the most relevant websites for your particular search. Google has a special proprietary way of determining which websites are important to your search for "injury lawyer in new york". The paid ads however, represent people who use a program called "Google Ad clicks" to place their ad on pages where certain searches are done. It's a very clever way of making money for google, and also a good way for a company to have their ad show up on a particular search for say, a medical malpractice lawyer in New York. 3. "But I still don't see the big difference between the search results for paid ads and those that come up on their own. Can you explain further?" Sure. When you search for "medical malpractice lawyer in Brooklyn," Google will give you the most relevant websites for what you are looking for. Naturally you need to click on each one of the links on the main page to see if those websites give you the information you're looking for. The websites that have paid to have their ads placed on that search page get charged for every time someone clicks on their link. Importantly, Google doesn't recognize those paid advertising websites as being among the most important or relevant to your search. Rather, they appear on that page because someone is paying Google to be placed there whenever someone does a search for a particular product or service. 4. Here's a great example that happened recently. A lawyer in the midwest, we'll call him Attorney Jim Jones, was very prominent in his small town. Most people who searched online for a lawyer in that part of town came to Attorney Jones' web site. Interestingly, an enterprising attorney who competed for business with Attorney Jones decided to try something that hadn't been done before. He decided to take out ads on Google, so that anytime someone did an online search for his competitor Attorney Jones, they would be rewarded with seeing an ad for his own legal services on the same page as Attorney Jones. Here's the dilemma: If a potential client was searching for a particular lawyer offering a particular service, is it legal, ethical or even moral, to allow a competing attorney to put an ad for his own services on the same page as the one he's competing against? Last I heard, the lawyer I'm calling 'Attorney Jones' filed a grievance complaint against his competitor with his local Bar association. I don't know what the final outcome was at this point. 5. While the legality of that issue is working itself out, as a consumer looking for information, you need to be aware of how the search results are done and ask yourself whether the website you're looking for is from a paid advertisement, or form an 'organic google search'. An 'organic google search' is one where you type in a search term, say, "Medical malpractice lawyers in Queens." The results that appear on the main part of the page are the results of Google's search engine telling you which sites are most important to your search phrase. Well, you might ask yourself how those websites got ranked, and why they're in that particular order. Google actually offers some guidance on this issue, and the answer is a topic for an entire class over many weeks. Basically, Google gives each website its' own ranking. It also looks to see how often other websites refer to the one you're looking at, and what type of websites link to the one you're looking at. If a million quality websites link to the lawyer's website that you're looking at, then Google believes that this is an important site for you to look at. However, if the other websites are merely directories, or "link farms" designed to try and fool the search engines by showing a large quantity of websites linking to the lawyer's site you're looking at, Google tends to disregard many of those links and doesn't rank that site as highly as some others. 6. Question: "Just because a lawyer's ad shows up in a paid ad at the top of the page, does that mean that the lawyer or his firm isn't relevant or right for me?" Answer: No. In fact that lawyer might just be the right one you're looking for. However, you must ask yourself why that lawyer's website didn't show up in an ordinary "organic google search" and why it only showed up on a paid link section of the search page. That brings me back to another subject I wrote about recently- "How to select a medical malpractice attorney from the yellow pages." Just because one lawyer's ad is full page and in color, does that mean that the lawyer or his law firm is the right one for your case? Not necessarily. The same is true for any paid advertising on any search engine. Just because a website has paid to appear on the same page as your search results, does that mean that they are the right firm for you? Maybe. Maybe not. The answer is whether the lawyer's website gives you the information you need to know to make an intelligent choice about your legal options. Remember, being informed is the key to obtaining good legal services. Knowing how to choose an attorney will make you a better consumer and give you greater confidence when speaking to an attorney of your choice. Gerry Oginski is an experienced New York medical malpractice and personal injury trial attorney and practices exclusively in the State of New York. He has tirelessly represented injured victims in all types of medical malpractice and injury cases in the last 19 years. As a solo practitioner he is able to devote 100% of his time to each individual client. A client is never a file number in his office. Take a look at Gerry's website http://www.oginski-law.com and read his free special reports on malpractice and accident law. Read actual testimony of real doctors in medical malpractice cases. Learn answers to your legal questions. We have over 200 FAQs to the most interesting legal questions. Read about his success stories. Read the latest injury and malpractice news. I guarantee there's something for you. http://www.oginski-law.com 516-487-8207 Also, take a look at Gerry's FREE NY Medical Malpractice video tutorials at http://medicalmalpracticetutorial.blogspot.com