How To Setup & Optimize Your Law Firms Google My Business Listing
These days, when people need anything, they go to Google. Google is constantly categorizing and sorting all the information on the web, and beyond—which includes brick and mortar establishments like your law firm. That said, you should be asking yourself: how do I setup my Google business listing?
Thankfully, it’s not hard to do at all.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool for owners of a business (such as a law firm) to manage their presence on the Google search results, which includes Google Maps. This is your chance to input the right information about your law firm, such as location, specialties, and contact info. If you verify your business (more on that later) you’ll win even more credibility points with Google—which gives your law firm SEO a huge boost.
Why Are Legal Directories So Important?
As you might have guessed, you’re not the only law firm in town. So how does Google choose which law firms to display at the top of the organic search results? You can always pay for ad space, but research shows that the eyes of web browsers actually gravitate a little further down the SERP (search engine results page), which is where the organic search results begin.
Additionally, when browsers search for something that Google deems as indicative of “local intent,” Google will display a map at the top of the SERP, with (generally) three locations, which is called a “local pack.” What you should be wondering is how to optimize Google My Business listing information so that my law firm appears on that map?
One way that Google ranks businesses is by the strength of their online presence. And one resource Google uses to do that are business directories. In your case, you’ll want to have your law firm listed on a number of legal directories, which is really as simple as inputting your law firm’s information, and in some cases paying a membership fee.
The more places your law firm is listed—and the more consistent the listing information is—the more of a boost your law firm gets in the SERPs, and the more likely it is to appear on the “local pack.” That’s why law firm directories are so important for your SEO.
How To Create A Google My Business Listing
You just need to type “Google My Business” into the search bar of your browser, or go to www.google.com/business. Google is pretty good at creating services with a positive user experience—so you can count on the Google My Business page to be pretty user-friendly.
Once there, you will be prompted to fill out some information about your business, such as name, address, website (you have a website, right?) contact information, and the types of services your law firm offers.
You may be tempted to skip inputting certain categories of information that don’t seem necessary. For example, if you already put in your law firm website URL, you may want to skip inputting the links for the appointment page, adding an opening date of when your law firm first opened its doors, describing your law firm, or putting up pictures.
Keep in mind that the more information you fill out, the more points you win with Google, and the better you look to browsers who come across your business listing—so gather everyone in the office together and take a firm picture (better yet, get a professional photographer to take one).
How To Verify Your Law Firm On Google
In today’s online world, it’s become possible for a lot of identity theft and shady activity to transpire over the web—not that your law firm is involved in international money laundering or an illegal betting ring. To get around this problem, Google has a verification process to establish that a business listing itself on Google My Business is indeed actually a real place run by real people who can verify the information they’ve input.
You have a few options for verifying your business: postcard, phone call, email, instant verification, and bulk verification. Keep in mind these options won’t all be available for every business. Bulk verification will most likely not apply to your law firm, as it’s specifically for a business running out of ten or more locations (like a small retail chain). Instant verification is available to businesses that have already been verified with the Google Search Console, which is a tool for managing your website’s performance. Phone and email verifications are available for some businesses, but not for all.
That said, it’s most likely you’ll have to request a postcard, which is kind of nice, because nobody takes the time to send postcards anymore, except for Google—though unfortunately, it’s not a picture of the Google Campus in sunny California, but a nondescript, sealed postcard with a verification code inside. The postcard will direct you to a URL and tell you to input the security code Google has sent you in the mail. The verification process is really that simple.
How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
We’ve already mentioned a few things you can easily do to optimize your listing, which include filling out as much as you can on Google My Business, getting your law firm listed on as many online legal directories as you can, and keeping the information as consistent as possible.
But another way to optimize your Google My Business listing involves the bigger picture of local search engine optimization for your law firm. Google has become one of the foremost semantic research and development companies in the world, and has built an incredible science around pinpointing the intent of a search to deliver relevant results—which can be a little more nuanced than just rewarding the law firms that fill out the most information in the most places.
In other words, Google is also going to look at your law firm’s overall web presence, and what you’ve communicated about your law firm on your site and your blogs. This is a complex formula that involves a number of factors, one of which is the strength of the content on your page—which is a good reason to blog regularly.
In times past, Google based the search results of a local pack in large part on what each business listed as their primary area of expertise. For example, if your law firm specialized in DUIs, automobile accidents, and traffic tickets, Google My Business would funnel you into selecting one main area of expertise.
Let’s say you selected DUIs as your main focus. What that meant was that if someone searched for DUI lawyer, your firm had a good chance of coming up. But if they searched for a lawyer to handle a case about an accident or deal with a traffic tickets, you had less of a chance of appearing in an optimized place in the SERPs.
Since then, Google’s secret sauce has become a little more complex, which allows businesses in turn to develop a more nuanced picture of what they offer. The more you make that clear to Google through the science of good content creation, the more optimized you’ll be in SEO terms. To return to the previous example, if you actively blogged about DUIs, accidents, and traffic violations, Google today would have a better idea of your firm’s diverse expertise, and you’d have a better chance of getting in front of potential clients.
A big part of SEO is also the structure of your site. Additionally, with all this optimizing for search engines, you’ll want your site to look professional and easy to navigate when potential clients click through to it. To that end, it’s a good idea to get someone who really knows web design for law firms to help you build and maintain a site that strengthens your business.
How To Keep Your Listing Updated
Our final tip will be about the importance of keeping your listing updated. As mentioned, it’s important to keep the information you’ve listed about your business across directories as consistent as possible, because it sends a strong signal of trustworthiness to Google. But keeping your info consistent across multiple platforms can be a little tricky, because things probably do change from time to time at your firm.
Lawyers come and go, partners are made, and your location may change. To keep things simple, you might consider keeping a spreadsheet of all the sites on which your law firm is listed, and periodically checking these listings to make sure everything is up to date. Another good reason to perform routine check-ins is to see what people are saying about your firm in their reviews—and if you can, respond to those reviews. Of course, you can also outsource this task to someone else, perhaps that same someone who is regularly responsible for making sure your law firm’s website is search engine optimized.
A Final Word
By leveraging all these steps and maintaining your online presence consistently, you can really optimize your your law firm’s Google My Business listing, which will help bring many more potential clients into contact with your law firm. Remember that setting up a Google My Business listing is easy to do, as is the verification process that really gives your local SEO a boost—so don’t put it off, and take advantage of this amazing free tool to get the word out about your law firm.