If you haven’t claimed or optimized your Google My Business (“GMB”) profile, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to get your law firm’s name out there. Without a GMB profile – or with a subpar one – you’re essentially giving your competitors a huge advantage when it comes to generating leads, getting traffic to their websites, and, ultimately, signing new clients in your area.
If you want to be competitive – rank high on Google SERPs, show up in the local pack, and grow your law firm business – you need to invest time (or hire an SEO company for lawyers) to manage your Google My Business profile.
Here’s why GMB is so important in the ultra-competitive field of attorney SEO and what you can do to make the most of Google’s free tool for your business.
What Is Google My Business?
A Google My Business listing or GMB listing is a free tool provided by Google for businesses wanting to appear in Google Maps and searches. You can use this tool to promote your law firm and increase your company’s ranking in local searches.
What Are the Benefits of Claiming and Using My Law Firm’s GMB Listing?
There are several benefits of using Google My Business, including:
Appear on Google Maps
Your company appears on Google Maps, which can boost traffic to your website and increase calls to your law firm from potential clients. When a potential client searches Google for “lawyers near me” or “[city] personal injury attorney,” local businesses that match that description are shown on the Google map.
A consumer can see how close your law firm is to their current location. Also, your Google reviews and basic contact information appear on the results page. Then, another page opens with more detailed information about your law firm when the user clicks on your law firm name.
The information on this page is pulled from your GMB listing. Therefore, if your Google My Business account information is incomplete or incorrect, this free tool does not benefit your law firm.
Also, if you have not completed the verification steps for your GMB account, your law firm will not be among the law firms that appear on the Google map.
Appear in the Local 3-Pack
If you want your law firm to appear as one of the top three businesses on the Google Map, you need to ensure you have an optimized GMB account. You also need to ensure you utilize other local SEO strategies to improve Google ranking scores.
This section will place your law firm near the top of the results page – before organic search results. Appearing before organic search results can significantly boost your visibility and organic clicks.
Display Top Rating
Your Google rating is clearly displayed when your law firm appears in search engine results. Potential clients can quickly see that your law firm has a top rating from prior clients. The positive rating increases trust in your law firm.
Consumers look for top Google ratings because high ratings indicate credibility and trustworthiness. In addition, many consumers use Google ratings to narrow down their list of lawyers to call for a consultation.
Increased Traffic to Your Law Firm’s Website
Appearing at the top of Google organic searches increases the traffic to your website. Increased traffic means you have a greater chance to increase conversion rates. More clients means more revenue for the law firm.
Google has a wide variety of paid advertising options for law firms. However, your Google My Business account is a form of free advertising.
Most people use Google on all their mobile devices and computers. Therefore, free advertising on this platform is a huge benefit for a law firm. If you don’t claim your GMB account, you won’t appear on the GMB listings.
Guide for Setting Up and Maintaining Your Law Firm’s Google My Business Account
The process of setting up your GMB listing is simple and free.
1. Search for Your GMB Account
Go to the Google My Business page and search for your business name by clicking “Manage Now.”
Do not skip this step. This step allows you to verify that you didn’t begin the process at some point and forgot to complete the registration. It also confirms that no one else has claimed your business account.
2. Add Your Business to Google
If your business does not appear, click “Add Your Business to Google” to create your free account. If someone has claimed your account, request ownership of the account from that person. If they fail to respond, you can contact Google to resolve the matter.
3. Enter NAP & Other Basic Information
Enter information for your account, including your name, business address, telephone number, website URL, business category, and practice areas.
4. Choose a Verification Option
There are several ways to verify your Google My Business account. Choose the option that is best for you. Your business listing is not active until you verify your account.
Tips for Completing Your My Google Business Account
Remember, you want to optimize your account for SEO purposes. However, you also want to take full advantage of all the benefits of having a GMB account. Below are a few tips for completing and managing your GMB account.
Use Your Law Firm’s Legal Name or a DBA
Some law firms believe that adding keywords to their law firm name will increase their Google ranking. However, you don’t want to use keywords in your name unless they are part of the legal name of the law firm—for example, Jones Personal Injury Lawyers.
Google might suspend your account if it discovers that you’re using keywords that don’t appear in (a) your legal name or (b) a formal DBA.
Get Specific (If You Can) When Selecting a Business Category
Most law firms choose “legal” as the business category. However, some firms may find that there are options that include the specific practice area of the law firm. Therefore, you may choose more than one category for your law firm.
The legal category generally applies to all law firms. However, if you need to do so, you may use a broader category as your selection.
Add Your Law Firm’s Brick and Mortar Location
You don’t need to add your physical location to your GMB listing. However, if you don’t, you will not appear on Google Maps. Providing your physical address gives people the opportunity to choose from several forms of transportation to get to your law office, including walking.
Next, add your complete business address – including your suite and/or office number, if relevant. You also need to review any possible listings at existing locations and follow the instructions if Google finds a match.
Confirm Services Areas and Multiple Locations
In your listing, you can note that you are willing to serve clients from another location. If you only have one location, select “no.” You may choose “yes” if you have other offices or areas that you serve.
Double Check Law Firm Contact Information
Make sure that you proofread the contact information very carefully. You don’t want potential clients calling another business. They are not likely to search for your correct contact information.
Opt-In for Updates and Recommendations
You have the choice to receive recommendations and updates. It is a good idea to opt-in for these updates and recommendations to ensure that your GMB account is always current.
Complete the Setup
You have reached the end of setting up your Google My Business account. Click “finish” when you are satisfied with all the information you entered. The last step is to verify the listing.
You may choose an automated telephone call to verify the account immediately. You may also choose to receive a postcard by mail, which could take up to a week.
Managing Your Google My Business Account
Now that you have set up your GMB account, it is time to optimize it.
List Contact Information
Your GMB dashboard can be used for optimizing and customizing your Google My Business account. Here you can add many things, such as your business hours, logos, photos, business descriptions, multiple locations, etc.
TIP: Make sure that your law firm’s name, business address, and telephone number are the same online and offline. Google takes information from all areas of the web, so if you use abbreviations in one place, you must do so consistently.
Your information needs to match exactly for SEO and lead generation purposes.
Write Services Descriptions
When a mobile user checks your GMB, they’ll have the option of viewing your law firm’s services.
Not taking the time to describe your services – or practice areas – is a huge missed opportunity. Here, you can highlight the cases you typically handle and offer insights into how you can help potential clients win their legal action.
Complete Product Descriptions
You might be thinking – “I’m an attorney; I don’t sell a product.” But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take advantage of the “products” section on your GMB profile. When someone Googles your law firm’s name, your GMB profile will display on the right-hand side of the SERP.
“Products” will be featured – and users can simply click to display the full list.
List your practice areas here and describe them. Google gives a little bit more space for product descriptions – so don’t be afraid to explain your practice areas and really drive home how you and your law firm can help a client faced with that particular issue.
List Your Business Website
Some law firms don’t list their business websites. These firms are missing an excellent opportunity to point consumers to their websites. Clicking “Website” on your GMB listing should take a potential client directly to your firm’s website.
Always Update Opening Hours
Your opening hours need to be updated whenever there is a change. Consumers could drop by your office to schedule an appointment or ask a question if they are nearby. Nothing is more frustrating than to show up when a law firm should be open but is closed because no one updated the hours of operation online.
Add a Q&A Section
Another great feature of GMB is the Q&A section. You can insert common FAQs about your law firm, practice areas, and other matters that interest potential clients. The Q&A is on the Knowledge panel of your GMB dashboard.
Add Keywords to Your Business Description
You don’t want to use keywords in your business name (if they are not a part of your legal name or DBA), but it is advisable to include keywords in your business description. You have 750 characters to work with, so try several variations to determine which description gives you the best results for SEO.
TIP: Use keywords that directly relate to your practice areas. For example, instead of “defective product lawyer,” which is very common, try “defective medical device lawyer” or “dangerous drug lawyer.”
Personalize Your Account
Add attorney photos, staff pictures, and photos of your office. Accounts with photographs receive higher click-throughs and more requests for driving instructions, according to Google.
TIP: Use only high-quality, professional attorney photographs. Selfies don’t give the appearance of a professional, skilled, and trusted legal practice.
Focus on Obtaining Client Reviews
Many people read and depend on Google reviews when searching for a service provider, including lawyers. Encourage past and current clients to add a review on your Google My Business page.
Star reviews are great. However, ask prior clients to leave a short, detailed review that tells potential clients what the law firm did to help you. Learning how the law firm helped someone in a similar situation could encourage a person to contact the firm.
Client reviews are essential for a Google My Business account. Reviews increase credibility for the law firm. Positive reviews also improve Google ranking.
Additionally, take the time to respond to reviews – good and bad. This will show that you’re approachable, engaged, and listen to what your clients are saying. People care more about reviews and company responses than you might think.
Update Your Google My Business Account Often
You need to update your GMB whenever you have changes to the information listed on the account. Updating the account also improves your ranking. Accounts that are never updated don’t rank as well in Google searches.
Adding fresh content – like blogs, legal news, or updates about the firm – can improve your ranking. It also encourages consumers to interact with your law firm and visit your law firm’s website. Remember, each time a person clicks through to your website or contacts your office because of your GMB page, you have the opportunity to convert the lead into another new client.
Can I Get Help Optimizing My GMB Profile?
Optimizing and updating your GMB account is a free and easy way to supplement your ongoing organic attorney SEO campaign.
Whether you want help claiming your GMB profile, optimizing it, or keeping it active and updated, LawRank can help. Contact our law firm SEO company today to learn more about the benefits of a fully optimized GMB and discuss your digital marketing needs.