Some of us remember when the Yellow Pages were the place to go to find information like a phone number or the address of a company. Law firms spent a fortune to be on the front, back, or side cover. Today, most people turn to the Internet to find that information. In many search results, Google My Business (GMB) shows up at the top of the page with a small map, especially in local mobile searches. If you aren’t listed on GMB in the top 3, you are missing out on a huge population of potential clients. Also, with fewer consumers relying on Yelp and other review websites, GMB has gained even more popularity.
GMB on the Rise
Google My Business has been around for a long time, but it has recently become an essential element of any online marketing campaign. Unlike Yellow Pages, and many forms of online marketing, the local pack only features one paid ad—if any at all. There are, however, three other spots that are listed in the search results that you can take advantage of—for free!
In a post-pandemic world, GMB is more important than ever. Everyone has learned to use the Internet to search for what they are looking for—including service businesses as well as all other businesses. Potential customers are using their phones more effectively to search for what they need, anytime, anywhere. Your law firm needs to be showing up where they are searching, not just in the paid ads and LSAs. It is also important to keep your GMB profile up to date and to add content, get reviews, and make sure your address, phone number, and hours are current.
I can tell you that most of SLS’s law firm clients consistently get at least 50 percent of their calls from their GMB listings. Getting ranked highly is crucial to your law firm showing in the GMB listings, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a huge role in ranking well. Below is some information to help you improve your GMB listing.
What’s So Important About GMB?
There are many reasons to use GMB, but most importantly, it provides vital information to potential clients immediately when they are searching for your law firm. Here are some other reasons:
- Google Maps integration – This makes it easy for searchers to know exactly where you are located and to get directions easily.
- Covid-19 Protocols – With the ever-changing rules surrounding the virus and vaccine/mask mandates, you can let potential clients know how your business is operating.
- Click-to-Call – Potential clients can click to call your firm directly from their search.
- Direct Messaging – Potential clients can message your law firm directly from GMB.
- Reviews – Potential clients can read reviews from past clients you have helped.
- Local Rankings – Your GMB profile can help with local rankings.
Below are some things you can do to make your GMB profile as robust as possible (keeping in mind that this is only for brick and mortar offices—these rules do not apply to virtual office spaces unless they are staffed by your firm, can receive mail, and have a unique suite number with signage):
- Don’t try to cheat Google to get ranked higher! This is the number one rule! Google will eventually find out and you could lose your GMB listing forever. Take the time and do it right and, if you are using a marketing company, make sure they are doing it right.
- Get as many good reviews from clients and prior clients as you can. The unofficial magic number is 10 reviews to improve your GMB listing, but this is the bare minimum. More is better. We don’t suggest you make them up, have employees and friends write them, or hire a “Reviews” company to handle this. At SLS, we only cultivate reviews from actual clients and prior clients who have had a positive experience with us and/or our clients.
- Make sure your information is always kept up to date.
- Make sure your business is listed exactly the same everywhere, not just on GMB. The goal here is consistency, not perfection. Yelp may remove “LLC” from your firm name, and Google may abbreviate “suite 300” to “#300,” but if everything else is accurate, you guarantee that people can reach your office whenever they need to find you, and ensure that Google is confident about your correct contact information. It is good to periodically check your online listings to make sure your information is up to date. This sounds silly, but the way Google works you want to take this step.
- Make sure your categories are correct for the type of law you practice.
- Add content regularly to your listing.
- Make sure you take good photos of your office space and signage so that Google knows you are a real business. This helps you rank well for searches near your office and above the law firms who have “branch” offices but are not local, and also protects against suspensions.
None of us knows what the future holds, but for today, a Google My Business listing that ranks highly is made of gold! For more information, or if you have any questions, feel free to call or email.
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