In order to compete online, you need a Google My Business (GMB) listing. According to Statcounter, nearly 90% of people in the US use Google to search online. And when they are searching for legal services, GMB listings are among the first to appear — and are often above even the regular search results. Additionally, many legal consumers use Google Maps to find a local law firm. To appear on that map, you also need a GMB listing.
Setting up the listing can be quick and easy, but you want to do it right and ensure it is properly optimized for your firm. Otherwise, even with a listing, you may not appear at the top of the search results in what is known as the “local three-pack.”
There are three stages to setting up your account.
1. Initial set up
To set up your listing for the first time, go to this website: https://www.google.com/business/. Then, you will need to sign in using a Google account. You can choose to use your own account, but you should consider creating a new account just for your business if you don’t already have one. That way, if you retire and pass on your business or if a colleague needs to access the listing, you don’t need to share your personal information.
Once you are logged in, follow the steps to set up your listing, which include providing:
- The name of your law firm: Be sure to use the official name of your firm so it is clear to potential customers. For optimization, it is also important that your firm name is consistent across all of your online profiles and your website.
- Your firm’s address: This piece of information is absolutely critical and should be accurate. If you have a suite number, be sure that it is unique to your firm. If you share a suite number or address with another business or firm, it can cause issues with your optimization. Additionally, at this stage you will be asked if you deliver goods and services to your customers. If you have a brick-and-mortar office, you should not click that option.
- Your location on the map: This step allows you to choose the exact location of your business. Move the marker to the spot you want your client to go to when following directions on their phone, which may be different than Google’s guess based on your address.
- Your service area: This is particularly important for law firms that often serve a large area. Type in the names of locations you serve to ensure Google shows your firm to all of your target customers.
- Your business type: Do not forget to set your business as a law firm. This allows Google to provide your information when someone is searching for terms related to finding a lawyer.
- Your contact information: Whether it is a cell phone or the number for your front desk, the right phone number can ensure a good experience for your customers. Likewise, if you have a website, you can provide the link to entice customers who need more information before reaching out to you about their legal issues.
After you have completed the initial setup, Google needs to verify that you are actually the owner of your business. The majority of the time, this involves Google mailing you a postcard at your business address with a code on it. In some instances, Google may allow you to verify your address via the phone or online.
Whichever way you verify, it is important to complete the process and get the code. If you do not, your firm will not show up in the search results or on the map. When you verify your business, you will also be able to then respond to customer reviews, review analytics about your GMB listing, and more.
3. Adding more information
After you have done the initial setup, even before you have verified your location, you can add additional information to your listing. While you don’t need to do this, you should. Consumers who use Google expect a certain level of information in a listing and you may be overlooked if you do not have that information.
Take the time to log into your account and add:
- A description of your firm that explains your practice and the value you provide your clients
- Business hours so potential clients know when you are available
- Photos of your office, yourself, and others at your firm to add personality and help customers make a personal connection with you
The more detail you provide, the more you will be able to establish trust with potential customers and set yourself up for success online.
After completing these steps, don’t simply set it and forget it. Be sure to update your listing whenever your hours change, your practice expands, or other changes happen that customers should know about. Also, if you receive any reviews through Google Maps, you can boost your reputation by responding in a timely and professional manner.
To get help promoting your business locally, whether it is assisting with your GMB listing set up or optimizing your website, schedule a free consultation with an expert at FindLaw.
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