Leveraging Google Business Profile for Lawyers
Lawyers may or may not have heard that Google My Business has been renamed and updated to become Google Business Profile (GBP). This free listing offered by Google is a must-have for all law firms who want to increase their visibility and boost their online marketing efforts.
Google offers this guidance about their update:
“The easiest way to manage your profile is now via Google Maps and Search. Moving forward, additional tools to help you understand how your business is performing and how you can enhance your online presence will be available exclusively on Search and Maps.”
You no longer need to use the separate Google My Business (GMB) website or mobile app to manage your profile. Instead, you’ll access your profile through Maps and Search. The former Google My Business website will transition to support mostly larger businesses with multiple profiles and will be renamed “Business Profile Manager,” according to Google. The old Google My Business app will be retired.
A study by BrightLocal showed that, on average, a local business with a free Google profile received 1,260 views each month – 943 on Google Search and 317 on Google Maps. About 5% of Google profile views resulted in a website call, click, or direction request, and 16% of businesses received more than 100 calls each month from their Google profile. Setting up a Google Business Profile (GBP) is easy and can be completed in about 15 minutes. Yet, surprisingly, some law firms have not claimed and provided data for this free service. If you’re one of those law firms, why not snag this effective marketing tool?
Setting Up Your Profile
If you’re ready to set up your GBP listing, here are a few simple steps to take:
- To start, you must claim your profile. If a profile does not yet exist, you can create one. You can do this directly on the Google Maps app or by doing a Google search using your law firm’s name. You’ll also want to verify your business by showing proof of ownership. This ensures that your firm is the only one who can edit or update the listing.
- Gather photographs and research SEO keywords for your listing.
- Designate a staff member in your law firm to update and optimize your Google profile regularly. This person can also edit the profile, adding new office locations or hours as needed.
You want your profile to be as accurate and complete as possible. Following is information you can include in your GBP listing for lawyers:
- Phone Number
- Legal Practice Areas
- Hours of Service
- Interior and Exterior Photographs
- Relevant Business Category
- Geographic Areas You Serve
- SEO keywords embedded in profile content, so Google’s algorithm finds and ranks your law firm.
It’s important that your street address appears the same across your web presence, this includes not only your GBP listing but also your website, legal directory listings, and all marketing materials. For example, you don’t want your street address to appear as “Suite 200” on one listing and “2nd Floor” on another listing. All address listings should be identical. This helps Google’s algorithm find and rank you in search results.
Pictures Are Important
Sometimes when lawyers are in a hurry, they overlook adding photos to their Google Business Profile account. This is a mistake. Businesses with photos on their Google profile get 35% more clicks through to their websites than do businesses without photos, according to Google. And 60% of consumers say local search results with great photos grab their attention and cause them to make a decision. Google makes suggestions about which kind of photos and videos to add to your profile. You can read those recommendations here: https://support.google.com/business/topic/6130059.
Avoid using stock photography or photos that have royalty or copyright protections on your GBP listing. It’s best to use photos taken by people who work at or visit the law firm’s location. Avoid adding filters or borders to the photos. Keep in mind that users (often clients) can also upload photos to your GBP site, though only within guidelines set out by Google.
The BrightLocal study shows that businesses have a median of 11 photos on their Google profile. Photos humanize your law firm, and exterior photos help potential clients identify your building when driving by. It’s also a good idea to add a photo of you law firm’s logo so it’s easily recognizable. Google asks that photos be in a JPG or PNG format and sized between 10 KB and 5 MB.
Google Business Profile Adds New Features
In announcing its migration from Google My Business to Google Business Profile, Google also said it would be adding some new features to the listing. These include:
- Call History and
A Google Business Profile is especially important when it comes to local SEO and making sure that people in your immediate geographic area can find your law firm and location.
Responding to Reviews on Your Google Profile
Clients and consumers can post reviews about your law firm in many places, including on your GBP listing. When this happens, you want a staff member to promptly respond to reviews. Whether answering questions, thanking clients for positive reviews, or addressing a dissatisfied client’s concerns, it’s important to be active and communicating with clients online. Outdated information on your Google listing and neglecting clients’ comments doesn’t reflect well on your law firm brand.
A free Google Business Profile is a great way to increase your law firm’s visibility and enhance your online marketing efforts. Most lawyers’ marketing budgets are lean, so finding cost-free marketing tools is always beneficial. With 15 minutes of effort, some good photos, and a little creativity, you can claim, verify, and launch your GBP listing and reap the benefits.
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