Potential clients using Google to search for legal representatives often reach out to lawyers in their area first. If your Law Firm isn’t listed on Google Maps, you could be missing a valuable opportunity.
Whenever we search for a local service online, Google shows a map. It’s called Local Map Pack or Google map pack. It automatically identifies businesses that are relevant to our search. First and more important you need to have a Google My Business listing. If you don’t have one, go to google.com/business and create one. Verification will be required.
How to verify a GMB listing?
There are a few ways to verify your GMB listing. Verification by mail is the most common way to verify your listing. Some Legal Firms may be eligible to verify via phone.
The first and the most common way is to verify by mail. When you add or claim your Legal Firm business listing and choose to verify by mail, Google will send you a postcard with a unique verification code. To confirm that your Legal Firm is operating at the listed address, you will need to enter your unique code.
It usually takes around two weeks for postcards to reach their destination. Note that if you edit your business details while your listing is not verified, Google will cancel the code on the postcard sent and will send a new postcard. Be patient. Wait for the verification process to be completed to make changes.
OK, so you received your postcard. What's next?
Exciting times! The wait is over and now we can get to work. Sign in to manage your GMB account. Make sure you use the same account you used to request your postcard. Select the correct location (if your legal firm operates from different locations). Click Verify now. You will be asked to enter the code on the postcard.
Once you enter the code, your verification is complete. You can now make changes to your business information, add photos, and start optimising your listing.
Other ways to verify your GMB listing
If your Legal Firm operates as a service-area business or is a hybrid firm (you meet potential clients in your office as well as provide remote legal services) you may be able to complete verification by email, phone, or through Google Search Console.
If you aren’t given an email, phone, or Search Console verification option, you must verify by mail.
For Legal firms with multiple locations, you need to create GMB listings for each location and verify them separately. In this case, you may be eligible for bulk verification.
Before you create a new GMB listing for Your Legal Firm
Check if there is an already existing listing. Chances are that Google has already built a bare-bones profile for your legal office. To be able to take ownership over it you will need to prove you are actually the owner of the business.
Make sure you are aware of the rules. Google has strict guidelines for Local businesses. Failing to comply with Google’s guidelines can result in penalties such as removal from the Local Map Pack or demotion of your website in search engine results pages (SERPs).
What address is accepted?
As per Google guidelines, your business address must be a physical location where you conduct business.
For example, you may work from a home office, and depending on the law practice, you may provide legal services remotely. In this case, you can set the metropolitan area as a service area. However, be aware that it may be difficult to rank for competitive legal keywords if you’re using a service area.
You can only list an office at a co-working space, but only if you can answer “yes” to all the following questions:
Is your business address a physical location where customers come to meet with you or do business with you?
Do you have signage at your business address that identifies it as your place of work?
Are clients able to schedule appointments at your business during its stated hours of operation?
Is your physical business address open to clients during the stated hours of operation, even if you’re not working there that day?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, a virtual office is not an acceptable business location for Google My Business.
Avoid using virtual offices or co-working spaces. I see Legal Firms get away with it, but be aware of the fact that it’s against Google guidelines and if your listing gets suspended, the damage will be irreversible. You can lose your investment of many months or even years. Is it worth the risk?!
Why Optimise Your GMB Listing?
There are many reasons why you should optimise your GMB listing. Firstly, it can help you to rank higher in local search results, which means that more potential clients will see your profile and be intrigued to find out more about your services. Secondly, a well-optimised GMB listing can help to increase click-through rates (CTRs) on your website, as people are more likely to click on a business that looks reputable and trustworthy. Finally, optimising your GMB listing can help to convert more leads into clients, as people will be able to find out easily how to get in touch with you.
How to optimise your GMB listing?
The Local Map Pack has an internal ranking system. So in order to see your Law firm among the first places in the pack, it’s not enough to just put your business on the map. Furthermore, if your Legal Firm lacks clicks and comments — it may not be shown at all. To optimise your listing for the local map you need to use keywords that trigger the map pack. To find the right keywords, look at what is already on the map and reverse engineer the firms that are already there. What category are they using? How many reviews do they have? Do they answer questions? What keywords are they using in the description? Each piece of this information can influence the visibility of your business in search. Having a complete listing is very important.
Google gives you an opportunity to provide your potential clients with extensive information about your business, so make sure you make the most of it. Fill in all fields that are relevant to your Legal Firm, and pay special attention to keywords – these should be included in the description of your legal firm, the description of your services, and any news and announcements about your firm.
Make sure that all of your business information is correct and up-to-date. This includes –
Make sure that you have a complete and accurate Google Maps listing. This includes filling out all of the relevant information about your Legal Firm, such as the type of legal services offered, hours of operation, website, and contact information. You should also add high-resolution photos of your business to the listing. When people are searching for a lawyer online, they want as much information about you and your practice as possible so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to contact you.
The first step of the process is to make sure that your business location name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent on Google Maps. It may seem trivial but you would be surprised at how many businesses fail in this respect when it comes to their GMB listing. The NAP information needs to match up perfectly between all sources, including your GMB listing, website, directory listings, and social media profiles.
1/ 101 Sydney Str, Sydney CBD
is not the same as
Unit 1, 101 Sydney Str, Sydney
is not the same as
(02) 800 1000
Local Schema Markup is a code that you can add to your website in order to help Google better understand the information on your site. When added, this code will tell Google that your website is a law firm and provide some additional information about your business and the legal services you provide. Schema Markup will strengthen your relevancy and visibility for legal services-related keywords.
You can find instructions on how to add Local Schema Markup to your website here – Add schema markup to your Legal Website.
Photos are another important part of your Google Maps listing. They help to give potential clients a better idea of what to expect if they come to see you, and can also be used as a marketing tool to showcase your firm’s work. Make sure that you add high-quality photos to your profile, and try to use images that show off your firm’s strengths and personality. One great investment that will certainly pay off is hiring a Google Trusted Photographer. You can find a professional photographer who would be able to capture a 360-degree panoramic virtual tour here.
Not only do the photographs look great and professional which will increase the trustworthiness of your business, but they also get connected to your GMB listing. That will give a high-quality citation that will help you boost your listing.
One of the most crucial local ranking elements that contribute to whether or not you’ll appear in the maps for a particular keyword is customer reviews. Reviews are a valuable source of information for potential clients, so it’s important to encourage your current clients to leave feedback on Google Maps. Not only will this help to improve your visibility in search results, but it can also be helpful in terms of client retention – happy clients are the best marketing tool you can have! Google monitors and analyses the reviews your firm receives. It comes together to defining the listing’s context and relevance.
For example, if a client writes a review, “JB Family Law helped me work out the financial settlement and advised on a child custody matter. John, thank You for patiently answering all my questions, and for all the work done through different stages of my divorce.” What happens here is Google sees relevant to family law keywords such as “financial settlement“, “child custody” and “divorce“, which directly affects how high your listing will appear on Google Maps.
Relevant keywords in the reviews help your listing tremendously. Make an effort to encourage your past clients to leave reviews on your listing.
The GMB post capabilities is another feature that you should take full advantage of. Posts are short and simple updates for communicating with potential clients who are actively looking for information about the kind of legal services your firm is offering, or have a query about a legal matter.
One of the reasons why GMB postings are so crucial is that Google values high-quality data in its search results, therefore ensuring you’re providing users what they want may improve your search rank. For example, if you are a family lawyer based in Sydney, you’ll have a higher likelihood of showing up in search results when someone searches “family lawyer Sydney”.
Make sure all of the information related to your law firm is filled out correctly and consistently across directories – this includes Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP), as well as website URL.
Schema Markup will help your website rank better for law-related keywords.
Use high quality photos to improve the look of your listing and boost your ranking.
Encourage clients to leave reviews on Google Maps – they have a huge impact on your local ranking.
Make use of GMB posts
Despite our best efforts to cover the topic extensively, this only scratches the surface. If you’re looking for assistance on how to improve your law firm’s website and local ranking, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
At SEOlancer, we specialise in helping law firms to improve their online presence. We work with each client individually so that they can get measurable results based on their unique needs. Contact us today for a free consultation about how you can increase your firm’s visibility and boost.