Helping People Find You With Google My Business

By Brian Craig

Have you ever been searching for something online, and used the search query “near me” or added your city to what you’re searching for? If so, you’re not alone. Recent studies have shown that almost 50% of Google searches have local intent—that is to say, the searcher is looking for a business or service geographically nearby.

Based on that stat, it’s not hard to understand why law firms are paying special attention to Local SEO recently. As most searches are done through Google, we pay the most attention to Google’s service for local search, which is called Google My Business.

Especially in the current environment with COVID-19, Google My Business is critical to helping your firm communicate with clients.

Special COVID-19 Tips For Google My Business

Google has added a new type of post for announcements related to COVID-19. You can use this new post to tell people about modified hours of business, what changes you’ve made to keep people safe in your office, how you’re utilizing video to continue supporting clients and more.

These COVID-19 posts will show up at the top of your business profile in GMB, so you can continue to make your normal posts without pushing it down the list.

To create one, go to https://business.google.com and log into your account, then go to Posts and choose the COVID-19 Update tab. From there, fill out the requested information along with your post, preview it, then publish it. These posts are good for the 14-day lifespan of standard posts, so you will need to republish it after that time has passed.

What Do People Look for on Google My Business?

  1. They want to know if you’re open. People search for your firm to find out if you’re open—they don’t want to visit your website, or may not even want to make a phone call—they want an immediate answer.
  2. They want to know how to find you. People who are wanting to visit your firm will most likely search for you online, and use the convenient Directions button to use the navigation app of their choice to get to your firm.
  3. They may want to call you. Do they have a question that can’t be quickly answered via your website or Q&A? Make it easy for them to call you and get the info they’re looking for.
  4. They want to know if they can trust you. If they aren’t already familiar with your firm, and they are looking for a lawyer near them that practices in a certain practice area, building trust and establishing social proof is even more critical than normal.

How Can You Make It Easy for Them?

  1. Keep information up to date. Keep information (hours, address, phone number, etc.) current on your online profiles, including Google My Business, Facebook, Bing Places, Avvo, and more.
  2. Have a process to get reviews. Reviews are critical in building social proof and trust for your firm. Have a process in place to get reviews on Google from your clients. When you do get reviews, professionally engage and respond whether the review is positive or negative.
  3. Use photos. Having photos of you, your team, and your office helps build trust with potential clients.
  4. Question & Answer. Google My Business has a section of your listing where potential clients can ask questions and you can answer them. Monitoring and interacting with clients here can help build trust and also answer questions for other potential clients that may have the same question.
  5. Use Google Posts. You’re generating regular content for clients on your blog (right?). Publish that content through your Google My Business listing to get more visibility to the great content you’re creating and generate more traffic to your website.
  6. Don’t spam. Always use your firm’s actual name in the business name field – never use something like “Raleigh Personal Injury Attorney – Firm Name.” That’s asking to be flagged and lose any credibility your listing has built up.

Measuring Return on Investment on Local SEO

Great—you’ve got a solid, optimized Google My Business presence. Now what?

As you continue to research what clients are looking for and further improve your listing, you’ll want to know what is working and what isn’t, so you can optimize the dollars you’re spending on marketing.

Although Google has a tool in the Google My Business portal called Insights, it has its limitations. We recommend using additional analytics tools such as Google Analytics and call tracking numbers to get full visibility into where clients are coming from and how they’re contacting you. With Google’s Insights function, calls can only be tracked with people who use the “click-to-call” function, and not the ones who physically type your number in their phone.

Bringing It All Together

If you’re marketing state-wide, or even in a large metro area, digital marketing for law firms is one of the most difficult verticals to compete in, and requires specific expertise. Traditional SEO efforts in these situations are very competitive and usually require significant sustained spend in order to stay at the top of rankings.

However, there are relatively quick wins to be had on the local SEO side of things, as many attorneys either aren’t focusing on local SEO, or aren’t embracing best practices. By making it easy for your clients to find the information they’re looking for, you can give your firm an advantage in the competitive legal marketplace.

Brian Craig is the founder and CEO of LegalScapes. With over 15 years of experience in digital marketing, Brian helps lawyers across the United States get more clients through the Internet. When not working with clients, you’ll find him playing basketball, going to Carolina games, or planning the next adventure with his wife and two daughters. Contact Brian via email at brian@legalscapes.com, via phone at 919-887-7795 or visit LegalScapes on the web at www.legalscapes.com.