How to Claim Your Google My Business Listing (And Why Every Law Firm Should Do It)
Google My Business is a lot like the bag Mary Poppins carried around with her in the classic 60s movie. While hers held a floor lamp, house plant, mirror and everything in between, a Google My Business listing has every essential nugget of information someone would need to research, contact or locate a business. Whether it’s a website, address, review or phone number, it’s all in the bag.
The makings of a great listing
A Google My Business listing is great for your prospects when it comes to finding out information, but it’s also extremely beneficial for you as an attorney. Google continues to enhance their algorithm to take into account the popularity of local searches. Now, “near me” is implied in every search, meaning when someone types in “best attorney,” the first results will be geographically specific. Without a Google My Business listing, you miss out on boosting your firm’s visibility when a prospect conducts a local search or uses Google Maps to find an attorney.
It’s is also a powerful way to interact directly with your clients. Google My Business offers a way to respond to questions, manage online reviews, send private messages and even gives clients an opportunity to schedule appointments.
And your listing provides valuable insights on what’s working and what’s not. You can see how people are searching for your firm (direct or discovery), where customers are viewing your business (search or Google Maps) and customer actions (website visit, directions, call or chat).
Stake your claim
You can claim your Google My Business listing in five easy steps:
- Visit http://gybo.com/business and click View My Listing.
- Enter your firm name and city.
- After searching, you’ll receive one of four results:
- Great work. Your business listing is complete.
- Your business info might be incorrect on Google.
- Your business doesn’t have a free Google listing.
- Someone else has claimed your business.
- Depending on your results, you will need to either confirm, update or request ownership.
- If complete, you will need to confirm everything is correct.
- If incomplete, you will need to update or complete your business information.
- If your firm does not exist in Google, add all relevant information.
- If the listing exists but is already claimed, request ownership.
- Once you’ve added all the necessary information about your firm, you will need to verify your address or phone number. This is done by a phone call, text or postcard.
While Google makes it a pretty simple process, it’s easy to make mistakes when claiming your Google My Business listing. Avoid these common errors when setting up your listing:
- Duplicate listings. Even if you specialize in multiple practice areas, never have more than one listing per business. Not only is it confusing for prospective clients but multiple profiles create a problem for search engines when figuring out which listing to trust.
- Poor image quality. Always use professional, high-quality photos on your listing and avoid uploading pictures taken from a camera phone.
- Inconsistent name, address and phone number (NAP). Double and triple check this information is accurate on your listing. Even the slightest variations across websites can negatively impact search results. Never use a PO Box address on your listing and if you have a suite or office number, separate it from the main street address.
What to keep in mind
One piece of advice – if you’re going to do it, do it right. Claiming your free listing is a great first step in improving your local SEO presence but if you want to make sure you’re maximizing the benefits, you need to pay attention to the details.
- Fill out your listing completely and leave no field blank.
- Include photos and videos of your firm to give people a sneak peek into what it’s like working with you.
- Add a brief description of your firm and make sure to include practice areas.
- Make sure your office hours are accurate
- Quickly respond to all questions you receive on the Q&A section of your listing and any online reviews (positive or negative).
The bottom line – a strong local SEO strategy is essential for your firm to stay above the fold on Google. The first step for building your online visibility is setting up your Google My Business listing. It’s a free and easy way to reach the people who otherwise may never have heard of you.