Google My Business (GMB) is a free business listing platform that promotes visibility for your law firm for Google local searches. In this article, you’ll go from start to finish on creating an optimized Google My Business page to build awareness and generate leads for your law firm.
Among the most powerful online local business listing platforms for small law firms is Google My Business, formerly Google Places. If you’re to focus only on two platforms, it should be GMB and Yelp—if you haven’t claimed and optimized your Yelp business listing, check out Yelp for Lawyers & Law Firms: How to Win.
What Exactly Does Google My Business Do?
A GMB listing on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) displays your law firm’s name, main legal focus, telephone number, office address (and distance from the user), hours of operation, law firm website link and a link to directions. Clicking on your listing brings up much more information and functionality—all of which will be detailed in this post.
GMB is all about local search, and the key to winning local search is optimizing for mobile. There are now more mobile searches than desktop searches and the majority of local searches are performed on mobile devices. When 78% of local searches on mobile devices result in an offline purchase, it’s more important than ever to boost your local-mobile visibility—and have a mobile-friendly website.
The importance of establishing and optimizing your GMB presence is undeniable—especially for the very competitive legal services industry.
Why is Google My Business Important for Law Firms?
Over 70% of legal consumers think hiring a local attorney is important and, thanks to the Pigeon algorithm update, Google is much better at giving them what they want, and where they want it.
Building a strong GMB profile makes you more discoverable to locals who conduct searches related to your business category. Despite the overwhelming advantages, over half of local businesses still haven’t claimed their GMB listings.
GMB listings appear in 93% of online searches with local intent. The results appear in a box in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) with three of the top listings and a small map. These results have been dubbed “The Google 3-pack” or the “The (Local) Map Pack.” While Yelp is the most popular and trusted review platform for legal consumers to read attorney reviews, GMB is the workhorse to boost your local rank.
Local results show your business rating as dictated by your customer reviews. This is particularly helpful for law firms with plenty of positive reviews, as 83% of legal consumers read reviews as their first step in hiring an attorney. Your listing is directly linked to your GMB profile, so if they’re impressed by your rating, they can learn more or get in contact in a single click.
GMB Guidelines & Ethical Considerations for Lawyers
GMB provides users and business owners to interact directly through listings. When replying to messages or questions, be conscious of client confidentiality, as responses are public. When populating your listing with business information, there are some general rules to follow as well.
Chapter 7 of ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct detail most of the law firm marketing and advertising rules, although there may be some rule specific to your jurisdiction to research. Your GMB profile is considered a form of attorney advertising, so be sure to comply with all rules. Read about the most important attorneys advertising rules in 5 Law Firm Marketing & Advertising Rules To Know. Aside from legal advertising rules set forth by bar associations, GMB has done of their own.
Google requires that you have a physical location where you meet with clients during stated business hours in order to claim your listing. Attorneys who use virtual offices, unfortunately, do not meet the requirements to set up a GMB listing unless it is staffed during stated business hours. Co-working spaces, however, can be eligible so long as the occupying attorney is able to meet with clients in-person.
A GMB page should be claimed only by the business owner, although others such as firm employees and third-party SEO/SEM companies can be added as managers and authorized representatives. When adding your law firm’s business name, use the actual name as represented on your marketing materials such as website and stationery—do not add keywords to “hack” the search results. Visit Guidelines for representing your business on Google to learn more.
Claim & Verify Your Law Firm’s GMB Profile
To claim your GMB listing, click here and click the Start Now button at the top-right of the page. Sign into the Google account associated to your law firm—if you don’t have one, sign up for a free Google account.
On the next page, search for your law firm by exact business name; you might see your firm in the autofill suggestions. Click Next and on the following prompts, enter your business address, choose a business category—here are all of the categories related to legal services:
- Bankruptcy Attorney
- Criminal Justice Attorney
- District Attorney
- Divorce Lawyer
- Elder Law Attorney
- Employment Attorney
- Estate Planning Attorney
- Family Law Attorney
- General Practice Attorney
- Immigration Attorney
- Insurance Attorney
- Labor Relations Attorney
- Law Firm
- Patent Attorney
- Personal Injury Attorney
- Real Estate Attorney
- Social Security Attorney
- Tax Attorney
- Trial Attorney
Use a less general category, if possible. General practitioners often stick with a more inclusive category, but legal consumers typically aren’t searching searching for just “lawyer” when faced with a specific legal problem, such as a DUI, divorce, worker’s compensation claim, etc. Going with a more general category seems like keeping a wide net but in reality, you are diluting your “targeted marketing” strategy.
For law firms with multiple office locations, sign in and Add Location to verify each. If you find your business or any location has been wrongfully claimed by someone unaffiliated with your law firm, Request Ownership from the current listing owner. It’s also worth noting, you can set up firm to optimize for each attorney as opposed to the entire firm, however, this could lead to increased search competition within your firm for attorneys of the same legal focus, less reviews per listing and the loss of reviews in the event an attorney leaves the firm. For this reason, I recommend optimizing for your firm as opposed to individual attorneys.
On the following several pages, add your business phone number and email—using a local phone number Name, Address, Phone (NAP) consistency across your website HTML and GMB listing is estimated by Moz to be the 14th most important Google local pack finder factor. Always use the same address, phone number, email, business name across all online business listing platforms and citation data aggregators.
Next up is verification. Verification is important for your reputability by legal consumers and makes it possible for you to edit your your business information. For most businesses, Google sends a postcard to the listed address with a unique code that will verify receipt and, thus, business ownership, although some businesses have the option to verify through phone call, text, email or Google Search Console.
If you go the postcard route, visit google.com/business upon receipt and click Verify Now to enter the verification code. Once successfully verified, your business listing will appear across the Google in a matter of a couple weeks. In the meantime, build and optimize your profile to maximize effectiveness!
Update & Optimize Your Firm’s GMB Business Information
Login to your account and choose your verified listing and click the Edit button in the top-right corner.
First up, make sure your business name matches exactly what is displayed on your website and branding—adding keywords like “Family Lawyer” at the end of your actual business name is not technically allowed and could get your reported. For solo attorneys, you can use just your name if that’s how you wish to optimize and be found through Google search.
Your address should be already set, but might need some additional information. Click the “add line” button if your office is in a suite as opposed to standalone building. For the “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” field, select No.
For Categories, you will already have the Primary set to what you chose when setting up your listing, but you have the option to include up to 10 Additional categories. I wouldn’t go overboard here because, again, you don’t want to dilute the search potency of your top-earning legal services.
Add your firm’s business hours, which are the times you are available for clients to visit the location. If you split time between a few locations, let your business hours reflect your schedule.
Add your website URL. If you are optimizing for your law firm, simply link to the homepage. If optimizing for individual attorneys at the firm, link to their respective attorney profile pages. To optimize for a very specific legal practice, link directly to that service’s dedicated Practice Area’s website page.
Upload professional, high-quality photography of your attorneys, office interior/exterior and your firm’s logo. For GMB image and logo specifications, check out this post.
Generate Positive Reviews from Legal Clients (and Respond)
Building a collection of positive reviews appeals to legal consumers and improves your chances of ranking in local packs. The impact made on your business by positive reviews can be substantial: boost your total impressions, click rate, company credibility and has been directly linked to higher revenue.
Positive reviews that use your keywords (legal services) and general location(s) boost GMB listing ranking more than any local ranking factors. Your reviews are essentially adding free, targeted, crowd-sourced content to your GMB listing! And tacitly relying on clients to leave reviews is no strategy; here are a few methods to build your page with positive reviews:
- Send a follow-up email. After working with a happy client, send an email mentioning it helps to get detailed feedback on GMB (and Yelp). Most people will leave a reviews for a business when asked, especially when they’re happy with the outcome of the services. Because of the importance of having keywords and location information in reviews, it doesn’t hurt to ask them to mention the city and legal service.
- Display your page link. Add links to your GMB profile within your email signature, website & invoice template. Making it known to your clients and prospects that you have a presence on GMB is half the battle—and providing them with a simple path to visit and review makes it much more likely they’ll bite.
- Build a review link. Providing a direct link to leave a review might be the best method to get reviews on any platform—one click and they’re there. To build a GMB review link, go to your listing profile, click Write A Review and copy-paste the link shown in the URL into the email or webpage you wish to use to acquire reviews.
Respond to any and all reviews on your profile. This shows your appreciation for the reviewer’s time and shows new review-readers (new prospects) that you like to maintain relationships with your past clients. In the event of a negative review, simply apologize and thank them for the feedback. It doesn’t hurt to reach out directly to the client to have a conversation about the issues—if you empathize enough, they might remove or improve their review.
Use the Messaging and Q&A Capabilities
Customers are able to message you directly through your GMB profile. This gives your prospects yet another method to get in touch with your firm and ask any questions you may have not addressed on your profile or website.
To activate messaging, login to your GMB profile and click the Messaging option in the Home menu. Enter a phone number that with SMS messaging capabilities, such as a cell phone—you will receive messages and have the ability to respond directly through your phone’s messaging. Be quick to respond, as people can see your average time to respond.
If you prefer not to use SMS messaging to respond, download the Google Allo app from the Apple Store or Android Store. When signing up through the app, enter the same phone number you used to sing up for messaging on your GMB listing.
GMB profiles include a separate Questions & Answers section that allows you to answer questions from new prospects and even give you the ability to add your own FAQs. The Q&A section will be ready to go as soon as you verify your GMB listing.
Create Google My Business Posts & CTAs
Google Posts is essentially a micro-blogging platform to feature news and content relevant to your firm, built right into your listing. Law firms have used it to present new blog articles, main practice areas, charity events and feature client reviews.
To create a new post, login to your GMB profile and choose the Posts option in the left-side navigation and create a new post by typing out your message, adding artwork, choosing whether or not the post is an event (with dates & times), adding a link to a page or post on your website and choosing a CTA title. Once all information has been added, simply click Publish!
A creative way to share your best reviews and most important news through engaging visuals is with Google Marketing Kit. This quick & easy tool allows you to create high-quality, templated marketing materials with custom messages or reviews left by past clients.
Unlike Yelp, there’s not yet an option to add a built-in Call-To-Action (CTA) button directly to your page, such as “Request a Consultation,” although it may be on the horizon. Instead, you can use Posts to build a mobile-optimized card with a link to your website’s contact page with the above directions.
Use GMB Analytics & Optimize Your Listing
Just like any other marketing strategy you employ, your GMB listing should be monitored and optimized. The Insights data shows you how your local legal consumers are finding your listing using Google Search and Maps and tells you how they are interacting with the business information on your listing.
To see Insights, login to your GMB listing and choose the Insights option in the right-side navigation. Here are some most important metrics and how to interpret them:
- How customers search for your business. A pie graph shows the percentage of people that found your business through direct business name or address search vs. those who discovered your law firm through a search related to categories or legal services. More ‘Direct’ impressions over time could be a good signal that you are building brand awareness in your local community of legal consumers. Be aware, this graph is impressions (number of people that saw your listing) and not the number of clicks on your listing.
- Where customers view your business on Google. This graph shows the relational significance of impressions on Google Search & Map over time. This information can be used to understand what search mechanisms your target audience is using to find nearby legal services.
- Customer actions. This graph shows how people are interacting with your listing over time. It provides a comparison between four key interaction types: website visits, direction requests, phone calls and messages. This graph is a good indicator of the importance of your website in your inbound lead-generation efforts.
- Driving directions. This is a very cool feature—GMB provides a heat map showing your where the direction requests cam from. This gives you direct insight as to where your prospects are coming from on a geographically microscopic area. If you are planning on pursuing outdoor advertising, your heat map can provide insight as to where you are most locally sought after.
Google Analytics can be linked to your GMB listing to view website traffic data directly through the GMB dashboard. can be connected to your Google Analytics dashboard for more granular data. Learn how to link Google Analytics & GMB.
Optimizing your GMB for better local ranking comes down to prominence, which refers to how recognized your law firm is in the community. Building high-quality, relevant links from organizations, businesses and directories in your area is a way to boost the local prominence to win a spot in the local pack for searches related to your legal services.
It’s worth looking into your Google Search Console (GSC) data to find your top-performing keywords as well. If you’re asking for reviews form your past clients and providing them with keywords to help your local search visibility, you can use GSC to find the ones that bring the most traffic. Login to your GSC account and go to the Search Traffic tab, click Search Analytics and you’ll see what keywords are getting your site the most impressions and clicks.
Remember, your GMB account is always a work in progress—and the more you build it, the more powerful it will become in helping your firm generate high-value leads!
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