Make Sure Your Law Firm Is In Google – Tips To Boost Your Local SEO
Use of Google Places for Business + Creation of Local Profiles for Your Law Firm = Appearance on First Page of Google
This is the scenario: I suddenly discover that I need a lawyer right away. Friends have recommended an attorney who is in the required practice area, so I’m searching on Google. I quickly look for an attorney in my city and then I check out the results. Of course, it’s easiest to just browse through the first few results, so I will do that and then call one of those lawyers. After talking with each of them, I will hire my attorney.
Now, what do you think the chances are that I called your law firm?
When a possible client does a search for a law firm in Google, indicating their location, will you be on the first page when the results come up? There is a huge difference between the website traffic for first page results as compared to later pages. In fact, 75% of online searchers won’t even look past the first page.
Lawyer SEO = How to Get to the First Page of Google
There are two very important services for business that Google has created. They are Google Places for Business and Google + Local. These services are designed to help your business get to the top of the Google search results, which is the whole reason for doing lawyer SEO). It is doubtful that you will be on the first page of the search results if you don’t have a profile on Google + Local and Google Places for Business. In a nutshell, no Google Profiles = no first page on Google for your law firm.
What are the Differences Between Google Places for Business and Google + Local?
Well, Google has created a mishmash with this one. And, unfortunately, they haven’t really made an effort to clear up the bewilderment among business owners. Luckily, this article will clarify some of the points for you.
Google Places for Business = Address and Business Information for Your Law Firm
This means Google Places for Business is where your law firm’s information will show up in the search engines. This will include your firm’s address, phone number, website, and if you like, photos. By editing your listing in Places, you will also show up in results for Google Maps when people do a search for law firms in your area. Google may already have some information listed for your firm, but this will allow you to control and edit it. You will also be allowed to include updated, new or additional information on your Profile, if you are interested maximizing lawyer SEO. It is always better to have a more complete profile because it will bring more traffic to your website.
Google + Local = Your Social Media Presence
Google + Local is your profile on social media. It will give clients an overview of your law firm. Better reviews equal better ranking in search engine results, which in turn equals better lawyer SEO. You will be able to add photos, share content and much more. You can connect with your visitors, get reviews and enjoy watching your website traffic increase.
Perhaps you are wondering if people are really using Google+. At one time, I was sure it was a failed attempt by Google to defeat Facebook at social networking. It’s possible that this is true, but without a listing for your firm in Google, you will be missing chances to find new clients among people searching for law firms in your area of the country.
Most likely, your law firm cannot currently be found on Google + Local or Google Places for Business. In fact, most law firms are not even aware of these services. But, in its algorithm, Google is giving more and more weight to law firms and businesses that do have Google + Local and Google Plus profiles. So, many firms are building Google+ profiles that are extensive. These law firms are consistently having better results than those who don’t do it.
Ok, so what’s in it for me with these profiles?
Let’s say that you’re a criminal defense attorney based in Albuquerque (sorry for the reference to Breaking Bad) and, for example, you complete a Google Places profile that includes your phone number, address and website. By doing this, your firm is much more likely to appear on the first page of the Google search results. It is also much more likely to show up on Google Maps. This will only take a few minutes of your time and it will pay big dividends.
Here is some supporting data from a recent analysis:
- 30% of all searches on the Internet are local
- 40% of all local searches are done on mobile devices
- 83% of all local searches are done using Google Maps
- 87% of all local searchers on Google will visit a place of business after the search
When a potential client makes a local search, maybe that search for a criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, Google will bring back local results. These results are created from the information that the law firm entered into Google Places. The firm that comes up first is determined by lawyer SEO which, luckily, you can positively affect by writing a great Google + Local profile.
When Google returns that Google Places result, it will give you a map of the location of all relevant businesses and provide direct links to their profiles. If you want to have your firm included in those results, you will have to have a Google Places listing.
At this point, getting a Google + Local listing probably sounds like it’s a complete hassle. You’re thinking – “I have a LinkedIn profile, or a Facebook page or a Yelp! page, why do I need anything else?”
Sorry, I’m afraid that’s not enough.
Google being the way it is trusts its own products and services more than those of others. All Google services tend to receive more weight from Google Search. So, while you might have a Yelp! or Facebook profile that has traffic, you will still have a much better chance of getting your law firm into your prospective client’s search results if you have a Google + Local profile.
So let’s make sure we are completely clear. If you don’t have a Google+ Local business listing, you can’t show up on the first page of the Google search results.