Let’s assume a potential prospect, Anna, visits a friend who lives close to your firm’s office. Anna has just been unfairly treated by someone and might have a case. While conversing, her friend suggests she speaks to an attorney as soon as possible. Like most people today, she confides in the Web and searches for “Top human rights law firms near me.” Within a few seconds, she sees several suggestions of law firms near her. If your firm were to focus on human rights, on a scale of 1 – 10, what are the chances you’re to be found, and ultimately chosen?
It is an undeniable fact that Google dominates the search space. Currently, 92% of all searches online happen on Google. To be a bit more precise, over 3.5 billion searches are done every day – and those looking for law firms are no exception to the rule!
Not only are people turning to Google for almost anything, but most will likely stay on the first page. Just think back to this: when you search the web, how often do you go past the first page? For most, the answer is: seldom. Those on the first page get the most; the first organic result alone gets approximately 26% of clicks from searchers (excluding ad results).
So, circling back to the scenario with Anna and her friend. The question that now arises is: how can firms compete and position themselves in Google’s rankings and stand in front of users like Anna? The answer lies with Google Business Profile, formerly known as GMB (Google My Business).
What Is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile is a free resource that grants you access to a free listing on Google. You can manage your local business with it since you get access to a free listing. What’s more, you also get to optimize, customize, and professionally handle your Business Profile on Google.
In the following chapters, we’ll explain how to set up your Business Profile, but to give you an overview; once a Business Profile goes “live,” it becomes an “open” platform for others to add reviews, questions, answers, photos, and suggestions from the public.
In some instances, Google may populate a Business Profile with information from across the web. In the case of law firms, it is even much more critical to not “leave things to chance,” as your reputation may be as good as the information presented about your business on a Business Profile.
Thanks to Google Business Profile, you can make a conscious and professional effort to manage and control vital information about your business to the public. This leads up to the next question…
For Whom Is Google Business Profile Ideal?
According to the Google Business support team, this is ideal for all businesses (including firms) that meet the following criteria:
- The business must be a legally operating business.
- The business must have a local physical address.
Google recommends that most businesses meet these requirements by default because the Business Profiles are likely to be shown to locals closer to one’s location. Think back to the example of Anna looking for a human rights law firm near her.
Law firms, this is good news for you. Most of you already have an office and practice within a specific jurisdiction, therefore automatically meeting the criteria. In other words, this platform is more than ideal for you! Now let’s jump to the next section.
Why is Google Business Profile essential for Firms:
Regardless of the size, age, or location, law firms stand to benefit immensely from Google Business Profile. Here are some of the many benefits it can bring to your firm:
- Boosting Your General Online Visibility: When your Business Profile shows up next to search results, it almost seems to suggest or recommend your business to the searcher, especially when you share the same keywords with your competitors who do not have Business Profiles. This already makes you stand out.
- Appearing in Maps and Google Local Pack: It is one thing to appear in search results and a completely different thing getting found in Maps and Google Local Packs. The latter tells searchers about your firm, but it also directs them to your location. Getting listed in Google My Business automatically adds one’s business location to the mighty Google Maps engine.
- Performing Local SEO: With a Business Profile, you can take your SEO efforts a step further by optimizing for keywords that match your location.
- Building A Reputation via Reviews: Did you know that around 78% of people trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a family/friend? With this statistic alone, it’s clear to see people do business with people. Through reviews you’ll increase your trustworthiness and already give prospects (like Anna) an idea of what to expect before they walk through your firm’s door.
- Gaining Insights: Have you been looking to make the smartest data-driven decisions? It’s possible. Every month, you receive insights about how your business is fairing on Google. For example, you’ll be able to see how many people saw your profile.
- Communicating effectively: With the help of inbuilt communication tools such as messaging, free profile sites, posts, and more, firms can easily communicate with their audiences.
- Increasing Sales Funnel and Revenue: A well-built and complete Business Profile can draw in many prospects that are in the limbo of the sales funnel. Moreover, the more people find you, the higher the chances are of increasing your revenue!
How to Create A Google Business Profile:
Step 1: Sign in to Google Business Profile Manager
- The first step is to visit: https://business.google.com or https://www.google.com/business. Either takes you to the Google Business Profile homepage.
- Like most Google products, all you need is a Google email and password, and it’ll automatically log in to the Google Business Profile.
- If you do not have a Google account, you may create one right from the login page, after which you are redirected back to the Google Business Profile Manager dashboard.
Step 2: Add your Business
- In the short form that appears, enter your Business Name. Tip: Please join with the official registered name of your firm in this field.
- If you’re the official owner of the business name or have the authority to own it, you may click on the title to begin a process to “claim” the name.
- If your business name doesn’t appear, don’t panic. In the drop-down menu, click “Add your business to Google .”Next, choose the right category for your firm and click the “Next” button.
Step 3: Add your location information
- Google asks you if you have a physical location where your customers or clients can visit. Select “Yes” and enter your firm’s physical location if you do.
- If your entered location is not automatically selected on the map, you may be asked to choose the specific location on the map using the marker.
Step 4: Add your contact information
- What’s the best way others can reach out to you? Whether it’s via a phone number, a live chat, a website, other ways, or all of the above, enter all the details in the form.
- Then click “Next.”
Step 5: Business mailing address & verification
- To ensure your details (especially your location) are accurate, Google requires all Business Profiles to verify their addressing. Fill the form with your physical mailing address (not a Post office box).
- Please note: unlike your business location, the mailing address details are not displayed on your Business Profile or seen by the public.
- Click the “Next” button after entering the correct information.
Important notice: Google will mail a postcard to your given mailing address within 5 to 10 business days. This postcard contains a five-digit verification code, which you must enter to verify your business address.
- When you finally receive the postcard, enter it on the next page or login back to your Google Business Profile Manager account and click on “Verify” or “Verify Business .”A confirmation screen shows up to confirm your verification. Then, click “Next.
Step 6: Customize & Optimize
- Congrats! You have successfully joined Google Business Profile. At this point, you can customize it with your working hours, business description, messaging preferences, and photos.
- Click “Continue” to go to the Business Profile Manager dashboard.
Best Tips To Get the Most of Google Business Profile:
Although there are hundreds of ranking factors, for this specific case, Google determines your firm’s local search rankings with these 3 factors:
- Relevance – of your firm matching the search query.
- Distance/Proximity – of your firm’s location to that of the user.
- Prominence – of your Business Profile in terms of how “well-known” it depends on your content, inbound links, reviews, review score, SEO optimizations, etc.
To ensure your local law firm stands out from the rest, here are some of the best tips to follow:
- Completing all sections of your profile with the relevant, accurate, and up-to-date. Today, your firm is seen as reputable 2.7 times more and is 70% more likely to be visited by prospective clients if you have a complete Business Profile.
- Verifying your location(s). Verified Business Profiles are more likely to be ranked ahead of unverified ones.
- Including Keywords. Your prospective clients are likely to use your profile. Tools such as Google Trends, Keyword Planner, and Google Analytics can be beneficial in discovering the right words to include in your profile.
- Encouraging, asking for, and answering reviews and questions. Identify satisfied clients and ask them to leave reviews on Google.
- Updating your profile with posts, photos, and other helpful content. Give users a feel of your office, staff, and anything else you deem necessary.
- Using other related features in your dashboard. For instance, service-based businesses can add a list of their services, add booking and reservation buttons, etc.
Takeaway: Attracting More Local Visitors is Possible
Now let’s tie it all together. Google Business Profile is a powerful business-listing platform loaded with features and benefits. When joined forces with the rest of your marketing, you increase the visibility and reputation of your firm’s business.
Overall, it can cause what we call a ‘ripple effect’ in marketing. What can start as a ‘simple added benefit’ can be so much more. For many, it’s increasingly becoming their digital bread and butter – and it can be yours too.
As more and more of your prospects turn to their phones for help it’s paramount you position your firm as the go-to for Anna, her friends, family, community, and pretty much anyone else! Attracting more local visitors is possible, and we can help you every step of the way.