Has your law firm moved to a new office? Are you using a new phone number? Have you made any changes to your firm’s name in the recent past? When you make these types of changes, updating your information online is just as important as installing your sign on the side of your new building. The reason: the accuracy and consistency of your online citations (anyplace your firm’s name, address, and phone number are mentioned on the Web) have an impact on your local search engine rankings.
Today, local search optimization is key for growing your law firm’s business. A vast majority of people are searching the Internet to find local businesses. In 2015, according to BrightLocal, 91% of people search for a local business online. Consumers are doing it more frequently, too, with 14% of people saying they search for a local business every day.
If you make changes to your firm’s name, address, or phone number, and don’t reflect those changes in your Google My Business location or on other Web platforms like directories, your firm could lose visibility in local search results. Without prospects being able to find your firm in those results, you could see a downturn in prospects and cases that you sign from the Web.
Positioning your law firm for local search is inexpensive, fairly easy, and absolutely necessary.
Moving your firm to a new office can be a pain, but the heavy lifting should only be reserved for packing up those case files and somehow getting that cumbersome bookshelf out the door. Updating your Google My Business information should be a breeze if you follow these simple dos and don’ts!
Dos and Don’ts of Changing Your Google My Business Location
Do: Update your website with your new name, address, and phone number. This information needs to be correct on your website so that when you update local listings, like your Google My Business location and other directories and sites across the Web, it will be consistent and accurate.
As an example, here is how the Consultwebs address is displayed on our website:
Do: Move your Google My Business location, by updating your name, address, and phone number in the Google My Business Dashboard. You may need to re-verify your listing with Google for the changes to reflect publicly. Most of the time, you can verify the new location by phone or have a postcard mailed to your new address. It is very important you update your information within your current dashboard so that you can be assured your Google reviews remain associated with your location page.
See how our address and phone number are listed in Google? It mirrors our website exactly!
Don’t: Delete your Google My Business location and create a new one. You could lose all of your Google reviews. Also, deleting a page does not guarantee the page will be removed from Google altogether. This can cause duplicate listings to reappear.
Don’t: Use an address or phone number in your Google My Business listing different from what is on your website. This is a reiteration of the first “Do” listed here, but accuracy and consistency are extremely important factors for strong local rankings. It can be tempting to use call tracking in your Google My Business listing to track leads, but this causes issues with consistency and can hurt your local search rankings.
Next Steps for Optimizing Your Law Firm’s Website for Local Search
After you have successfully changed your business information in Google, there are additional steps you can take in order to improve your local rankings. According to Moz’s 2015 study of local search ranking factors, the No. 1 signal for ranking locally in Google is a well-optimized Google My Business page. One of the first steps in optimizing your page is to make sure it lists the proper category for your firm, such as “Personal Injury Attorney.” You and your staff should also continually work on getting reviews from former clients on your Google My Business page. Please make sure to develop a process in accordance with Bar guidelines in your state.
You will also want to optimize your website for your new location. The city in which you practice should be featured in the content on your site. Including the city name in your titles, descriptions, and headings can increase the relevance of your website for that geographic area. Additionally, embedding your office’s Google Map, Street View, and virtual tour in your website will not only send local ranking signals, it will also improve your website’s usability for visitors.
Another important local ranking factor is the consistency of your name, address, and phone number across the web. It is vital to build accurate and consistent citations in other directories like the Yellow Pages, Yelp, and Facebook. Google takes notice of your activities off-site too, so if you are mentioned in local media such as an online newspaper, be sure your name, address, and phone number are correct in the article!
By paying attention to your law firm’s basic information across the Web, and making proper changes and updates when necessary, you can improve your local search optimization. By getting your firm’s listing to appear closer to the top, and in more search results, you’re more likely to get increased visits and ultimately more cases from the Web.