The Ultimate Guide to Google My Business
Is your Google My Business account robust and up-to-date?
If not, you’re missing out on an excellent – and free – opportunity to boost your law firm’s online presence.
“Google My Business is a tool that can help lawyers manage their online presence across Google search and maps,” says legal marketing consultant Gyi Tsakalakis. “It might actually be the most important online legal marketing tool.”
In a nutshell, Google My Business (GMB) helps clients find you geographically, and it tells them about your practice. It may be their first online impression of you – so you want to make that impression a good one. Your GMB profile can include:
- Your firm’s location, including satellite offices.
- Your hours of operation.
- Pictures of you and your office.
- A description of your practice areas.
- Reviews from former clients.
- FAQs about your practice.
- Contact information.
In the past year or so, Google has added a number of features to GMB. This post will highlight some of these enhancements and provide a step-by-step blueprint for creating your GMB listing.
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Creating Your Google My Business Profile
“If you’re just getting started with local SEO, your Google My Business listing is a great place to focus your early efforts,” says Aja Frost, author of The Ultimate Guide to Google My Business. “It’s important the information about your business that shows up when people search Google is as accurate, complete, and optimized as possible.”
GMB is free, with no catches or hidden fees. The only requirement is you can’t operate 100 percent online. You must have some face-to-face interaction with your clients.
Here is a thumbnail sketch of the steps to set up your GMB listing. For detailed instructions, go to the Ultimate Guide.
Step One: create your account. Log into the Google account associated with your firm, or create an account if you don’t have one. Click “Start Now” and follow the prompts to enter your firm’s name, address, phone number, business hours, etc.
Step Two: verify your listing. You can do this in several ways: by postcard, phone, email, instant verification or bulk verification.
Step Three: complete your profile. Go to the GMB dashboard and click “Info.” Then simply choose the section you want to complete, change or update.
Step Four: optimize your listing. Add as much information as you wish, including the areas you serve, hours, special details (e.g. ‘wheelchair accessible,’ ‘free consultation’), the day and year you opened, your phone number, and your website URL.
Step Five: add photos. “According to Google, businesses with photos see 35 percent more clicks to their website and 42 percent higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps. Photos should be at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high and JPG or PNG files,” says Frost.
Step Six: choose a good cover photo. “Your Google My Business cover photo is one of the most important, as it shows up front and center on your listing,” says Frost.
Step Seven: add posts. This is a relatively new feature to GMB. It lets you publish content directly to Google search results. Suggested posts, according to Tsakalakis: firm events, community service and charity activity, speaking engagements, professional organization leadership positions, information about your services. There is also a Question & Answer section for direct interaction with clients and other parties.
Step Eight: add reviews. You can add positive reviews directly to your listing, and you can also respond to customer reviews.
Step Nine: download the GMB app. Use the app to edit and update your listing, add posts, upload photos and check search results.
Step Ten: check your listing regularly. Anyone can go to your listing and “suggest an edit.” Make sure your listing is accurate.
Download the Ultimate Guide to Google My Business here.
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