This article was contributed by Cynthia Madison who works as an author at SmallBizClub.
The legal industry has been clinging to traditional methods for way too long. Professionals working in the legal field can't remain oblivious to the tech advances that surround us at every step and the prevalence of digital solutions that have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives. It's more than obvious that the future online and law firms have to adapt to the new normal.
Although legal professionals are no strangers to intense competition, competing in the virtual environment comes with a whole new set of challenges that can be difficult to tackle for someone who's only just stepped into this unfamiliar realm. One of the areas that pose particular difficulties for law firms today is online promotion. Legal services are a dime a dozen, so standing out from the rest and attracting new clients can be quite tricky.
Fortunately, for every problem encountered in the digital space there's (at least) a solution. And one of the best solutions in this respect comes from everybody's favorite search engine, Google.
GMB can put your law firm into the spotlight
If you're a lawyer who has just entered the online scene and has no idea how to catch clients' attention, the first thing you have to do is improve your rankings on the search engine results page (SERP). That's a lot easier said than done, considering there are thousands of other professionals trying to do the same thing.
The good news is you've got Google My Business – recently revamped to Google Business Profile, but for consistency reasons we're going to use its former name – by our side. GMB is a free tool that gives professionals in all fields the possibility to create a business profile and list important information about their company, and thus achieve greater visibility in Google Search for relevant local inquiries.
Let's look at things from a client's perspective. If you were a user who wanted to find information about a specific provider such as Personal Injury Claims Care, you'd go directly to their site at www.personalinjuryclaimscare.org.uk and explore their services. But if you were simply looking for legal services in your area, you'd just type in the relevant keywords and then look through the results that Google offered. Since it's estimated that the average user doesn't go past the first five listings in SERP, you'd probably only pay attention to the first law firms that pop up. This means you have to put in some effort to make your law firm appear among those results, and GMB can help you get there.
Apart from improving your rankings, and traffic, a GMB profile can also provide useful information to clients looking to learn more about your law firm and gives former clients the possibility to provide feedback and share with others the experience they've had working with you. That's a great way to build trust with your customers and boost your online reputation.
Getting started with Google My Business
The benefits of Google My Business for law firms are more than obvious, but you'll need to learn how to set up an account in order to enjoy all these perks. The process is fairly simple and encompasses a few easy steps.
Check if your law firm is already listed
The first thing you have to do is create a Google account, in case you don't have one, since it's going to be linked to your GMB profile. Then you have to check if there's already a GMB listing for your law firm. You may find out that your business already exists on Google even if you've not created it. don't worry, your account has not been hacked by someone else. This occurs either because a person suggested your business to the search engine or because Google set up the profile using pieces of information that were already available online.
You can easily check if your firm has already been listed by going to Google My Business Profile Manager. Once you've found your firm, you can claim the listing and then review and, if necessary, update the information in your profile.
Create your GMB profile
If there's no listing of your firm, you'll have to create one yourself by clicking add your business to Google button and then adding the required information in each field. There are several aspects you have to pay attention to here. First of all, make sure you provide an accurate description of your firm making sure you include all the relevant details such as address, services, and contact information.
Secondly, you must select the right category for your business. Google provides various options for legal professionals, so instead of opting for a broader category pick one that is more specific, such as personal injury lawyer or family lawyer. Don't forget to include a map marker to let people know where your physical business is located.
Also, if you have more than one physical location, with different pages, you'll have to create separate GMB profiles and descriptions for each of them and then link them to their pages.
Verify your business
After you've completed all the steps mentioned above, you'll have one more thing left to do to finish the process: confirm the ownership of your business. Google will run a verification process, that usually takes up to two weeks, before your GMB profile can go live. There are different methods for that, but most businesses will receive a postcard with a PIN at the address they've listed. You need to enter the PIN into your profile and that concludes the process.
However, this doesn't mean your work is done. If you want to reap all the benefits that a GMB profile provides, you have to spruce it up a bit. That means including pictures, using GMB posts, responding to reviews, adding profiles on other search engines, updating your info regularly, and so on.
GMB is a very simple and effective tool that can really make a difference to your law firm's success in the online landscape, so don't hesitate to take advantage of it.
About the author
Cynthia Madison is an author at SmallBizClub.com with a solid technical, business, and financial foundation. She's responsible for providing share-worthy articles that deliver value straight to the point. Cynthia enjoys watching thought-provoking TED talks on technology advancements in her spare time. She lives a “never stop learning” life.