Over the last few years, Google and the other search engines have begun placing more and more focus on local search. The logic of this is pretty sound: if a person is looking for a product or service, they’re typically looking for a local provider. If Google wants to continue to be successful, they want to provide relevant search results for searches and, in this case, it means showing local businesses related to the search term.
This means that when you go to Google and type in “lawyer,” it’s going to give you a listing of local lawyers, including a map showing attorneys in your area with reviews.
The first step to getting your law firm on Google Maps is to get signed up with Google My Business, their new center for business listings. With that site, you’ll add your law firm, verify the listing, and can then optimize your business listing with more information about your practice. If you don’t have your office configured with Google, you’re going to have a tough time ranking in the Local Search results.
The next step is to build citations. Citations are directory listings on the web for business. There are hundreds of these listings, and it can be time-consuming to add your law firm to those. (This is part of our service with our VIP Marketing program.) Here are some of the large directories:
Again, there are hundreds of these, and you’ll want to get your firm listed with as many as possible. Why? Because Google uses these directories to validate your NAP (name, address, and phone). If you have 100 directory listings for your firm pointing to your legal website, Google is going to give your website and Local listing more weight in the search rankings.
The third step to building your Google Local ranking is to integrate your Google+ listing with your website. This is another way for Google to verify your legitimacy.
Finally, you’ll need to build reviews on Google+ from satisfied clients. If you have a healthy set of Google+ reviews from real clients, that gives even more credibility, as Google wants to send people to reputable law firms. We’ll discuss review building in another article.
Marketing your law firm involves a lot of steps, and we’re here to help. You can get free advice with our Complete Guide to Legal Marketing, or you can check out our VIP Legal Marketing Service. If you have any questions, give us a call or contact us here for more information.