According to a Martindale-Avvo study, search engines are the first resource consulted by consumers looking for an attorney, and online reviews and directories combined are a close second. Making sure your law firm Google Business Profile (GBP) (formerly Google My Business) is claimed, complete, accurate, and optimized is a baseline legal marketing task that helps your law firm appear when people are searching for it or its services online. Keep reading to learn more about how to maximize the benefits of a (free!) Google Business Profile for law firms.

If you don’t have a Google Business Profile, a referral or others looking for your business by name may not find you. If your listing is unclaimed or incomplete, the information provided by Google to your potential clients may be inaccurate, unprofessional, or misrepresentative of your business.

Does a Law Firm Need a Google Business Profile?

Google holds 85 percent of the online search market share on desktop and 96 percent of the market share on mobile. Google Business Profiles feature prominently in search results for local services, and Google explicitly states that claiming and updating your listing can improve your business’s local ranking.

Potential clients are looking for your business and its services online. Your law firm GBP is a free, accessible tool that can help them find you. Local search engine optimization (SEO) helps law firms and attorneys “get found” online, and the GBP listing is an essential element of local SEO.

Do potential clients see one of these when they Google your law firm’s name?

That ultra-professional panel, which sometimes appears on the right side of search results, is a sample law firm Google Business Profile. It’s important in the realm of legal marketing because the GBP typically appears when a user searches for a specific law firm or attorney name (known as a “vanity” or “branded” search).

You can’t buy a Google Business Profile, but you can create or claim yours for free!

Image of a computer screen with store awning on top, representing the benefits of having a law firm Google Business Profile.

What Is a Google Business Profile?

Google wants to provide comprehensive, relevant information to its users, so it gathers and publishes business details with (or sometimes without) the input of the company the listing represents. The profile that Google creates for law firms serves as prime real estate when potential clients search for your law firm online.

It is up to business owners and professionals—like law firms and attorneys—to determine whether their business has an existing listing and to claim, verify, and update the information in the listing. If you fail to do this, the first information a potential client sees about you or your law firm may be inaccurate, misleading, incomplete, or altogether erroneous. Or potential clients won’t find you online at all, but will instead find your competitors who claimed and polished their Google Business Profile listings.

How Can a Google Business Profile Help My Law Firm?

A Google Business Profile is a free business listing that represents your law firm across Google products and services, including Google Maps and Search. This listing is:

  1. Highly visible;
  2. Particularly important for local and branded search; and
  3. A free way to market your law firm online.

How Do I Create and Set Up My Law Firm’s Google Business Profile?

It only takes a few relatively simple steps to create and complete a Google Business Profile for law firms:

  1. Visit www.google.com/business/ and click “Manage now” or sign in to your Google Business account if you already have one for other Google services.
  2. Search for your business name to see if Google has created a listing for your firm.
  3. If your firm name appears in the search, click on it to see if the listing has been claimed. If your firm does not have an existing profile, click “Add your business to Google.”

Google will walk you through the remaining steps to claim and verify your business listing. Be sure to adhere to Google’s policies when setting up and maintaining your account and profile. You may also be asked for details about your business and location, images, or even a short video as part of the GBP verification process.

What Information Is Included in a Law Firm Google Business Profile?

Your law firm GBP displays critical information about your law firm that clients and potential clients want to know:

  • Law firm or attorney name;
  • Logo;
  • Website link;
  • Business categories (practice areas);
  • Location and address;
  • Office hours;
  • Appointment link;
  • Description or “From the Owner” narrative; and
  • Images.

In addition to presenting a professional image of your firm, it’s critical in today’s mobile society to make information about your law firm easy to find. After all, your law firm GBP listing is probably where clients and leads will obtain your address, your phone number, and even directions to your office.

Most lawyers don’t realize that Google allows “public-facing professional[s] . . . with their own customer base”―such as attorneys―to create individual practitioner GBP listings. Creating or claiming your attorney practitioner listing is a great way to ensure that leads who discover you via referral find you right away.

Google Unilaterally Creates a Google Business Profile for Law Firms—Ouch!

Even if no one within your company has created a Google Business Profile for your law firm, Google may have done so sua sponte. We’ve often seen law firms with GBP listings displaying poor reviews, yet no one at the firm even knew the profile existed, much less challenged bad reviews that violated Google guidelines.

Google your law firm name. Do you have a listing? Is it current and accurate? Does it include surprising information, such as negative reviews, that could tarnish your firm’s attractiveness to qualified leads?

Now do the same thing for your name, adding “attorney XX” to the end (where XX is your state postal code). What did you see?

When it comes to actively managing their digital presence, many law firms and lawyers bury their heads in the proverbial sand. Reactivity is not the right approach here. Google and other digital platforms will create listings for you and your law firm even if you don’t. And once that profile is up, people can leave reviews, positive or negative, that will impact you in the future.

Google also sometimes pulls reviews from other online sources, like Facebook or legal directories, and these may appear in your law firm or attorney GBP listing. Finally, the Questions & Answers section of the GBP allows Google users to post—and answer—questions related to your business.

How to Make My Law Firm Show Up on Google Search

Ensuring that your GBP listing accurately and professionally reflects you or your law firm is essential for effectively representing your brand online and critical for local SEO for lawyers. If you want your law firm to show up on Google Search and effectively and accurately represent your practice, only proactivity will do.

Contact TOPDOG for Help with Google Business Profile for Law Firms

Ready to get started? Contact TOPDOG online or call toll-free at (844) HEY-T-DOG (439-8364) today for help claiming and optimizing your law firm Google Business Profile.

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