Google Business Profile (GBP), previously known as Google My Business, is a free business listing intended for local businesses to manage their online presence on Google Search and Google Maps. After creating a Google Business Profile, your firm’s listing shows up directly in searches and Google Maps making it a core element of helping potential clients find your website where they can discover answers to their legal questions and connect with your firm.
Read on for your Google Business Profile first steps, how to target your ideal client in 2022 using GBP, and tips for advanced uses of your business listing.
Google Business Profile first steps
To create a Google Business Profile, you will first need to have a Google account. After you are logged into a Google account, you are automatically logged into your GBP Manager where you will add your firm to Google. From here, begin filling out all available forms to completion:
1. Select the appropriate business category for your firm and list your phone number and website address.
It’s important to complete these steps with care and accuracy. Add your firm using the name and phone number you display on your website and choose the business category that best fits your practice area.
2. Enter the location of your firm. Be sure to include a suite number if applicable and check that your office location is appearing correctly on the map. Before your GBP is complete, you will need to verify your firm’s office address. Google does this by sending a postcard to your office address that contains a randomized code you will then have to submit in the GBP Manager portal.
3. Add your business description to inform potential clients what your practice areas are and what local areas you serve. Consider which keywords your potential clients may use in a search that you can include in your description that will read naturally.
4. If you have recent, high-quality headshots or group staff photos, add these to your GBP so potential clients can get to know you and your practice a bit better. Other helpful photos include your firm’s logo and clear, recent shots of your office space.
Using Google Business Profile to target your ideal client in 2022
If you are new to Google Business Profile or looking to optimize your listing to target your ideal client in 2022, there are a few key things you can do.
First, complete all elements of your business listing. Check that you’ve added Labels to your listing that are relevant to your location and practice areas and that your office hours are accurate. If you have multiple office locations and therefore multiple GBP listings, verify that you’ve mirrored the supplemental information for both listings.
This year, make it a goal to rise above your local competition and improve your firm’s SEO with several positive client reviews. Mark a follow up with each satisfied client after their case closes to request a testimonial for your Google Business Profile and/or website. Also set aside some time each week to look over any new reviews and craft responses.
If you have taken a new headshot or staff group photos, add these to your listing to show potential clients that you are active. This also helps potential clients put a face to your name and make a connection just as they would on your website.
Lastly, utilize the free GBP Insights to learn more about how potential clients are finding your listing and what actions they are taking once they’ve found you. This can help you identify larger trends in client search behavior that you can implement into your current website marketing strategy.
Leveraging your Google Business Profile for online marketing
Potential clients find Google Business Profiles useful for a variety of reasons such as finding your firm’s website, contact information, checking client reviews and getting quick directions to your office. GBP also makes it easy for searchers to compare local businesses by toggling between listings in Google Maps.
Drive traffic back to your firm’s website through your business listing by utilizing additional GBP features such as Reviews, Messaging, filling out services information, crafting Q&As, and posting regular Updates. These features on GBP act as an extension of your website as additional touch points for you to ultimately lead potential clients to your website resources. It is useful to build out these features while keeping a clear and open channel to your firm’s website.
Here are some of the features that GBP provides:
One of the most effective ways to stand out among your local competitors is to have a regular influx of positive client reviews. Reviews take second place to your GBP as a local ranking factor and can positively or negatively influence potential clients when deciding whether to hire you. Your Google reviews are also a perfect place to pull from when managing recommendations on your website to feature the best ones that potential clients are likely to see first.
Beyond the star rating of your review, potential clients take into consideration the date, legitimacy, quantity, length, detail, and sentiment of your available reviews. It’s vital for lawyers to take charge of the narrative and actively respond to all client reviews regardless of if they are positive or negative. If the review happens to be negative or bogus, it’s especially important that you respond quickly and put it to rest.
Messaging on Google Business Profile
The Messaging feature on GBP is optional for businesses and can provide potential clients with a secure and private way to inquire about legal issues directly through your listing. Lawyers can manage incoming messages through the mobile app or on the desktop site. Please note: It’s recommended to have a consistent method for monitoring and responding to these messages as an ignored message may result in a lost client or a negative review.
Make it simple for potential clients to discover your practice areas by providing Services information on your GBP. While this doesn’t impact your search ranking, Services can be highlighted in results that match a potential client’s search keywords. Link your website’s corresponding practice areas to each Service description and direct traffic back to your website’s practice area pages.
Take your GBP a step further by adding a Q&A section to answer frequently asked questions your potential clients may have. This may be an easy step if your website already has a FAQ page to pull from but you can also consider questions you typically hear from clients during the intake process. When responding to questions on your Google Business Profile, link relevant pages from your firm’s website in your answers to prompt potential clients to learn more about the issue on your website.
The Updates feature of your Google Business Profile allows businesses to make announcements up to just 1,500 characters. It’s a great place to link out to new blog posts on your firm’s website or your website’s practice area pages. New Updates appear directly on your GBP and show up in search results and Google Maps.
While an Update is a perfect place to link out your firm’s website, do not list your phone number. This is a violation of Google Posts guidelines “to avoid the risk of abuse.”
Google Business Profile is just one of the many ways lawyers can get ahead of their local competition and improve their SEO: A robust GBP acts as a perfect complement to your website to increase your firm’s visibility on Google and attract more clients. With the aid of GBP, your website can operate as an ultimate information resource for potential clients and increase your lead conversion by giving them the confidence they need to hire you.
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