Google is the most popular search engine in the world today. Since more people use Google than any other search engine, it pays to show up in its results. If you are marketing a law firm online, you’re going to want to make the best use of the platform as possible.
But there’s a little trick for using the search giant to get the word out, and that’s local search. The search algorithm detects when someone is looking for a local business, and automatically serves up a little map with nearby listings to match the query. So if someone looks for “pizza in brooklyn” they’re going to get a map with pizza places above the regular search results.
Get on that local map and you’re golden. Luckily, you can influence how and when your particular law firm appears in search results by using Google Places. After all, it’s totally free to sign up and use the basic level of service (sure, there are add-ons but they’re dirt cheap as well).
Google Places: Is it Worth it?
The process behind setting up a Google Places listing isn’t difficult. As busy as you probably are, though, it might not seem to be worth your while. For the few minutes that it will take, setting up and optimizing a listing is definitely worth it. If you have a law firm in Dallas, for instance, you’d probably like your listing to appear when someone searches for “law firm Dallas.” By adding plenty of detail to your listing, you can increase the odds of appearing high in the rankings.
Another reason to gain control over your listing involves accuracy. If your law firm has been in business for more than a year, there’s probably already a listing for it. All too often, incorrect information appears on these business listings. Your listing might highlight the wrong area of law, for example, or list the wrong phone number. You could be losing business without even knowing it.
So there you have it – an accurate listing that’s higher on the search engines than even the organic results. Free. Can’t beat that with a stick.
Setting Up Google Places: Step by Step Instructions
Finding your way to the right place can be tricky. The following steps will guide you through the process of setting up and optimizing your Google Places listing.
- Open up a separate Google account for your law firm. Don’t use your personal Google account for your law firm’s Google Places listing because it muddies the waters between the personal and professional. You could use the same account, but they’re free and simple to set up. Besides, when you use a separate account you can load up all of your other Google services there as well (Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Feedburner, and the list goes on and on).
- Visit local.google.com. On the left-hand side, you’ll find a link that says, “Put your business on Google Maps.” Make sure that you are logged into your business Google account, then click the link.
- After clicking the link, you’ll be given several different options. Select the one for “Google Places.” This will bring you to a section where you can begin the process of setting up and optimizing your law firm’s Google Places listing.
- As you work your way through the forms, you may be presented with possible matches for your law firm. If a listing already exists, you can claim it as your own. Otherwise, you can follow the easy steps to supply Google Places with all of the business information about your law firm.
- You will be given the option of confirming your listing by phone or by mail. It is much quicker and easier to do so by phone, so go with that option. In a minute or two, a code will be sent to your phone. Enter the code in the Google Places form, and your listing will be confirmed. I confirmed my listings by mail just to see how smoothly the process went, and was pleased to see the postcard show up in about a week. So really, either way is just as good.
- Now that you’ve confirmed your law firm’s Google Places listing, you can flesh it out. Update its phone number and address; be sure to provide details about the areas of law that you practice. Add videos, pictures and links to your website and social networking profiles. Make your listing as useful and informative as possible to give prospective clients a better sense of working with you.
Is setting up a Google Places listing for your law firm worthwhile? Absolutely.