Meet Your New Secret Weapon: Google Maps SEO

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Local Search Marketing For Law Firms

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When it comes to marketing with Google, you may be asking yourself, “How can potential clients Google my business for law firms?”

Getting your law firm’s website to the top of Google search results for relevant keywords can be a noble attempt, and paying for ads in Google may get you one step closer to getting to potential clients. However, the most lucrative way to get clients to your office is to utilize Google Maps SEO.

But how does Google Maps work, and how can one optimize their Google Maps account to get leads? Let’s take a look at exactly how this form of SEO works, how to optimize your law firm’s Maps page, and how to work around potential hiccups.

First, what is Google Maps SEO and how can law firms benefit from it?

How Can Law Firms Benefit from Google Maps SEO?

Google is the easiest was to bring in clients. 97% of clients seeking legal advice or help use a search engine like Google to find what they need. 50% of clients will visit the top-ranking law firm’s website to take action and make an appointment.

Since all law firms pretty much are aware of this, they all tend to invest heavily into SEO. This creates a predicament that is pretty significant in the industry. If every law firm in Orlando is trying to get on the top page, how will any single firm stick out to potential clients?

The key here is to focus on Google Maps and locality. You may be able to get an ad at the very top of the page or get your website in one of the first results, but the real aspiration here is to be one of the top three local results in Google Maps.

Law firms depend on clients that are local, so the Google Maps listing for a particular city can really bring in leads. Needless to say, law firms can benefit hugely from Google Maps SEO.

Most of the time you won’t even need to spend any money to increase your traffic, either. Local SEO can sometimes deliver very quick results, although it is worth noting that SEO usually requires a bit of patience.

How to Optimize Google Maps SEO for Law Firms Step-by-Step

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply the marketing process of getting a business’ website or social media accounts to the first page (ideally the first few results) of a relevant Google search. Keywords associated with a business will bring up all local businesses in that particular keyword’s niche, so the goal is to rank above one’s competitors.

Let’s take a look at how a law firm can improve its Google Maps listening to catch the eye of new clients. First, make sure you have access to the Google My Business (GMB) listing for your particular company in order to make the necessary edits.

1. Pour details into your Google My Business profile

Many businesses do the bare minimum here, and that is not going to drive traffic to your website or business. Simply registering and providing basic or incomplete information won’t cut it.

Start by providing the following and not skipping out on the details:

  • A complete USPS-valid address
  • The correct phone number and fax number
  • Your website
  • Landing pages
  • Payment methods
  • Areas where the firm serves clients
  • Partner and/or firm member names and roles
  • Your current accurate hours
  • A short but detail description with the necessary keywords
  • Your social media accounts
  • A video ad or introduction in the Video section
  • Photos of your business’ exterior, interior, and perhaps a few attorney profile photos

By filling out your GMB profile, you’ll stand out in a sea of half-finished profiles for your niche. Make sure that your firm’s website has information that matches your listing.

2. Utilize the Q&A section

The newer Question and Answers section is a spot for curious searchers and potential clients to ask questions. These questions can be as simple as “Do they do divorce or bankruptcy?” or “What are their holiday hours?”

Make it a point to regularly check your GMB profile to see if someone has asked a question and answer it yourself.

3. Get your listing verified

Getting your GMB listing verified is a very important step to take. This process can take several weeks to complete, so be sure to start the process right away.

4. Make sure that mobile is your first local priority

“Near me” searches are extremely common. This is because Google automatically tacks “near me” to the end of relevant local searches in the mobile Google search application. Most of the time searchers won’t be able to get halfway through typing “divorce attorney” before “near me” is slapped on.

Tapping this recommendation will let clients see all of the nearest niche firms for their search in their city, all driven by local SEO strategies. It’s vital to make sure that the city you’re serving is deeply ingrained into your verified GMB account.

5. Use legal directories for top-notch backlinks

Legal directories have been a hot tool for law firms trying to build SEO authority for a few years now. There is a very simple but direct link between domain authority and overall rankings in a Google search.

This essentially means that websites with the most authority are usually going to be found in the first search result in Google locally.

The only way to get to the ranking of “domain authority” is to build a lot of high quality and authority-driven backlinks from many relevant sources. One type of relevant source is the legal directory.

Currently, the top law firm directories in the United States (according to Alexa via Lawyer Legion) include:

  • FindLaw.com – Alexa Rank in US – 1,356
  • LegalZoom – Alexa Rank in US – 1,578
  • Justia.com – Alexa Rank in US – 1,610
  • AVVO.com – Alexa Rank in US – 1,628
  • Nolo.com – Alexa Rank in US – 1,663
  • Lawyers.com – Alexa Rank in US – 8,724
  • Legalmatch.com – Alexa Rank in US – 13,045
  • Superlawyers.com – Alexa Rank in US – 15,054
  • Martindale.com – Alexa Rank in US – 19,089
  • Best Lawyers – Alexa Rank in US – 62,622
  • Lawyercentral.com – Alexa Rank in US – 165,031
  • LawyerLegion.com – Alexa Rank in US – 174,379
  • Lawguru.com – Alexa Rank in US – 194,391

The current global rankings for attorney directories include:

  • Justia.com – Global Rank 6,461
  • FindLaw.com – Global Rank  6,891
  • AVVO.com – Global Rank – 8,507
  • LegalZoom- Global Rank – 9,259
  • Nolo.com – Global Rank – 9,263
  • Lawyers.com – Global Rank – 46,064
  • Legalmatch.com – Global Rank – 59,099
  • Superlawyers.com – Global Rank – 89,910
  • Martindale.com – Global Rank – 100,084
  • Best Lawyers – Global Rank – 235,050
  • Lawguru.com – Global Rank – 543,101
  • Lawyer Legion – Global Rank – 599,413
  • Lawyercentral.com – Global Rank – 627,473

If you want to amp up those backlinks, getting content on as many legal firm directories as possible will increase your local Maps ranking.

This is more or less the process of creating a citation portfolio, or a collection of places on the internet where your law firm’s name, address, and phone number are listed. You can easily plaster this information around the web via blogs or keyword bloating, but that doesn’t really work. Quality citations are key for boosting your listing.

6. Take advantage of being part of a law firm chain or substantially large firm

If your business included multiple law firms in a city or state, you could potentially have a massive advantage on your hands when it comes to Google Maps SEO.

Google My Business’ policy states that a law firm group can have a Google Maps listing for each firm and for each individual lawyer or partner within that firm:

“An individual practitioner is a public-facing professional, typically with his or her own customer base. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, financial planners, and insurance or real estate agents are all individual practitioners. Listings for practitioners may include title or degree certification (e.g. Dr., MD, JD, Esq., CFA).”

It’s all about volume! For example, if you have a law firm in Orlando with three partners and ten individual attorneys. Your law firm specializes in criminal defense, personal injury, and estate planning. You can have one Maps listing for the main firm, which would be simply categorized as “law firm.” Then, each of those ten attorneys can have a Google Maps listing categorized for their particular practice area. Lawyer #1 can claim “criminal defense lawyer,” Lawyer #2 can claim “personal injury lawyer,” Lawyer #3 can claim “estate planning attorney,” and so on.

So now, rather than one single Google Maps listing, you have one GMB listing for your firm and ten GMB listings for your individual attorneys for their respective practice areas.

This is a massive advantage because it expands your reach and adds “volume” to your firm.

Many people search for lawyers as such:

  • “best divorce lawyers near me”
  • “personal injury lawyer in Orlando”
  • “Orlando estate planning attorney:
  • “divorce lawyer in Orlando”

As you can see, people search for attornies at the category level. Having many Google Maps listing for your individual attorneys and partners can catapult you to the top of your local keywords. Make sure that your categories are accurate in GMB to really take advantage of this.

Summary

To summarize, keep all of these steps in mind when preparing to amp up your Google Maps SEO for your law firm:

1. Pour details into your Google My Business profile and make sure all of it is accurate.

2. Utilize the Q&A section and stay on top of answering potential client questions.

3. Get your listing verified by Google as soon as possible and expect several weeks for total verification completion.

4. Make sure that mobile is your first local priority when optimizing your listing.

5. Use legal directories for top-notch backlinks to improve your citation portfolio, and focus on quality rather than keyword bloating or poor quality blog posts.

6. Take advantage of being part of a law firm chain or substantially large firm and edit your categories accordingly.

With these in mind, let’s take a look at some more Google Maps SEO tips.

Additional Tips on How to Rank Higher on Google Maps


There are other key tips and tricks to get your law firm to rank higher on Google Maps:

  1. Consider putting the top keywords into the GMB business name to improve your ranking factor.
  2. Social media is gaining more of an impact on Google Maps SEO. Getting more likes, shares, and interaction on social media can make quite a difference. Consider purchasing a signals service for social media or running a promotion or advertisement on Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Consider investing in Google stacks.
  4. Double check to make sure your business categories in GMB are 100% correct and matched up with the keywords you are trying to get your business to rank in.
  5. Encourage your clients to leave reviews for your firm on Google Maps, either through incentive or by simply mentioning it during a consultation.
  6. Even if there are a hundred different personal injury attorneys in Orlando and none of them (including your firm) differ significantly, it’s still very important to find your niche. A huge part of SEO is building niche and relevance in a local setting.
  7. Consider drafting a press release to increase high-quality backlinks for your law firm. There are many content creation companies that can do this for you.
  8. Consider guest posts after doing linking building on social profiles and citations.
  9. Make sure your website has SEO optimized content, is mobile-friendly and user-friendly, and has its schema implemented accordingly.
  10. Remember that patience is key. Google Maps SEO optimization can take some time work, so it may be a while before you see any ROI.

All of these guides and tips are helpful for getting up there on Google Maps, but what if you can seem to get into search results at all? This may not actually be a problem on your end.

Why Can’t My Law Firm Get Into Google Maps?

In my years of legal marketing, I have noticed a recurring problem with my clients. They can’t get their law offices to show up in Google Maps listings. This is a common issue.

Lawyers that are unable to rank in Google Maps might be experiencing a problem that is out of their control: their address.

If you have an address without the name of the city you want to rank for, then you’ll find it extremely difficult to show up in the listings.

Google prioritizes the location of your business. When someone searches for a law firm in a particular city, the Maps results will only show locations with an address in that city.

For instance, if someone searches “Orlando attorneys” then Google will only show law firms with an Orlando address in their results. It doesn’t matter if you have optimized your website for a certain city. If your address isn’t in the city, then you won’t show up in Google Maps for that particular city.

This can be frustrating, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t show up in Google Maps for another area.

Using Unincorporated Areas To Show Up In Maps Listings

Law firms that can’t show up in Google Maps for their chosen cities can still show up for unincorporated areas.

These areas are simply places that don’t have an actual physical address but are still searched in Google, such as a county instead of a city.

People can search for attorneys in Orange County, Florida, but none of the attorneys will have an address with Orange County in it.

Optimizing your web pages for your county instead of the city you serve is an excellent way to still show up in the Maps searches if your address is hurting your search rank.

Unincorporated areas may not get the same high-amount of searches as the cities located within them, but you can more easily rank for them.

If you optimize your website for unincorporated areas, then you can still rank in local searches.

Optimize Your Content And Get New Leads

Law firms should never underestimate the value of unincorporated areas when it comes to Google Maps listings. You might not have control of your address, but you can control the content of your website.

Focus on optimizing your content for your targeted unincorporated area, and you’ll begin to see an increase in your leads from Google Maps.

What do you think about how Google Maps can work for your law firm? Tell us your experience with bringing in new clients with this form of marketing in the comments below!

Photo source: Pixabay

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tried-and-true tactics

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Local Search Marketing For Law Firms