Mistakes are painful, especially when they cost you time and money. So while I’d like to say every attorney marketing campaign we’ve ever managed has been successful, there have been a few that were not. So after doing a review of each campaign, there was one issue they all had in common that was so powerful that it even overcame extremely targeted and optimized marketing:
Bad online reviews.
Many attorney firms ignore getting great reviews on their Google My Business (GMB) Page and jump straight into spending thousands of dollars on Google & Facebook ads. Then three months later, they wonder why their campaign underperformed.
If you think there’s a chance you’re also making this mistake, read on to learn what to do about it.
Why Google My Business is important for attorneys
There are five main reasons why your Google My Business listing is enormously important.
- Give accurate contact information to potential clients – When you show up in Google, you want to give the right information, right? Of course. It would be a serious bummer if your business was ranking in Google Maps, and Google’s directory listing but giving out the wrong phone number, business hours, or address.
- Own the search traffic for your own business name – Another reason why Google My Business is so important is that it lets you own the search traffic for your name. If you type in your business name, do you see your directory listing? Do you see your website? You should. If not, that’s a problem.
- Rank in Google’s directory listing (above organic results) – For keyphrases that include a location or that have the intent of finding a business with a physical location, Google’s search results page includes an online directory that features only three business listings (without having to click to see more results). Showing up in one of those three spots means you get a lot of potential clients looking for a law firm like yours.
- Outrank aggregator sites even if your website’s domain can’t – If websites like Yelp and Avvo (that are directory/aggregator websites, themselves) are taking up the majority of the organic rankings on page 1 of Google’s search results, your website can still outrank them within Google’s online directory.
- The majority of searches happen in Google – According to Netmarketshare.com, Google dominates search and gets 75.27% of all search queries. Plus, the vast majority of mobile phones are either Android or iOS devices, and both of these use Google as their default search engine. Since Google is where the majority of searches happen, it’s smart to do everything you can to rank on page 1. So optimizing your Google My Business is one of the best ways to do this.
Common mistakes and issues
We’ve seen many other law firms neglect their GMB page, and many of them aren’t aware that it costs them thousands of dollars in lost clients. These are some of the most common issues that we see on law firms’ Google My Business listings:
- Not updating after merger
- Not checking for errors
- Not using best practices to optimize
- No photos of firm, attorneys, staff
- Very few, if any reviews
- Bad reviews that aren’t addressed by the firm
Take a look at your own listing right now. Are you replying to every bad review in a helpful, undefensive way? Are there photos of your staff? Is everything correct? If not, it’s time to make some changes.
The basics of Google My Business
Before we get into some of the more advanced ways to optimize your listing, let’s first take a look at the basics in case you weren’t aware of them.
To start, you need to take ownership of your page. Search for your business within Google Maps. If your business already has a listing but it hasn’t been claimed yet, you’ll see a link that says “Claim this business.” You’ll then need to verify ownership. Typically, Google will send you a physical postcard to the business address that includes a passcode you can enter in order to verify your physical address.
If your business doesn’t show up in Google Maps and you’re certain that there isn’t already a listing, you can create one from scratch. You’ll need to enter basic information about your business and follow a similar verification process.
How to optimize your listing
Ready to go beyond the basics and optimize your listing? Here’s what you need to do.
Get more reviews
Getting more reviews is the top tactic for increasing your chances of showing up in those coveted Google directory listings at the top of the search results page.
Let’s take a look at how we’ve helped the Law Office of Darryl Freedman get almost 300 reviews and rank at the top of Google for several high-value keyphrases.
When an injury case is settled, the client comes in to the law firm’s office to get their check. Before they leave, the law firm clients ask if the client can do them a favor by leaving them a review. 99% of the clients say they will, yet most get busy and never leave a review.
So we created a postcard on how to leave a review on Google and another postcard for leaving a review on Yelp. These postcards are handed out along with the check.
Then 3-4 days later the law firm calls the client to see how things are going (very few law firms do this so it really helps to reinforce the family atmosphere). As the call is wrapping up, the law firm staff asks the past client if they’ve had a chance to leave a review. The person will say they meant to but never got around to it. Then the law firm staff asks them to grab the review card they gave them and then they walk the past client through leaving a review.
This strategy has worked so well for SEO and sourcing hundreds of reviews, that many of our top law firm clients get hundreds of leads each year from these efforts.
Add great photos
To make your Google My Business listing stand out and do some selling for you, you need to add great photos. These are the best types of photos to add:
- Outside your office
- Inside your office
- Your attorneys
- Your staff at events or helping customers
- Photos of the entire team all together
For our listing, you see the outside of the office on the search results page. Then you can click through to view more images.
Sync your Bing listing with Google
Google has the most amount of search traffic of any search engine (75.27% to Bing’s 10.06% according to Netmarketshare.com). But people still use Bing and that 10.06% of search traffic should also be getting accurate information about your business.
That’s why we recommend that you sync your Bing listing with your Google listing. This means that any time you update something in Google, it’s sent to Bing automatically.
Create a listing for Yahoo!
Yahoo! has just 2.92% of all search traffic, but again, there are potential clients in your area using Yahoo! So create a Yahoo! listing for your business and make sure to check in on it quarterly or annually to verify that it’s still accurate and make updates if needed.
Monitor the reviews you receive and thank every reviewer
This may sound tedious but it isn’t. Most law firms with an online reviews strategy receive 2-3 reviews a month. So thanking people for a great review usually happens once or twice a month, depending on the amount of reviews you receive.
So why is thanking people for leaving a review so important? 1) They took time out of their day to review you. 2) The reviewers appreciate it and it shows potential clients you’re customer-focused. 3) It’s good to have more activity on your page to increase its search ranking.
For positive reviews, you can leave a quick “Thanks for reviewing us, we really appreciate it!” For problematic reviews, you can reply in a polite, calm way to share your side of the story and offer to help them further over email or over the phone.
Optimize your Google My Business page to gain more clients:
- A simple way to outrank competitors and aggregator sites
- Helps you give out correct information to the public
- Easy way to build local authority
- Reviews are one of the most powerful factors for ranking
- You shouldn’t take a passive approach to getting more reviews
- Optimization is a marathon, not a sprint