It comes as no surprise that the vast majority of localized businesses are found millions of times per day via Google. As the largest search engine, and part of Alphabet, the 15th largest corporation on the 2019 Forbes Fortune 500, Google has become a powerful service that can be utilized to find customers and clients based on their needs.
One of the many tools Google has created to help businesses in this endeavor is Google My Business.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that businesses can use to manage how they appear in Google’s search results and Maps application. Each business can create a listing that showcases information about them, such as name, location, phone number, and hours of operation.
Google My Business is also used to gather customer reviews for businesses so other prospective customers can read others experiences with a business and learn about potential services. It can even help a business gain insight into how their customers are finding them. Because let’s face it, it’s easier to gain more customers when you know where they are and what they’re searching for.
Steps to Creating Your Listing
- If you already have a Google account (i.e. a Gmail email address, or a Google business email address account), then log into it. If you do not have a current Google account, you can create one easily.
- Once you are successfully logged in, go to google.com/business. In the top-right corner, click on “Start Now.”
- Enter the name of your business.
- Enter your business’ address
- If you happen to deliver goods or services to your customers at their location, here is where you would specify what areas you service.
- Select a category for your business. If you’re reading this article, we can pretty much assume that your category will be “Legal services,” but there are tons of others to choose from if we’re wrong.
- Add your business’ phone number and website address, if you have one.
- Choose your verification method
- This is what the majority of listings will need to use to verify their business. Google will mail a postcard to your given address to ensure you are where you say you are. The postcard contains a website to go to and a code to enter to verify your business listing.
Choosing to verify via the phone will have Google send you a text message — so it probably needs to be a mobile phone — with a code to enter for verification.
If you are already pretty versed in Google’s other free tools, like Google Search Console, you may be able to sign-in with the same credentials to verify your Google My Business listing.
This verification method is only used for businesses that happen to have more than then locations. If you do have more than ten locations, you can find more information on bulk verification in this Google My Business help article.
Optimize Your Listing
Now that your Google My Business listing is created and verified, you can now optimize it by adding details that give extra information to potential customers when they find your listing in their searches.
To start adding information, sign-in to your Google My Business dashboard and click on “Info.”
Once you’re there, you can add details like hours of operation and the areas of the community you serve. This is also a great chance to add your business logo if you have one and other photos of your business. According to Google, businesses that include photos in their Google My Business listing receive 35% more clicks than businesses that don’t add photos. Additionally, Google claims that listings with photos get 42% more requests for driving directions to the business’ location.
Other things you can add to optimize your listing are various attributes like if you have free wi-fi for your customers or your office is wheelchair accessible.
**THIS PART IS IMPORTANT**
Having a Google My Business listing is NOT a “set it and forget it” venture. We highly recommend that you periodically sign-in to your account to review your business’ listed details.
Google allows anyone and everyone to suggest edits to its Google My Business listings, and sometimes, details that are adding via Google and their users can be incorrect, misleading, or outright lies. So please be sure to check in on your profile from time to time.
Adding Video to Your Listing
Do you know what the most engaging medium is online? It’s video.
There’s a reason why 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE. So it’s fair to say that adding a video to your listing can be a good way to further optimize it.
While not required, if you do decide to add a video to your Google My Business listing, there are a few requirements to keep in mind:
- The video must be 30 seconds or shorter
- The video’s file must be 100 MB or smaller
- The video’s resolution must be at least 720p
Gaining and Responding to Reviews
One of the most useful attributes of a Googe My Business listing is customer reviews. These allow prospective customers and clients to gain a little bit of insight into what it’s like to do business with you.
Make it a part of your process to ask satisfied clients to write a short review for your listing and website.
And what’s the best way to gain more reviews? By responding to the reviews you already have. Yes, even the not-so-great reviews. People like when a business engages with its customers. It makes the business entity seem more conversational and human.
Let’s Wrap it Up
We are living in an ever-increasing hyper-local world. We have infinite amounts of information at our fingertips and are able to summon services at the push of a button. Google My Business is a useful resource to help businesses find and retain their customers.
If someone is using their mobile phone to search for estate planning or elder law attorneys in their area, chances are they’re going to be using Google, and having a Google My Business listing gives your firm a higher chance of converting those prospective clients because they’ll have as much information as they need to decide on who to get their services from.
If you’re interested in ways to optimize your online presence, Law As a Business (LAB) Services can help kick start efforts, create best practice marketing and support your success.