Google Business Profile for Lawyers: How to Skyrocket Your Local Search Leads (for Free)

gbpDid you know that Google My Business (now called “Google Business Profile”) provides lawyers with prominent advertising space that attracts new clients from local search pages — for free?

If you’re like many firms, you rely heavily on local business. Google Business Profile can helps lawyers promote their firms.

But that requires more than simply adding a couple of photos and including your business name, address and contact details.

Searchers are actively looking for local firms like yours — the average Google Business Profile receives 33 clicks per month. But complete listings are seven times more likely to get clicks than those left unfinished.

Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to achieve that. With as little as half an hour of effort, Google My Business optimization will get your law firm’s profile in shape to feature prominently on search pages.

In this post, you’ll learn how to optimize Google Business Profiles for lawyers, helping your listing dominate local search pages and generate a steady flow of local leads.

Why does an optimized Google Business Profile matter?

A complete Google Business Profile is an essential component of law firm SEO services, and for good reason.

Potential clients are actively searching for law firms like yours in the local area. Clients are also checking out how to contact you, your opening hours, as well as your reputation and reviews.

If they type your business name in, your Google Business Profile will appear prominently on the right-hand side of the page. This is what you’ll see if you search for The Maine Divorce Group, for instance.

GBP For Lawyers SERP

Optimized Google Business Profiles show up in Google Search and Google Maps. If you don’t have an optimized profile, you’re missing out on a potentially huge volume of free traffic and leads.

Completing a profile costs nothing and increases your visibility in Google, putting you in a strong position to attract your share of traffic. There’s really no downside.

The benefits of Google My Business optimization for lawyers are best demonstrated with an example.

Anyone searching for “criminal defence lawyers Alberta” will see something like this.

GBP For Lawyers Alberta Criminal Defence Lawyers

Google goes into local search mode and displays a map with pinned locations and featured businesses (this is sometimes called the “local finder,” “local three-pack,” or “map pack”). Over 40 percent of local searches involve clicks on the Google Map Pack.

Google wants local searchers to be able to find and contact businesses near them easily. This applies whether someone is searching for a pizza restaurant or a law firm.

Rather than just displaying the titles and descriptions from websites, like on standard search engine results pages (SERPs), Google Business Profile listings are displayed in the map pack — but how does Google select which businesses to feature?

Map pack listings are not paid listings (though sometimes ads appear). They appear because of steps taken during Google My Business optimization — and usually feature firms with complete profiles that have received plenty of positive law firm reviews from clients.

If you click on the link to Michael Oykhman Criminal Defence Lawyers in the above example, you’ll see a page like this.

GBP For Lawyers Michael Oykhman CDL

The fully optimized panel for this law firm looks like this.

GBP For Lawyers Michael Oykhman CDL 2

As you can see, it carries a lot of information:

  • Photos from inside and outside the practice
  • Map with pins for location
  • The firm’s name
  • A link to the website
  • Directions to the office(s)
  • Google reviews star rating
  • The number of Google reviews received
  • A brief description of the practice and location
  • A longer description of the business
  • Office address
  • Opening hours
  • Phone number
  • Province
  • Appointment URL
  • Questions and answers
  • Sample content
  • Reviews from the web (Google, Facebook and Trust/Analytics)
  • Opportunity to save details to phone
  • Google reviews
  • Opportunity to write a review

This is an optimized Google Business Profile listing for lawyers. It should be easy to see how it can help you dominate if you are at the top of the pile when someone is searching for a law firm in your local area.

The information on this panel provides instant credibility for any law firm and provides searchers with an instant way to contact the firm.

This means that Google Business Profile optimization should be an important element of your law firm marketing strategy. To optimize your listing, follow the steps detailed below.

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Google Business Profile optimization for lawyers: Getting started

There are some basics you need to know about Google Business Profiles from the start — like how to claim your listing, what to do if another business has claimed it, and how to add the basic information you need to get started. When done right, you’ll start getting new clients fast.

Firstly, a few notable things about Google Business Profiles:

  • Every business is entitled to a GBP listing
  • It’s completely free!
  • You have to provide proof of ownership to claim your listing if you don’t yet have a listing
  • It’s not meant to replace your law firm website or any other marketing channel — it works alongside existing marketing campaigns
  • Google Business Profile used to be called Google My Business, and before that, Google Places
  • A GBP listing will appear on Google Maps if it is relevant to a searcher
  • If you have multiple business locations, each location can claim a listing
  • GBP listing’s relate to local service ads

If you have a Google Business Profile listing and are aware of it, you probably know the above info already and can jump ahead to the optimization tips below.

If you’re not sure, it’s very unlikely that you have an optimized listing.

You can conduct a Google search to see if your business already has a GBP listing or not. Simply type your business name in.

If your firm has been around a while, you’re probably already listed — but you may still need to claim it. Then it’s yours to optimize and do as you wish.

Check out this Google page on finding and managing your business for a few preliminary tips.

GBP For Lawyers Find & Manage Your Business
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Somebody else claimed your business?

If someone else already claimed your business, you need to request ownership from the current profile owner.

Here’s what then happens, according to Google.

GBP For Lawyers Request Ownership
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How do I add my law firm to Google?

If your law firm does not have a GBP listing yet, go to the main Google Business Profile page and sign in using your Google account.

GBP For Lawyers Getting Started

Once you begin the process, follow the prompts to set up a listing, taking care to enter the information truthfully and accurately.

The basic information you need to input to get started includes:

  • Your business name (with correct capitalization)
  • Your business address (in its usual format)
  • Your other contact details (telephone number, email address, etc.)
  • Opening times
  • Your service area
  • The relevant business category

Add or edit your service area

The importance of this feature may vary for different firms, but most should pay close attention to it.

If your business predominantly comes from the local vicinity, it’s important to specify the service area. If you receive business from all across your province or across Canada, it’s less important.

To optimize this section, simply click “Edit Profile” and head over to the “Location” tab.

gmb edit location

Choose your business category carefully

An important part of your Google Business Profile listing is your business category. While that may sound simple enough, many law firms get it wrong.

If you set your primary category as “law firm” or “attorney,” you’re being far too general. It’s much better to select “divorce lawyer” or “criminal defense attorney” as your primary business category, reflecting your main practice area.

There are almost 4,000 business categories available for Google Business Profiles, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a few that match more specifically what your law firm primarily does.

Don’t rush this as you want to appear in as many searches as possible for the relevant practice areas your law firm engages in.

You might focus on one specific practice area, like Sinel & Olesen in New York.

(Image Source)

Other firms like Irigonegaray, Turney, & Revenaugh, LLP in Topeka are far more diverse in their practice areas, offering services in criminal defense, personal injury, family law, and estate planning.

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You can add primary and secondary categories. So, Irigonegaray, Turney, & Revenaugh might list personal injury as their primary category and slip and fall injury as a secondary category.

Keep in mind the following:

  • You can’t create your own category
  • If you add or edit one of your existing categories, you may be asked to verify your business again

To add or edit categories for your listing simply follow these steps.

GBP For Lawyers Edit Business Category

Verifying your business listing

Verifying your business listing will mean that it can show up in search results and you can access analytics and reviews.

Without going through the verification process, Google will not make your listing visible to the world.

There are various ways to verify depending on your communication preferences (fortunately, Google has recently moved on from its practice of verifying businesses only by postcards using snail mail — though this remains an option).

GBP For Lawyers Business Verification
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As mentioned earlier, you may also need to re-verify your business if you change information about it.

Google Business Profile optimization: How to get more leads

You’ve claimed your Google Business Profile listing, filled in some basic details, and you’re almost ready to publish the relevant information about your business to the world.

But before you do that, you’ll want to ensure that all elements of your GBP listing are fully optimized so that it performs best for lead generation.

That’s not difficult. You just need to fill out all the right information in the right fields. There are no trick questions.

Most of it is basic details about who you are, where you are, what you do, how to contact you, and what people think of your business. But there are a few sections that have become more prominent,nt recently and which might take a little more effort.

Remember, you’re trying to achieve an optimized profile like this one from Trey Porter Law in Texas.

GBP For Lawyers Optimized Profile

Follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll be good to go with an optimized listing that serves you well into the future.

Ensure that the business name, location, and contact details are accurate and consistent

It’s obvious you need to enter your business name and location correctly on the map: users need to be able to find you easily.

But, did you know that it’s also important to list your business name, address and telephone number as you would normally list them online and offline?

Google aggregates your business information from around the web. That means you need to keep names, addresses and other details EXACTLY the same so that they can locate consistent and accurate information about your business.

Say that your full address and phone number are normally written like this:

  • 123 Potomac Lane
  • Sacramento
  • California 95831
  • Tel: 012345678

Enter it in your Google Business Profile exactly like this. Don’t add variations or abbreviations like “Potomac Ln” or “Cal.”

Note how the Wyoming Legal Group lists its name and address in exactly the same format on its Google Business Profile listing and its website.

GBP For Lawyers NAP Listing

GBP For Lawyers NAP Listing Website

Google actually recommends you:

”represent your business as it’s consistently represented and recognized in the real world across signage, stationery, and other branding.”

That’s pretty clear — this is no place to get creative. Be consistent and clear with your name, address and phone number (NAP).

If you mislead or confuse people, Google will penalize you.

Note that while most law firms have physical addresses, some solo lawyers operate almost completely virtually now and do not use office space. You do not have to list an address — live location updates on Google maps can help people find you when you’re on the go — but an address does generally raise trust levels with clients.

List your official business website

This is a simple one.

Add the URL of your most authoritative law firm website (if you have several websites) so that people can click the Website link on your listing to find out more about your business or book an appointment.

Here’s the Taylor Janis Employment Lawyers listing in Calgary, Alberta.

GBP For Lawyers Website

Add your firm’s opening hours

You’re asked to list opening hours if you’re a business that’s available to meet customers at your premises. This will include most local law firms.

Add your opening hours and, if they change, make sure they’re updated to reflect that.

The following listing from Amiri Family Law in Ontario shows their standard opening hours, which may be similar to most law firms out there (the office is closed on weekends).

GBP For Lawyers Opening Hours AFL

However, some criminal defense law firms like the Maine Criminal Defense Group advertise much longer hours.

google business profile for lawyers hours

Jeffrey I. Reisman lists his criminal defense law firm in Toronto as “open 24 hours” because his clients have an open line to him.

GBP For Lawyers Opening Hours JIR

There are no hard and fast rules here as long as the information is accurate and up to date.

If you want to change your firm’s business hours, follow these steps:

  • Open your Google Business Profile.
  • Go to “Edit profile” and select “Business information.”
  • Click on the “Hours” tab.
  • Click on the pencil icon next to the tab.
  • Choose “Open with main hours.”
  • Tick the boxes for the days that your business is open.
  • Use the drop-down fields to set your hours.
  • Click Save.

Optimize your business description 

At the top of your Google Business Profile, you’ll see a very brief description of your business based on your main category and location, like this.

GBP For Lawyers Business Description Short

Further down the profile, there’s an opportunity to say a lot more about your firm in the “From the Owner” section. Consider this your full business description, appearing as a quotation directly below your reviews.

You can describe who you are, what the business does and how your customers benefit by coming to you. You have 750 characters in which to do this, and it looks like this.

GBP For Lawyers Business Description Long

Bryan R. Kazarian uses the business description section of his profile to present a convincing case for why people looking for a criminal defense attorney should call him.

Another good example of a business description that inspires action (through a strong call to action) is Oykhman Criminal Defence in Toronto.

GBP For Lawyers Business Description OCDT

Here’s the official word on how to use this section from Google.

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You’ve already seen a good example of how to make a persuasive case for clients to contact your firm in the business description. Another important strategy is to use keywords when describing the main points of your business.

Just as you would research legal keywords for content on your website and blog, it’s best to use the same terms in the business description of your Google Business Profile.

Drill down into your practice areas to attract direct and qualified traffic looking for your service.

Rather than simply saying “family lawyers Vancouver,” which is broad and highly competitive, a family law firm specializing in divorces might want to include phrases like:

  • Collaborative law
  • Mediation
  • Child custody and child support
  • Separation

If it’s well-written and reads naturally, you can generate qualified leads by including keywords in your Google Business Profile.

Here’s how Spectrum Family Law in Vancouver does it.

GBP For Lawyers Business Description SFLV

Check out our definitive guide to law firm SEO for more information on keyword research and usage.

Add photos of your staff and your business

The power of images and multimedia has grown with social media usage. Google understands that and rewards the use of optimized images online — including in your Google Business Profile.

What’s the first thing you see at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when a Google Business Profile listing is displayed?

GBP For Lawyers Images

Yes, images.

There are options to “See photos” and “See outside.” Clicking on these reveals more images of the law firm (in this case, DeHoyos Law), including an option to view an outside 360-degree view of the offices.

GBP For Lawyers Images DHL

Putting faces to names and buildings to addresses is important as it helps people visualize your firm and starts to build credibility and trust. In fact, Google Business Profile listings with photos are twice as likely to appear reputable as those without.

Google itself points out that businesses with photos on their Google Business Profiles receive more clicks and requests for driving directions on Maps.

GBP For Lawyers Images Google

Add as many photos as you can to showcase the best points of your business: high-quality images of attorneys (pay attention to lighting and focus), images of your reception area, your lawyers talking to clients in meeting rooms, and so on.

Here are a few more tips for uploading photos to your GBP listing:

  • Include your lawyers — people want to see a friendly and helpful face
  • Add a logo, as it’s an important part of your law firm branding
  • Photos should be at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall
  • Use either a JPG or PNG
  • Keep the size of all photos between 10KB and 5MB (the smaller the better)
  • Your main cover photo will be cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio, so select an appropriate photo that will retain its integrity once cropped

There is no “correct” number of photos to include in an optimized Google Business Profile, but the average is around 11 photos per listing.

Gather (and respond to) reviews about your firm

It should be no surprise that reviews are important for law firm Google Business Profile listings. Social proof is essential everywhere now for businesses to thrive online.

Lawyer reviews also improve your search rankings, and Google often favors businesses that have collected more positive reviews.

Reviews, therefore, should feature prominently on your Google Business Profile listings. Check out the top of this listing from Houston & Alexander in Tennessee.

GBP For Lawyers Reviews

Searchers on Google see instantly that this multi-practice-area law firm has received many impeccable reviews and ratings from verified past clients.

Further down the Google Business Profile listing, you get a taste of the reviews (along with the option to write a review if you’re a past client).

GBP For Lawyers Reviews H&L

If visitors click “View all Google reviews,” they can read what all past clients have said about the firm.

GBP For Lawyers All Reviews H&L

The process for requesting reviews can be incorporated into your client intake process, making it simple for clients to write one as part of the standard case “wrap-up” procedure. This can now be automated with law firm software.

Direct clients to a short URL link where they can leave their reviews. To do that, follow the best practices outlined in this very short Google video.

Most customers will willingly say a few words about your service if you looked after them.

Take a little time to respond to (and thank) clients for their reviews (even negative ones). This will demonstrate that you’re active and value their contributions.

With well-considered responses, it’s possible to turn negative reviews into opportunities for your firm to demonstrate a commitment to stellar service — like this excellent example.

GBP For Lawyers Review Response

Complete the Products section

The Products section of the Google Business Profile allows law firms to list all of their main practice areas.

GBP For Lawyers Products

Criminal defense lawyer Trey Porter describes himself as a “DWI attorney” on his Google Business Profile, as you can see above.

This may already sound quite specific, but in the Products section of his listing, he gets even more granular with his service offerings. Here’s what appears when you click View all.

GBP For Lawyers Products TPL

Being specific like this can help drive qualified leads to your practice, as there’s no confusion about the issues you can help with.

Backed up by plenty of reviews and a full Google Business Profile, listing specific services is a surefire way to start generating calls for consultations and high-quality traffic to your website.

Add FAQs to the “Questions & Answers” section

A few years back, most law firms tended to ignore the Questions & Answers section of the Google Business Profile listing.

Now, as law firm content marketing has grown in importance, it’s a great place to instantly demonstrate credibility and topic authority.

Questions & Answers is a prominent feature of a profile, appearing just below the top-line information, as you can see from this example from Colorado Legal Group.

GBP For Lawyers Q&A

The Q&A section is actually a community discussion forum, so anyone can ask and answer a question. In the above example, note the Ask a Question box, which is where you can type in a question.

To control these discussions, it’s important to provide the best answer to each question included on your profile. And you can even ask and answer your own questions as you would with an FAQ page on your website. It’s allowed by Google, and we recommend doing it.

If you click See all questions at the end of the section, here’s an example of the popup screen that appears.

GBP For Lawyers Q&A CLG

Colorado Legal Group (Owner) supplies the best answer to the questions that have been asked (their answer received the most “thumbs up”), which is just as it should be.

Monitor your Q&A section, as questions could be from sales leads (who won’t necessarily call you). If you’re not paying attention, the question goes unanswered and you may lose the client.

Note that answers are cut off at 440 characters, including spaces, so be as concise as possible with answers.

Regularly add Google Posts

Below the reviews and the long business description (“From the Owner”) on your Google Business Profile, you’ll see a relatively new section.

GBP For Lawyers Google Posts

This Updates section includes any Google Posts content you’ve posted in the past six months.

Google Posts allow businesses to share offers, events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps.

For lawyers, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate expertise in your practice area or share updates about your business. You can include photos, videos, descriptions, and call-to-action buttons. You can also link to blog posts you’ve written or other content you’ve posted on social media.

If you click on Learn more on a post preview, you’ll open a popup window where you can read more about the topic.

Lawyers can use Google Posts to:

  • Link to recent informative articles for your target audience
  • Introduce existing or new members of your team
  • Advertise current events, such as law firm webinars or free consultations
  • Demonstrate recent case successes

In the above example, if you click Learn more again, you’ll be taken to the original content post on the topic – in this case, an Instagram post by Bardley McKnight Law.

GBP For Lawyers GP Updates BM
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To create a Google Post, follow these steps:

  • Sign into your GBP manager account and go into the Posts tab
  • Click on the button in the bottom right corner to create a new post
  • Choose the type of post you want to create from the list
  • Write your post and add photos in the spaces provided
  • Add a call-to-action button or link
  • Preview your post and then Publish it

Note that posts can be up to 1,500 words, but only about 75-100 characters show up in the preview, so ensure there is a good overview of the topic at the beginning. Here’s a great example from Taylor Janis LLP in Edmonton.

GBP For Lawyers Google Posts TJ

Complete everything and revisit as necessary

The more complete your listing is, the better you’ll do. Remember, complete listings are seven times more likely to get clicks than incomplete ones.

Your listing should be accurate and detailed — try to complete information for every field, as gaps will look sloppy.

If your firm relocates to new offices, changes phone numbers, or adds new services, update your profile information promptly and ensure that the information is updated across all your online accounts.

Remember, consistency is important, especially with your name, address, and phone numbers (NAP). It also shows users that you’re active and on the ball. Conflicting information could damage performance in search and create confusion for potential clients.

How to use the analytics from Google Insights to improve performance

Even if you complete all the fields, your Google Business Profile listing is not “set and forget.”

The analytical information provided by Google can deliver great insights, so it’s important to:

  • Track what happens through your listing
  • Keep it up-to-date with the latest information
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Google Insights provides information on:

    • How customers find your listing, e.g., by “direct search” where they search for your business name or a “discovery” search where they type in keywords — see the above image for an example.
  • The number of unique visitors to your profile.
  • Where customers find you (Google Search? Google Maps?) — you can even check daily about this.
  • Customer actions: how did customers interact with you once they found your listing? Did they visit your website? View your photos? Call you? Email you? Ignore you?
  • Direction requests: how many visitors requested directions on Google Maps to your business (perhaps not so critical for law firms as it is for restaurants, retail outlets, etc.)
  • Messages: The number of unique conversations through messages.
  • Phone calls: how often did customers call your business after viewing your listing?

This information and other insights can help you make important tweaks to your marketing strategy.

To discover how to view Insights from your desktop, Android phone or Apple device, check out this link.

Google Business Profile for lawyers: Optimize it for some quick wins

Google My Business/Business Profile optimization for lawyers is an “easy win,” and it’s one of the simplest marketing tasks you can do when you first start a law firm.

It’s free and quick to do, and the potential gains are significant. There’s no good reason not to put a little time into it.

You’ll boost your presence in local search results on Google and other third-party platforms using the Google Maps API to generate user location information.

That means more clicks and more customers for your law firm.

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