Local Search & Reviews: What Lawyers Need To Know
Local search remains a fuzzy element in many law firms’ marketing plans. Reviews go hand-in-hand with local search and, often, are just as nebulous.
Recently, I had a chance to answer several on point questions from lawyers across the country about reviews and local search. Listening to their concerns made me think that other lawyers likely have similar questions. It is my hope that your firm will benefit from this knowledge.
If you have multiple locations, what is the best way to set up Google+ so that you can get reviews for all locations?
Firms with multiple, staffed offices need to setup a Google My Business listing for each location. Once these listings are setup and verified, a firm should work with clients from each of those locations to leave reviews specific to that location.
To build out listings for multiple locations, start by focusing attention on the main office location. Focus efforts on getting the main office ranking locally. Then, slowly, start with the second most important location and begin building out that location's listings.
If you have duplicate business listings, is it safe to delete the second copy?
Depending on the site, there are various ways to go about getting rid of a duplicate listing by following the steps for each specific site. Some may allow youto simply delete the listing, but often times the process is more involved.
The short answer is, yes, you can safely delete a duplicate listing. Make sure you follow the correct process for each site, as processes differ.
Does it matter how I format my law firm’s address on my website?
Usually for local SEO, we look to put the full citation (name, address, phone) in the footer of the site and apply schema structured markup code, telling the search engines that this information is the firm’s official business name, address, and local phone number. In these instances we want to list that information in a specific, structured way: name, address, phone, and then url and hours if included.
ABC Law Firm
123 South Street
New York, NY
The above is what we call a citation. A citation is any mention of the business name, address, and phone number.
How important is it that all my listings have the same citation information?
Citation consistency is a key local search factor. See an example of a citation in the previous question. It is critical that your firm begin by agreeing upon a dedicated citation so you use the same format for all your business listings. If ‘ABC Law Firm’ is on one listing, and then ‘ABC Law Firm, LLC’ is on another, you have inconsistency. Plus, you’re in danger of ending up with several different listings for your law firm. It is normally recommended that you use your business name as it shows on your business license and your address as the post office or Google displays it in their maps.
Once you have a dedicated version of this information, you can build out the various listings we will talk about in the next question.
What are the top business listings for attorneys?
You can find the top citations for attorneys here: http://moz.com/learn/local/citations-by-category#Attorneys. This link, of course, is aside from these key sites:
To leave a review on Google, does the reviewer have to have a Gmail account?
In order to leave a Google review, the user must have a Google+ profile. A Gmail account is the first step. If a client is using a Gmail account, it is more likely they will have a full Google+ profile. If they do not, though, Google has made it much easier to setup an account and the prompts take a user through process when they are trying to leave a review. There are other sites where reviews can be left using Facebook as the login, making it easier for clients to leave reviews on those platforms.
Google remains the main review site and oftentimes requires a bit more work to leave a review. Consider creating a handout, complete with screenshots, outlining the process of setting up a Google+ profile for your clients. Arm them with information so they can leave stellar reviews for your firm.