Whether you’re working with an agency, or consider yourself an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you’ve likely heard of local business profiles. But you might not know why local business profiles on Google My Business, Yelp, and Apple Maps lists are so important for your practice. Here’s why they matter and why you should claim your profiles today.
Think about every time you search on Google. You’ll typically see local businesses in the maps section, or maybe down in the organic section you see local listings provided by Yelp.com. One lesser known is in mobile search results. For all you iPhone users out there, every time you perform a search, especially voice searches using Siri, the results you receive are pulled from Apple Maps and Yelp.
Why Do We Need to Claim and Verify These Listings?
First you need to claim your local listing, which means creating it or updating it with the correct information. Doing this will help out search engine optimization (SEO). Making sure your business information, particularly NAP, (name, address, phone number) are accurate across all the major listings, will provide a boost to your SEO efforts.
Once your listing is claimed, verify it. This helps ensure the accuracy of your business information across Google. Verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users.
Aside from SEO factors, verification also protects your business from anyone who might otherwise pose as a representative of your firm. You can further protect your brand by creating a description, uploading photos that represent your law firm and having the ability to respond to reviews.
If you want to increase your business and enhance your SEO, I’m going to suggest three local profiles your law firm should claim.
Google My Business Will Increase Your Business
Claiming and verifying your GMB listing is probably the single best thing you can do for your local reach. The Google 3-pack is prime real estate, and when it comes to local searchers looking for a lawyer, ranking in the maps section can dramatically increase your visibility.
For this reason, you want to rank for search terms that are valuable to your business so you can capture this potential revenue. For firms on a budget your Google My Business listing is free, it just takes time to optimize it correctly.
Start by signing up and entering your business information on Google My Business. You will need to enter some basic information such as business name, address, phone number, category, and then verify your business to make sure it is legitimate.
Benefits of Verifying your Google My Business Listing
For most businesses, verification means requesting a postcard or in some cases an automated phone call from Google. Until you’ve completed verification, you won’t be able to edit the business information that appears on Google search results.
Here are a few of the SEO benefits for businesses after they verify their listing.
- More business categories
Prior to verifying, Google provides a limited number of categories for your business. For example, you may only be able to choose “law firm”, even though you may practice multiple areas. After verification, you will be able to select multiple categories such as “family law”, “criminal justice attorney”, etc. These additional categories will increase the likelihood of your firm ranking in the results.
- Opportunity to respond to reviews
There are many benefits to responding to reviews. Whether it be to empathize with someone who had a bad experience working with you, to correct misinformation about your law firm, or to thank clients that left positive reviews. This gives you a chance to establish trust and let them know you appreciate their feedback.
- Access to Google My Business Insights
This feature is a great way for business owners to see how their listing is performing. Google Insights provides valuable information about your GMB listing, such as how many calls you received, number of times searchers requested directions or interacted with your photos, days of the week people called and where they saw your listing.
- Uploading photos – control your law firms image
Your profile presents a good opportunity to upload current, official business photos. These photos allow you to control the important first impression people get of your practice. It’s a great way to lead people into the experience of what you most want people to see and feel about your business.
Yelp Business Listings
Yelp is another website that attracts a lot of local searchers. It is a very authoritative website that ranks well, so searchers will often see Yelp in the organic search results when performing local searches.
- The opportunity to respond to reviews
Similar to Google My Business, by claiming your listing, you get a chance to respond to customer reviews, good, bad or mentioning incorrect information.
There is also another advantage of updating the listing – you get alerts whenever a customer posts a new review, allowing you to respond to it immediately. If you’re working with a third-party to manage your listings, you’ll need a process to ensure reviews are responded to quickly.
- Access to Yelp profile-specific analytics
Like GMB, Yelp provides stats about your listing, but they offer an activity feed where they give you a detailed breakdown of every interaction a user had with your post – such as clicking on your website, getting directions from mobile, or bookmarking your website.
I bet you’re wondering, “how do I claim a Yelp listing? Easy, go to Yelp for Business Owners.
Claiming Apple Maps Can Increase Mobile Searches
Most people have never heard of Apple Maps, but for iPhone users, it is an important app to perform local searches on. How many times have you pulled out your iPhone and said, “Hey Siri, where is…”. Well if you have, then you know how important Apple Maps is, especially for voice searches.
Increased relevancy for voice searches
Every time you perform a voice search, Siri uses Apple Maps to show you the location of a business. When you select a business, Apple Maps uses information from Yelp to populate things such as reviews, photos, and pricing. Making sure your Apple Maps information and Yelp listing are filled out accurately will increase the likelihood your law firm is relevant to these searches.
With over 85 million iPhone users, voice searches with Siri are increasing every year. This means you are more likely to come up in search results for businesses on iPhone searches. To get started, go to Apple Maps and fill out your profile.
Now that you can see the SEO benefits of these local listings, it’s time to claim them and start getting new business.