Just when you think you’ve gotten Google‘s social media strategy down, they’ve changed it again. The new “Google My Business” links together your Google+, Google Maps, and Google Local accounts into a one-stop access hub for clients. But only if you set it up correctly.
Don’t worry, Google+ isn’t going anywhere. The effort you’ve put into building your social media network isn’t wasted.
But Google wants to do more. They are changing the way geographically based search results like “bankruptcy lawyer Detroit MI” are displayed. The new layout will feature directories like and Google Places listings of businesses in that geographical area.
These listings will outrank all but the largest website listings, leading some to wonder whether lawyers’ websites are dead. It also gives your small firm the chance to make big waves in local searches. That is because Google My Business is brand new. You can get ahead of the curve just by taking a few minutes to set up your page. When you do, make sure to:
Verify Your Listing
Make sure you have only 1 listing (many people are finding duplicates) with an up-to-date address and phone number. If you have more than one. Delete all but one and get that one up to date.
Use a Local Number
800 numbers are not your friend on Google My Business. The search rubric uses the phone number to help locate you, so stick to the land line if you can. Remember these are people who are looking locally for you, so it shouldn’t cost them anything to call your local number.
Include high quality photos of you, your offices, and your staff instead of stock photos of scales or crying children.
Update Your Categories
You are not just a “lawyer.” Make sure your categories reflect the kind of work you want to take on. Make sure your primary category is the one you most want to be known for because that’s what will show up on your page.
Add a Virtual Tour
Google My Business allows you to hire a professional to photograph your business inside and out. Prospective clients can tour your business before stepping in the door and know exactly what to expect.
Come Back Often
Once you’ve made sure everything is up to date, make sure it stays that way. Add new pictures or make changes to your description or categories as things change. When you move, Google My Business should be one of your first stops in updating your address. Otherwise you may find yourself with a case of dual identity, haunted by the ghost of locations past.
The new Google My Business could be a great hub of information for prospective clients and referral sources alike. But only if you take the time to upgrade your listing. Use this new tool to get to the top of geographical searches and show up on the ever-popular first page of Google. If you need help launching your social media presence, contact blogging coach Lisa Schmidt today.