What are the elements that are required for your law firm to achieve #1 Google Maps ranking? In this video, I’m going to go over all of it. Hey, everybody. Andy Stickel here, owner and founder of Social Firestarter. Today, I’m going to talk about what it actually takes to rank your law firm in Google Maps, what the different elements are, and how to achieve these elements so that you can rank higher in Google Maps. You will find a lot of this stuff is actually really simple. The reason why most law firms don’t rank in Google Maps is a basic lack of knowledge. Today, I’m going to go over everything you need to know
The Three Main Categories Of Items That Are Required To Rank In Google Maps
- Category One – Relevancy
The first one is relevancy. There are a lot of different things that you can actually do to increase the relevancy, the distance, and the prominence of your site, which improves your Google ranks.. So the first thing and (honestly the easiest thing that you can do) is to select the correct categories for your GMB listing. Now, there are a lot of different categories that you can select. This is typically one of the things that we see law firms getting wrong all the time. The easiest way to figure out what your primary category should be in your Google My Business listing is to do a search for your main keyword and look at all the competitors that are coming up in the search. What is their primary category? That’s showing you that that’s what Google wants to see. This helps select your correct category (what Google wants to see) and that will actually increase some rankings.
Once you go in there, you can also select secondary categories. The easiest way to figure these out if you don’t know what all the categories are (which most people don’t) is you can type the word “attorney” or you can type the word “lawyer” and just see what populates. Then, just select all the ones that apply to you.
By getting your categories right, you’re actually going to get a nice little boost in rank, if you had the wrong categories. Now, the next thing is if you can satisfy the searcher’s intent. What this means is having content on your website that tells Google that your website is what the searcher is intending to look for. What that means is that if you are a DUI lawyer, for example, and someone searches “DUI lawyer”, then Google, obviously, thinks that somebody is looking for a DUI lawyer to represent someone in their DUI. So one of the easiest ways to increase intent is to do a search for your practice area, scroll all the way down to the bottom, then you’re going to see a section that reads “People Also Ask”. And then also at the top, there are going to be, sometimes, questions people ask. Now, if you can include all of that information, answers to those questions and topics an things like that on your website, then you’re going to be satisfying the Google searcher intent much more because Google is telling you that, “These are all the questions that we think people have when they search for a DUI lawyer or a personal injury attorney or a car accident lawyer or whatever it is that they’re searching for.” So if you include that information on your website, you’re going to get much better results and you’re much closer going to satisfy the searcher intent. Now, the next thing is going to be niche relevancy. That is very close to searcher intent. It’s basically how relevant you are to the niche that they search for. For example, the search is for a family law attorney or divorce attorney. If they search for a family law attorney and you have a lot of content about divorce on your website, then Google is going to make that relevancy. They’re going to tie that together. It’s the same thing vice versa. If they search for a divorce lawyer and you have family law information on your website, then Google is going to make you much more relevant for the actual niche of family law. Going with the family law example, what you want to do is you want to make sure that you have information about child custody, divorce, child support, spousal support, asset distribution, or protection or whatever you call it.
Anything that you can think of that is relevant to your niche, you want to put on your website because then Google will increase the amount of niche relevancy that you have. Now, one of the other easiest ways is to optimize your Google My Business listing. Now, this is really simple. Basically, what you do is you fill out your entire Google My Business profile completely. There are so many law firms out there that have missing descriptions and things like that and they just don’t complete their listing. That’s really important if you can actually complete your listing and actually optimize it by putting relevant keywords in there. If you’re a family law attorney, make sure that you put in there that, “We handle family law and divorce and child support and child custody and all the other things that you handle.” Same thing if you’re in any other practice area. Make sure that you have all that information on your Google My Business profile.
- Category Two – Distance
This one is worth mentioning but there is not really anything you can do. You can’t really do anything about the user location. You really can’t influence where someone is searching from. The only thing you can do is you can expand the reach of the area that you appear in. For example, if this is your city right here and your law firm is located right here and someone searches right here, your reach might only be like this so this person is not going to see you. But if you get all this other stuff correct, then you can probably expand your reach so that you’re more like that. When you do that, then you’re able to reach a wider area and you’re able to reach users that are in further away locations. That’s really, really important. The next thing is geo relevance. Now, geo relevance comes in a few different forms. One way that we build geo relevance for our law firms is using the team selfie hack. And what that is is it’s taking selfies all over the city with your phone using the location services turned on. You upload those photos to the team’s section of the Google My Business profile. What that does is that it gets the latitude and longitude of the entire city on your Google My Business profile and it helps to expand that out.
Another thing you can do is you can get links from local organizations that are geographically relevant to the area that you’re targeting. These can be things like the Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau and different things like that in your area. Another thing that I like to do is I like to contact youth sports organizations and make small donations in exchange for them linking to my client’s websites. What that does is that shows Google that you’ve got a lot of different websites all from the same area that is all linking to one website. That is pretty relevant. That shows that this website is definitely geographically relevant to this area, even if the websites that are linking aren’t necessarily legal websites. That’s actually right here. Local links. That’s what that is. If you can get local businesses, youth sports organizations, directories that are local to your area, the local newspaper, if you can get in the local news, that’s great. All those types of things that are local and make you very, geographically relevant, then that’s going to increase your radius so you’ll end up covering a much bigger area than just this area right here.
- Category Three – Prominence
Prominence is basically how prominent your law firm is on the Internet, how many different places it actually appears in. That’s why citations are so important. Citations are good for building brand authority. Citations are basically business listings. These are your Yelp listings, your Better Business Bureau, FindLaw, Avvo, all those types of listings. What we typically try to get as many of the high-quality brand listings as possible. FindLaw, Avvo, lawyers.com, any chamber of commerce, any bar association in your area. A Better Business Bureau is a great one. InfoUSA is a really good one. Yellow book or yellow pages and all those types of things rate well as do the online directory. What you want to do, especially if you’re going for a local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureaus or bar associations, is to make sure that they actually have an online directory where they link to you and at least put your name, address, phone number in there. But you want to make sure that they’re actually linking out to you and that Google can actually crawl it. Because if you join the association but Google can’t crawl it – and it might be a good organization to join – for the purpose of ranking in the Maps, it’s not going to help you.
Now, speaking of this, NAP. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. When you’re building these citations, you want to make sure that you have the same name, address, and phone number written exactly the same way across all of these listings. You want consistency across all of these listings. And that’s another thing that’s going to improve your prominence and your brand authority. Another thing – and this isn’t really something you can help but it’s something that you can keep in mind – is the age of the GMB, the age of your Google listing. Obviously, you can’t artificially age Google My Business. But you can think about this like: rather than shutting down a listing and opening up a new one, it might be better to move the listing because, that way, you’ll preserve all that age. Another thing that will help you is your GMB reviews. Now, reviews help you in a couple of ways. First of all, reviews can hurt you if you have negative reviews that are unresponded to. Make sure that you respond to all reviews, especially negative reviews. With that said, if you’re going to respond to just some reviews, make sure that you’re definitely responding to negative reviews. Because unresponded negative reviews will hurt you. Now, if you can actually get reviews that include keywords that are relevant to your law firm, your practice area, and your geographical location, that will actually boost your rank. I don’t want you to go and actually start spamming your clients. Don’t say, “Bill Smith was the best Orange County DUI lawyer I ever had. He was the best Irvine DUI lawyer I ever had also.” You don’t want to do that. What you want to do is you want to send your clients a list of questions that will allow them to get these keywords and these synonyms on your Google My Business directory without them actually being spammy. And what’ll happen is they’ll end up writing you a better review. What you want to do is you want to ask them five questions. You want to ask them, “What was the problem that you had prior to coming to us? Why did you choose us over all of the law firms? Where did we represent you and what we did for you? What was the outcome that we got for you and how has your life improved since we got that outcome?” Now, if you ask them those five questions, then what’s going to happen is they are going to be more likely to give you a review because they’re not going to have writer’s block and they’re going to give you a better review and that review is actually going to help you rank in Google Maps.
So it’s really, really important that you get reviews and that you use this formula so that you can actually increase your Google ranking. And then the final way that we’re going to talk about is to increase prominence in building backlinks, getting other websites to link to your website. What this is going to do is this is going to increase your organic ranking, which will, in turn, help. And they’re not directly tied together but there’s a correlation with where you rank organically and where you rank in Maps. So if you can increase the number of websites that actually link to you, then that will increase your Google Maps ranking as well. Now, this is a lot here.
So if you need any help with this, if you want to find out how my company can help you do all this and frankly much, much more to get yourself ranked in Google Maps so that you can get more phone calls, so that you can get more leads, so that you can get more clients and ultimately have a more successful law firm, then I want you to click the link below this video. What we’ll do is give you a free 45-minute strategy session with my team. During that strategy session, what we’re going to do is go over your website, we’re going to figure out what the plan be for your law firm, and we’ll let you know how the entire program works. At that point, you can make a decision if you want to be involved, if you want us to help you rank #1 in Google Maps or if you want to go at it on your own. But the call is completely free and you’ll get a lot of value out of hopping on the call with one of my teammates. My team is really good at SEO. They’re really good at evaluating websites and putting a plan together. So all you have to do is click the link below this video and book a completely free strategy session with a member of my team. If you guys have any questions at all, let me know in the comments below. Otherwise, we will see you in the next video.