Google, with its nearly 67 percent market share, is the proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the search engine marketing world. It's no surprise, then, that Google profile directories are some of the biggest and most relevant directories for law firms to become a part of. If you're not already using the Google profile directory as part of your marketing strategy, there are several reasons that you may want to change that. Keep reading to learn more about how Google profile directories are already helping attorneys across the United States, and how you can get onboard.
What the Google Profile Directory is For
Google's goals involve becoming a market leader in a huge variety of tasks involving information gathering. Google profile directories were made in a way that makes them scalable all the way up to becoming a sort of giant global telephone book. By creating a Google profile directory entry, you make your business more easily searchable by people looking for you.
Google profile directories also are a valuable source of link juice for many businesses. Because Google's own pages are often relatively high Page Rank pages, and because the search engine ranks its own pages higher in its search results, you can give yourself a search boost by becoming part of the Google profile directory.
Local Search and the Google Profile Directory
One of the most innovative aspects of the Google profile directories is that they allow businesses not only to include their location, but also to have those location results displayed on a map. This means that Google profile directory users can find the businesses that are closest to them and that would be most convenient for them to drive to.
Currently, Google profile directories including Google Places have been renamed to Google+ Local. However, Google+ has not been as successful as the tech giant had perhaps hoped. This means that there's a strong possibility the Google profile directory could go through another name change in 2013 in order to better reflect the ways users are actually using the site.
Local searches now represent about 30 percent of overall searches, and a higher percentage of searches for attorneys. You're much more likely to get conversions from clicks you get through Google profile directories and local search than from clicks you get from traditional search engine rankings. This means the Google profile directory is a great time investment for any law firm that primarily draws its client base from a small local area. Firms that have a very specific legal field but nationwide geographic practice focus may have a harder time drawing in users from Google profile directories.
Creating Your Profile
When you create a profile on the Google profile directory, you'll be asked for a substantial amount of information. There's always a temptation to put in only barely as much as is required and say “we'll come back to it later and fill it out more completely.” However, that's not really putting your best foot forward, and this kind of short-sighted thinking is no way to get started on your search engine marketing campaigns. Fill out all the information in a way that makes your website inviting for potential clients to click on. You want to portray yourself as informed and professional, but not too stuffy for people to contact freely.
Also, this should go without saying: double check all of your data before you submit the profile to Google profile directories. You don't want to have your Google profile directory entry accidentally direct people to an incorrect phone number or address. If people make a mistake based on the entries you've placed in Google profile directories, they're unlikely to become a client of your firm—who would want an attorney who wasn't detail oriented?
Maintaining Your Profile
If any aspect of your law firm changes, from the name to the phone number to the focus of your niche marketing efforts, you should update your Google profile directory entry. Google profile directories aren't somehow updated automatically, and you will need to manually input any changes to your firm in order to make sure that your directory entry stays current for prospective clients.
Monitoring Reviews in the Google Profile Directory
One of the more interesting aspects of Google profile directories is that business profiles allow people to actually write reviews about businesses they've patronized in the past. You should check your reviews in the Google profile directory at least once a week after you have created your directory entry. Keep in mind that even one or two negative reviews, if they're particularly harsh, can make it much more difficult to get clients. People today have a tendency to look for reviews before purchasing any products or services, especially when those services are expensive.
There's always a chance that some or even all of your negative reviews are not written by disgruntled clients, but rather by your disgruntled competitors. If you suspect that a review is not actually from a customer, you can report the review.
Keep in mind that not all negative reviews are just from the jealous competition. Be smart enough to respond in a positive and optimistic way to genuine negative reviews. There's nothing that looks worse for a company than loading off all of the blame onto a client who had a bad experience.
Incorporating Google Profile Directory With Your Marketing Campaign
One of the smartest things you can do with Google profile directories is encourage your best past clients to post reviews. If you've received negative reviews from real clients, this is your best way to make those reviews irrelevant. Enough positive feedback will start to overwhelm the negative reviews until prospective clients simply don't listen as much to the negativity. Ask your social networking contacts to give you a positive review if they've had a good experience at your firm—this can be a great way to help you generate inbound links and great reviews. You can re-post the call for reviews every few months, so that new followers see it.