Monday, July 19, 2010
How Google Places Can Work For Your Law Firm
In the past, we’ve written on the necessity of creating local business listings with the major search engines. Today, we wanted to elaborate on one of these services-Google Places.
Formerly known as the Local Business Center, Google Places allows businesses to add a company overview, hours of operation, videos, photos and customer coupons. Seems pretty basic, huh? Well here are a few things you probably didn’t know about this service:
- Updates: You can post an update to your Places page at any time right through your user dashboard. This is particularly valuable if you want to highlight an upcoming event or seminar, new promotion or article you’ve written.
- Traffic Analysis: Once you’ve verified your firm’s listing, you can easily access valuable data on content and visitors to the page. Through the control panel, you can see the number of times the listing appeared in Google search results, how many people are taking action once they’ve located the listing (Did they go to your website?), top search queries which led users to your business listing and zip codes where users are requesting directions from to find your location. You are probably already using Google Analytics for your firm’s website; this new functionality allows you to also measure the success of your business listing.
- Expanded Service Areas: You can now elaborate on the areas you serve so you are not just limited to the town or city in which your office is located. This is particularly helpful if your firm serves multiple states. If you work from home, not to worry! You can now make your address private but still reap the benefits of having a listing filled with keywords, geographic locations and a link to your website.
- Professional Photos of Your Office: Google has always allowed business owners to upload photos of their offices to local business listings but now you can also request a professional photo shoot of the interior of your offices with a Google photographer! While photos will not improve your rankings, inclusion of images has shown to increase click-through rates. This service is only in select cities so be sure to visit Google’s site to learn more, Click Here
- Customized QR Codes: For each business listing, Google now provides a personalized QR code. Okay, so many of you are probably asking what on earth is a QR code? Quite simply, it is a bar code which you can place on business cards, firm brochures or an email signature. Many smart phones including the iPhone, Android and Blackberry allow users to scan these codes. Upon scanning, the code will take users directly to your Places page enabling them to see your company details, promotions and URL. Although, it seems rather advanced, it really does remove searching from the equation, allowing users to find you with minimal effort.
Google Places Tips:
- Categories: Google allows you to add five categories to your listing. These basically allow you to define the keywords you think users will search to find your firm. When typing in the description, Google does provide a set list of suggestions which you may choose from or you may actually create your own categories. We strongly recommend that you include one of Google’s suggestions as the first in your list even if you decide to create four others from scratch. If Google has five categories in their offerings which properly describe your listing, go with these as they are your best bet.
- Keywords: In addition to selecting appropriate categories, be sure to also include your keywords in your company description and any updates you may post.
With all of these features in place, there is no excuse not to set up a free Google Places account for your law firm! It is quick and easy to get started. Visit www.google.com/places to learn more.