Lawyers: Attract New Clients by Managing Your Online Listings
The classic 1950’s western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance depicts newly graduated attorney Jimmy Stewart literally hanging out his shingle. He’s announcing to the small town that he’s ready for business. In 2017, an attorney’s website is their shingle. And that’s a great first start to market a law firm and attract new clients. However, your website is one among thousands of other attorney websites; Jimmy was the only lawyer in town.
How can I get new clients with so much competition?
According to The National Law Review, almost 90% of the people who contact an attorney end up hiring one. And almost 75% of them contact only one attorney prior to securing their services. Oh, and one more thing ─ Ninety-six percent (96%) of people seeking legal counsel use a search engine to find an attorney.
So, the key question is, if I’m one of thousands of tens of thousands of attorneys online, how do I get noticed? Your firm must do well in local search engine results, i.e. results customized based on the searcher’s location.
Managing Your Online Listings is Critical to Local Search Success
Listings management is a vitally important part of optimizing your website for local search engine results. But what exactly is listings management? It’s simply standardizing the way your law firm’s important information is listed on the Internet. By the way, this means everywhere. Sounds simple enough, right? Sure, until you consider that there are thousands of online business directories out there. Yelp, Foursquare, Yellowpages.com, Mapquest, Superpages, Yellowbook.com, Yahoo Local, BBB, etc., etc., etc.
You can get started on listing management by doing these three things:
- Start with the basics and ensure the accuracy and consistency of your location data. Make sure your firm’s name, address and phone number are all listed consistently throughout your website. It sounds basic, but you might be surprised to learn that over 40% of business listings contain errors in the address. And 85% of customers won’t return to a business if there are mistakes in its listing.
- Distribute your listings data to all of the four major data providers and aggregators. They are Acxiom, Factual, Infogroup and Neustar/Localeze. Why is this important? Because they are referenced by over 300 online listing directories, which distribute information on businesses throughout the Internet. All are free except for Localeze, which requires a minimal fee. Each are easy to use, and instructions on how to submit a listing are available on their websites. And in case you’re wondering if Google and the other search engines utilize the four (4), aforementioned providers, the answer is You bet! Just remember, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn do not. These must be updated manually.
- Claim your business listing on Google My Business. When you search for a company on the Internet and you a map that includes a few companies with their websites, phone numbers and online reviews, you are seeing the magic of Google My Business at work. It’s free and an essential part of your listing management. Just go to Google My Business (https://www.google.com/business) and type in your name and address, then select your firm from the search results. You will need to go through Google’s verification process to claim your listing.
There are factors to proper listings management that we don’t have space to go into here. But the tips provided are a good start towards ensuring your current and prospective clients will find you when they search online for a lawyer.