Google My Business listings are frequently suspended for the simple reason that the address being used is in violation of Google’s guidelines. Industries such as car dealerships, restaurants, hotels, and retail stores have a straightforward policy – you’re only allowed to have a listing for your physical location, as customers must visit your store or office to receive the product or service they need.
However, for businesses that offer professional services (such as lawyers, law firms, and whatnot) that do not necessarily need the customer to come towards them, the rules become a bit vague for everyone and create plenty of confusion.
To maximize their ranking potential, these businesses often strive to have “multiple locations” listed, which is where the confusion arises. Over the past decade, there have been countless attempts to misinterpret the Google My Business Guidelines. This piece will try to clarify some of the most common misconceptions people have about any fake Google business profile.
Fake Listings are Complicating things for People Looking for Authentic Lawyers
You may be surprised to learn that these days, if an individual were seeking to hire an attorney and had to place trust in them with their money and life, they would not rely on Google ads as a source, given the unreliable and fabricated nature of the information and reviews available on the renowned search engine.
The lack of authentic business owner listings, especially when it comes to lawyers is a common complaint. Many attorneys claim that it is challenging to get clients to leave reviews on their website or business account on Google or social media platforms.
The reluctance of clients to publicize the fact that they had to hire an attorney for personal matters such as divorce or criminal defense is somewhat understandable. However, this does not excuse the unethical practices that some attorneys engage in to obtain reviews for their law firm.
Review Swapping is Becoming a Big Issue
One of the prevalent trends among attorneys these days is review swapping. Although some platforms have sections that encourage peer reviews, they are clearly separated from customer reviews to avoid confusion.
Google, on the other hand, has no such distinction and explicitly states in its guidelines that reviews should be based on the customer experience. As you would expect, this can create a great deal of confusion and make it hard for people to determine which business listing is legitimate and which one is not.
Business Listings Using Deceptive Photos
This scenario is not uncommon, and many attorneys have been known to submit manipulated photos as “proof” of their presence at a virtual office address listed on Google maps. These photos can be edited or depict entirely different locations, and it is important to be able to spot them to choose the right local business for your particular legal needs.
Believe it or not, many people are deceived by business listings found through Google ads, and visiting offices that do not even exist. As you would expect, such things can lead to a culture of dishonesty, creating a vicious cycle where individuals feel compelled to cheat. While this may work for your business name in the short run, but it will ultimately disqualify your law practice from being a legitimate business.
Many Law Firms Use Keyword Stuffing Techniques to Get Ahead
Keyword stuffing is a widely observed tactic in the legal industry, where individuals attempt to boost their Google ranking by excessively using keywords in their Google My Business listing.
The practice involves inserting irrelevant or repetitive keywords, such as “Best Attorney Ever, accompanied by their city’s name,” with the intention of appearing higher in search results. However, this approach goes against Google’s guidelines and may result in the suspension of the business listing.
Remember, if you want to run a legitimate legal enterprise, make sure you create an authentic Google business profile and add ensure that your GMB listing is not deceptive in any way.
Why Lawyers Must Pay Special Attention to their Business Listing
A marketing strategy that drives traffic to your website is important, but traditional local SEO and website updates are not as significant as they used to be. However, there is a tool that can assist in making Google more likely to send traffic your way, and that is: the Google Business Profile.
Understanding What a Google Business Profile Actually Is
A Google business profile is an online listing used by most legitimate businesses out there. It allows law firms to rank higher in Google’s organic results (whether they are local search results or others) when individuals are searching for legal services in a particular geographic area.
Companies like Google and Facebook aim to keep users within their platforms instead of directing them to external websites. This tool enables businesses to provide information and features within the search results rather than solely on their website.
If you want to make the most of Google advertising and rank your law firm high on this search engine, it would be best to acquire the services of a reliable local SEO agency like many others have done over the years.
Tips to Improve Your Your Legal Practice’s Presence on GMB
Here are a few things you can do to create a genuine presence on Google my business.
Focus on Local Keywords
When you optimize your website, it’s important to include keywords specific to your location. This means you should use city names, neighborhoods, and other localized terms in your content and metadata. Make sure to also include relevant category keywords (e.g. “personal injury lawyer”), but remember to focus on your location first and foremost.
Encourage Customer Reviews
User-generated content, such as customer reviews, can play a big role in determining your local ranking. Encourage satisfied clients to leave positive reviews for your business on Google, Yelp, and other directories. Respond to both positive and negative reviews in a professional manner, and use them to improve your business and services.