If you are in the process of building a new website, relaunching an upgraded one or trying to increase visitor traffic to your old one now is the perfect time to understand how you can use Google to boost your law firm website and to make sure it gets the traffic you need to develop new business. First though, it’s important to understand how Google works.
Since Google started in 1998 it's mission has been "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" and to achieve this it has robots, or crawlers, that are constantly scanning the internet to find new or updated websites, pages and other information. When they find your website they review it, index it, rank it and make it available in search results, which is where potential new clients can find you.
The process and delay
Just as there used to be a time delay between getting a phone number and it appearing in the printed white pages, there’s also a delay between having a website live online and it appearing in Google search results. It can take up to 8 weeks between a website launching and you being able to find it using Google.
In the interim you can still tell people your website address as soon as your website is live, because they can always type it into the address bar to find it. So how do you use Google to boost your law firm website?
The key is to let Google know you exist and to make sure you are constantly updating them about the content on your website, luckily Google provide plenty of tools to help and there are some tips for doing this below.
Use Google to boost your law firm website
There’s no direct way to influence Google to index your site faster. However, we’ve noticed that the wait is shorter if you have provided Google with the details of your site by signing up with Google Search Console and have set up either Google Analytics or have a verified Google Maps or Google Business listing.
These services not only help Google know about your website they are also beneficial to your business because by taking a proactive approach and helping Google you can make sure the information they index about your website is controlled by you and is accurate, you can then use Google to boost your law firm website as they have the information you want indexed and they can display it in search results, so it’s well worth the time to set these up. So what tools do Google provide?
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site's presence in Google Search results. You don't have to sign up for Search Console to be included in Google Search results, but Search Console helps you understand and improve how Google sees your site.
Google Search Console offers tools and reports for the following actions:
- Confirm that Google can find and crawl your site.
- Fix indexing problems and request re-indexing of new or updated content.
- View Google Search traffic data for your site: how often your site appears in Google Search, which search queries show your site, how often searchers click through for those queries, and more.
- Receive alerts when Google encounters indexing, spam, or other issues on your site.
- Show you which sites link to your website.
Signing up with Google is the most important step you can take to use Google to boost your law firm website and the tools are useful too.
This is a free service from Google that collects data about your website visitors and traffic. To get started just visit http://www.google.com.au/analytics/ and click on ‘create an account’. Once you’ve got everything set up, or if you need help setting it up, let us know and we can help get your tracking code onto your website for you.
This process establishes a vital link between your website and Google and also provides you with valuable information about where your website visitors are coming from and how they are interacting with your website.
If you want to dig deep into how Google Analytics works and why you need it for your law firm marketing Google has some handy courses, like this one Google Analytics for Beginners or view this video:
Google My Business Listing
Have you noticed that Google is showing Google Map listings on top and often above all other non paid search results? Just do a search for a lawyer or area of law in your suburb or town and have a look at how much of the page is taken up with map results. Often times the top few results are paid ads, followed by the map results, and then firm websites below that. Clearly it’s important to get on this list, and it’s not too difficult.
As Google says "Get your free Business Profile on Google My Business to start building visibility in Google Maps and Google Search in your local community."
You can set up your Google Maps/My Business listing here: Google My Business Again, if you need help setting it up, let us know.
Important considerations when adding contact details
Your contact details need to be identical across the internet. Here are some helpful tips:
- Don’t have ‘L1’ in one place and ‘Level 1’ in another. Be pedantic, and ensure every contact listing for your firm throughout the entire internet is identical.
- Add your website address. This will help your firm’s website rank better in search results.
- After you have chosen your category from Google list, add your own customised categories based on the things that people will search for to find you. So, Divorce Lawyer for example (ordinary clients don’t search for Family Lawyers).
- Fill out as much information as you can: hours of operation, payment options, photos and videos if you have them.
- Use the additional details field to add more information but don’t repeat anything from your business title, address or category fields. Google is particularly harsh on what they see as ‘keyword stuffing’. So, don’t put your suburb in there or your firm name and if you added divorce lawyer as a category, don’t mention divorce here. This is a good place to mention things like easy free parking, mobile service, family friendly appointments and so on.
- Verify your listing. This proves to Google that you are a real business in a real location.
As you can see Google has many useful and freely available tools. Having recognised the importance in building or updating your firm’s website, it makes sense to take advantage of the tools that are available and to do what you can to have Google ‘like’ you.
About the author
Brian has more than twenty years' experience in marketing and management across diverse industries including legal, real estate, tourism and technology. Brian lives in Sydney with his wife and two daughters.