Legal Search Marketing – Local Search: Four Tips for Google Places

By Ian M. Bardorf

Google Places is an online directory of businesses around the world. Having a current listing in this directory is essential for all types of businesses, but is especially important for attorneys and small law firms.

Why? Because most people seeking legal assistance start their search on Google by entering their location and the specialty they need. For example, someone looking for help with a will in a Boston suburb may type “Needham Attorney Wills.”

Google then serves up relevant results based on that query. Frequently, businesses from Google Places are among the top ten listings on the critical first page of results.

Being listed in Google Places will help you be found online, differentiate yourself from the competition, and get insights about your clients. And best, of all, the listing is free.

There are four steps you can take to make sure your practice is among those top listings. [Read more…]

Question – Should I reduce my advertising with the Yellow Pages?

We all grew up with the familiar yellow book. Now there are many variations on the original and it’s still on the shelf in my house. But when was the last time you opened it up to look for something – a vendor, restaurant, or service?

If you’re like most people, you haven’t done that in a while, and I suspect most of your clients haven’t either. With more than one billion searches a day, most questions are answered with a quick trip to Google. Even more importantly, one study says almost 70% of people search online before making a purchase.

Because of this shift, companies that manage Yellow Pages are trying to maintain revenues while pitching advertisers to appear on increasingly popular online sites. These companies try to convince advertisers like you that their prospects don’t have access to computers or aren’t likely to search online for an attorney.

Advertising in Yellow Pages can be expensive, with many attorneys spending thousands of dollars each year for print listings or display ads and even more for online listings.

Most attorneys can avoid this expense. Depending on your particular practice area, geographic location, and client base, I recommend cutting back or eliminating Yellow Pages ads entirely. Do a two-month test. Track your incoming leads to find out how many are coming from yellow pages. Reduce your annual spend and see if you see a variation in lead type or volume. Or reallocate a portion of your advertising budget to online advertising and track it. You may want to move completely online.

Bear in mind not only the number of prospects and clients your advertising is generating, but the type and consider the source. You may want a certain kind of clientele that you just won’t reach from the phone book.