What is the Google Map Pack and What Does It Mean For Your Law Firm?

Jon Robinson (00:01):

Welcome to another episode of our CAMG SEO webcast. We’re actually onsite in Las Vegas at the AAJ conference today. We’re going to be talking to you on today’s episode about the Google map pack. What is the Google map pack? What does it mean for your firm’s presence and really, what does it mean for your firm’s leads? How does it differ from other SEO and standard organic listings? So the map pack shows up for any search that has local intent. If Google thinks that it makes sense for them to show a local business as a result for your search, then that’s what they’ll show. This map pack, it’s above the organic listings, it sits below the LSAs and the rest of the Google Ads.

Jon Robinson (00:45):

It’s that large map that has three results, sometimes four, and it shows those results on a map. It started out a few years ago what was called a four-pack, where Google was listing four results. And then they dropped it to a three-pack. And most recently, they’ve introduced the ability to use Google Ads to location target specific businesses within certain geographic areas and those are sometimes showing up as the fourth result. I should say, as the first result, because that ad would sit above the other three. So if you see a map show up, you’ll see one listing potentially with an ad label, and you’ll see three listings that are standard organic Google Map, local SEO based listings.

Jon Robinson (01:34):

So the map pack, extremely important for law firms, because if you are searching for a local based service, local based legal service, for instance, car accident lawyer, Google is interpreting that as a local intent search and they are showing you local car accident lawyers. Same thing for other practice areas as well. If your practice area is a strong local focus, which most single event is, then you will see a map pack as a part of your search results. So for those map packs, you’re looking at approximately anywhere between 30 and 60% of the clicks for a search going into the map pack. That makes us extremely valuable. And the real estate, there really is only those three or four spots. So you’re kind of fighting for the top. If you hit spot five or spot six, you really should expect that there isn’t going to be any real visibility for your firm for those searches, because the spots 4, 5, 6, 7, you have to click into an additional link on Google’s Maps in order to show those other results spots 1, 2, and 3, really get the overwhelming majority of the clicks.

Jon Robinson (02:57):

So your goal should be to rank in top three for any practice area that you have a practice at at your firm within any geographic area that you’re practicing in. We call it our matrix approach. If you take all of your practice areas and all of the states and cities that you service, you should have a presence within the map pack for all of those areas. So personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas, car accident lawyer in Reno, if you have an office there, you really should be going across all the practice areas and all the cities. So now that we know what the map pack is, let’s talk about how you get your firm to rank in the map pack. This is very different than website driven SEO, although there is an overlap in the Venn diagram.

Jon Robinson (03:46):

The local SEO factors are really focused on three things, relevance, which is how well your search matches a business listing, distance, which is how far away you are from a business, and then prominence, which is how well known and how well-liked is that business. And the way that you can work on increasing those factors really differs for each one. So let’s talk about relevance first, how well your search matches a business listing. On a business listing, there is a single website link. That website links should be pointing to the website of your firm. What Google does is it comes in and it crawls that link, it’ll go to that link and it’ll say, “Okay, what are the pages that are linked to from this page?” Then it will identify the various topics and keywords that your Google My Business listing should be showing up for. So your website and your Google My Business listing are linked, but they are not one and the same. So you’re telling Google, “This is the page that is the most relevant for my Google My Business listing.”

Jon Robinson (05:02):

The content that you have on your site needs to cover all of the practice areas that you want to rank for. So if you want to rank for car accident lawyer in your city, you need to have a really in-depth page about being a car accident lawyer in your city. If you want to rank for medical malpractice attorney, you need to have a really great page about being a medical malpractice attorney in your city. These are service-based pages about the cities that you have a presence in. This is extremely important. Your content needs to be very high quality, it needs to be on par, if not better than your competitors, in order for you to have the most relevance, you need to be relevant for that search. So really creating great content, that’s that’s the start. And you’re doing that already on your website to get your website to rank. Right?

Jon Robinson (05:51):

So that’s for the organic listings below the map pack. You want your website to rank, to get your Google My Business rank. It’s pulling that content from your website that hopefully is already ranking and checking it to see are you relevant for these types of searches? Next is distance. So how far away is the individual searching from your business? This is really difficult to track. We use a few different tools to kind of lay it out graphically on a map and test various spots across the city to see where your business would be showing up if someone searched a specific search term. Short of actually going to a specific spot and searching, that’s really the only way to tell how close your business is or how high your business would be ranking for a specific location for a specific search.

Jon Robinson (06:42):

So on the fly, Google is looking at, “Hey, John is searching from the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas for our car accident attorney. At this exact spot, let’s see how close firms are to this specific spot here in downtown Las Vegas.” So distance, not really something you can manipulate at all. You can open additional offices. If you feel like there is more business to be had within a specific location, open up an additional office, optimize an additional Google My Business listing. That’s really the only way to increase this specific ranking factor.

Jon Robinson (07:21):

The third ranking factor is prominence. So this is how well known and how well liked your businesses. The number of reviews that you have, the star rating that you have, which needs to be above a 4.5 at an absolute minimum, extremely important. Also, the references of your business around the web, very important here. Are you getting mentioned elsewhere on the internet. In Google crawls these mentions they’re called citations and identifies references to your firm, to your local business to help increase the prominence. So relevance, distance, prominence, really the three things that you need to kind of keep in mind when you’re looking at ranking your GMB.

Jon Robinson (08:07):

Specifically, you want to create really great content for all the practice areas that you want to rank for. You want to make sure that you’re creating local base citations, which are these references back to your firm from other websites across the internet to increase your prominence. These references, aren’t just John’s law firm, and then your address or John’s law firm and your website. This is a very specific name, address, and phone number, exact syntax that needs to match across your Google My Business listing, what’s listed on your website, usually in your footer, and on all of these citations.

Jon Robinson (08:47):

So make sure when you are identifying places that may be willing to list a citation to your law firm, you are matching this name, address, and phone number, what’s called the NAP, exactly, the exact same phone number, the exact same address, and the exact same name for your firm should be mentioned across all of your citations.

Jon Robinson (09:06):

Many of these you could obtain yourself. Google Maps is a citation. Apple maps is a citation. Something like Yelp is a citation. But then also getting listed in local directories, having other local businesses mention your firm, very important to increase your prominence. Again, please make sure that that matches what’s on your website, as well as what’s on your Google My Business listing. This is something that is incredibly simple to match.

Jon Robinson (09:33):

We see a lot of firms that just ignore this, or aren’t aware of this. You really need to make sure name, address, and phone match across website, Google My Business and external citations. And then something else that is also going to help your website rank, but does add prominence to your Google My Business listing are backlinks. So these are naturally, organically created links from other websites back to the content that you have on your site. Many times law firms will link their Google My Business listing to their homepage, which does make sense if you’re a single location. When you’re doing that, most of the backlinks that you would have to your website, if they were naturally obtained, likely are going to your homepage. So this makes sense. But you do need to organically improve and increase the number of links that you have back to your homepage and other pages on your site.

Jon Robinson (10:29):

These are non purchased links, non blog networks. We’re talking about creating really great content or getting mentioned in the news and getting links back to your website to increase both your ranking organically on Google, as well as your prominence in Google’s eyes within the map pack. So a lot going on here, google’s map pack extremely important. Again, 30-60% of searches are going to click into the map pack for local based search.

Jon Robinson (10:58):

If you would like to discuss how to get your firm to rank better in the map pack, you want us to take a look and do an audit, diagnose what could potentially be going on to improve your rankings, the local SEO algorithm is complimentary, but somewhat different from the organic Google SEO algorithm. We’ve been working with this stuff for a long time and we understand how to make sure ethically that your firm is ranking both in the standard organic listings, as well as in the map pack. Give us a shout, let’s connect, we’ll do an audit and we’ll tell you what we’re seeing on our end. This is another episode in the CAMG SEO webcast. We’ll have more episodes coming up soon. Take care.

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