Setting up and Verifying Your Firm’s Google Business Profile

Setting up and Verifying Your Firm’s Google Business Profile

Your Google Business Profile (GBP) is a cornerstone of your firm’s online presence. It directly influences how you appear in Google Maps, local search results, and the prominent Knowledge Panel that appears on the side of search results. Let’s walk through setting up, claiming, and verifying your profile for maximum visibility.

Why a Google Business Profile Matters for Your Law Firm

A Google Business Profile is your key to maximizing local visibility. When users search for legal services with phrases like “personal injury lawyer Chicago,” an optimized profile puts you front and center in the results.

Think of your Google Business Profile as your online reception area. It gives you control over essential information, allows you to manage your firm’s reputation through reviews, and provides a quick, easy way for potential clients to get the details they need.

Best of all, your Google Business Profile acts as a powerful, free marketing tool. It expands your law firm’s digital presence without the need to invest heavily in paid advertising campaigns.

Read More: Where Should You Be Marketing Your Law Firm?

How to Find Out if Your Firm Already Has a GBP

Google business profile icon

Before we dive into creating your Google Business Profile (GBP), let’s check if one already exists. There are two easy ways to do this:

  1. Google Maps: Search for your law firm’s name directly in Google Maps. If it pops up on the map, you likely have a listing.
  2. Google Search: Perform a regular Google search for your firm’s name and see if a Knowledge Panel (a sidebar with details) appears. This often indicates an existing GBP.

If you find a listing, it’s likely unclaimed. Don’t worry, we’ll cover how to claim it and gain control further along in this guide.

Starting from Scratch With Your Frim’s GBP

If your firm doesn’t yet have a Google presence, here’s how to create a new profile:

  1. Go to Google Business Profile Manager: Go to and click “Start Now.”
  2. Enter Your Firm’s Name: Type in your official firm name and see if it already exists. If not, proceed to create a new listing.
  3. Choose a Relevant Category: “Law Firm” or “Attorney” are usually appropriate. You can add additional categories later. The list of available categories is preset, but its worth seeing if there is an option that’s less generic and more relevant to your firm’s primary areas of practice.
  4. Provide Your Address and Service Area: Your physical address will be key for map searches. If you serve clients beyond your office location, designate service areas. Make sure this is a real verifiable address or it may create problems for your profile further down the road.
  5. Contact Details: Enter your firm’s primary phone number and website address. Double-check for accuracy!
  6. Verification: We’ll cover this crucial step later in the guide.

Claiming an Unclaimed Profile

Google often tries to be proactive, automatically generating basic profiles for businesses it finds information about online. While well-intentioned, these listings often contain incomplete or even inaccurate information. Here’s what to do:

  1. Search and Find: Perform searches on Google Maps and in regular search results for your law firm’s name. Check if a knowledge panel or map result exists.
  2. Claim Ownership: If you locate the listing, look for a link labeled “Own this business?” or “Claim this business.” Click this to initiate the process of gaining control of your profile.
  3. Follow the Verification Steps: Google will require you to prove your legitimate connection to your law firm. The most common method is receiving a postcard with a verification code (more on the verification process later in this guide).
GBP on a laptop screen

What if I’ve Lost Control of My Firm’s GBP?

If a former employee or third-party set up your GBP and you lack access, here’s the process you can follow:

  1. Attempt to Request Ownership: From the listing, click “Own this business?” and try to request ownership transfer. Sometimes Google will allow the transfer to take place if they get no response from the currently listed owner. You can improve your chances by having an email with the same domain as the website associated with the profile.
  2. Contact Google Support: If the request is unsuccessful, you may need Google’s help. Prepare to provide evidence of your connection to the firm (business license, etc.).

Why Creating a New Profile Might Not Help

Creating a new Google Business Profile when you’ve lost control of your old one is generally a bad idea. It has several drawbacks, including the risk of having duplicate listings on Google. This confuses potential clients and weakens your search ranking since Google penalizes accounts with conflicting information. Additionally, you’ll start from scratch with a new profile, meaning goodbye to hard-earned reviews and the credibility they provide. Finally, verifying a new profile can be tricky if Google finds discrepancies with the address or other details tied to your previous listing.

There are rare cases where creating a new Google Business Profile is justified. If your law firm has undergone fundamental changes, such as a complete rebrand with a new name and relocation to a new address, a fresh profile may be best to accurately reflect your current business. This avoids confusion for potential clients who might stumble upon outdated information associated with your old listing. However, even in this case, regaining control of your old profile is still a good idea.

Verifying Your Google Business Profile

Verification is the final, crucial step to prove you are the legitimate owner of your law firm’s listing. Google utilizes several methods, and they will determine which options are available for your specific business. Postcard verification used to be the most common method, but now it is rarely an option provided by Google. The verification options you might see include:

  • Phone or Text: Some businesses have the option to receive their verification code via phone call or text message.
  • Email: In certain cases, Google allows instant verification through a confirmation email sent to your designated business email address.
  • Video Recording: Less common, but Google might require you to record a short video tour of your business location to confirm its legitimacy.
  • Live Video Call: You may be able to schedule a live video call with a Google representative to demonstrate your connection to the business.
Civille GBP Verification - Verification Video Prompt

The verification process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Several factors can influence how quickly you receive your verification code or complete other verification steps

More Tips on How to Verify Your GBP

Carvajal Law Google Business Profile screenshot

GBP Upkeep: Beyond the Basics

Once your Google Business Profile is verified, think of it as your digital storefront. You want it to look polished and inviting! Fine-tune your service listings to ensure they accurately reflect your current areas of practice. This helps ensure you’re attracting the right kind of clients.

Read More: Responding to and Removing Google Reviews for Lawyers

Leverage Google Posts to share fresh content, highlight upcoming events, or even answer frequently asked legal questions. Think of these posts as mini-blog posts directly within your profile, keeping things current and engaging.

High-quality photos of your office (both interior and exterior) add visual appeal and a sense of professionalism. If possible, include team photos to give your firm a friendly, approachable face. Finally, make sure holiday hours are clearly displayed to avoid any confusion for potential clients.

Tips to Optimize Your GBP

Civille’s Advantage: Let the Experts Handle It

While setting up your GBP is possible to DIY, partnering with a professional team like Civille ensures accuracy and optimization while freeing up your valuable time to focus on your clients. Contact Civille today to supercharge your GBP!

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