Should Law Firms Have Multiple Google Business Profiles?

Should Law Firms Have Multiple Google Business Profiles?

In the digital age, maximizing your law firm’s visibility on Google is essential. But should you go for multiple Google Business Profiles (GBPs)? It’s a question many law firms grapple with, and the answer isn’t always a simple yes or no. Let’s delve into the scenarios where it might be appropriate and the potential pitfalls to avoid.

Understanding Google’s Guidelines for Multiple GBPs

Google has clear guidelines on when it’s appropriate to create multiple GBPs for a single business. The general rule—one profile per physical location. If your firm has multiple offices, each with its own address and phone number, creating a separate GBP for each location makes sense. This helps potential clients in different areas find the most convenient office for them.

Exceptions and Gray Areas

While the general rule is one Google Business Profile (GBP) per physical location, exceptions exist. Some law firms might be eligible for multiple profiles, even if those profiles operate within the same location.

One exception applies to distinct business names. If your firm operates under different brands or trade names, even within the same office, you might qualify for separate GBPs for each. For example, a law firm with a primary name for general legal services could have a secondary brand dedicated exclusively to estate planning.

Another exception involves practitioner listings. In some cases, individual attorneys within a firm might have their own GBPs. This is generally advisable only if the attorney offers highly specialized services that aren’t fully represented under the firm’s primary GBP. It allows the individual attorney to showcase their expertise more prominently in relevant searches.

It’s important to note that these exceptions are not blanket rules. The decision to create multiple GBPs should always be carefully considered and ideally discussed with an SEO expert to ensure compliance with Google’s guidelines and to maximize the potential benefits for your law firm’s online presence.

Google Business Profile Guide for Lawyers

Verification Challenges with Multiple Profiles

In situations where multiple GBPs are justified, there might be additional challenges during the verification process. This is especially true if you’re trying to operate multiple profiles from the same physical address. Google’s algorithms are designed to detect duplicate listings and they might flag multiple profiles operating from the same address as suspicious.

To avoid issues, it’s crucial to clearly differentiate each profile. Ensure unique phone numbers are associated with each listing, and if possible, have separate signage or suites within the building for different brands or departments. Additionally, be prepared to provide ample documentation to Google during the verification process, proving the legitimacy of each separate business entity.

Read More: Setting up and Verifying Your Firm’s Google Business Profile

Navigating the Google My Business Landscape

When managing your Google My Business (GMB) presence, prioritize quality over quantity. One well-optimized Google Business Profile is often more effective than multiple weaker ones. If you discover duplicate or unverified listings for your firm, it’s crucial to take action. Claim those listings and merge them with your main profile whenever possible, ensuring the accuracy and consistency of information across the board. This streamlines your online presence and prevents confusion for potential clients.

Don’t underestimate the power of local SEO through your Google Business Profile. Add high-quality photos that showcase your office and team, making your firm more approachable. Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews, as positive feedback significantly impacts your online reputation and can even influence your search ranking. Finally, regularly post relevant updates on your GBP. Share news, announce events, or even offer helpful legal tips to keep your audience engaged and informed.

The Dangers of Duplicate Listings

Creating multiple GBPs for the same location or business (unless it falls under the exceptions above) can be detrimental to your SEO efforts. Here’s why:

  • Confusing to Users—It’s confusing for potential clients to encounter multiple listings for what seems like the same business. This can create a negative impression and make it difficult to contact you.
  • Ranking Penalties—Google aims to provide accurate information and may penalize businesses with duplicate listings by lowering their rankings or removing the duplicate profiles entirely.
  • Dilution of Effort—Instead of focusing on optimizing one strong GBP, your efforts become divided across multiple profiles, potentially weakening each individual listing.
  • Dilution of Reviews—This dilution also extends to your reviews. Positive reviews are a powerful trust signal, but spreading them across multiple profiles lessens their impact. Profiles with fewer reviews can also be more susceptible to review bombing.

Read More: Responding to and Removing Google Reviews for Lawyers

When Multiple Profiles Might Be Appropriate

Civille Estate SEO Centonzio GBP

There are legitimate reasons why a law firm might consider multiple GBPs, even within the same location:

  • Distinct Departments or Practices—If you have a large firm with clearly separate departments (e.g., personal injury, family law, criminal defense), individual GBPs might be warranted, each focusing on their unique expertise.
  • Virtual Offices—If you operate a virtual law firm without a physical address, you may have different phone numbers for different service areas. In this case, creating separate GBPs, each tailored to a specific region, could be considered.
  • Multiple Physical Locations—Even if your firm operates under the same name and offers similar services, if you have multiple offices designed to serve different communities or neighborhoods, separate GBPs for each location are often beneficial. This helps potential clients in each area easily find the office that’s most convenient for them and allows you to tailor your messaging to the specific needs of each community.

Pro Tip: Before creating multiple GBPs, consult with an SEO expert to determine if it aligns with Google’s guidelines and will truly benefit your firm’s online presence.

Creating Multiple GBPs? Choose Wisely

While the allure of greater visibility might tempt you to create multiple Google Business Profiles, it’s crucial to proceed with caution. Unless your law firm clearly fits within Google’s guidelines for multiple listings, focus your efforts on building one robust, optimized profile. Partner with Civille to ensure your Google presence accurately reflects your firm’s offerings and reaches the widest possible audience.

The Civille Advantage: Your Partner in GBP Optimization

At Civille, we understand the complexities of Google My Business and can help you navigate the best path for your law firm. We offer a comprehensive audit to identify any existing issues, recommend solutions for duplicate listings, and create optimized GBPs that maximize your firm’s visibility and attract the right clients. Reach out to us today and learn how we can help you!

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