Almost every week I’m asked whether or not lawyers should create individual local pages for individual practitioners. Just like a doctors office has many doctors you law firms typically have multiple lawyers. In addition to this there is generally a main brand name for the firm as well.
Whether you’re new to the SEO game or a seasoned veteran you probably know that you need to rank in Google’s local pack. A quick screenshot of what I’m talking about is below:
These results fuel a ton of local business, so it’s important to rank locally here with your Google My Business Page. At the same time you can see how it’s tempting to create these pages since more visibility is good right? But does it actually help with visibility? Lets take a look at some examples
First Off, What Does Google Say?
Google has been nice enough to continually give us their best practices on the Google My Business Guidelines. For practitioners they are pretty clear on what they allow, but don’t take this as being the best advice just yet.
According to Google Here: “An individual practitioner is a public facing professional, typically with his or her own customer base. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, financial planners, and insurance or real estate agents all are individual practitioners. Pages for practitioners may include title or degree certification (e.g. Dr., MD, JD, Esq., CFA).
An individual practitioner should create his or her own dedicated page if:
He or she operates in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own page.
He or she is directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours.
A practitioner should not have multiple pages to cover all of his or her specializations.”
So in a nutshell, Google is saying it’s OK for you to have an individual page if they’re an actual attorney and they work at the listed location during business hours. If you didn’t already know, duplicate listings are very bad in the local eco system. Google gives weight to business listings that can be backed up and verified by other listings across the web. In the industry we call these citations. If you have duplicate or conflicting information it sends mixed signals and may actually hurt your ranking. If you want to read more about why duplicates are back check out this article from Moz. So what’s my take on this?
What Does The Data Tell Us?
Just as I spoke about the problems with duplicates on citation websites above, having duplicate Google My Business Pages can create a variety of problems. In most head keyword searches like “New York Personal Injury Attorney” you will typically find only one listing for the firms that are being successful in search. In addition to this, they’re almost always the local business page and not the attorneys name unless it’s also the firm name.
Now let me make something clear. There are different types of pages that you can have. You can have the My Business Page which lists your business information including reviews, but you can also have a Google Plus page for your name. These are two entirely different pages and while it’s OK to have a personal page, it’s my recommendation that you should put all of your business efforts on your single Google My Business page for your business.
While we have seen this be the best advice in most scenarios I encourage you to also look at your own data. If each of these pages are in fact claimed in your Google My Business Dashboard, then you can take a look at the actual analytics for these pages.
While I would still consult an expert before making your final plan you will want to evaluate the data. If you were getting more views and clicks for example on a practitioner page then it’s worth looking into.
Here are Some Quick Takeaways From This Article
- Don’t go out and create Google My Business Pages for your practitioners
- If they already exist, evaluate them for traffic before making your strategy
- Google allows attorney pages if they meet the criteria, but that does not mean its best practice
- Duplicate listings can kill your local SEO so evaluate carefully