You now know that you need to clean or claim many directory listings for your law firm. We find it helpful to create a cheat sheet of all the information you may need for creating and tracking your directory listing.
Download this worksheet and fill out all the information to create your own cheat sheet.
If you have a few office locations, you will need to copy the two tabs and create a “NAP and more” and “Directory Tracker” tab for each location.
A few best practices for some of the items in the worksheet:
- Email address for directory creation: You are going to create, claim, or edit a lot of directory listings over the next week. You want to make sure that you track what you use to log in. I suggest that you have a generic business email that you use for almost all of these. If you can easily add an email to your current email server then just add [email protected][yourfirmname].com or [email protected][yourfirmname].com and use that as the email address to log in. It is definitely preferred to use your own domain name. If you can’t easily add an email address to the site, then just create a free Gmail account to use. In addition to being easy to remember, having a generic email address will allow you to delegate the responsibility and have others login and clean up your listings. To do that, they may need to login to that email to verify those changes
- Contact Name: this is probably your name, but you could use your admin as the contact name if they are going to help with this effort. This name should be the one you use to sign up for the site, not the name for anything public facing
- Birthday: I just include this because some sites require a birthday, again this is not public facing
- Location Name: If you have multiple brick and mortar locations for your firm, you just need to keep track of which list goes with which location. In the actual spreadsheet, you will create a “NAP and More” tab for each location you have, you will also need a Directory Tracker tab for each location.
- Firm Name: This is the name you want the public to know you by. This is likely your legal firm name, but it does not have to be. For example, if your firm name is
legally“Smith, Taylor, Adams, and Roosevelt LLC” but you have worked hard to brand your firm publicly as “STAR Law Firm”, then use the public facing name. You may seem them listed occasionally, but DO NOT use a spammy name by trying to force your practice areas in there. Unless you are known as Cincinnati Divorce Firm, do not use that in your name.
- Address: This should be the exact address for your firm’s location. Use the USPS Zip Code tool to make sure that your address city is correct per the Post Office. We have found that some people call their office by a city name because that is where everyone thinks is a hot neighborhood, but their street address puts them in a different city. Don’t use the desired city, use the one from the lookup tool.
- Phone Number: you should have one phone number for everything. This is the number that your local phone system would have for your business. Do not use a tracking number in your directory listing efforts. I would recommend that this is the general office number and not your actual direct line at your company
- Phone Number 2: If you have a vanity number that you also use, like a 1-800 number, include that here. Some directory sites will take additional numbers
- Website URL: This is the main website URL of your home page
- Website URL of Location Page: Typically when you have multiple locations, it is best to link the directory listing to a page on your website just about that location. This would be the contact page for that location that has that location’s (and only that location) name, address, and phone number.
- Hours of Operation: Some directory listings, like Google My Business, allow you to enter your hours of operation by a specific day of the week. That way when someone searches at 7 pm, and your office is not open, the listing can show that your office is currently closed and they can move onto the next law firm.
- Is 24 Hour Phone Service Available: We are big proponents of having a 24/7 call center service outside of your normal firm office hours. If you do, instead of just putting the hours, many sites allow you to say open 24 hours. At 10 pm when someone has an issue that requires your legal attention, they will see that your office is open and can call, vs. seeing that your office is closed and moving to the next person.
- Short Business Description: Some directory sites allow long descriptions others don’t allow much more than 200 characters. It is good to have a short description and a long description at the ready.
- Long Business Description: You can add more detail to this description but try to keep under 800 characters.
- Practice Areas Offered: What practice areas do you want to ‘advertise’ that you offer at your firm? Different directories will have different categories to choose from so you will need to sometimes take the best they have for a match. Despite what you see in Google’s instructions for their Google My Business, we have found that choosing more categories is better than choosing fewer when claiming directory listings.
- Languages Spoken: Spanish is the most common second language that we see. But in coastal cities, Asian languages or Slavic languages are also common. If your firm has someone on staff full time who can speak the language and help the client with their issue, then you should include that language.
- Payment Methods: Do you take cash? credit cards, which ones? personal checks? Do you offer
- Professional Associations: Local chamber member, Rotary, bar association, other? Include that information here. Not all directory listings allow to add this information, but if they do, it helps confirm to someone reading your listing that you are an active and involved firm in their community.
Tomorrow we will use some of this information and start to clean or claim your directory listings on the the big data aggregators.