practicePRO Resource: Google Maps – Can Your Clients Find You There?
Every day millions of Canadians go to Google to look things up. In many cases people don’t even bother with the yellow pages any more – they go straight to Google. Some of those people are looking for legal information or a lawyer. For this reason, it is important to increase your visibility in the Google search engine and its various other tools. Google Maps is one of the best places you can do that.
You can find Google Maps by going to Google (www.google.ca) and clicking on the Maps link at the top. You are probably familiar with using Google Maps to look up an address or find directions from one point to another. But Google Maps can do a lot more. It can also provide information about businesses that fall within Google or Google Map searches. Try this: Enter the address of your office and add the word “coffee” and you will instantly get a map showing your office location with lots of “placemarks” showing the location of all nearby coffee shops. You can click on these placemarks for more information, including phone numbers, street addresses, customer reviews, and links to company websites.
To help existing and potential clients find you, you should make sure your firm information appears on Google Maps. The Canadian Lawyer Map, an initiative started by retired Toronto law professor Simon Fodden and hosted on the blog slaw.ca, makes it easy to do this. Simon’s goal is to have a Google Maps placemark for every law firm in Canada. It is a collaborative project, and all lawyers and firms are welcome to add their information. The idea is that at a glance, clients or potential clients can scan a Google Map of their area and see all local law firms, their contact information, and a link to their websites.
Adding yourself to the Canadian Lawyer Map is easy.
Follow these steps:
- You first need a GmailTM account. Gmail is Google’s free e-mail service and it just takes a second to register. Note, you don’t have to use the Gmail account for e-mail, but you will need it to login to Google programs. Go to Google.ca, click on the “Gmail” link and follow the instructions.
- Next, go to http://tinyurl.com/CanadianLawyerMap and sign in with your Gmail address. Look at the top right for the “Sign in” link.
- Click “Edit” at the top of the list of firms on the left side of the screen.
- Type the address of your firm in the “Search Maps” box.
- When your location appears, click on the lightbulb on the top left of the map. When you hover over it, it will say “Add a placemark.” You can drop the placemark at your location. (Note: there are different colour placemarks for each province and territory.)
- After you drop the placemark, a text box will appear that will let you add your firm’s details. Select “Edit in Rich Text” mode to be able to add your contact information, website and images (e.g., your firm logo). You can also change the colour of the placemark by clicking on the coloured marker to bring up a range of possible colours and markers.
- When you are done, click “OK.” Now your firm will appear on both the Canadian Lawyer Map and any other law-related Google Maps search of your area.
Now try a Google Maps search using the name of your city or town plus “lawyer” or “law firm.” For example, “High Park Toronto real estate lawyer” or “Haliburton lawyer.” Voilà, your firm information will appear.