Everything a Lawyer Should Know About Getting Google Screened
Google is arguably one of the biggest tech companies in the world right now. Because of this, it makes a whole lot of sense for any business owner to leverage its authority and popularity to build and grow their business. As a lawyer, you have probably already listed your business on Google and made sure your information on the platform is accurate and up-to-date. But you can take things even further. You can get your law firm Google Screened to increase your visibility online and connect your business to people who need your professional services. So, what does it mean to get Google Screened and how can you get it for your business? These are the questions this post is written to address. So, let’s get into business!
Understanding Google Screened
Google has gained so much popularity today that they have managed to make their name into a verb. People no longer “search” for information, they “Google” it. That shows how much trust people have in the brand.
People rely heavily on Google when making decisions about many aspects of their lives. From getting a reliable service provider to finding the nearest restaurant, and reading reviews about different local businesses, Google is at the center of it all.
Therefore, for any business to make headway in this highly competitive world, it makes sense to partner with Google. When your potential clients see that you are Google Screened and Guaranteed, they find it comforting to trust your professional services as a lawyer.
When your law firm has passed the Google Screened vetting protocol, there will be a green checkmark (the Google Screened badge) that appears next to your name on Local Service listings.
However, this option is not available to all types of businesses. It is presently only available to professional firms providing law, real estate, and financial planning services. That means it is an opportunity every lawyer should utilize to promote their business and grow as quickly as possible.
The Google Screened badge comes with a lot of benefits for your law firm, including being able to run Local Services Ads, which often show up at the top of SERPs. It helps you attract more clients to your business while also giving you a competitive edge over other lawyers in your area.
What Are the Benefits of Getting Google Screened?
There are many benefits your law firm stands to gain by going through all the vetting processes of getting Google Screened and eventually earning the badge. It helps improve your business in several ways, including:
What Are the Benefits of Getting Google Screened?
This is one of the most important benefits of getting a Google Screened badge. You can’t run Local Services Ads without the badge. And why is the ads necessary? Local Services ads help improve your firm’s visibility online. These ads usually appear at the very top of the search results of queries that have to do with your professional services. They appear even above the Google Search Ads which conventionally appear first on the page.
Now imagine a search query looking to use your service brought a search result having your business at the top of the page, and with a badge showing that you have been verified by Google. There is probably no better lead than that.
Increases your business’ visibility
When your law firm is Google Screened, it automatically improves your ranking for important keywords and search terms related to your business. One of them is ranking well for terms like ‘best family lawyer near me.’
Boosts trust with potential clients
No one wants to commit their case into the hands of a lawyer they cannot trust, making trust one of the most important elements when choosing a lawyer. With the Google Screened badge on your business, you can earn incredible trust with your potential clients. The badge shows that your business has been vetted and certified by Google. And if people can trust Google, they would most likely also trust any business they certify.
Helps you generate huge quality leads
With Google Screened, your business has a good chance of appearing first at the top of SERPs. Google also makes it very easy to click to call. And since you are already at the top, it means you will be getting loads of live phone calls from clients who are ready to use your services.
Which Lawyers Are Eligible For Google Screened?
This is actually the first huddle to jump when trying to get your law firm approved for Google Screened. You need to first find out if you are eligible for it – not all lawyers are qualified to apply for Google Screened. Below are attorneys eligible to apply for Google Screened:
- Bankruptcy lawyer
- Criminal lawyer
- Estate lawyer
- Contract lawyer
- Family lawyer
- Business lawyer
- DUI lawyer
- Immigration lawyer
- Disability lawyer
- Tax lawyer
- Real estate lawyer
- IP lawyer
- Personal injury lawyer
- Litigation lawyer
- Traffic lawyer
- Malpractice lawyer
- Labor lawyer
What Are the Requirements for Getting Google Screened for Lawyers?
After you have been able to identify if you are eligible to apply or not, there are more requirements necessary to obtain the badge. These include:
Maintaining a 3-star rating on Google
To further qualify for the program, there is a need that your law firm has a Google star rating of 3.0 stars or above. If you are anything short of that, you may need to keep building trust with your clients and encourage them to leave positive reviews for you on your Google listing.
Business-owner background check
As the owner of the law firm applying for the program, you will need to pass an individual background check. This check often involves a criminal and identity check.
Business-level background check
Your law firm will also be checked to be sure it is registered according to relevant laws and regulations governing your location. You will have to provide proof of your business registration by showing relevant documents and registration numbers.
Employee background check
In some cases, your employees who perform services on behalf of your law firm would have their background also checked. Just like the owner, they will also need to have a traceable identity and a clean criminal history.
You will also need to submit your active certificate of insurance for a quick test. Prepare to submit a document that shows different important information, including your policy number, the address listed covering your service area, etc.
Sometimes, Google may require you to provide proof of any applicable state or local licenses.
All these checks are performed by local partners and are 100% confidential, so you can be sure your documents or result is not going to get into the wrong hands.
But what happens if you fail the check? No big deal anyway, just that you won’t be deemed eligible to participate in the Google Screened program.
There are also no other costs associated with participating in this program other than the costs associated with running Local Service Ads, which also often vary from one location to another.
Google Guaranteed vs Google Screened
You might be wondering what Google Guaranteed also means – because you have probably come across it before. Well, Google Guaranteed has a lot of similarities with Google Screened. Both of them appear as a green checkmark beside your business name on Local Service Ads.
The application process of the two programs is also very similar. Both of them require you and your business to pass through a series of screening and checks. Plus, the screening procedure for the two is done the same way.
However, the major difference between the two is that Google Screened comes with no cost while Google Guaranteed requires a cost. To become a member of Google Guaranteed, you will need to pay a base fee of about $50 per month or $600 annually. At the same time, there would be a cost associated with each lead generated as a result of your ads. The average cost is usually $25 per lead.
Another difference between Google Guaranteed and Google Screened is that the former provides new clients, who will be booking your services through Google, with a money-back guarantee of up to $2000 per lifetime. If they are not satisfied with your services even after using it, they will be getting this money as an apology for the bad service.
Google Guaranteed program also focuses majorly on home services, including home cleaning, tree services, pet grooming, and many more.
How to Apply for Google Screened
Once you have been able to ascertain that applying for Google Screened is in the best interest of your firm, there are some things you will need to do. The first is to get all necessary documentation together and go through them in advance. This is important to do so you don’t hit a hard surprise along the way.
The next thing is to quickly check out your reviews on Google and make sure they are good enough to pivot you in the program. Remember that you will not be eligible for the program if your review rating is less than 3.0. Check out the negative reviews there and see a way you can directly address them to help reflect your business in a positive light.
Once all of these are done, then you can go ahead to fill out the required paperwork to get started with your application processes. Once you have filled out the forms, hit the submit button and then wait for Google to contact you later to let you know if you are qualified for the badge.
Tips to Help Your Google Screened Approval
While you wait for Google to notify you about the result of your application, there are some things you can do to further enhance your approval. Let’s check out some of them:
#1: Provide detailed information
Providing detailed information during application is very important. It will help make your approval a reality than when you only provide half-baked information for Google to figure out. Be precise and detailed with the information you provide.
For instance, stating how many lawyers are in your firm will make it easier for Google to verify their license information quickly and hence create profiles for them.
#2: Keep getting positive reviews from satisfied customers
Even when you think you have made the 3-star rating requirement for Google Screened, you need to know that just one bad review can do huge damage to your rating. You never can tell how quickly Google will be verifying your ratings, and being short of the base requirement for review rating will automatically cause you to be disapproved from the program.
So, keep the focus on providing your clients with the best service and encourage satisfied clients to leave a positive review for you on Google. Do everything you can to make sure you don’t get a negative review during this time Google is vetting your business.
#3: Follow up on your application
Google uses a third-party screening company to vet businesses for Google Screened and Google Guaranteed. So, it is possible that this company didn’t complete the screening and closed the request without even letting you know about it.
That is why you need to ensure you are regularly checking the screening just in case any additional information is asked of you. And if you notice your request was closed, you can quickly resubmit it so you can get approved for Google Screened.
#4: Update your headshot
Since you already applied, start getting your profile ready in case your application goes through. When you are Googled Screened and you have the badge, Google will show your business on search results with your headshot on it – in fact, that is what comes first.
Therefore, you will want to create a great first impression with potential clients by making sure your headshot looks professional and engaging. You should present a face they would be willing to work with. This is not the time to use a photo with a “too bold” or “too professional” face. At the same time, you shouldn’t use an old photo either. Just get a new and friendly photo to represent your firm!
If you think your law firm is ready for Google Screened, don’t hold back. Go ahead and apply for it. Having a Google Screened badge can be extremely beneficial to your business. Apart from qualifying you for running Local Services Ads, it also helps promote your business visibility and helps potential clients to better trust in your services.