Google My Business (GMB) listings are a critical part of any law firm’s new client acquisition strategy. A current, accurate Google Maps or local 3-pack listing can lead potential clients directly to your firm, but an outdated GMB listing can cause problems for your law firm’s local SEO efforts.
What Can I Do with an Outdated GMB Practitioner Listing?
In the past, if you lost an attorney to retirement or death, the only option Google support offered was to mark the listing closed. This solution was less than ideal. Fortunately, law firms now have the option to contact Google support and request that the practitioner listing be removed entirely. It’s a straightforward process.
Things get more complicated when an attorney moves to another firm. Google considers the individual practitioner, not the firm, to be the true owner of the GMB listing. Ideally, attorneys will update their GMB practitioner listing with their new business address, phone number and website. If so, you don’t need to do anything further.
Of course, GMB listings sometimes get left behind. The attorney might not even be aware of the practitioner listing if it was set up by the firm’s marketing department or agency. You end up with a Google My Business practitioner listing that features your address, phone number and a link to your website, even though the attorney is no longer associated with the firm.
Why Are Abandoned GMB Listings Problematic?
There are several reasons that your firm might not want an attorney’s practitioner GMB listing associated with your brand:
- The inaccurate GMB listing outranks your law firm’s GMB listing or another lawyer’s practitioner GMB listing for branded searches or targeted keywords.
- The attorney may have left on bad terms and it’s best to make a clean break.
- The attorney has a poor online or offline reputation, and you don’t want the attorney’s name associated with your firm anymore.
How Can I Update an Inaccurate GMB Listing?
If the attorney’s listing is unclaimed and features your current business address and website, go ahead and claim the listing by postcard. Then contact GMB support. They will take you through the following steps:
- Mark business as permanently closed. Be sure to copy the maps link to be able to access the listing again.
- Remove the listing from your account. Listings that are not claimed/verified are less visible in Google searches.
- Pull up the listing in Google by doing a search. It helps to enter the business name and address as it appears in Google My Business to be able to locate the listing.
- Click “suggest an edit” and select “remove listing.”
- Select “does not exist.”
- Confirm with the Google support rep that the listing has been removed. It may take up to 7 days for this change to be reflected online.