Attorneys: What You Need to Know About Google’s Local Search Update

If you’ve noticed changes in the way Google ranks your law firm in search results lately, it’s not just you.

Google has confirmed another big update. This one applies to people searching for services in their local area. So it directly touches how lawyers attract new clients online.

Google only recently made a larger, unrelated update to its algorithm for understanding natural language. Both changes rolled out in November.

The biggest takeaway from the local search change? “Neural matching.”

The legal marketing agency team at Firmidable learned about neural matching, a sophisticated process by which search engines link search terms to the underlying intent of the user, at the international marketing conference Pubcon in October.

You can read more about this newest local search update at Search Engine Roundtable.

“Intent” is a hot buzzword in the marketing industry these days. It shapes the core function of Google, Bing and any other search engine: connecting users with what they really want when they search the internet.

Neural matching has been in force for general searches since 2018. This is the first time it’s been used in local search. While it’s early, it could have profound effects on how potential clients find local law firms, just as they would find any good or service.

Neural matching is an extension of neuromarketing, a heady approach to marketing which we’ve written about before.

But how does all of this affect your law firm? Google says the biggest effect is on the language you use on your site and how well Google understands the concepts that your content covers. So you’ll need to make sure the content you’re producing, and the organic lead-generating strategy you’re using, stay in sync with Google’s approach.

Google says the main three tenets of success in local search—your relevance to people searching for you, your distance from the searcher and your prominence as a practitioner in your field—remain in place.

Making your website as useful and informative as possible is well worth the time and effort as Google continues to get more sophisticated.  It can make a difference to your stream of clients—and law firm revenue.

To maximize your efforts, you can tap the expertise of people who work every day helping attorneys calibrate their online presence to the latest from Google. Call us at Firmidable today.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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About the Author: Chris Branch

Chris Branch is a former digital copywriter at Firmidable. He strategized, produced, implemented and optimized content for law firm websites and Paid Search advertising, helping firms across America reach new clients. Before working in legal marketing, Chris was a sports journalist and a marketer for the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

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