Your Law Firm Wins Big with These 4 Tips on Local SEO
Think about the time you spend with the tiny map on your phone.
For many, it’s essential for the daily commute. No longer do we happen upon traffic jams without warning—our smartphone map tells us how to avoid snarls before we get there. If you’re traveling out of town, that little map becomes a lifeline.
Search engines know this. Your physical place matters immensely in the digital world, too. So this also matters immensely for your law firm.
If Google can’t clearly see your firm’s physical location, it won’t send nearby clients your way. Even worse, it’ll send them to the law firm around the corner that did a better job optimizing their online profile for location.
When it comes to your law firm’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, targeted tweaks—if you know where to look—can take your firm’s website to the top of local search rankings and get you the new clients and cases you’re looking for.
Google already knows where your potential clients are when they’re searching for a lawyer. It can juxtapose their current location to their search history to further refine the area where they’ll try to find services.
If someone searches for “personal injury lawyer,” Google will deliver the most legitimate results closest to their desired location.
SEO company Moz explained why:
“Did you know that 90% of purchases take place in physical stores and 80% of US disposable income is spent within 20 miles of home? Having a solid local SEO strategy is the first step to put you on the map.”
Attorneys may have the most to gain from ranking high in local SEO searches.
“There’s a lot of local competition among lawyers,” said Mike Crimmins, digital manager here at Firmidable. “You’re always competing for clients with the law firm down the street. That means your local SEO strategy is of prime importance.”
Keep reading for our four steps to enhancing your local SEO marketing strategy—and see how small changes can make a big difference.
Step 1: Update Your Law Firm’s Google My Business Page
When you search for a local business on Google, you’ll notice a listing on the right side of the page. It normally includes the company’s name, phone number and address, among other basic information.
This listing might seem trivial. But it’s one of the most important tools in using search engine marketing to attract the clients you want.
When a potential client searches for a lawyer, Google cross-checks your listings across the internet, from Google My Business to Yelp and everywhere your firm is listed.
It’s checking to make sure your phone number, address, etc. are the same. If they line up, Google considers your business credible. You’ll rank higher in search results.
“It’s very important to have all your citations, or listing information on directory sites, match,” Mike said. “Google crawls those sites to make sure everything is in order. Even details like having “P.L.C.” in your name need to be consistent everywhere.”
Don’t just take it from us. Here’s what the online marketing experts at Hubspot said:
“Google My Business has become the crème de la crème of local search—Since Google understandably feels most comfortable sharing content it can support and verify, Google My Business is their tool to help your business meet Google’s needs. If Google can verify your business as authentic, it will potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google local search.”
Another reason Google My Business optimization is so important? Spam.
A recurring problem, especially for law firms, is out-of-town firms setting up virtual shop in the middle of a metro area in order to snag some website visitors and clients from other firms. If you do a little digging, it turns out they aren’t located at the address listed.
They’re hoping the web searchers are none the wiser and sign up for their services even though they don’t have a local office.
Or, in worse scenarios, the site potential legal clients land on has nothing to do with what they searched for. It’s not a law firm at all, but a website using shady tactics to get more clicks.
“You can combat that organically—by having a buttoned-up Google My Business profile with ample reviews, lending credibility to your listing,” Mike said.
Step 2: Cultivate and Respond to Online Attorney Reviews
Reviews from legitimate sites, and from local users, also deem you authentically local in the eyes of Google.
It’s a crucial component in your digital marketing and prominence in search results. You might worry, though: Is there anything I can do to get more reviews?
An entire discipline focuses on this: reputation management.
Reputation management is a growing service legal marketing firms like Firmidable now offer—and for good reason. It helps you organize the process of asking your clients to give you reviews. These reviews in turn boost your SEO profile, even if you get the occasional negative one.
Another important thing? Responding to each review. Google sees your responses as more evidence that you are a legitimate, active and engaged local business.
Step 3: Use Regional Keywords as Much as Possible
Your local focus isn’t just about directory type information. You need to shape your content for your website itself around generating local results.
Choosing the right keywords—a classic component of SEO—is a huge part of that. Yes, like we said before, Google has a pretty good idea of where your potential clients are in relation to you. But using your target city and state in headlines and throughout your on-page copy can boost your local credibility with Google even more.
Think of it as another line of confirmation. The more confirmation you have about your geographic position—consistent online listings, regional keywords, etc.—the higher Google will rank you among the local options it shows to law firm prospects.
It can be tricky, though.
“If your headline includes ‘South Bend,’ it’s another touchpoint that Google can cross-check to recommend your firm to people in South Bend,” Mike said. “But you also have to toe the line of being targeted, but inclusive. For example, if you’re wanting to reach elsewhere in Indiana around South Bend, you have to write it that way in the copy.”
Step 4: Hire a Professional to Do Local SEO for You
Though each adjustment sounds small, it adds up to a lot of work.
It’s why you can benefit from an expert legal marketing agency doing this for you—people who know how and where to implement these changes—so your law firm can be a leader in your local market.
Google’s search algorithm is always changing. A digital marketing firm keeps up with that so you don’t have to add it to your plate.
You should get the credit you’re due on the internet for the place you occupy in your local community. If you’d like more discussion about how your local status can help grow your firm, talk to 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.