How do you stand out from the competition when it comes to local SEO? Here’s how you can improve your firm’s online presence.
Law is a competitive industry, especially when it comes to SEO. But if you’re just focusing on the big keywords in search of traffic, you could be wasting a lot of effort.
A location binds most searches for legal questions or services. You want to show up in the most relevant results, targeting local searchers.
So, to rank higher in Google and for other top-ranking search engines, you should focus on local search engine optimization (SEO).
Google’s Local Pack has become more competitive, showing fewer results. While local SEO and organic SEO are different strategies, you need to approach your organic SEO with a local mindset.
This article will show you how to optimize your law firm’s website and business listings to rank better for local SEO.
Local SEO is a type of search engine optimization that targets local SERP features like the Local Pack. These features appear at the top of the page, often alongside a map, when Google deems a search query to have location-based intent.
Organic search focuses on the results below ads and SERP features. But to assist with your local SEO efforts, it’s also essential to bring a local mindset to your organic results.
If someone is looking for a service in their local area or uses localized search terms like [best lawyer in New York], they’re likely to see Local Pack results.
Screenshot from Google search for [best lawyer in new york], August 2022
In the case of lawyers, they’re also likely to see ads with “Google Screened” results for nearby providers.
Google Screened results are ads for service providers that have been through additional screening by Google. The verticals that use this feature include child care, finance, health, and law. You’ll notice that the Google Screened results focus on nearby businesses and display some of the features of the Local Pack, such as reviews and hours. They’re also at the very top of the page. If you want that coveted spot, you’ll need to get screened and develop a local advertising strategy.
Local SEO is essential for law firms because most law firms serve clients in a specific geographic area. Unless you service clients nationally, you’ll likely only want leads from people within your county, city, or state.
Additionally, it’s less competitive to try and rank for localized keywords than for broad keywords.
Fewer people may be searching for a [criminal lawyer in Dallas]. Still, there will also be fewer law firms trying to rank for that term compared to the [best criminal lawyer] period.
If you’re ready to invest in one of the most effective marketing methods for law firms, it’s time to get into local SEO.
Below, we’ve outlined the main components of local SEO for law firms and how to implement them for your site so you can start attracting more local clients.
The first component of local SEO for law firms is website optimization, as you’ll need a fast, functional, and SEO-friendly website to attract organic traffic.
If you already have a website, this means following on-page and technical SEO best practices to address any on-site issues.
This could include fixing broken links, optimizing your website’s load speed, using your target keywords through page titles and content, and laying out a user-friendly site structure.
If you are building a new site, ensure your web developer understands SEO and can design a site optimized for search engines and people.
If your website loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and can be indexed by search engines, you’ll have a better chance of ranking in the local search results.
51% of website visits in the U.S. come from mobile devices. This means people are using smartphones and tablets to search for goods and services and are then browsing websites on the go.
As a website owner, you’ll want a mobile-friendly site so prospective clients can navigate your site even on a small screen.
To do this, you should create a mobile-friendly version of your website with clear text, fast-loading images, and clear call-to-action buttons.
Focusing on mobile experience is essential not only because mobile friendliness is an important ranking factor but also because it will keep visitors on your website for longer.
Your website content tells visitors what you do, how you can help them, and how they can get in contact with you.
It also works to attract organic visitors when you use localized keywords throughout the titles, meta descriptions, and body text of your webpages.
In conducting keyword research for your law firm content strategy, use keyword research tools like Semrush, Google Search Console, or Soovle. They can help you find relevant terms to the area you serve and your services and inspire the content you should create.
For example, if you provide criminal law services in Los Angeles, you might want to target keywords like [Los Angeles criminal lawyer] or [criminal law attorneys in Los Angeles].
You can then use these terms on a “Criminal Law” service page or the homepage of your site.
Beyond that, you can publish informative articles that attract prospective clients.
With blog posts like “What The New DUI Laws Mean For Los Angeles Residents” or “What Do I Do If I Get Arrested In Los Angeles?” you can work to attract prospective clients to your firm.
This is where a local SEO strategy shines in organic results. People searching for information aren’t likely to want Local Pack results so that they may scroll to the articles. You still want to let them know your answers are relevant to their location when they do.
Once you have found the keywords you want to target, you should write informative content that speaks to your client’s interests. Then, naturally, use your target and related keywords throughout the page to rank for these terms in local search.
But remember not to overload your content with keywords. So much so that it takes away from the intention of your content.
How can I get my law firm to rank higher on Google Maps or local maps apps?
Law firms often struggle to rank well on Google Maps because they lack a strong presence in their city’s area code.
Unfortunately, this means fewer clients will see them, and they won’t show up in search results.
And you may already realize that Google’s Local Pack algorithm affects your local SEO rankings. The Local Pack algorithm gives consumers high-quality information from nearby locations. As a result, you might see fewer local listings appear in organic search results.
To gain visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) and Google Maps, start by taking advantage of your Google Business Profile (GBP). A GBP helps businesses connect with customers across all devices, whether you want to reach new audiences or improve conversions.
Getting started with Google Business Profile is free, and there are multiple fields where you can include your business hours, services, address, phone number, website URL, and more.
Start by adding photos and details about your practice, then add information about your staff and services. Finally, let Google know where your office is located.
Once complete, check back frequently to ensure your listing stays accurate. A GBP is essentially an online directory and one-stop shop for prospective customers, so it’s crucial to update it consistently.
A GBP also allows you to accumulate reviews from past clients, boosting your law firm’s reputation and local rankings.
Positive client reviews can work wonders to increase your law firm’s authority, online reputation, and search engine rankings.
If prospective clients search for a lawyer and see that your firm has the most positive reviews, they may be inclined to choose you over the competition.
You can ask clients to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile, Facebook, and other directory listings.
Having a slew of positive reviews can set your law firm apart while indicating to Google that your law firm is legit.
Regarding reviews and online reputation management, it’s crucial to have a strategy to monitor and respond to online reviews promptly.
Online reviews matter to consumers and are a significant indicator of if they’ll choose your business.
A recent study shows that 53% of consumers expect a business to respond to a negative review within seven days. But don’t leave out positive reviews. It’s essential to respond to those as well.
If consumers see that your firm responds to reviews, it can show you provide good customer service and that your customer’s impression of your business matters to you.
The last component of local SEO for law firms is link building, which involves attracting links from other sites back to your website.
Since a link from another site (a “backlink”) is essentially a vote of confidence from that site that your law firm is reputable and a good source of information. So attracting a variety of high-quality links can improve your local rankings.
The key here is to attract links from reputable, industry-related sites. One way to do this is by submitting your business information to directories.
Or you can submit guest posts to websites and landing interviews in industry publications, creating high-value content that naturally attracts links.
In addition, marketing your content, ebooks, and PDFs to outside blogs can be a beneficial strategy.
This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding link building, but it’s worth trying out various strategies instead of buying cheap links.
Remember, focus on quality over quantity. The best links will help you boost your local rankings and generate more referral traffic.
If you haven’t already done so, now would be a great time to optimize your website and listings for local search. This will give potential clients a better idea of where you practice law and allow you to attract new clients from the community you serve.
Local SEO has become increasingly important for law firms looking to grow their practice.
Therefore, it only makes sense that firms should take advantage of the same tools used by other businesses to build their online presence and authority.
Optimizing your website presence will increase traffic from local searches and help your firm rank higher on SERPs.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal
Alex is Co-Owner of We Do Web Content a content-focused digital marketing firm for law firms in the US. Alex …
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