Chapter 5: Local SEO for Law Firms
Table of Contents
Building Local Business for Your Law Firm
Optimizing for local search requires proper planning, knowledge, skill, organization, and time.
An effective local search campaign ensures potential clients in your geographic area can find your firm on the web. It also ensures your firm’s address and location show up in the maps that matter, like those used by Google and iPhones, and that apps on smartphones can locate you quickly and easily.
Below we offer more in-depth information about local search, its importance, and how reviews and ratings impact your firm’s ranking in local search results.
What is Local Search, and Why is it Important?
You may have noticed when performing a search on Google or another search engine that you’ll often see results that pertain to your city or area without having to specify a location for your search. Often, searchers will also see a group of results with a map showing the locations of various businesses. Local search is the idea that Google and other search engines provide results that are closest to the searcher, making the location a major factor for SERPs.
Search engines can also provide ratings for businesses and organizations that clients and customers review using their platform. Searches performed on smartphones and other mobile devices are responsible for a large volume of searches that yield local results. All of these items have to do with local search, and all are of growing importance to all local businesses, including law firms.
With Google being the largest search engine in terms of volume, Google Local, and Google reviews are extremely important to law firms. Appearance at or near the top of the map results or “local pack” for specific searches can lead to more website visits, more contacts, and ultimately more cases.
How Can a Law Firm Rank Highly in Local Results?
One very important factor for local SEO for lawyers is your firm’s name, address, and phone number (NAP information). The appearance of this information on websites and directories across the web helps to establish your presence for local search. It shows that your firm’s listing is included in important and authoritative places.
Possibly, the most important aspect of NAP is ensuring that the information is consistent wherever it is listed on the web. For example, you should not write “Avenue” on one listing and abbreviate it to “Ave.” in another. You must also update NAP information if you change any of the information.
On a side note, Google accepts only certain abbreviations. You can use this resource from Whitespark to help you find the correct abbreviations for your NAP information. You must also make sure your NAP information is included on key sites. These include Google, Bing, Data Axle, and Neustar Localeze. This will help build your online presence and improve your rankings.
Location Landing Pages are landing pages on your website that target a real location. These pages help consumers find relevant firms in a targeted location. They also serve search engines by informing them of your services in that specific location.
Content must be relevant to user’s queries as well as their location. For example, a great location page gets you organic traffic from location-specific queries like “personal injury lawyer in Edmond, ok”.
As can be seen, both of the results above are location pages. This attention to detail when targeting specific areas is very appreciated by both users and search engines.
Reviews and Ratings
Reviews are another significant factor related to local search that law firms must consider. Various platforms, including Google, Yelp, Citysearch, legal-specific sites such as Avvo, and others, offer clients the ability to post reviews about their experiences with a law firm.
Many describe the internet, especially reviews, as the new form of “word-of-mouth” advertising. The data overwhelmingly shows that people are more likely to buy a product or patronize a business if they see positive online reviews. Let’s have a look at some of the most telling statistics about online feedback so you understand the importance of online ratings and reviews about your law firm:
- As of 2020, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
- The star rating is the most important review factor compared to recency, legitimacy, sentiment, and quantity.
- Almost 50% of consumers would consider using a business with less than four stars.
- About 75% of users only pay attention to reviews written in the most recent month.
- More than 70% of consumers have written a review for a local business.
- People are most likely to look at Google My Business reviews but trust Better Business Bureau (BBB) reviews the most.
It’s no surprise that when your clients say good things about your firm, your attorneys, and your services in public venues, it positively impacts your business. The words they are willing to share can convince others to contact your firm for their legal needs.
For decades, the phrase, “The customer is always right” has been the mantra of businesses of all types. This is true, even when they’re wrong. Seeing results from implementing local SEO practices relies heavily on the fact that you treat your customers well. You must treat clients in a way that inspires them to not only want to write a review for you but write a positive review for you.
As mentioned above, an overwhelming majority of consumers have written reviews. You need to have positive online reviews, so make sure to ask your clients to leave a review. This will ensure you always have fresh ratings of your law firm online, which will in turn create trust.
The stars beside a listing can be both an eye magnet and a visual cue to searchers. This can drive more traffic and potential clients to your site.
As more search is mobile and local in nature and intent, reviews will continue to grow in importance. Consultwebs offers an online reviews bundle, which contains helpful resources to aid law firms in protecting their reputation and getting the most out of their online presence.
A majority of the best SEO practices for your law firm occur on-site or on-page, whether technical or content-related. However, off-site SEO for lawyers also plays a role in organically improving your place in Google’s search results. We briefly covered off-site/off-page SEO for lawyers in the introductory chapters but want to share more with you. In the next chapter, we will delve deeper into the major aspects of off-site SEO: local citations and backlinks.