How Google Ranks Law Firms When Users Search

Experts estimate that Google uses around 200 ranking factors in its algorithm to rank websites within a given web search query. They assert that SEO is about making small modifications and incremental improvements to your law firm’s website that impact your site’s user experience and performance in organic search engine results. However, Google has never explicitly said what does and does not impact rankings on the search engine results pages. This is why it takes time to see results after optimizing your website and content.

Overall, we could summarise this whole section into the most important one, content.  If your site has the best content, you will most likely rank well. This content would answer search engine users’ questions or needs, quickly and thoroughly.   Good content is also always evolving and the way you present this content also has a major say on your ranking. Google says it best “Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content” in their webmaster guidelines.

It’s critical to note how Google interrelates user experience and search results. Many of Google’s most significant changes to the way it measures law firm website rankings focus on the user, or the person performing the web search. Google algorithms are the complex formulas it uses to determine website rankings. These algorithms consider a myriad of factors when ranking websites like the quality of content, user analytics, link profiles, social media signals, and many others.


Local Citations

Even large law firms that have offices throughout the nation benefit by targeting a local audience for a specific location. The number of local citations your law firm has heavily influenced local Google rankings. A local citation refers to any online mention of your law firms (NAP+W information):

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website

Of course, you will find these mentions throughout your website, but you can also find them on local business directories, other websites, apps, and social networking platforms. Local citations help people find you when they need a lawyer. It’s crucial to create and maintain a wide range of popular internet accounts to keep a strong local footprint. This not only includes Google, but Yelp, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, even Instagram, and Tik Tok. However, the citation from your Google account is easily the most important for an attorney. You need to give it special attention because best practices regarding your Google citation change frequently.

Local citations can positively and negatively impact your ranking. Specifically, the number of citations your law firm has, the accuracy of the data, and the quality of platforms where they exist impact your ranking. Accurate information means that Google and other search engines trust the data, giving your law firm a better chance to rank well. On the other hand, having inconsistent data erodes trust, and search engines are less likely to rank a business well.

Aside from Google and other important search engines, many websites have a plethora of citations. It’s common for law firms embarking on SEO best practices to find hundreds of issues with directories that need to be cleaned up. For example, you might need to update your address or phone number.

The quickest and most effective way to clean up your law firm’s citation across multiple directories is to update the aggregators that populate data on many smaller websites. The top aggregators are Localeze, Factual, Acxiom, Infogroup and Foursquare. Other websites also exist that allow you to submit updates to these aggregators to aid in cleanup.

If your citations are too inconsistent, not only could it negatively affect your rankings, but it could also frustrate customers trying to contact your firm. You will find more information on proper business listings in this helpful resource.