Local SEO is becoming increasingly important to how law firms do business. But too many overlook this. Is your law firm’s local SEO up to par?
Here are 5 things you can do today to turn that around.
A Little Summary of Why Local SEO is So Important for Law Firms
The legal industry is one of the most competitive around. For context, keywords related to the industry are some of the most expensive on Google AdWords. And considering the fact that most people who search for keywords related to legal services end up visiting a law firm soon after, it’s easy to see why.
Research shows that 96% of people use search engines to find legal advice and 74% of them visit a law firm website to take their desired action. With this in mind, you can see how terribly important it is for your law firm to maintain a strong digital presence.
Absolutely key to that strong digital presence is what you do with your law firm’s local SEO. If you’re not really sure what that’s about, local SEO refers to strategies you implement to make people searching for legal advice near you find your law firm. It’s every tip, trick, and strategy you employ to make sure when someone searches “Divorce Lawyer Seattle”, it’s your firm that pops up.
Savvy law firms have realized for a long while now that local SEO is where the money’s at. When you consider that 46% of all searches on Google have “local intent”, it’s clear why. When people search for legal advice, they want it fast and preferably close by. This is also why “near me” searches have grown 150% faster than traditional, local-based searches.
Getting your local SEO right will be crucial to digital marketing success in 2020.
Below are 5 actionable tips you can implement today to get your law firm’s local SEO off the ground.
#1: Figure out your keyword strengths
All SEO starts with figuring out what phrases prospects are likely to use in searching for your business. Local SEO is no different.
Your first step should be to figure out what your keyword strengths are and what approach to take.
There are two that you can possibly use here:
- You can select the best from a bunch of keywords you already have in mind; or
- You can go prospecting for entirely new keywords.
If you already have some keywords in mind, there are several free tools you can use to figure out which one best fits your business. There’s Ubersuggeston on neilpatel.com and you can also use Google or Yelp Suggest.
For Google Suggest, simply type in a part of the keyword and let the auto-suggest function do its work. For instance, if you type “divorce lawyer”, you’ll get a list of suggestions. This is pretty valuable because those suggestions are based on what people are actually searching for.
If you want to try out entirely new keywords, the best way to find what works is to check out what successful websites are doing. Google’s Keyword Planner can help with this. Open their “start with a website” feature and pop in the domain name of one of your competitors in the area. You’ll see what keywords they’re ranking for.
#2: Boost your practice area pages
Once you’re certain about what keywords will work best for you, this must be your next step. This is because it is one of the simplest and most effective steps you can take to strengthen your local SEO.
There’s hardly any firm that has only one practice area, but too many firms only maintain a single page that lists all their practice areas. This is wrong on so many levels. Even if you handle only divorce cases, some people will only be interested in child custody, alimony or property division. If they cannot see that you offer exactly those services within 7 seconds of visiting your page, they’ll most likely bounce.
If you operate a practice in different locations, this is even more important. By having a separate page for each practice area, you can add the keyword to your URL. For instance, www.primelawyers.com/practice-areas/boston-divorce-lawyers will always perform better.
Once these pages are created, proceed to optimize them with your keywords. If you’re going for “Boston Divorce Lawyer”, make sure it’s large, bold and, importantly, right above the fold. Make it an H1 header right at the top of the page so it’s the first thing your visitors see.
#3: Optimize your Google My Business listing
This is the single most important factor in your law firm’s local SEO. According to the yearly Moz study on local SEO ranking factors, Google My Business signals are the #1 ranking factor for local SEO. It’s absolutely crucial towards your law firm showing up in the map pack.
What’s the map pack? The map pack is a set of 3 local business results that shows up when you make a local search. It includes a map of their locations pulled from Google Maps and links to their website, phone details, and schedule. It quite literally places your business right before your prospects.
Google My Business will be important to cracking the pack. If you don’t already have a listing, do that right now. Google will need to verify that you are actually located where you say. They’ll send you a verification code, but this can take some while, sometimes up to a month. Once your verification is complete, do the following immediately:
- Fill out your description. Make sure it includes your keywords but ensure that your business name is written correctly and is consistent across platforms.
- List your categories (and take advantage of sub-categories too)
- List your hours, address and phone number.
- Add photos in all the recommended areas
- Add in FAQs. Preempt questions that prospects may have about your law firm and provide satisfactory answers
#4: Collect positive reviews
Online reviews are the third most important factor for local SEO, according to the Moz study. But it’s surprising how few law firms actively request for reviews from their clients. Positive reviews are social proof as they show your prospects that others have tested you out and found you worthy.
How do you go about getting positive reviews? First thing: absolutely do not buy fake reviews. You’ll get caught. The best way to ask for reviews is to do it like a pro. Google My Business provides a resource that lets you create a review link for your clients.
Simply follow the instructions to create a link then put together a form email that includes the link and send it to your clients. Make sure also respond to positive reviews. They help Google and prospects learn more about your business.
#5: Elevate your on-site local SEO
There are several factors on your website that will be crucial for your local SEO. Tweak them using these tips:
- Optimize for mobile: 84% of all “near me” and local intent searches are made on mobile. So you simply cannot joke with this. Use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to see how well you’re doing on mobile. Contact a professional if you’re doing poorly.
- Put keywords in the right places: Your H1 and H2 tags should have your keywords, which should include the city and practice area. Also, insert the keyword in your meta description and ensure it is consistent.
- Embed Google map: This helps your prospects find you easier, and will make it easier for Google to put you on the map pack. To embed this, go to Google Maps and find your business. When you find it, click the “Share” button and then “Embed a map”. Copy the HTML and insert the code into your website.
- NAP: Make sure your website lists your law firm name, address and physical address correctly. Ensure it is written in the exact same format on every other directory that you are listed on.
Implement these tips and you are well on your way to conquering local SEO for your law firm. Have any other tips that have worked for your law firm? Share them with us in the comments section below.
And if you need a partner to help you get your local SEO truly locked down, reach out to us today.
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