Local SEO for law firms is crucial — if you want to attract new leads, SEO is going to be a big part of your online marketing strategy. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the biggest reasons that SEO contributes to business development.
First, though, here’s a quick glossary of search engine and online marketing terms. This subject can turn into a confusing alphabet soup if you aren’t familiar with the jargon:
With all that in mind, here are eight of the top reasons you should focus on local SEO for your law firm:
Even offices with multiple territories, multiple offices, or national-scale practices can benefit from optimizing their websites (and web presences in general) for local searches. Contact us directly at 888-590-9687 if you’d like a personal consultation, or read on for more information.
The first reason you want to focus on local SEO is also the simplest: You want people to know where you are. Local SEO involves inserting this information strategically throughout your website. As people read your articles and web pages, they will consistently be exposed to the fact that you are in your specific geographic location.
For example, at FORWARD Lawyer Marketing, we optimize our site to tell people that we are an online marketing agency for lawyers that is based in the Chicago area and has clients across the country. We write these types of phrases throughout the site.
Your firm would have its own specific localization information written in. For example, you might include phrases such as “divorce practice in Phoenix” or “car accident lawyer in Nashville”.
These types of keywords are the foundations of local optimization. They help search engines index your site correctly and they help potential clients determine if you’re close enough to help them.
As we mentioned briefly above, organic search rank is your website’s position as it happens naturally. In other words, you don’t have to pay actively for this position.
Why climb slowly when you can just pay to get placed in the paid ad section? The main reason is that organic rank is often more efficient in the long term. Once you get to a good place on the SERP, it’s typically much cheaper to maintain a high rank than it is to constantly run high-exposure PPC ad campaigns. As your business expands, you’ll probably end up doing both — a point we’ll cover later in this post.
You still have to do a lot of work to obtain and keep a high organic search rank. Generally speaking, if you’re high on the first page of the search results for your targeted keywords, or at least climbing, you’re probably doing a good job.
Ranking higher involves providing useful and relevant content that matches the keywords people are using. Local search is ideal for this — you already know that people are looking for lawyers in your area. They are much more likely to engage with your website, which is important for ranking.
When people read your articles, click through to other pages once they get to your website, or interact with contact forms, that can increase your organic search rank over time. Conversely, if they get to your page and see that you are outside of their jurisdiction, their immediate exit could adversely change your rank. That’s why it’s important to optimize your content to match your firm with searchers in the right geographical locations.
Local SEO is primarily for getting exposure on search engines. However, there are also some other benefits. One is that it allows you to demonstrate your commitment to and knowledge about the local community.
Many local optimization strategies involve things like discussing local landmarks, mentioning neighboring towns, and even talking about organizations with which your firm is associated. This is in addition to just mentioning the municipality, county, or state where you practice.
Putting these details on your site is a good way to imply that you have a certain reputation in the local community. Of course, if you want anything highly specific mentioned, you should speak to your marketing or content agency about it during your consultations.
When you target local keywords with your firm’s online marketing strategy, SEO is only one of many approaches you can use. Many firms also use paid advertising for instant results or to complement high search ranks.
The way it works is that there are various forms of paid advertising available on search engines. These ads appear in different places than the organic results. It’s possible for your firm to show up in multiple places on the same search engine results pages.
It might seem redundant at first to have multiple results, but there are some distinct benefits. One is that some types of paid ads are interactive — this means that you’re essentially giving people a choice between contacting you directly or learning more about the subject they’re searching for. Another benefit is slightly more obvious — you simply take up more real estate on the SERP and therefore have more chances to get noticed.
Giving precise office locations is a quick and simple benefit of local SEO. The idea here is that people who are looking for your office can find it easily, even if they only have part of the information they need. This can also help people find your firm online if they only remember where you are in real life (i.e. if they don’t remember your name).
The way you do this is usually by including written directions to your location in the content on your website. Of course, you also want to make sure that your maps listings are accurate and up-to-date.
Pay-per-click advertising can and usually should target local geographic areas around your firm. You set your location in the campaign management software, but you can optimize your landing pages so that they might show up in local search results as well.
In other words, including local details (in other words, doing local SEO) in the page you’re promoting with PPC does two things. First, it connects the campaign directly to the geographical area you’re targeting. Second, it increases the value of your ad campaign by concurrently advancing your SEO goals. For more information on this see our page on PPC for lawyers.
Natural language is a relatively recent trend in search engine technology. People are more likely these days to use full sentences or phrases when looking for lawyers online. One of the most important subcategories for local search is the “near me” type of phrasing.
People use the phrase “near me” when searching, which the search engine then interprets as an indicator that the person is looking for something in their immediate area. Local SEO helps your firm target this type of search behavior and direct traffic to your website.
Last, but certainly not least, you optimize to literally rise above the competition in the search rankings. Higher search positions tend to connote results that are more relevant to what people are looking for.
Obviously, your search position doesn’t say anything explicitly about the quality of your legal services. However, in the minds of your potential clients, higher positions on the SERP often become conflated with other qualities they’re looking for in an attorney — good reputation, for example.
Local SEO for law firms works best as part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy, but simply rewriting content to focus on local search can sometimes be enough to get you started climbing the ranks. Give us a call today at 888-590-9687 and we’ll take a look at your website, your search performance — and we’ll figure out what you might be able to do to rank higher.