When encountering a legal issue, the first thing most people do is turn to an attorney to answer common questions and navigate their case. Unless they commonly retain an established family attorney or other preferred law firm, the first step is to search for an attorney in their area who can provide information and help with their case. Hiring a local firm ensures that the attorney understands state and local laws that may impact their situation and reduces travel costs.
The importance of building a local client base may seem like a basic concept, but many law firms struggle to utilize critical resources to their advantage. In the digital age, developing a rich, locally-based online presence through search engine optimization (SEO) is key to targeting potential local clients. You can significantly improve your SEO by focusing on local search and ensuring that you rank highly for associated, relevant queries.
What Is Local SEO?
Before we discuss the ways to implement local SEO to improve your law firm’s website, it is essential to understand what, exactly, local SEO is. Put simply, local SEO is a set of strategies that help your website become more visible for users searching locally. In combination with local service ads, local SEO can be useful for any business with a geographical location, including law firms.
For example, when searching for a qualified attorney, many potential clients enter queries like, “divorce attorney near me” or “family law attorney in [city name].” In addition, with the rapidly increasing popularity of mobile search, your users don’t even need to enter “near me” or a location name for the search engine to assume a local intent. Search engines seek to serve accurate results for a user’s search, and are more likely to serve websites for businesses near the user’s location. Though your website may include plenty of information about divorce law, family law, and related practice areas, you must still indicate your location to capitalize on these searches.
How to Use Local SEO to Your Advantage
As mentioned, local SEO can help you rank near the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) for local searches by highlighting your physical location or service area. To do so, however, you must do much more than add a few keywords. In fact, there are several ways to use local SEO to your firm’s advantage. Using a combination of these can help ensure that you are doing everything you can to build organic web traffic and maximize local leads.
Update Service Areas
It is important to ensure you are capitalizing on all the cities, neighborhoods, and areas you serve. Rather than simply optimizing your informational content and web copy for Los Angeles, for example, you can cast a wider net by mentioning Irvine, Los Feliz, Burbank, Santa Monica, Orange County, Riverside County, and more. Thus, your website should rank for queries asking for attorneys in each of these areas, as opposed to LA itself. If your firm is located in a smaller city or rural area, it would be similarly beneficial to optimize your website for neighboring towns and counties.
Improve Your Mobile Site
As indicated above, smartphones are now the primary tool for conducting online searches, especially those with a local intent. This means that it is imperative to operate a mobile site that is easy to navigate and smoothly conveys your firm’s relevant information to smartphone users. If a company does not have a high quality mobile site that is simple to use, many users will simply move on to someone else who does. In addition, Google’s page ranking algorithm prioritizes mobile optimized pages and penalizes websites without a mobile alternative.
Consider Voice Command SEO
The way people search for products and services is constantly changing. Currently, one of the most rapidly increasing methods of search is via voice command, either via mobile phone assistants like Siri or via devices like Google Home, Alexa and Echo. This is especially true for mobile searches on the go.
However, voice search queries tend to be structured much differently than those typed into a computer or smartphone. While a person might type, “divorce attorney near me” into a device’s search engine, they would be more likely to say something like, “Hey Alexa, who is the best divorce attorney in Burbank, CA?” when using voice search. Thus, voice search can have a significant impact on your local SEO efforts. Optimizing for voice commands ensures that you catch potential leads who are searching for an attorney using these unique phrases.
Use Google’s My Business
One of the best things you can do to improve your local SEO is to update your Google My Business (GMB) account. GMB is Google’s primary means of populating maps results, the local map pack, and featured local snippets (all special content result blocks that place your firm at the top of the SERP after a local search). This platform is one of the main ways that customers find local services, so it is imperative that your firm has an accurately completed GMB account.
Your law firm’s GMB account includes contact information, hours of operation, reviews, directions to your offices, services offered, and much more. When you keep GMB updated, you not only provide information to populate highly visible featured results, but you ensure that local searchers can access correct information. Any outdated hours, bad phone numbers, broken website links, and poor reviews can have a negative impact on your website traffic and reputation. Fortunately, the GMB platform is easy to use and update.
Increase Local Link Building
One of the primary determining factors in search engine ranking is how often other reputable sites link to yours. The more this occurs, the better case you build to your chosen search engine that your site exhibits authority, trust, and expertise in your field. Thus, getting your link on other quality, trustworthy, relevant sites can help boost your SERP ranking.
While national industry experts are certainly valuable links, try to develop local, business-to-business connections that will link your website on their own. Local partnerships and news outlets are a great way to increase local links—boosting your firm’s participation in local events can help you land links on these reputable sites. Local advertising is another way to appear at the top of the SERP. In addition, post informational blogs that appeal to the general public and consider sharing to social media so that other sites will have reason to link to your valuable content.
Seek Help From an SEO and Digital Marketing Service
Implementing local SEO tactics can be challenging and time consuming, especially for a busy attorney with many other responsibilities. As a result, it is often beneficial to hire outside help for your digital marketing and SEO services. With a professional on your side, you can be sure that your local keywords are relevant and optimize your page to capture more local clients. Digital marketing services also ensure your efforts are ongoing—as the virtual market continues to develop and change, a marketing professional can shift your SEO to provide growth.
RizeUp Media is proud to specialize in digital marketing and SEO services for law firms. We know how to optimize your firm’s website for local SEO, and lead the industry in developing an online presence suitable for the unique needs of law firms. Whether you need to improve your firm’s web design, develop valuable content, or build a viable social media campaign, we can help. Contact us today to get started.
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