No matter where you practice law, you already know how it is crucial to have high rankings in local search. Now a lot of law firms are locally-oriented. Optimizing local SEO is important for lawyers and other law professionals that want to locally find loyal clients and increase brand awareness.
Let’s see why local SEO is the top priority to perform your law practices:
- 32% of all customers are looking for lawyers online.
- 96% of people use local search to look for legal advice.
- 74% of all customers that visit a law site take action.
- 95% of consumers read online reviews that help them solve to hire a lawyer or not.
Local search is more important than it’s ever been. Especially it is important for law firms who want to gain the competitive edge over other local law firms and get more local clients. Most potential clients will research lawyers online before making an appointment.
This guide will give you practical tips and tricks on how to improve your local SEO on your website and help your future clients find you easily in online searches.
1. Conduct Keyword Research
Customers research lawyers online using keywords. It is essential to display them in local search when people are searching for legal services you offer. For law firms, the keywords are the foundation of the successful SEO campaign. They should be related to your field.
Try to create a list of relevant keywords that refer to your business. For example, the keywords should look like “personal injury lawyers” or “criminal defense attorney”. To find keywords, use keyword suggestion tools like SE Ranking, AnswerThePublic or Google Keyword Planner.
While searching for keywords, you should find and optimize keywords based on keyword intent: commercial and research. Each of these intents needs certain approaches.
Commercial Intent Keywords
Commercial intent keywords should be the top priority for your Local SEO strategy. They help you describe your legal services and make clients take some sort of action. For example, keywords like “criminal defense attorney near me” or “hire a criminal defense attorney” mean that a client tends to hire an attorney.
Research Intent Keywords
Research intent keywords are used for learning about legal services or getting information. Including these keywords into the FAQ page or blog posts on your site will be reasonable. They are less likely to result in conversions, but they help you build a strong brand reputation and increase website traffic.
For example, the keywords like “Los Angeles criminal defense attorney reviews” or “Los Angeles criminal defense attorney cost” indicate that people are not ready to hire an attorney, they are just gathering information.
As Google is showing up more personalized search results, it is important to include keywords that are relevant to your users’ location. Many people search law firms near them, and even a few miles away. If you add keywords like “personal attorney near me”, it will increase your chances to be displayed on Google maps.
If you want to dominate in local search, you should focus more on commercial intent keywords. They will give you a good chance to get more clients and double your organic exposure.
2. Optimize your website
The next important thing you should focus on is to optimize your law website. The goal is to include keywords to every page that future clients can find your services in local search offered by your law firm.
Specifically, it is important to add commercial intent keywords on your web pages. Here are the key things you should follow to optimize your website:
1. Include commercial intent keywords at home page and services pages in :
- Title tag: add your city or other location point and a target keyword like “criminal lawyer Chicago”.
- H1 tag: try to have at least one H1 tag using local keywords.
- Content: integrate keywords a few times through the content on all web pages. Don’t abuse keywords, try to include them naturally.
- URL: Use one keyword and location in the URL like “www.losangeles-criminalattorneys.com”.
- Images with Titles and Alt Tags: use the filename like “losangeles-defenselawyer.jpg”.
2. Write meta descriptions. They are important for catching clients’ attention to your website in search. Try to describe your legal services in brief, and include around 150 characters.
3. Integrate a Google map into your contact page.
4. Create the FAQ page. Show your expertise, and list popular questions asked by your clients with precise answers and target keywords. It will help you get featured in Google’s featured snippets and drive more targeted traffic to your landing page.
5. Content pages are great resources for getting general information about your services. It is important to use research intent keywords on your web pages. Here is a good example from Citywide Law Group:
6. Build up an optimal website structure. To increase rankings and user experience, people don’t have any difficulties to navigate and use your site.
- Use branded domain like lawrank.com.
- Create services pages for each offering.
- Create additional services pages to grab extra traffic.
3. Optimize Your Google My Business Page
Google My Business (GMB) is the foundation of your local SEO. Over the years GMB has become more robust and feature-rich in comparison with the previous versions. It helps you run your law business, shows useful information about you, gets the top Google rankings and interact with potential clients in different ways.
Creating a business listing on Google is free. Moreover, you can include a ton of useful information like posts, review, Q&A, upcoming events, social accounts, address, phone, working hours, your main business categories that will be interesting for your future clients.
Here are some tips on how to optimize your GMB page:
- Claim and verify your GMB page. Depending on your practice, Google will send you a code to your phone number or a postcard to your address with a code that you should enter on your dashboard to complete the verification process.
- Include a right address, local phone numbers, and a name of your law firm to your GMB page.
- Choose your business categories. Follow the Google’s guidelines in your category and add 3-5 relevant categories to the services offered by your firm.
- Give a brief introduction of different services you offer. Try to keep around 100-200 words in length. Include hiring intent keywords related to your legal services.
- Add the hours of operation. If people are looking for your services, they need to know when to contact you. Make sure you include office hours together with local phone numbers.
- Upload high-quality images. Images can help you grab much attention of people to your legal services. They should have a sharp focus, a minimum resolution (720px x 720px) and a size between 10 KB and 5MB.
- Questions and Answers. This section is visible to all users. Try to respond to all questions on the GMB profile. It will be a great idea to add FAQs and answer them for your target audience.
- Add Google posts. This is a great feature to attract customers’ attention through posts. You can post about current events, company news, case studies, offers, etc. You can even add a call to action like “get a free consultation”, “learn more” or “contact us today”.
- Google Reviews are a strong indicator that your law firm is real and respected. Getting good reviews affects your brand reputation and search rankings. This is also a great approach to ask clients to leave Google reviews about your firm.
4. Integrate Attorney-Specific Schema
Attorney-specific schema is the markup language that helps law firms and attorneys enrich a listing and increase local search rankings. Adding schema markup to your website is a good way to help search engines better understand your content and make your search results look rich.
For local attorneys, it is important to include precise contact information and meta descriptions so that Google can collect and add to your GMB page. Using schema markup to get reviews will improve your local search results and give you the competitive edge among other lawyers.
5. Build Your Brand Presence Online
Reviews are an important factor that can stand you out from the competition and improve your online presence. According to the recent BrightLocal study, 97% of people read local business reviews, and 85% of them trust local businesses based on positive reviews.
Positive reviews will also help you get high rankings in Google and increase chances to find prospective clients. I’ve mentioned above that Google Reviews is an important step to optimize your Local SEO for law firms. They directly affect the rankings of your local business in search results. So, getting authentic and positive reviews on Google Reviews should be the top priority.
The web is also full of other websites like Yelp, Avvo and FindLaw where your business can get positive reviews. They are popular among other directories and have very high Pagerank. For this reason, it is a good idea to get reviews on these websites.
Ask your clients to leave reviews about your services. Send out request-for-review emails to clients that were happy with your services but don’t leave a review.
You can also create a separate page on the site and post testimonials from happy clients about your legal services.
6. Enhance Your Mobile User Experience
You know that 50% of all local searches occur on mobile devices. People are searching for law firms using their mobile phones to take action. To reach out the largest number of the target audience and increase your business, your law website should be accessed from any devices. That’s why it is crucial to focus on developing your mobile web strategy.
Here are a few tips on how to prove a good mobile user experience:
- Verify your site on Search Console in order to identify diagnostic errors on your site.
- Make the drop-down menu icon on the top left or right of the mobile screen.
- Focus on touch inputs: make forms, buttons and other elements easy to navigate and use.
- Keep forms small and simple. You can make a separate form for mobile users with the minimum number of fields to get the information you need. Use auto-fill fields.
- Build an intuitive and mobile-friendly interface to help users take action.
- Add relevant call-to-action buttons like “Contact us” or “Get a consultation”.
- Design your website in a way that makes it easy to read across mobile devices.
- Resize images for the smaller screen size.
- Remove unnecessary graphics and content as it can slow down your site.
- Don’t focus on frames or on Flash.
7. Generate Powerful Links
Links still take an important role in local SEO and make your life easier. Getting high-quality links from authority websites has greater weight.
You know that Google ranks with trust and authority. There are different strategies to build up quality backlinks for law firms:
- Analyze your local competitors in order to find out what works best for them to generate good links. SE Ranking Competitor SEO/PPC research tool is a good choice to know how your competitors are doing online.
- Organize your local events on Meetup.com.
- Build the foundation by including local citations like FourSquare, Yelp, Yellow Pages and Brown Book.
- Publish articles on your local law blog.
- Offer scholarships for local students to get links from university websites.
- Sponsor local events in exchange for listing your site.
- Ask and answer questions on Quora.
- Use HARO to look for press outreach in legal topics.
- Link web pages internally that will help you get valuable juice from your blog content.
- Get links from resource pages. Use these search operators to find websites:
- legal inurl:resources;
- law inurl:resources;
- law intitle:resources;
- legal intitle:resources;
- legal “resource pages”;
- law “resource pages”.
- Create and manage social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
- Guest blogging is a good way to build quality links to your website.
The possibilities to find quality links are endless. The more powerful links you get, the higher your website rankings are. So, it is well worth the effort.
8. Analyze the Outputs of Local SEO
Once everything set up, analyzing the results of your SEO efforts is crucial in order to know how to improve your local campaign and maximize the returns on your SEO campaign. To estimate your results, use Google Analytics and track the following things:
- Overall search visibility.
- Organic traffic.
- Organic traffic to “sales pages”.
- Firm’s leads and phone calls from organic search.
- The performance of your keywords.
SEO is the foundation of any online business. Without SEO, you can’t reach success in the legal space. If you want to get the top rankings in local results, you should build up your strong local SEO strategy the right way.
I hope this guide will help you do things the right way and get more potential clients from local searches.