When you consider that 46% of all Google searches are looking for local results, it may seem impossible to rank at all, let alone get into the top three results.
Still, showing up as the number one organic search result is the ultimate goal of most law firms. This top spot nearly guarantees that potential clients will find themselves on your website. However, there’s heavy competition out there for local lawyers. Achieving high ranking positions involves optimizing your law firm’s online presence using local SEO.
Search engines like Google, Bing, Apple Maps, BBB, and Yelp are the usual choices for users. Considering that Google earns over 88% in the United States’ search engine market share, this article focuses on how you can optimize your law firm’s presence in local Google searches.
You want your law firm to appear on a potential client’s screen when they search for legal assistance near them. Google ranks pages by measuring three factors: authority, proximity, and relevance. Local SEO defines proximity and relevance as the factors that gauge whether your content is what a searcher is looking for within their immediate location.
Take advantage of local SEO searches by capitalizing on the factors which determine search rankings.
Optimize your law firm’s website for mobile devices to rank on Google. Making your site mobile-friendly caters to the 61% of searchers who are more likely to contact local businesses on mobile sites. Google has a handy tool to test whether your site works on mobile devices.
Authority is a crucial factor for ranking. In local SEO, the quality of your website’s content is a start, but the most relevant factor that helps your site rank for authority is backlinks. Backlinks are links from one website to another. When other established websites like news sites or hospitals link to your pages, you can gain authority over other law firms that don’t have these endorsements.
Start optimizing your website to include the keywords that rank in Google searches for relevance.
People search for legal services with keywords—head keywords or long-tail keywords. Head keywords are main keywords or transactional keywords like searching for “annulment lawyer.” We can turn this keyword into a long-tail keyword by searching for “do I need a lawyer for annulment?” You want your website to appear when people search for these kinds of keywords, so perform thorough keyword research to find out what people are searching for in Google.
Also, create a Google My Business listing and optimize your SILs (service in locations). When someone searches for “annulment lawyers in Ohio,” they are searching for a service in a location. List all your services and the locations you cover to create potential keywords that point to your website.
Google My Business (GMB) is integral to local SEO, yet 56% of local businesses have yet to claim their GMB listing. Set yours up now and follow these steps to start ranking:
Once you have set up your listing, keeping it updated is key to your GMB success. In addition to ensuring all information is current, regularly uploading images to your GMB is also a good local SEO strategy and gives you more visibility. This boosts your local internet presence because these pieces of media have location metadata attached to them. Having photos and videos associated with your law firm also boosts its credibility. It tells people that your business exists and you have photos to prove it.
Organic results are what most people are used to seeing when searching for something on Google. The snack pack (also known as the Google 3-pack or the local pack) refers to the box containing the highest-ranking local law firms or businesses when entering keywords in the search bar.
It pays to rank in the snack pack and organic results. Appearing in these areas typically gets you the highest ROI out of all your marketing efforts. A 2015 study noted that organic results get 40% of a searcher’s attention, while 33% of all clicks after searching a query go to local snack pack results.
As stated earlier, Google pulls keywords from your GMB listing and uses them to match your listing with relevant user searches. Ensuring that you use the right keywords in your listing is the best way to make yourself visible in search results.
Keywords aren’t the only tool available to you, though. GMB listings have features that you can utilize for your law firm. There is a section for questions and answers, which you can use to reinforce your relevance by standing out among other law firms.
However, note that other Google users can answer questions even if they are not associated with your law firm. This may cause some problems with inaccurate answers. In such cases, it’s best to monitor this section to answer the questions yourself.
Another GMB section you can utilize is the reviews section. This is where you can address user comments yourself without worrying about other users chiming in. Be sure to respond to the reviews people might have about your business.
Potential customers can view all reviews—good and bad—before judging your services. Be sure to respond to any praise with acknowledgment and address any criticisms with apologies and resolutions.
To get reviews for your law firm, go back to your previous clients and curate a list of those who have expressed having a good experience with your service. Contact them and see if they are willing to give a testimonial about your legal services.
If they agree, they can publish their review on your GMB listing. This helps you get more attention considering that 76% of consumers trust online reviews like they are personal recommendations.
If your law firm hosts community classes, you can get more reviews by asking participants to rate your services. This is an easy and strategic way to get reviews from people who have first-hand experience of your services. Customers trust other customers, so you need to build that connection to help give your law firm more authority.
You can further improve on client testimonials by uploading video testimonials. Consider that about 80% of people would rather watch a video over reading text on a page. If you embed professional videos on your pages, you are boosting your credibility by creating trust between real people.
Utilizing local SEO to get your law firm to rank on Google is a continuous process. You need to build authority and relevance for your business in your community over time. This involves constant updating, adjusting, and tracking to get the best results.
There is no shortcut to getting the best out of your website. An online presence is an asset and an investment. You need to put in the work and religiously practice your strategies to stay ahead of your competitors. If you’re looking for support, feel free to reach out to us—we’d be happy to help.