These days, both businesses and customers are using the internet. In this situation, it’s fair to say that the success of every business, including law firms, depends on Local SEO. Why?
As per Finance Online in 2022, 87% of customers used Google to check out local businesses.
When people look for a lawyer, they don’t just wander into a physical courtroom. They search online, and that’s where Local SEO comes in.
Local SEO is like a magic spell that helps your law practice shine on the internet. It’s not just about being good in court; it’s about being noticed in the vast world of the internet. Your online presence is like a powerful tool, saying, “Hey, I’m here and ready to help with your legal stuff!”
Now, in the world of Local SEO for lawyers, the rules are a bit like secret codes in computers (algorithms) and online references (citations). Your audience, the potential clients, are the people scrolling through the search result pages, trying to find the best lawyer for them.
So, how do you make sure that when someone looks for legal help in your area, they see you first?
Get ready because we’re about to dive into the world of Local SEO made just for lawyers.
It’s like a special playbook that moves you from being a hidden player on the internet to being the star of local legal help. We are going to help you with some key advice, making sure that when people in your community search for legal advice, your name is the one that pops up at the very top.
Let’s start from the basics…
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of making your website more attractive to search engines like Google. It involves using the right words, creating quality content, and making your site easy to navigate.
The aim is to show search engines that your website is relevant and offers the help they need so that it appears higher in the search results when people look for legal help or something like that. It’s like fine-tuning your website so that search engines can easily understand and recommend it to people searching for specific information or services.
Understanding Local SEO for Lawyers
While talking about massive Opportunities on Google, Local IQ stated that “Since 46% of the 8.5 billion searches that happen on Google every day are about local stuff, businesses have a big opportunity to reach a lot of nearby people.”
Imagine someone in your town is searching for a lawyer. Local SEO for Lawyers helps your business show up prominently in those local search results. This is particularly important for businesses or services that target a specific geographic area.
Local SEO is a part of search engine optimization that focuses on searches with a local intent. These are the searches people make when they’re looking for local products, services, or information. For example, when you search “gas station near me” or “restaurant near me,” you’re making a local search.
Local searches can also bring up specific local results, like local maps. This is very important for lawyers and law firms that serve a specific area. For instance, searches could range from “immigration lawyers near me” to “lawyers Seattle.”
An example of local SEO for lawyers is when you search for “family lawyers in Colorado”:
Use Google’s Local Search Pack for SEO The image shows how search results for family law practices in specific locations usually trigger the local search pack. You’ve likely used Google’s Local Pack often—it’s the feature that appears at the top of search results for local searches. For example, if you type “family lawyers near me” or “family lawyers in Colorado,” the top results will be in your local area.
How close the user is to your location, reviews, and how relevant your firm is to the specific query affect how law firms rank on Google’s local pack. But there’s more to local SEO than just the local search pack. You need to:
- Optimize your law firm’s website for local searches.
- Ensure your presence on local websites and directories is consistent.
- Focus on legal websites that are relevant to your practice area and location.
These points are all parts of the local search that we’ll discuss in this guide.
Why invest time in local SEO for lawyers?
As per Bright Local – almost everyone, about 98%, goes to the internet to find info about local businesses. It’s like the go-to place for finding what you need in your neighborhood.
Nowadays, most people looking for legal help search online. If your law firm isn’t in the top three results (Google’s local pack), they might choose your competitors. Search is a strong marketing tool for lawyers, with about three out of four potential clients contacting you within a day of finding your Google profile.
When someone searches “lawyer in Fort Lauderdale”, you’re competing with all other local firms for online visibility. If you don’t focus on local SEO for lawyers, you might struggle to find new clients. To ensure your law firm appears in the Google SERP local pack, Google Maps and other key online business directories often overlooked by lawyers, you need to work on your local SEO.
Getting things done: DIY v/s Professionals
Whether to handle local SEO yourself or hire a professional depends on various factors, including your expertise, available time, and the complexity of your online presence. Here are two ways to do local SEO for your
Do It Yourself (DIY)
- Cost-Effective: Doing things yourself can save money, especially if you have the time to learn and implement local SEO strategies.
- Hands-On Control: You have direct control over your local SEO efforts, making it easier to make quick adjustments.
- Learning Opportunity: Managing your local SEO can be a great learning experience, helping you understand the digital landscape.
Hiring a Professional:
- Expertise: Professionals have in-depth knowledge and experience in local SEO, ensuring a strategic and effective approach.
- Time-Saving: Local SEO can be time-consuming. Hiring a professional allows you to focus on your legal practice while experts handle your online visibility.
- Latest Techniques: SEO is a rapidly evolving field. Professionals stay updated with the latest trends and algorithm changes.
- Comprehensive Strategy: SEO professionals can develop a comprehensive strategy tailored to your specific needs, addressing both online and offline aspects.
Before choosing a way, here are a few things to consider:
- Your Skill Level: If you’re new to SEO concepts, it might take a while to figure it out. A professional can speed things up for you.
- Available Time: If you’re super busy, doing local SEO by yourself might be tough. Pros can handle it, giving you more free time.
- Budget: Look at your money situation. If you can afford it, hiring a professional is often a smarter and more effective way to go.
- Complexity of SEO Tasks: If your online stuff is simple, you can handle the basic SEO bits. But if things are complicated, like having lots of locations or a tricky website, a pro might be the better choice.
You can mix it up a bit (hybrid approach). Learn and do some of the local SEO tasks yourself, especially the ones that aren’t too tricky. For the more complicated things that take a lot of time, you can bring in a professional to help.
No matter which route you take, just make sure to keep things steady and check how well your local SEO is doing every now and then. “Consistency is the key”.
Local SEO for Lawyers Strategies: The best way to do Local SEO for lawyers
Alright, imagine your brilliance is like a shiny star, and local SEO is the magic telescope that helps people see that star right in their own neighborhood. Now, let’s break down the steps to make sure your star shines the brightest.
Your Law Firm’s Online Business Listings
Setting up your law firm’s online business listings is crucial for local SEO. The most important place to list your business is Google Business Profile (GBP), which is also the source of data for Google Maps.
But Google is just one part of the larger local SEO strategy for law firms. Google uses a factor called prominence, which considers mentions of your law firm on other websites and directories. Google verifies these sources for your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP data) and cross-checks them with your GBP for consistency. If there’s any inconsistency, your rankings could drop.
A profile of a London law firm on Google Maps spends time filling out all your information to differentiate yourself from competitors who have done the bare minimum and show Google that you’re serious about local SEO.
Use the 750-character limit for your description to its fullest. Write about the legal services you provide and include local keywords to increase the chances of your profile appearing in local lawyer searches. Include your opening hours (and holiday updates) and the correct categories so people can quickly determine if you can assist with their legal issues.
Encourage Clients for Reviews
It’s obvious that a potential client searching for local lawyers will look at the firm’s reviews. Google prefers businesses with good reviews and ranks those that actively seek reviews higher than those with no ratings or many negative reviews.
The types of reviews that can boost local SEO for lawyers The types of reviews that can boost local SEO for lawyers After you’ve finished working with a client, ask them at a suitable time to review your legal services. You could suggest what they might say, encouraging them to use local and relevant keywords.
If you receive a negative review, don’t worry. See it as a chance to think about how you can improve your business to prevent it from happening again. An occasional negative review is normal. A business with only five-star ratings may not seem completely authentic. As long as your ratings are in the 4-5 star range and you respond to all feedback, your profile should give users enough trust to contact you.
Maintain your profile’s relevance with credible information
Google Business Profile lets owners post photos of their location and update content to keep users informed. Google prefers businesses that regularly update their profiles, so it’s beneficial to have a content strategy.
Photos of your office and attorneyscan help build trust with potential clients. Seeing the friendly faces they’ll meet can make them feel more at ease about visiting your office and look better than a profile with no photos.
Don’t forget about the content on your law firm’s website! Legal websites are part of the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) category, which search engines judge strictly due to their potential impact on people’s lives. So, it’s crucial to show Google that you’re legitimate.
Expert, authoritative, and trustworthy (EAT) website content with the right local keywords can boost your organic rankings and help Google recognize that you’re a genuine business that cares about your clients. This also improves your local pack and Google Maps rankings.
Barr & Young is a law firm that improved its local SEO by creating lots of useful content for their website and making some technical SEO enhancements. This resulted in a 934% increase in organic search traffic and 6.5 times more qualified leads.
Organic traffic stats as shown in Semrush Organic traffic stats as shown in Semrush If your law firm has multiple offices, consider making dedicated location pages for each one and link them from your GBP. This makes it clear which areas your firm serves. Use structured schema to mark up the NAP data on these pages to help Google find it easier and include a Google Map so users know exactly where you are.
Optimize local and legal directories
Make sure you’re listed on all major local and legal directories to maximize your website’s visibility to potential clients. Keep your law firm’s address, phone number, email address, and other important information consistent across all listings. Search engines prefer consistent address information, making this a key step in local SEO for lawyers.
Business listings for local SEO firms can be found on Yelp, Yellow Pages, Apple Maps, Bing Places for Business, etc. There are also many directories specific to legal services and lawyers, Nolo and FindLaw are some to name a few.
Optimize Your Website
Improve your website The content on your law firm’s website can affect its local SEO. A website with details about its practice area and a page with local content can influence how Google ranks the site.
Not all potential clients will click on the local search result. Some might scroll and click on non-local results. To increase your chances of ranking higher than other law firms in your area, ensure your website is optimized for searches that include your practice areas and locations.
You can include information about your specific practice area and location on your homepage. If you specialize in multiple areas of law and serve different locations, you can make separate landing pages for each practice area and location. If you’re unsure where to start, you can refer to our lawyer SEO guide for some best practices.
Leverage Google’s Screened Results
Local SEO for lawyers is like doing local SEO for any other business, but with a unique feature called “screened results”.
Even if you don’t buy Google ads, you can still show up in the regular search results. This happens when people click on “more lawyers” under the first screened results, which opens a new search area for your law firm.
If you’re interested in using Google Screened, you can look at Google’s information and requirements pages. But be aware, that this will take more work and time than setting up a GBP profile or making search ads.
Use LegalService Schema
LegalService schema markup is a kind of code you can add to your law firm’s website. It helps Google know more about your business, like your hours, customer reviews, and location. This info can show up in the Google Knowledge Graph, a box on the right side of Google’s search results.
Using this schema is good because it helps search engines understand your website better. This can lead to “rich results” in the search results. Rich results are special because they have extra info or features, like pictures or star ratings. This makes them more noticeable and can get more people to click on them.
Let’s Sum it up
Just like we discussed earlier in this article, the digital age affects the legal profession too. Many people who need legal help search for it online, so lawyers must ensure they appear in those searches.
By using Local SEO for lawyers strategies, law firms can make more people in their communities aware of their services, build trust with potential clients, and get more clients in the long run. Being visible in local search results, getting good reviews, and sharing helpful information is super valuable.
When it comes to getting local SEO for lawyers done, whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, consistency is the key. It’s all about making sure people in your town easily find you when they need legal help.