Running a law practice is no small matter. Every day, you face a series of challenges and decisions that you must navigate through in order to serve the best interests of your clients. As you focus on helping your clients resolve their legal issues, it’s understandable that devoting time to your firm’s marketing strategy does not become a top priority. While most small to mid-sized law firms set up a website, many do not expand on their digital marketing plan beyond this step. Unfortunately, neglecting to put a thoughtful and effective marketing strategy in place can make it difficult for potential clients to seek out your services. In today’s increasingly online world, the majority of people search for an attorney online. It’s crucial that you take some time to invest in a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that boosts your website’s ranking on the search results page when someone in your community searches for an attorney or wants information about a legal topic. The good news is that creating a local SEO strategy is a relatively quick and straightforward process, allowing you to put these practices into place and then turn your attention back to what matters most—serving your clients. Let’s take a look at why local SEO matters and what steps you can take to boost your firm’s visibility to those in need of legal services in your area.
What is Local SEO?
First, it’s helpful to understand what the term “local SEO” means. When someone is looking for a pizza restaurant, search engines like Google assume that this person wants results that are the most convenient for them (i.e., in their vicinity). In response, Google will present a list of pizza restaurants on a map, showing the searcher where these places are located in relation to where they currently are. According to Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business), the search engine algorithms use three primary factors to determine a company’s local ranking: relevance, distance, and prominence.
When someone searches for a product or service, the algorithm will scan through Google Business Profiles (GBPs) and present the profiles that best match the search terms more prominently. Your law firm can use this information to add a complete and detailed description of your law practice and services to ensure that your GBP contains common search terms and keywords.
Search engines can use the exact or approximate location of the searcher to look for results that are in their vicinity. For example, if someone searches for a personal injury law firm, Google can use their location (from data on their smartphone, tablet, or computer) to present results that are in their neighborhood or city. It’s important for your law firm to include your location information in your GBP to make it easier for search engine algorithms to present your website and GBP to those in need of legal assistance in your vicinity.
Prominence refers to how well-known a company or business is. Google uses several factors to determine a law firm’s prominence, including the quantity and quality of client reviews, how SEO-friendly the firm’s website is, and how many trustworthy links your website has to other articles, directories, and websites. While there is no direct way to request a better ranking on Google, paying attention to your client reviews and investing in SEO best practices can boost your rankings steadily.
Simple Local SEO Strategies to Engage With More Clients
Now that you have a clear understanding of how Google’s search engine algorithms use relevance, distance, and prominence to determine which results to provide searchers, let’s take a look at a few ways that your law firm can use local SEO to reach more clients in your community.
Complete Your Google Business Profile (GBP)
Even if your law firm has already created a Google Business Profile, it’s worth revisiting this page to ensure that the information is accurate, current, and thorough. Many businesses only complete the bare minimum, so creating a complete and comprehensive GBP will set your law firm apart from other firms in your area. Google will see that you take local SEO seriously, increasing the likelihood that it will suggest your law firm more often to potential clients. Take advantage of the character limit by describing the practice areas your firm offers and integrate commonly used keywords into your descriptions to trigger more matches when someone in your area searches for an attorney.
Manage Your Law Firm’s Client Reviews
The reputation of your law firm matters. Google relies on client reviews to determine whether to suggest a law firm to potential clients. Law firms with only a handful of mediocre reviews are much less likely to enjoy a high position in the search results than law firms with a substantial number of positive reviews. Take some time to look at what your clients have said about your law firm. Responding to every review, even with a simple acknowledgment or expression of appreciation, shows potential clients and Google’s algorithms that you are invested in providing the best possible services to your clients. When a negative review pops up, reach out privately to this individual and ask them how you can address their concerns. Most people who leave negative reviews simply want to feel heard, so they may be more likely to remove their bad reviews once you’ve reached out to them and made them feel valued.
Refresh Your Content Regularly to Remain Visible and Relevant
Many businesses assume that creating a website is a one-time task. However, merely having a live website is not enough to remain visible to Google and other search engines. These algorithms reward businesses that maintain an active online presence, as regular updates and refreshes imply an investment in presenting the most relevant and up-to-date information. Consider establishing a blog posting schedule with each new post linking to other pages of your website. Or, you may want to commit to posting regular updates on your firm’s social media platforms to remain visible to search engines. Ultimately, the goal is to signal to Google (and potential clients) that your firm is committed to providing the best client experience possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to implement local SEO into your law firm’s digital marketing strategy, give LegalRev a call today at (800) 893-2590 to discuss your goals.