local seo for law firmsLocal search engine optimization (SEO) is important for many businesses, including law firms. In fact, 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information, and that number is only likely to be higher for practices who operate regionally. There also tends to be a strong correlation between organic website traffic and local searches.  What does that mean for your firm? It means that if you can improve your website traffic through local search engine optimization, you’re likely to acquire more website traffic and leads. Here are some simple tweaks your law firm can make within your local SEO strategy for better local visibility.

8 Local SEO Tips for Law Firms

1. Take a look at overall speed and performance.

Before you dive into other tactics, you want to make sure everything you’re driving traffic to loads properly. Website performance studies show that for your site to retain visitors, its page load time should not exceed three seconds. Before you focus on driving additional people to your site, make sure they will not bounce once they get there. 

2. Ensure you’re using the right keywords for your services.

It’s important to make sure the descriptions of your services on your website reflect what people are actually searching for in your area. Use a keyword research tool like Semrush or Ahrefs. These let you find out what the most popular search phrases for law practices like yours are — and how difficult it will be to rank for them locally too.

3. Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing.

Your law firm’s profile on Google My Business is your local listing that appears in Google Maps, the local results of Google Search, and even the right-side Knowledge Panel on Google Search. Just as with websites and ads, Google ranks Business Profiles according to their relevance to the search term and overall quality. This means that by optimizing your Business Profile, you can rank higher in local search, show up for more search terms, stand out from competitors, and even win more clients.

4. Ensure your location is referenced in key parts of your site.

You should make sure that your home page and any other important pages containing information about your services reference your location in four key places: 

  1. Its title tag
  2. Headings
  3. Body copy
  4. Its meta description

Additionally, it’s worth adding the location in the URL where relevant. For instance, if you have offices in three different towns in New York, I’d suggest creating three separate pages with three separate URLs. Keep in mind that each page should have distinct copy on it as Google doesn’t like duplicate content and can penalize it in search results.

5. Use Schema’s geographic markup

This set of microdata was created as part of a collaborative effort by major search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Schema is a foundation for markup data that allows search engines to better understand location-based structured information, enabling them to yield richer search results. There are different ways to create and display schema markup – check out this article for a deeper dive into schema markup.

6. Optimize for voice search.

This functionality has been growing over the last couple years, and will continue to. It allows people to search faster, as well as multi-task, which users love. Think about the keywords commonly used in voice search as opposed to just search engine inquiries. For example, it’s important to keep in mind that people typically ask a question using voice search, such as “Is there a personal injury attorney in Jackson, Mississippi?” Consider long-tail keywords that use terms like where, when, and how.

7. Submit your site to high-quality local directories.

Submitting your firm’s website to quality local directories can significantly boost your position in search results. Google indexes the directory entries — and if the directory is reputable, it may return the directory entry in a high position in search. 

So even if you are struggling to get a high ranking for a particular keyphrase, you may still get visibility for your law firm via search results from other directory sites.

8.Ensure your website performs well on mobile devices.

Whether or not your law firm’s website is mobile-friendly can severely impact local SEO. The majority of searches are now carried out on mobile devices; and according to HubSpot, 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site. Google also prioritizes websites that work well on mobile phones too. So, if your website is not performing well on a smartphone, you stand to lose out when it comes to local SEO.

Tip: Take the 2 minutes to run a free SEO audit of your site so you can see where you stand on search engines and get a clear picture of the on-site issues you may want to fix in order to rank higher.

Takeaway

Since law firms tend to operate on a regional scale, it’s critical that they have a local search engine optimization strategy in place. Employing a few of these tactics can be effective in getting found and driving even more traffic to your firm’s website. Put this list into action to get in front of your local audience, and you may just get a few new leads as well.

Contact us today if you need assistance developing a comprehensive local SEO strategy that will improve your law firm’s search visibility and increase the number of visitors to your firm’s website.

Updated and republished from Nov 2020.

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