Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the leading marketing strategies for law firms because prospective clients routinely use search engines like Google to find lawyers in their area. A simple search for “best family lawyer” near me is likely to bring up a slew of law firms – both in the regular organic results and in Google Maps.
That means multiple law firms are competing for those top spots to attract the most clients.
If you own a law firm, you’ll want to rise to the top, so your firm gets noticed ahead of your competitors. To do this, you’ll need to implement a local SEO strategy that attracts clients from your local area.
What Is Local SEO for Law Firms?
Local SEO is a type of search engine optimization that involves optimizing your website for local – i.e., geo-specific search. That means if someone is looking for a service in their local area and/or are using localized search terms (like “best lawyer in Seattle”), you can attempt to rank for those searches.
Local SEO is important for law firms because the majority of law firms serve clients in a specific geographic area. Unless you service clients on a national level, it’s likely that you’ll only want leads from people who are actually within your county, city, or state.
Further, it’s less competitive to try and rank for localized keywords than for broad keywords.
There may be fewer people searching for “criminal lawyer in Columbus,” but there will also be fewer law firms trying to rank for that term compared to “best criminal lawyer,” period.
Key Components of Local SEO for Law Firms
If you’re ready to invest in one of the most effective marketing methods for law firms, then it’s time to dip your toes into local SEO.
Below, we’ve outlined the main components of local SEO for law firms and how to implement them for your site so you can start attracting more local clients.
The first component of local SEO for law firms is website optimization, as you’ll need a website that’s fast, functional, and SEO-friendly in order to attract organic traffic.
If you have a website already, this means following on-page and technical SEO best practices in order to address any on-site issues. This might include fixing broken links, optimizing your website’s load speed, using your target keywords through your page titles and site content, and laying out a user-friendly site structure.
If you are building a new site, make sure your web developer understands SEO and can design a site that’s optimized for search engines and for people. If your website loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and can be indexed by search engines, you’ll have a better chance of ranking in the local search results.
It’s estimated that about 60% of Google’s visits come from mobile devices. This means people are using smartphones and tablets to search for goods and services, and are then browsing websites on the go.
As a website owner, you’ll want your site to be mobile-friendly so prospective clients can navigate your site even on a small screen. To do this, you should create a mobile-friendly version of your website with clear text, fast-loading images, and straightforward call-to-action buttons.
Focusing on mobile experience is important not only because mobile-friendliness is an important ranking factor, but also because it will keep visitors on your website for longer.
Your website content is what tells visitors what it is that you do, how you can help them, and how they can get in contact with you. It also works to attract organic visitors when you use localized keywords throughout the titles, meta descriptions, and body text of your web pages.
In conducting keyword research for your law firm content strategy, use keyword research tools like SEMrush to find terms that are relevant to 1) the area you serve and 2) the services you provide.
For example, if you provide criminal law services in Las Vegas, you might want to target keywords like “Las Vegas criminal lawyer” or “Criminal law attorneys in Las Vegas.” You can then use these terms on a “Criminal Law” service page or on the homepage of your site.
Beyond that, you can publish informative articles that attract prospective clients.
Blog posts like “What the New DUI Laws Mean for Las Vegas Residents” or “What Do I Do if I Get Arrested in Las Vegas?” can work to attract prospective clients in your local area.
Once you have found the keywords you want to target, you should write informative content that speaks to your clients’ interests. Use your target and related keywords throughout the page, naturally, in order to rank for these terms in local search.
Google My Business
Google My Business is essentially an online directory that allows you to submit your business information to rank in Google Maps.
Getting started with Google My Business is free and there are multiple fields where you can include your business hours, services, address, phone number, website URL, photos of your business, and more. By completely filling out your Google My Business listing, you can potentially outrank your competitors in Google Maps.
For an example of what this looks like, do a search for one of your local keywords and see the listings that pop up in the organic search results.
Google My Business also allows you to accumulate reviews from past clients, which can also boost your law firm’s reputation and local rankings.
Reputation & Reviews
Positive client reviews can work wonders when it comes to increasing your law firm’s authority, online reputation, and search engine rankings.
Consider that if a prospective client does a search for a lawyer and sees that your firm has the most positive reviews, they may be inclined to choose you over the competition. You can ask clients to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing, on Facebook, and on other directory listings.
Having a slew of positive reviews can really set your law firm apart while indicating to Google that your law firm is legit.
Link Building & Citations
The last component of local SEO for law firms is link building – which involves attracting links from other sites back to your website.
Since a link from another site (a “backlink”) is essentially a vote of confidence from that site that your law firm is reputable and a good source of information, attracting a variety of high-quality links can improve your local rankings.
The key here is to attract links from reputable, industry-related sites.
One way to do this is by submitting your business information to directories. Other ways include submitting guest posts to websites, landing interviews in industry publications, creating high-value content that attracts links naturally, and marketing your content/ebooks/PDFs to outside blogs.
Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to link building, but it’s worth trying out a variety of strategies instead of buying cheap links.
Focus on quality over quality. The best links will help you boost your local rankings and even generate more referral traffic.
Your Law Firm Needs Local SEO
Unless your law firm has a robust paid advertising strategy, you can’t afford not to invest in local SEO. Local SEO is simply one of the best marketing strategies for law firms because the majority of prospective clients are searching for lawyers in their local area.
If you aren’t outranking other law firms in local search, you’re likely missing out on traffic and clients. Incorporate the above components into your SEO strategy or hire an SEO professional to help you put your site on the map – literally.
In doing so, you can attract more local clients, improve your online reputation, and establish your firm as a powerhouse in your niche.
Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita