If you’re an attorney, location-based searches are one of the primary ways potential clients are finding you online. Generally, someone seeking an attorney will search for one that is geographically closest to them. That makes strategic local SEO a crucial part of any online marketing campaign.
Here are five actionable tips that can help attorneys improve their local search rankings and overall web presence.
Claim Your Google My Business Profile
Local business owners have the option to claim their Google business profiles. Their businesses will not only appear as one of the first listings in a relevant Google search, and the listing will also include useful information for potential clients.
The more robust and comprehensive attorneys can make their Google My Business profiles, the more likely it is they will be listed at the top of Google’s local 3-pack for relevant queries. Claiming the profile is the first step.
A business listing on Google is free and can provide information including posts or articles about a business, upcoming events, Q&As, and reviews. If your firm is new and no profile exists, Google will prompt you to answer questions to create a business profile.
Here’s a few steps on how to find and claim your profile:
1. Search for your firm name in Google.
2. If Google already has an unclaimed listing, you will see an Knowledge Graph card with your firm’s information. If the listing is unclaimed, a link reading “Own this business?” will be present.
3. Click the link and follow the prompts to claim your firm’s profile.
4. Note that you will need to verify that you are the true owner or authorized manager of the business. Google does this either by phone or through regular mail. Once you’ve verified ownership, you will be free to make edits.
You can learn more about GMB profiles here https://www.google.com/business.
Keep Your NAP Consistent
Another way that attorneys can improve their local search rankings is by ensuring that the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of their firm is consistent across the internet.
Google favors consistent information. This helps build trust with Google as it crawls around the internet. One way to ensure that your listings across the internet are accurate is to personally search for inconsistencies on a regular basis. Michiel Heijmans (partner at Yoast), who wrote an article on local SEO ranking factors.
He explains that an attorney must make sure that his/her website NAP is identical to the one on their GMB profile and other profiles around the web. If you find a variation that is not the same as what’s on your website or Google, fix it so that it is universal across the internet.
Keep in mind that if your firm has multiple locations, it is essential to have one primary address and phone number that is consistent. You can always list additional locations or contact information on the relevant pages.
Reap the Benefits of Reviews
Reviews are another way to help attorneys improve their local search rankings. According to Search Engine Land, Google will rank a business higher in search results if it contains multiple quality reviews.
Google crawls other sites for accuracy and information, so if there are positive reviews of a firm on other platforms (such as Yelp or Facebook, for example), this will help boost that firm’s local search rankings.
Attorneys should consult their state bar on specifics regarding whether it is acceptable to ask for client reviews. Some states have policies against this. If permitted, attorneys can encourage clients to write Google reviews as long as they are honest about their experiences.
Yelp, however, feels that asking customers to write a review on its platform compromises the review’s integrity. Neil Patel explains the importance of reviews in a blog post about attracting local customers using SEO techniques. In it, he states that “A natural progression in the number of reviews on a continuous basis will deliver great results for your business.”
As it relates to an attorney’s GMB profile, the quantity of reviews is one of the primary factors for top rankings (among many other things).
Leverage Attorney Schema
Schema is essentially the vocabulary of tags used within HTML code to help enrich a listing. It makes text data machine-understandable. Using schema markup will not help with local search rankings like other SEO strategies, but it will improve how rich the results look when they show up on a search page.
For example, if you google a local attorney, listings may come up showing basic meta descriptions using information that Google had collected. For those attorneys using schema markup, the text beneath the firm name may include reviews, events, and other important information.
As an attorney, it’s important that the schema markup includes accurate contact information so that potential clients can easily find you. Using schema markup to capture reviews will help your search result stand out among others which can potentially improve your click through rate in search (the rate at which searchers click on our result).
Build Location Pages
Depending upon which location and type of client an attorney is targeting, attorneys can tailor landing pages to target specific locations. To keep things simple, choosing one domain name with multiple location pages is recommended. It’s also helpful to link to these different pages from other pages in your site.
Optimize each page for a specific location you would like to target using your target keyword phrase + the location. For instance “personal injury lawyer Philadelphia”.
Your phrase should be in these key locations on your location page:
- The title
- The meta description
- Page headings
- Page copy
- Image alt attributes (if relevant)
- Image file names
Ultimately, every attorney wants to stand out among his or her local competitors. To do that, make sure that you use the above methods effectively and for your target audience. Audit your name, address, and phone number with your Google My Business Profile on a regular basis. Utilize schema to help enrich your listings.
Take advantage of positive reviews to help build your presence on the web and provide additional information to future clients. Spend time building location pages, especially if you serve many areas. These strategies will have a profound impact on your local search rankings and help you build your local presence within the community.