According to Google, 97% of consumers search online for local businesses. As an attorney looking for local clients, local SEO should be part of your online marketing strategy.
When your prospects perform an online search, the results are significantly influenced by their physical location, even on queries where they don’t specify a location. Firms that focus on local SEO techniques will be listed among the coveted Local Organic Results and can attract highly targeted traffic to their local law firm’s website.
Here are a few strategies to start integrating local SEO into your marketing plan:
1. Claim and optimize your Google+ Places, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local Pages
Create profiles on all of these platforms, providing as much information as possible, including contact information, a link to your website, hours, payment options, email address, and services. Add images and video if allowable. Be sure to include your main keywords in the business description and ensure that the contact details are consistent with the information on your website.
Check to be sure you don’t have duplicate profiles of any of these listings. Should you find a duplicate, be sure to delete that profile or report it to the site administrator. Inaccurate, duplicate profiles may have a negative affect on your rankings.
2. Select accurate category associations
When building your Bing, Yahoo, and Google+ profiles, it’s paramount that you choose the most appropriate, specific categories for your firm, These categories are critical to being considered relevant on any given search. In fact, “Proper Category Associations” was chosen as the #1 Ranking Factor in the 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors study. Categories should range from broad, e.g. attorney, to more specific, e.g. estate planning attorney.
3. Be consistent with citations and business directory listings
NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency sends a strong signal to search engines regarding your firm’s relevancy to a given search and your location. Google aggregates information about your law firm from all over the web in order to improve search results, so it’s important that your firm name, address, and phone numbers are accurately noted in all of your business directory listings.
4. Be mindful of the quantity & authority of citations
Generally, the more citations your firm has, the higher your rankings, and the more likely potential clients are to find you. Of course, that only applies to high quality directories. GetListed.org is a great resource for finding the most appropriate directories. High quality niche directories may be more authoritative than general directories, so be sure to include profiles on Avvo, Lawyer Central, Justia, and other similar sites.
5. Obtain client reviews
Reviews matter. According to a recent study by Digital Marketing Works, the quality and quantity of reviews is the single most important variable in the ranking of search results on Google’s Local Carousel, a display of local results for certain types of businesses. On Yelp, search results are displayed based on factors including, “review text, ratings and number of reviews.” Even Facebook now has a rating system prominently displayed on Place Pages.
Encourage your clients to post online reviews to your Google+ Local Page, as well as on the profiles you’ve claimed on Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, and other similar sites.
6. Include city and state in landing page title tag
Let search engines know what locations you are targeting by including geo-specific information in the title tag of your home page and the subpages of your website.
7. Produce content relevant to your local audience
You can increase your exposure to both search engines and local searchers by generating content that contains local search terms for you area. Be sure it offers real value to the people who live in your community, so they’ll want to read it and share with their social circles. Visit local forums and subscribe to local news to see what prospects in your area are talking about or asking about the most, then build content around those topics.
While having a strong online presence lets you reach billions of people worldwide, the prospects in your local community are likely most important to you. A properly executed local SEO plan can increase your online visibility and ensure that those highly targeted prospects find their way to your website.
SEO and Social Media Manager
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555