Local SEO has grown, with every type of land-based business taking advantage of it. Countless statistics illustrate the effectiveness of local SEO and why you should pay attention to it.
For example, “near me” keyword searches have grown 900% in the last two years, and we already know that searchers actively visit the businesses they learn about in this way. So, it makes sense that law firms should also be working on getting in on the act.
Want to know what local SEO for law firms looks like and how to do it? Let’s jump in.
What is local SEO for law firms?
Law firm SEO is working to boost your brand’s website and online presence to acquire more visibility and leads through search engines. You may be doing this by:
- Working on technical SEO aspects
- Garnering client reviews
- Creating high-quality content
- Link building
- Optimising for mobile
Countless other techniques exist for boosting your SEO; but what is local law firm SEO? Essentially, it’s the same thing, but you’re targeting a specific geographic area.
With 40% of smartphone users relying on Google to find out about local solicitors in their area, this isn’t something you can afford to ignore.
Why is ranking in local search results important for law firms?
Running a law firm means you’re likely already snowed under with all the tasks that come with being in the legal profession. So, why should you worry about ranking in local search results?
Let’s start with the obvious. Approximately 99% of consumers said they used Google to discover local businesses, which also applies to solicitors.
Other than that, more benefits include:
- Better overall online visibility.
- Appear before other law firms in your area.
- Increase your in-office traffic.
- Tap into the local shopping boom.
- Gain more targeted web traffic.
All this adds up to more qualified leads that ultimately become paying clients for your law firm. Over time, this will only increase your law firm’s stature, resulting in more work and a bigger bottom line.
In other words, concentrating on your ranking is an investment that pays off every time, over time.
Local SEO ranking factors
Ranking factors are the areas that SEO experts focus on in terms of getting the most results based on search engine guidelines. In other words, they’re the core battlegrounds your law firm should focus on.
So, what are the key local SEO ranking factors in 2023?
Google Business Profile – Formerly known as Google My Business, establishing your profile is vital to building your local presence.
On–Page Signals – This includes everything from the page titles you use to your meta descriptions and contact details.
Online Reviews – Well-reviewed law firms will consistently rank higher than poorly-reviewed ones. The more positive reviews you have, the more favourably Google will look at you.
Local Backlink Profile – Named in your local newspaper or recently won a community award? Google will see the links to these various articles and announcements and factor them into your local rankings. The same goes for online citations.
Searcher Proximity – Based on your map location, Google will rank businesses higher based on where the searcher is searching.
Searcher Behaviour – Click-through rates and the time a visitor spends on your landing pages will influence your rank.
Countless ranking factors exist, but focusing on the above will usually be enough to enable you to stand head and shoulders above the competition.
Suppose you have a well-optimised site that serves your target audience and a business name respected in the community. In that case, you’re already most of the way towards dominating your local SERPs.
Local SEO on Google
Whenever anyone talks about SEO, what they really mean is Google. Yes, Bing exists, but Google controls 83% of the search engine market, meaning this is where you should focus if you’re looking to improve your local SEO.
What exactly are the elements of local SEO SERPs? Or, what are the critical parts of the page you see when searching for a local business? Remember, 97% of first-page results will contain one or more of the following elements:
- Featured Snippets at the top of the page.
- Top and bottom page ads.
- Video carousels.
- Rich snippets containing extra information next to specific search results.
- Site links.
- ‘People Also Ask’ boxes.
Some elements are more relevant than others. In particular, there are three elements law firms targeting local SEO should look at.
Google Local Pack
Local Packs, also known as the “Map Pack, ” contains three local results for a particular type of business and a prominently displayed map. These are the top three brands as designated by Google.
They also have a separate algorithm that contains many of the elements detailed above, but Local Packs focus more on your Google Business Profile and getting great reviews.
Local Services Ads
Local Services ads are paid ads that enable local businesses to collect more leads via message requests and phone calls.
These are far more effective for local law firms because they are guaranteed to finish at the top of SERPs.
Google Business Profile (formally Google My Business)
Previously known as Google My Business, your Google Business Profile is integral to your success (or lack thereof) in the local SEO battleground.
Claiming your business enables you to control how your business appears in local SERPs. This is where you can set your law firm’s address, map positioning, opening hours, phone number and more.
With 46% of all Google searches possessing local intent, not having a Google Business Profile is akin to being invisible.
Optimising your law firm’s Google Business Profile
Claiming your business and optimising your Google Business Profile isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s so easy that a solicitor with no SEO experience can do it in just a few minutes.
To begin optimising your Google Business Profile, follow these simple steps:
- Visit the Google Business Profile website and either claim your law firm’s listing or create it.
- Ensure the business information you provide is up-to-date and accurate.
- Craft a business description that sells.
- Add high-quality images and videos.
- Collect as many reviews as possible from your clients.
- Share interesting content with the post feature to improve your discoverability.
- Leverage the Q&A section to provide helpful information about your legal brand.
Above all, ensure that the information on your Google Business Profile remains relevant and correct. Outdated information will only hurt your SEO footprint.
Local organic SEO for law firms
Local SEO is a slightly different beast, because whether you show up or not depends on many factors outside your control, such as who’s searching for you and where they’re located. However, hitting all the right local SEO ranking factors will improve your organic traffic, resulting in more leads.
Law firms with multiple locations face a problem in ensuring they can individually target different geographical areas without causing any confusion.
For example, if you’ve got offices in Manchester and Liverpool, you don’t want someone from Liverpool clicking on your Manchester office and vice-versa.
Sadly, many businesses get these wrong because they don’t provide unique value and essentially copy-paste what’s already on their websites.
In other words, optimising for each location means making each location page unique so that you’re more likely to rank for each location search. This means creating separate but unique pages for your core areas, like ‘Family Law Solicitors Manchester’.
Local page optimisation
How do you optimise a location page to get the best results? Firstly, you should have a separate map pack and updated information for each location. It also helps to provide detailed information about every office’s service areas, complete with FAQs.
Here are some additional optimisation tips for managing multiple location pages:
- Don’t duplicate content to save time.
- Avoid spamming location-based keywords, such as “Best solicitor in Nottingham” or “Nottingham solicitor”. Add where needed (i.e. in your heading), and leave it at that.
- Follow basic best practices, such as optimising URLs, meta descriptions and images.
- Write content that’s specific to your location. In other words, what makes your Nottingham office different from your Leicester office?
- Take original photos of the area.
- Connect with other businesses local to you and show it.
The big takeaway for local page optimisation is to ensure it’s unique. Treat each location as a distinct business instead of just another part of your legal empire.
Building reviews for your law firm
Positive reviews for your law firm are one of the leading ranking factors in local SEO. Google’s philosophy is always to put the best businesses in the face of searchers to deliver value.
Naturally, a law firm with 500 reviews and an overall rating of 4.7/5 will be interpreted as the superior business compared to a law firm with ten reviews and a rating of 3.9/5.
So, from an SEO perspective, building up your Google reviews must be a priority. Other than providing an excellent legal service, you can generate reviews by:
- Asking your satisfied clients.
- Make the process simple, such as by providing a QR code.
- Educate your clients on how important reviews are to you.
- Integrate a “Leave a Review” button directly into your website.
Above all, there are no shortcuts to getting reviews. It’s a long-term process. Don’t try to game the system by paying for reviews for a quick SEO boost, as it will only cost you later.
Getting your firm featured in local directories and business listings
Getting your firm featured in local directories, business listings and publications is a primary local SEO ranking factor. It lends authority to your brand and proves you are a reputable staple in your community.
In most cases, this is as simple as searching for said directories and listing websites and either doing it yourself or asking them to feature you.
But like any local SEO strategy, it’s not about taking a single action or focusing on one area. It’s about your law firm’s overall digital marketing strategy, and that’s where Tao Digital comes in.
Our expertise has enabled countless UK law firms to generate more leads and win more business while they focus on serving their clients. To learn more about online success in 2023 and beyond, reach out to us now.