Local SEO for Lawyers
Here’s 5 Local SEO Tips for Lawyers (2020)
Tip #1: Be a mobile first law firm
Google is now a mobile first index. As such, your law firm website needs to be build first for the mobile web, and optimized for mobile search.
Tip #2: Add Schema to your law firm website
Schema markup for lawyers is critically important. When it comes to local search, Schema markup can help lawyers get additional information and data points integrated into the search results. The more data and information you can provide to a someone searching, the more likely they are to call your law firm.
Tip #3: Add legal Q&A’s via blog posts
When people are searching for lawyer, they typically start by asking a question about their particular case or their unique situation. As such, if you fill up your blog with great question and answer based content, your law firm will start showing up for the hundreds or thousands of legal related questions your local clients are searching.
Tip #4: Leverage authoritative lawyer directories
Lawyer directories serve a lot of purposes. Most importantly, they act as a citation distribution source for your law firm’s local business data. The more citations you can build, the more trust and authority you build back to your law firm’s location. Lawyer directories are also great sources for backlinks. Not all are do-follow, but a lot of them are. Regardless, just getting backlinks from these high DA legal directories can add a lot of authority to your law firm rankings in Google.
Tip #5: Account for multi-lawyer law firms
This means, if your law firm has multiple lawyers or partners, then your website should account for them accordingly. Each lawyer should have a detailed attorney profile page with a lot of great local business data and information. Also, attorney profiles are a great place to post highly rated client testimonials.
Update: Saturday, February 1st, 2020
It’s now 2020, and improving local rankings for lawyers has never been more important for generating new clients and growing your practice.
Today, over 65% of all Google searches are now mobile searches.
Local Rankings for Lawyers
The proximity or distance of the searcher weighs heavily now, more than ever, at influencing the search results your potential clients see in Google mobile search.
Most people see the top 3 local search results on their phone and assume those are the 3 best law firms in their city.
And Google is getting better, every day, at discrediting backlinks that are spam and coming from toxic link environments.
All of this comes together and quickly separates the wheat from the chaff so to speak in the search results.
The top 3 law firms for any local search are getting the majority of the phone calls.
Effective local SEO for lawyers in 2020 means your law firm needs super clean data (citations) distributed far and wide across the web, and without a single glitch in discrepancies.
Your law firm needs super high DA (domain authority) backlinks pointing to your homepage and other top tier pages.
Each of your top tier pages within your law firm website needs long form, LSI rich content that answers a lot of your potential client’s questions.
Along with a large portfolio of high quality citations, your law firms needs a lot contextually relevant citations from legal specific directories (yes, this is super important).
There’s a lot of attention and buzz around getting great reviews for your law firm.
Now, I would never discredit the importance of the brand impressions can give your law firm.
But I just don’t agree that reviews are a huge ranking factor Google Maps / Google local search.
There are many examples where personal injury lawyers in large metro areas are nowhere to be found in Google local search, yet have 10X the number of reviews vs. the top ranking law firms.
So I think it’s misguided prioritization if you are focusing more on getting reviews than the other factors mentioned above.
In large metro areas, local SEO for lawyers is the difference between getting found and getting phone calls from new clients, or being completely obsolete in Google local search… which is where the majority of new clients will come from.
Law Firm Websites are Highly Fragmented
Today, more than ever, law firm websites are highly fragmented with content.
For example, if you are a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta and you have 10 pages within your website that are about “Atlanta personal injury lawyer”, then your website is highly fragmented.
Less is more for law firm rankings in 2020.
You need to use Google site queries, identify your fragmented pages within your law firm website, and work to consolidate that content to one top tier landing page.
And then once you consolidate content, 301 redirect that redundant URL to your main top tier page.
We have fixed some law firm websites lately that have dozens of redundant pages (fragmentation) for each practice area.
When you defragment your law firm website, you shore up the authority and relevance to your one top tier landing page.
This unlocks massive ranking power, traffic, and total number of keyword phrases that are driving high quality traffic to your website.
Domain Authority for Law Firm Websites: The “Secret Sauce” To Higher Rankings in Google
Top Rankings for Law Firm Websites
Want better rankings in Google and more traffic for your law firm website?
Of course you do!
But one thing I hear all the time from clients is how frustrating it is for lawyers to see their competitors ranking above them in Google!
Let’s dive in and find out how you can increase your law firm’s website rankings in Google by building domain authority.
Building domain authority for your law firm website
Getting your law firm’s website to rank better in Google search is usually the #1 priority for any marketing strategy.
From the smallest practice with one or two attorneys, to the largest global law firms serving corporate clients around the world, getting found quickly in Google search is a really big deal.
And from my experience, nothing makes a lawyer want to throw their phone across the room faster than seeing their competitors ranking #1 in Google for their high value keyword phrase.
Even worse is when that same lawyer sees their staunchest competitor ranking #1.
Some of the most commons questions I get from law firms are the following:
- Why is my law firm not ranking well in Google?
- Why are my (expletive) competitors ranking #1 when their website sucks?
- How is this new law firm ranking #1 in Google local / Google Maps?
These are frustrating points to any law firm that’s looking to grow their practice. One looks at some statistics will show you why search is such a big area of focus for growing your law firm:
- Last year over 350 billion searches were made
- Over half of all Google searches are made on mobile devices
- Nearly 80% of local searches result in a new customer (or client)
- Placing a call is the #1 action a searcher takes when making a local search via a mobile device
Most importantly, one look at he click thru rates of top rankings in Google should be enough to solidify the decision to focusing on SEO for your law firm’s website.
As you can see in the chart below from Chitika, the #1 Google search result is getting over 30% of all the clicks, and the percentage of clicks spins off quickly as you move down the rankings.
The #10 position in Google is getting only 2.4% of the clicks and the #11 (top of page 2 in Google) gets only 1% of the clicks.
What is domain authority?
Now that you know how important rankings are to the success of your law firm, let’s talk about what influences your rankings (and your competitor’s rankings) in Google and see what you can do about improving your presence in search.
Domain authority is based on 100-point scale or grade that was developed by Moz and is used to predict how well a website will in search engines, mostly focused on Google search rankings.
Domain authority is most valuable when used to analyze how your law firm’s website is ranking relative to your competitors.
The metrics behind domain authority are based on several factors such as linking root domains (unique domains linking back to your website), total volume of links, and the overall trust factor of your domain which is determined by the quality and authority of the sites linking back to you.
source: Moz Domain Authority
Domain authority became a lot more popular when Google stopped updated their PageRank toolbar back in December of 2013. PageRank used to be a score that Google would give to each website, and the score was typically presented through the PageRank toolbar – something that was popular with SEO’s and online marketers.
PageRank used a similar combination of backlink analysis to determine the rating for any given website and was based on 10-point scale.
So if you had a PageRank of 1 (PR1) your website had a very low level of authority.
However, if you have a PageRank of 10 (PR10), then you were one of the most authoritative websites on the internet. It was common to see sites like Google.com, Yahoo.com, and Youtube.com carry a PR10.
Now with domain authority, it’s common to see these popular websites carry a domain authority of 100 (DA100), etc…
Why is domain authority important?
The important point to make here is there’s a direct correlation between your website’s domain authority and your rankings in Google. This is true for both organic rankings and local / Google Maps rankings.
We’ve been doing SEO analysis on websites and rankings for years, and we consistently see the highest ranking websites in Google carry the highest level of domain authority (and PageRank when we used that metric).
Just the other day I was talking with a personal injury lawyer from Los Angeles, and we were looking at their rankings in Google. They asked me the common question of “why am not on page 1 in Google, and this law firm has always been ranked #1?”.
My response, without even looking at the data, was that the #1 ranked website simply has more domain authority than everyone else. And once we started pulling the domain authority metrics, this proved to be true.
Another way to say it is that in order to increase your rankings in Google, you have to focus on building your domain authority.
Or perhaps even better, you can say in order to rank #1 in Google, you must have more domain authority than all other competing websites.
This is true for law firms and any other competitive business market, both local and global.
How to find your law firm website’s domain authority?
Before we dive into how you can increase your domain authority, let me show you how to find your domain authority and the domain authority of your competitors.
The easiest way to use the Open Site Explorer tool developed by Moz:
Once you on the site, simply enter your website’s domain URL in the URL box and hit enter (or click search).
Here’s what it looks like when I enter my website URL:
And once you’ve enter your URL and hit enter (or clicked search), you’ll now see your domain authority and other key data associated with your website.
Again, here’s what we get with our website here at Bipper Media:
Go ahead and enter your website’s URL and see what you get.
I realize I gummed up the screen shot with arrows, but let me help you understand a little bit about you are seeing, using my website as the example:
Domain authority: 28 / 100
This means my website URL (root domain) has a domain authority rating of 28 out 100, with a score of 100 being the highest possible score. The domain authority looks at the overall domain authority or value, not just the homepage of your website. We’ll look at Page Authority below.
Spam Score: 0 / 17
This is an interesting metric because it looks at the value or authority of the sites linking back to you. If your website was included in a low value, spammy link environment (think link farms, or low value spammy directories, etc…), then you would see a higher spam rating associated with your URL.
Page authority: 40 / 100
Along with domain authority, which measures the overall authority of your entire domain (site wide), you have Page Authority which looks only at the metrics associated with the URL (or web page) that you entered.
You can enter the URL for any page within your website to see the Page Authority of that page. And in most cases you’ll see the same domain authority metrics regardless of which page URL you enter.
As you can see with our website, the Page Authority of our homepage far exceeds the overall Domain Authority of our website.
Again, that’s because domain authority is analyzing the full extent of your domain environment, whereas page authority analyzes only that specific page URL.
The battle for domain authority: your law firm’s website vs. your competitors
This is where the fun begins! Along with analyzing the domain authority of your own law firm’s website, you can likewise analyze the domain authority of your competitors.
This is where we answer the questions mentioned at the beginning such as:
- Why isn’t my law firm’s website ranking well in Google?
- Why are my competitors outranking me in Google local / Google Maps?
It usually takes only one look at the domain authority of your law firm’s website vs. your competitors to answer these questions.
However, it’s important to note that even though we can get quick insights using domain authority, this isn’t the end of the story for your law firm. As we’ll discuss below, there are definitive steps you can take to increase your domain authority and start competing at the top of Google search, both organic and local.
Let’s do a real world competitive analysis in the highly competitive “car accident lawyer” market. We’ll look at the search results in Google, both local and organic for the keyword phrase “phoenix car accident lawyer”, and let’s see if domain authority correlates to the rankings we in the search results.
I’ll be using a cleared cache instance of my Google Chrome browser in incognito mode in order to get the most accurate search results.
First let’s start with the Google local / Google Maps search results, since this is what most people would see first from both a desktop and mobile browser:
With local search results, there’s one interesting caveat to what drives the rankings that goes beyond domain authority, and that is citations. You can read all about local SEO optimization here.
In summary, with local SEO, the volume, consistency, and accuracy of your citation portfolio is highly influential when it comes to your local rankings.
And this is one reason why, I believe, you do not see the website with the most domain authority ranking #1.
The #1 local search results (Zacher Law Firm) more than likely has a more authoritative (both in volume, authority, and consistency) than their competitors.
Now let’s look at the organic search results and see how domain authority is influencing the rankings.
Here’s the top 5 organic search results for the same keyword phrase “phoenix car accident lawyer”:
It’s interesting to look at these domain authority breakdowns because it forces you to actually look at factors beyond domain authority. However, without a sufficient amount of domain authority relative to competitors, none of these websites would be ranking in the top 5 organic search results.
Another factor that’s influencing these rankings is my proximity to the location that I’m searching about.
One of the more recent Google algorithm updates has be to show more relevant results based on the location of the person searching.
In this case, I’m searching for something in Phoenix, Arizona, yet I’m actually located in Athens, Georgia. If I were to run the same test from within the Phoenix city limits, I would more than likely get a different set of top 5 ranking law firms.
You can read more about this topic by checking out this article titled How to Rank #1 in Google when located outside the center of a city.
A couple of other factors that could be driving Breyer Law to the #1 spot in Google, even though it doesn’t have the most domain or page authority than the others, are the following:
- the landing page has 1,686 words
- there’s a video embedded on the landing page
- there’s multiple images throughout the page
- there’s additional assets (reviews, downloads) added to the page
- there’s support links at the bottom to additional resources
These list of items make the landing page more useful to a visitor. Although I do not have Google Analytics access to Breyer Law’s website, I’m guessing we would see strong numbers behind user experience factors such as:
- time on site
- click through rate from search
- and bounce rates
These user experience factors also heavily influence the search results in Google, as Google strives to show the most “useful” pages to people searching.
If this page was nothing more than 1,686 words / text of content, I’m guessing they would not be the #1 ranking law firm the highly competitive keyword phrase “phoenix car accident lawyer”.
For example with word count — the total number of words on your page matter when it comes to getting top rankings in Google for your law firm.
People are typically searching for in depth, expert knowledge on any given topic. And higher word counts are usually indicative of more in depth research and information.
Of course, just having a high word count isn’t the only thing that matters. If you have 2,000 words of gibberish, then people will detect the low quality content and eject from your website.
This behavior of “quickly leaving” your page would have a big impact on your bounce rate. And bounce rate, as I mentioned above, is a strong technical factor that helps determine user experience.
Here’s a screenshot showing the correlation of word count and position rankings in Google from one of Brian Dean’s articles:
How To Increase Your Law Firm Website’s Domain Authority
Let’s now dive into some actionable steps you can take to increase your the domain authority of your law firm’s website.
One of the biggest factors influencing domain authority is the volume and authority of your backlink portfolio.
As we work through our client’s law firm SEO campaigns, domain authority is one of those areas that are continual work in progress.
We’ve researched thousands of law firm’s ranking in Google to uncover the factors that are most influential in their rankings. Basically we try to answer the question:
What’s making this law firm rank #1 in Google for any given keyword phrase?
And the most consistent factor we see what’s driving law firms to rank #1 in Google is a strong domain authority.
As we look to increase our law firm client’s domain authority, we try to find the most authoritative websites where we can earn both backlinks and citations.
Authoritative backlinks will help to influence your law firm’s rankings in both local / Google Maps and the organic search results.
Citations are focused more on the local / Google Maps search results.
We’ve put together an internal list of directories that we use for all of our law firm clients as we work to build their domain authority.
However, this isn’t an all inclusive list.
You’ll have other resources where you’ll want to get backlinks and citation placement from that are relevant to your location and practice areas.
For example, if you are a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, there will be local directories relevant to Los Angeles and also “DUI lawyer” specific resources, that you’ll want to pursue.
So the internal list of directories we use is more of a base / starting point we use for all of our law firm clients.
Here’s the list of legal directories we use as our starting point to growing our law firm clients domain authority:
I included both the name of the legal directory and their domain authority (DA) so you can see why we place a strong emphasis on these resources.
You can learn more about use of legal directories for our law firm clients by reading our article called Top 5 Law Firm Directories for Local SEO.
The interesting thing we’ve learned about analyzing thousands of law firm’s backlink portfolios is that the #1 ranking law firms in the largest metro areas typically have an enhanced profile in some of these directories, but not all of these directories.
That’s why we strive to get all of our law firm clients an enhanced profile in all of these legal directories as a starting point for our SEO campaign.
Again, leveraging these authoritative legal directories helps to build domain authority for organic rankings and also citation distribution for local SEO rankings.
Other factors to increase the domain authority of your law firm’s website
The overall site structure of your website is critically important to building domain authority. And site structure refers to the organization of the pages within your website, and also fixing inconsistencies and errors such as 404 errors, broken links, and irrelevant (dead, old, etc…) pages within your website.
We are constantly doing site audits on our client’s websites to identify site structure issues that need to be fixed.
Our favorite tool is SEM Rush’s Site Audit tool that quickly shows you the most pressing errors within your website.
Here’s an example of what a site audit looks like using the SEM Rush Site Audit tool:
Another key component to site structure is the overall layout / design of your pages.
Are your pages and navigation implemented in an organized fashion? Or do you have pages that are just randomly linking to each other throughout your website.
The more organized your pages are throughout your website, the better the user experience will be for your visitors. And as you saw above, increasing user experience can have a big impact on determining your rankings in Google.
Here’s a picture that helps illustrate a well structured website:
Keyword Phrase to Page Alignment
It’s important to remember that if you want to rank #1 in Google for a highly competitive legal keyword phrase, you need to focus on building the page authority (PA) of one single page.
One of the biggest mistakes I see law firm websites make is they have multiple pages optimized for their money making keyword phrase.
You need to shore up page authority one single page, and then use additional pages within your website as supporting pages to that one page (wow… lot’s of page talk there!).
We call this the “Silo” strategy, a term coined by Bruce Clay.
By implementing the Silo structure, you’ll ensure proper keyword phrase to page alignment as you’ll always have one top level page that you are trying to rank, and then several sub level pages that are acting as supporting agents to your top level page.
Here’s an illustration to help you implement the Silo structure into your own website:
How to increase domain authority for your law firm’s local SEO / Google Maps rankings
Finally, I want to quickly incorporate the local ranking factor into this discussion of domain authority.
For any law firm, regardless of your practice area, getting found in the top Google local / Google Maps search results is critically important.
Especially for plaintiff related practice areas, people simply pull out their phone > search for a lawyer that can meet their needs > and then hit the “tap to call” button right from Google search results.
Here’s what the local / Google Maps search results look like for the keyword phrase “dui lawyer in athens ga”:
- Disclaimer: Attorney Mo Wiltshire is a Bipper Media client
As you can see, Google knows the #1 action someone will take when searching from their mobile phone is “CALL”.
And if you are the #1 ranked law firm for this keyword phrase, you are getting the majority of calls from people searching.
All of the steps mentioned above are applicable when it comes to local SEO and improving your rankings in Google local search results.
But there are a few additional steps you need to take to influence your rankings specifically in Google Maps.
Here’s a punch list of action items for you to take, along with those mentioned above, to improve your law firm local SEO rankings:
- optimizing your GMB (Google My Business) listing to include:
- ensuring proper, consistent business name, address, phone # (NAP)
- ensuring proper website / URL represented as landing page
- Ongoing management of your GMB listing
- Ensure proper category selection on your GMB listing
- optimize your website:
- homepage / key pages meta data optimizing to targeted keyword phrases
- integration of your NAP
- NAP / Citation distribution: we have distribution partners that we use that syncs your local business date (NAP / citation) across the most authoritative local business sources on the web
- Social media / syncing NAP: we ensure your social media profiles, especially Facebook pages, have a matching NAP citation to your GMB listing.
- Adding Schema language to your website that enhances your NAP citation.
- Adding your GMB listing embed (Google Maps embed) directly to your website
- Google Plus “About” section: enhancing this section targeting your various keyword phrases relevant to your business and GMB listing
You can learn more about local SEO for law firms in this article called Local SEO for Law Firms in 2016.
Obviously I need to update this article to include local SEO strategies relevant to 2017, but this is a good place to start.
Now its your turn!
I want to hear from you…
What do you think about these steps on building domain authority for your website?
Even this was specifically targeted to law firm websites, these same principles can be applied to any business website, large or small.
Or maybe you have a question about something in this article…?
Either way, leave a quick comment below and I’ll be around today to reply to your comment.
So if you have any questions or comments, just drop a quick comment below!
You might also be interested in clicking thru this Slideshare I put together called “3 SEO Tips for Law Firm Websites”:
Update: July 24th, 2018
6 Local SEO Tips for Lawyers video
Updated in April 2018: added a 5th local SEO tip which talks about local seo for law firms with multiple attorneys (see tip #5 below)
Updated in July, 2017: added Legal Directories as a 4th local SEO tip for law firms (see tip #4 below)
Interested in Local SEO? CALL: 706-363-0335 or contact us here
Local SEO for lawyers and law firms has changed dramatically over the past 2 years. We have law firm clients that started with us over 2 years ago, and back then our local SEO strategies included things like Google authorship and video authorship. However, in 2016, local SEO for law firms is a whole new ballgame – so to speak… and the law firms that get it right, will reap the benefits of the coveted 3 pack search rankings for their most profitable keyword phrases.
Knowing that Google continually changes their local search algorithm, along with the way they display local search results, it’s imperative that the local SEO strategy for your law firm is optimized for what’s to come in 2016. Those who leverage the latest local SEO strategies will reap the greatest rewards, whereas the law firms that don’t, will continue to struggle with questions like “why can’t I get top rankings in Google local?” and “how do increase traffic to my law firm website?”
The tips below will help put you on the path to success with local SEO for law firms in 2016.
#1: Mobile first local SEO for lawyers
I’m going to share a couple of screenshots here in a minute, but law firms have to embrace the fact that more searches are being conducted on mobile phones than desktop computers today. This, according to Google’s own research on search behavior.
For one our DUI clients, the combined impact of local SEO and mobile is driving more new clients to his business than any other marketing source they’ve ever invested into in the past.
I shared some more stats on mobile phone usage, and it’s relevance to local SEO, in our blog post yesterday, but here’s the 3 key factors that make mobile so critically important to local SEO:
- ‘Near me’ searches: this is the automated search mechanism in Google’s mobile search app. As you start typing a word, such as ‘personal injury’, before you get too far down the phrase, Google’s mobile search app will pop up a recommendation for you to tap that reads ‘personal injury lawyers near me’. And by tapping this recommendation, you’ll instantly see the personal injury law firms in your city, driven exclusively by these law firm local SEO strategies.
- Voice search: perhaps one of the biggest game changers in mobile search is the rising use of voice search. Simply pull out your iPhone or Android device, open the Google search app, tap the mic, and then speak you search query. Voice search queries in the Google app has doubled since 2014. And according to research, teens (55%) use voice search more often than adults (41%).
- Location awareness: finally, to add even more power to the importance of mobile with local SEO, Google’s search app leverages your exact location in determining the search results. But the location awareness is the feature.
- Direct data: The way to maximize local SEO for law firms and location awareness is through the use of direct data. Basically, direct data is the granular level details associated with your law firm, and the more granular you get with your direct data, the more local SEO authority you’ll give your local search results. One of the best ways to leverage direct data is through the use of Schema language (see comments below). Here are just a few examples of direct data as it relates to local SEO for law firms:
- Specific practice areas by partner.
- Partner and team member names and rolls.
- Hours of operation.
- Fax #’s
- Phone numbers.
- Consistent address locations.
- Landing pages for each location.
- Payment methods.
- Areas served.
- Aggregated ratings from external sources.
Just to show you the impact that mobile can have on the productivity of your law firm’s mobile and local SEO efforts, here’s a screenshot from one of our law firm client’s mobile site:
#2: Schema Markup for Law Firm Local SEO
Schema language is a collaborative effort by all major search engines (Google, Yahoo, & Bing) to read, interpret, and promote structured data on the web.
Schema language is also the primary way your law firm can maximize the local SEO impact of direct data.
Here’s a brief overview of Schema language from the Schema.org site:
Schema.org is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond.
Schema.org vocabulary can be used with many different encodings, including RDFa, Microdata and JSON-LD. These vocabularies cover entities, relationships between entities and actions, and can easily be extended through a well-documented extension model. Over 10 million sites use Schema.org to markup their web pages and email messages. Many applications from Google, Microsoft, Pinterest, Yandex and others already use these vocabularies to power rich, extensible experiences.
For the purposes of local SEO for law firms, the key is to leverage the specific attorney schema library of code or data sets.
Without making this post a detailed “how to” on Schema language (I’ll write that post later…), I’ll provide just a few tips to help you get started with integrated Schema for your law firm local SEO strategy.
If your law firm runs a WordPress site, you can implement the Schema Creator plugin to make it easy implementing the proper code structure. For any other law firm website, including WordPress, you can use the Schema Creator tool.
The main advantage to leveraging Schema language in your law firm’s local SEO strategy is due to the fact that so few law firm websites are implementing it. By your law firm website implementing and leveraging proper Schema code structures, you’ll be exploiting the lack of integration the competing law firm websites.
Schema language allows search engines to interpret the content of your site. Specifically, Schema helps search engines understand the direct data that’s unique to your law firm and the information you share about your practice directly on your law firm’s website.
#3: Blogging / News Articles for Law Firm SEO
Finally, I’ll share what has delivered some of the most potent local SEO results for our law firm clients. And that is, blogging directly on their law firm websites.
News Article Blogging
The majority of law firms are highly targeted to specific metro areas. As such, one of the greatest challenges for law firm websites is attracting increased traffic and exposure in their specific markets.
One way to meet this challenge, and deliver phenomenal growth in traffic and exposure at the metro area level, is through what I call news article marketing.
With news article marketing, we are publishing news and information from their targeted metro areas directly on the blog within the law firm website.
The advantages of business blogging are vast, but when it comes to local SEO for law firms, the impact is exponential.
First, when you are covering local news and information, you’ll naturally attract visitors from those specific metro areas. This dramatically increases the branded exposure for your law firm in your desired markets.
News articles are also a flexible way for your law firm to gain exposure in adjacent markets – or metro areas that represent desired markets, but where you do not have office locations.
As you write more news and information on your law firm blog, Google sees the increase in content production and comes back to your law firm website more frequently to crawl and index the content.
This increase in ‘crawling and indexing’ allows your law firm website to build more authority over time, especially relevant for the targeted metro areas you are covering in your news articles.. And this authority translates into higher rankings in the local and organic search results for your targeted keyword phrases.
Here’s two examples of how we’ve seen news article marketing work extremely well in our local SEO strategies for law firms:
- Personal Injury Lawyers: let’s say you are personal injury law firm in Atlanta, Georgia. We would cover accident and injury related news that’s happening in metro Atlanta. Or perhaps you are more interested in premise liability cases. So we would cover news and information related to premise liability in the Atlanta area.
- DUI / Criminal Defense Lawyers: let’s say you are a criminal defense or DUI lawyer in Miami. We would cover news and information about crimes and DUI arrests that are happening in Miami.
But we don’t just cover general news and information. Again, the object is to drive maximum traffic and exposure back to your law firm website. So you want to chose the highest profile news cases happening in your specific category. The more polarizing the news, the more “return on your effort” you’ll see in the form of inbound traffic to your law firm website, branded exposure for your law firm, and more authority from Google due to the increased traffic, crawling, and indexing of your content.
Social Media Distribution
Finally, when it comes to news article marketing on your law firm’s website, you are also presenting with a new source of links and updates to share across your law firm’s social media profiles.
For our clients, every news article that we published gets shared across all of their social media profiles. We have a law firm client in Milwaukee that two locations, which equates to 8 different social media profiles spread across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.
The social media distribution impact has resulted in an average of 250% increase in traffic to this particular law firm’s website. And beyond just the traffic increases, the amount of links being generated from social media helps Google attribute even more authority back to your law firm website.
News article marketing, as a whole, creates substantial amounts of inbound traffic and links back to your law firm website. This translates into more authority from Google, which ultimately results in higher rankings for your targeted keyword phrases in the local and organic search results.
#4: Legal Directories for Law Firm Local SEO
The new local SEO tip for law firms in 2017 is the use of legal directories to build domain authority.
There’s a direct correlation between domain authority and rankings in Google search.
The most authoritative websites are typically found in the #1 search result in Google, both local and organic.
As such, in order to drive your law firm website into the top search results, you have to focus on building domain authority.
And as it is with domain authority, you have to build high quality and authoritative backlinks from relevant sources.
One of the most relevant sources for getting do follow backlinks to your law firm website is from legal directories.
There are 5 major legal directories that we leverage for our clients, and they are:
Law Firm Directory #1: HG.org
Law Firm Directory #2: Lawyers.com
Law Firm Directory #3: Nolo.com
Law Firm Directory #4: Martindale.com
Law Firm Directory #5: Findlaw.com
When it comes to getting your law firm ranked in Google local search results, or Google Maps search results, a lot of the local SEO ranking power comes directly from your citation portfolio.
What’s a citation portfolio?
Basically, your citation portfolio is the collection of all the places on the web where your law firm’s business name, address, and phone number are published. This is also referred to as your NAP citation (N = business name, A = address, P = phone number).
But not all resources or websites are created equal for citations. Which means, it matters where you create citations for your law firm local SEO strategy, if you expect to rank and compete in Google local search.
And I can assure you, with a lot of law firm local SEO experience under my belt, the legal market is brutally competitive in Google local search, andd you’ll need all the ranking power you can get to compete… especially in large metro areas.
80 / 20 Rule in Law Firm Local SEO Citations
I like to apply the 80 / 20 rule when it comes to creating citations for our local SEO law firm clients.
This means, 80% of the law firm’s local SEO ranking power will come from 20% of the total citation portfolio.
Learn more about The Economics of Keyword Phrase Targeting & SEO
So the overwhelming majority of your law firm citations published on the web will not carry much ranking power.
The 3 key strategies for local SEO for law firms in 2016 are as follows:
- Schema language (direct data)
- News article marketing
These three strategies, when implemented effectively and strategically for your law firm, will dramatically improve the authority and rankings of your law firm website. And the higher your position in the local search results, especially when you reach letter A, B, or C in the Google maps listings, the more inbound traffic, leads, and client conversions your law firm will experience.
#5: Local SEO Tips for Multiple Attorney Law Firms
Multiple attorney law firms have one of the greatest advantages when it comes to local SEO.
According to Google My Business policy, a law firm may have a Google Maps listing for the firm and for each individual practitioner (lawyer or partner) within that firm.
This policy applies to more business categories than just law firms.
Here’s a portion of Google’s policy regarding multiple Google My Business listings (full policy):
An individual practitioner is a public-facing professional, typically with his or her own customer base. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, financial planners, and insurance or real estate agents are all individual practitioners. Listings for practitioners may include title or degree certification (e.g. Dr., MD, JD, Esq., CFA).
Sticking with the law firm example, let’s say you’re a law firm in Atlanta, Georgia with 5 partners and 15 individual lawyers.
Also, let’s say for example your law firm specializes in the following 5 different practice areas such as:
- Criminal Defense
- Personal Injury
- Business Litigation
- Estate Planning
So you can have one Google Maps listing for your main law firm which would be categorized as Law Firm.
And then for each individual attorney and partner, you could have a Google Maps listing categorized for their specific practice area:
- Attorney 1: criminal defense lawyer
- Attorney 2: personal injury lawyer
- Attorney 3: lawyer
- Attorney 4: estate planning attorney
- Attorney 5: tax attorney
The 5 categories above in italics coincide with the 5 practice areas.
If this was your law firm, then you’d end up with a net total of 6 Google My Business listings. One GMB listing for your law firm. And 5 GMB listings for your 5 individual attorneys or partners for their respective practice areas.
Competing in local search with multiple attorneys
From our experience, and our client’s data, we’ve found that most people search for lawyers by category.
So most people search for lawyer as follows:
- best dui lawyers near me
- car accident lawyer in atlanta ga
- divorce lawyer in nyc
- chicago estate planning attorney
And according to recent data, the majority of searches today are conducted via mobile phones and voice search.
So the phrases above can just as easily be spoken in to Google’s mobile search app as they are typed into Google via a desktop.
Because people search for lawyers at the category level (i.e. ‘dui lawyer near me’), having multiple Google Maps listings for specific attorneys is a powerful way to get exposure to just the right type of client.
Couple this with law firm directories and a comprehensive local SEO strategy, your law firm can quickly dominate the most valuable real estate in search within your market.