by Robert Clough
Local lawyers need local clients: it sounds obvious, but is your marketing strategy targeted for your practice region?
Many law practices are guilty of using standard marketing techniques without focusing on local clients. Without a regional marketing strategy, your practice could miss out on business opportunities.
While it might sound complicated to set up a specific local SEO strategy, in reality, it's easy to do. Keep reading to discover what you should - and shouldn't - do to boost your local search ranking.
Why is Regional SEO Important for Local Lawyers?
There are plenty of offline marketing strategies you can use to build up your client base. This helpful post covers many ways to gain new clients in a short time with a range of marketing strategies.
However, regional or local SEO is vital for capturing immediate users most likely to be in need of your services. It stops you from getting lost in the Google rankings and targets people who are looking for legal services, that you provide, in real-time.
Four Steps to Gaining Clients with Local SEO
It's very simple to set up a local SEO strategy to drive clients to your law practice. Follow these five steps to make sure you're ahead of the competition.
1. Check Out the Competition for Keyword Ideas
Use Google's search bar to look for the services you provide in your area. For example, "Medical negligence lawyer Memphis". Make a note of who ranks on the first page of search results.
What keywords and phrases are they using in the meta description and page title? Where is your company placed in these rankings?
Knowing where your competition sits in search rankings will help you to hone the keywords you want to use.
You can also use the drop-down menu in Google to influence the keywords you prioritize in your content. Start by typing the beginning of a search query, such as "Medical negligence" and see what comes up in the drop-down box.
This will tell you what Google predicts other people are looking for when they use the same words in their search query. Try this on your mobile device and set your location to visible. This will hone the drop-down suggestions even further.
2. Ask Clients for Reviews
Word of mouth referral is by far the strongest selling tool for any brand or business. People trust recommendations from other people - even strangers on the internet - over a company's own website or advertising.
Make sure you have a place for your clients to leave reviews on a third party site. It's important that this isn't only a testimonial section on your own website: anybody can write their own testimonials. A third party site builds trust in the review and search engines recognize it as a valuable ranking factor.
Facebook pages, Trustpilot, FeeFoo, and TripAdvisor are a few good examples of independent review sites. Your customers can leave a star rating and a detailed review to help inform other potential clients about the quality of your service.
3. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Google now prioritizes mobile content to rank websites in search results. That means if your website isn't mobile-friendly, you're missing out on essential traffic.
This is significant for local SEO: mobile devices counted for over half of local search inquiries. People use their smartphone on-the-go to find services close to them, that they have an immediate need for.
A responsive, mobile-optimized website ensures your business appears in local searches.
4. Claim Your Google My Business (and Other Search Engine) Pages
Google My Business is a free directory listing that adds your local law practice to the map. It's the bit that comes up in the Google 'Snack Pack', the recommended local businesses that now appear above organic search listing.
Claim the same type of business page on Apple Maps and Bing to make sure you're capturing as much local traffic as possible.
The most important thing is consistency. Ensure all your contact information, opening times, and other details are the same for every directory listing. This builds authority in the eyes of the search engine bots and will help you to rank well in local searches.
Three SEO Myths to Avoid
As well as knowing what you should do to boost your local SEO rankings, it's essential to be aware of common myths to avoid, too.
Here are three SEO myths busted.
1. You Need to Stuff Keywords in Everywhere
Good content is the best long-term strategy to attract organic traffic - but that no longer means stuffing in lots of keywords.
In fact, Google algorithms now analyze the usefulness of your content as a whole in relation to a specific search query. It doesn't matter if you have one or one hundred keywords: it's the entirety of the content that matters.
Blogs are a great way to build your content without being keyword-focused. Use a few relevant words and keep it natural. Avoid using lots of them as this may damage your search ranking. Google won't be able to tell if your content is relevant to a specific query if there are lots of different keywords on the page.
2. Paid Search Boosts Organic Traffic
Lies, all lies. You could spend a fortune on paid advertising, and see an increase in website traffic - but organic traffic isn't influenced by how much you spend.
Organic traffic is more valuable than paid traffic, too. That's because organic results - the ones that get you ranked on the first page of Google - list in order of search relevance. A paid advert may be slightly relevant to the search query, but an organic result on the first page will yield greater quality for the user.
Why is that important? Greater quality means more time spent on the page and a higher possibility of a conversion to a new customer.
3. You Don't Need Keywords as Anchor Text
Anchor text is the text you use to link to another page, whether internally on your own website or to an external resource.
It's important to keep this anchor text relevant to the link. Say you want to link to another blog on your site about the legal steps for conducting a personal injury claim.
Your text may read:
"There are many services we offer, including personal injury claim handling and automobile accident claims."
In this example, you would want to use 'personal injury claim handling', and not 'services we offer'. Search engine bots will recognize the relevance of the link.
When to Call an SEO Expert
Your law practice is growing, which means you're spending more time on cases with your clients than on business development. That's what you should be doing!
If you're struggling to balance your time between marketing your practice and actually practicing law, it's time to call an SEO expert.
Don't get pulled in by smart marketing tactics! Read our guide for local lawyers that'll help you choose the best SEO company for your regional search marketing strategy.
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