Law firms can enhance their local rankings with practical steps outlined in our guide on Local SEO for Lawyers.
Unlock the key strategies to enhance your law firm’s visibility in local search results. Stay ahead with the latest insights and optimize your online presence for greater success in 2024
Top 8 Local SEO Tips for Lawyers (2024)
- Include keywords and/or target city in your reviews.
- Aim for more 5-star reviews.
- Regularly upload pictures and make posts on your Google Business Profile (GBP).
- Concentrate on organic SEO, emphasizing optimized anchor text (keyword and city – but not too much).
- Update your title and meta tags with relevant keywords and location.
- Consider adding keyword modifiers to your brand name (see below for how to do it right).
Incorporate local content.
- Monitor your Local SEO results using Local Falcon.
Keep reading for more info.
Call today to discuss your project.
How Law Firms Should Set Up Their Google Business Profile (GBP) Listing To Improve Their Local Search Results
We’re going to assume that your law firm already has a GBP Listing set up. If not, go here to create a GBP listing.
If you need assistance setting up your account, check out Google’s guide on setting up your GBP listing.
Let’s get back to optimizing your listing.
Optimizing Your Google Business Profile Listing
GBP Business Description
The first thing you want to do is make sure you update your law firm business description. You get 750 characters, so use them wisely.
Write a brief description of your law firm, including your
- Name of business,
- Name of lead attorney,
- Years of experience
- Practice areas,
- Locations served,
- Awards and recognition.
“The Johnson Legal Group, a prominent criminal defense firm serving the greater Los Angeles, CA region. Our skilled team handles a range of cases, including domestic violence, DUI, drug offenses, theft, and more. With more than two decades of experience, our lead attorney, Sarah Johnson, a distinguished SuperLawyer, is dedicated to addressing all criminal law matters. Reach out to our Los Angeles criminal defense team for a complimentary consultation today”
Don’t overcrowd your description with keywords; it won’t improve local search rankings and may discourage potential clients. Leaving this section blank in business listings overlooks a valuable opportunity and limits ranking potential.
Pro-Tip: Consider including your primary keyword in your Google Business Profile (GBP). For instance, if you’re a personal injury lawyer in Houston, add “Houston personal injury lawyer(s)” to your description.
How to Add Keywords to Your Business Name The Right Way
Whether you agree or not, Google gives substantial importance to including keywords in the business name.
For example, if Smith Law Firm wants to compete with Smith Personal Injury Lawyers, or face an even bigger challenge against Smith Personal Injury Lawyers Philadelphia (assuming it’s a Philadelphia-based PI law firm), adding keyword modifiers requires specific steps:
- Register a Doing Business As (DBA) with your State – this is crucial. Google may request this document if your listing is flagged.
- Update signage in two critical locations: (1) the building directory and (2) outside your office door. Google may ask for pictures of these signs if your listing is flagged.
- Improve your business logo by adding relevant keywords.
- Create business cards with your updated logo featuring keywords.
- Update your business name on your homepage, at the very least. Consistency with your Google Business Profile (GBP) is vital.
- Produce a video showcasing a walk-through from the main lobby (highlight the building directory with your business name) to your office (ensure your business name matches your GBP Listing outside your door). This video can serve as proof of your office’s existence for Google in case of a listing suspension.
IMPORTANT: Don’t add a regional modifier unless you plan on only working in that geographic location.
Pick the right categories for your business. For instance, if you’re a personal injury attorney, make sure to choose that as your main category.
You should also consider choosing other categories such as Lawyer, Trial Attorney, Law Firm, and Legal Services.
Add Pictures To Your Listing
Adding pictures is a must to improve user engagement with your listing. According to Google, Businesses with photos get:
- 43% more driving direction requests to their location, and
- 34% more clicks through to their website
Having photos on your profile helps a lot. Take pictures of yourself, your office, and your team. Just click on “photos” and start adding them to your Google Business Profile. Include team photos, inside and outside shots, and more.
Clients like to see who they’re dealing with and your office space. Adding pictures to your profile is a great way to make you and your team stand out.
Pro Tip: Before you upload images, rename the files. For instance, if you’re a personal injury lawyer in Tampa, FL, name your image(s) like this: [DescriptiveFileName].
Google Trusted Photographer
Pro Tip: You can also add pictures by hiring a reliable Google photographer for a 360 virtual tour of your office. Click the link, scroll down, enter your location, and get a list of nearby photographers.
Posting regularly is a great way to get people to engage with your Google Business Profile (GBP), which can boost your local search rankings. To add a post, click “Post” on the left side. Then, follow these steps:
- Add a picture.
- Write a short post (about a special offer, your office activities, general info, etc.).
- Include a call to action (we suggest “Learn More” with a link to your site).
Pro Tip: When adding pictures, rename the file to include keywords. For example, if you’re a personal injury lawyer in Boston, name the image “personal-injury-lawyer-boston-ma.jpg” or “personal-injury-law-office-boston.jpg.”
Questions and Answers
Did you know you can add questions and answers to your Google Business Profile? It’s a helpful feature, but many people miss it because it’s not easy to find.
Here’s how you can do it.
- Log in to your GBP ListingOpen a new internet tab.
- Search for your business name and location (e.g., The Smith Law Firm Los Angeles, CA).
- Your Google Business Profile (GBP) will appear on the right side.
- Click on “Ask a question” (refer to the image below).
[Keep scrolling for additional information.]
Once you click “Ask a Question,” follow these steps:
- Ask your question and click “Post” when you’re done.
- Refresh the window.
- Look for “See all questions” under Questions and Answers and click on it.
- You’ll see a pop-up. Below your question, find “answer” and click it.
- Answer your question. That’s it!
Build Citations For Your Law Firm
To improve your listing, make sure your business details are on different websites like Yelp, BBB, and Yellow Pages. Also, use your social media to share your business info. Instead of giving a list of directories, we’ll show you two simple ways to do this quickly.
Automated Citation Building
To easily create citations, sign up for accounts with Moz Local and Yext. Here’s a quick explanation of both.
Cost: $99 per year for small/mid-size business
Pricing Info: https://moz.com/products/local/pricing
Moz Local helps your business by sharing its details with different data aggregators like Acxiom, Infogroup, and Neustar/Localeze. It also takes care of your Bing listing and some local directories.
Cost: $499 Annually
Pricing Info: https://www.yext.com
Yext covers around 40 directories and other websites. Even though there’s some overlap with Moz Local, having both can help you quickly and easily get your business listed in many places.
Do It Yourself – WhiteSpark
If you’d prefer to build your own citations, we recommend checking out Whitespark.
Whitespark provides a local citation finder for $20 a month. This tool helps you check your competitors’ citations and create similar ones.
While there’s a free version, removing limitations is necessary to maximize its benefits. Once your account is set up, enter a competitor’s phone number and business name to get a list of their citations, complete with links to easily join the same directories.
Whitespark also provides a list of the top 50 citation sources in the United States. Check it out and start building those citations.
Bonus: The folks at BrightLocal have put together a list of the top 80+ Local SEO Citations for Lawyers. We highly recommend checking it out.
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone. NAP Consistency means keeping the same information (like your business name, address, and phone number) across all places on the internet. If this info is different in various places, it can hurt your chances of showing up in local searches.
Common issues happen when a lawyer moves offices or a marketing company uses a different phone number. Make sure that everywhere online has the same info as your website for:
- Business Name
- Phone Number
To check, just Google your law firm’s name along with any old address or phone number. If you find any listings with the wrong info, ask the site admin to update it.
Moz Local (mentioned earlier) provides an overview of your NAP Consistency across various channels and data aggregators.
Adding Attorney Schema To Improve Your Law Firm Local Rankings
Local Schema helps Google and other search engines understand your business location and other info relevant to Local SEO. Below we give you two ways to create the code you need.
Google Structured Data Markup Helper
Google provides a Structured Data Markup Helper so that you can easily tag your website with Structured Data. We strongly recommend that you take the time to do this for Local SEO.
Start by going to the Structured Data Markup page. Once you’re there, click “Local Business” and enter your URL. Then click “Start Tagging.”
On the next screen, find your homepage and “My Data Items” on the right. Just highlight:
- Business name
- Telephone number
- Address (Street, City, State, ZIP)
- Image (your logo)
- Click “Add missing tags” to include your website URL. After that, click on “CREATE HTML” to get your J-SON code.
Your code will look like this:
Copy and paste that code into the HEAD section of your site.
If you’re using WordPress, you can install the Insert Headers and Footers plugin and then insert the code into the head.
JSON Schema for Legal Services
The best schema to use for your lawyer website is the “legal services” schema. The folks at Juris Digital created this great schema generator so you can quickly get the code you need.
Filling it out is simple. However, four sections may seem confusing so we cover them below.
To achieve this, you should input the image link associated with your company logo. In case you don’t have a logo, you have the option to use an image of yourself or your team. Keep in mind that it’s necessary to provide something in the Image URL box, as it is a requirement for this schema.
Latitude, Longitude, Google Map URL
To get these items, start by going to Google Maps.
Enter the name of your firm and hit the magnifying glass to search.
Check the address bar at the top. Copy the first number and paste it into the Latitude box. Copy the second number and paste it into the Longitude box. Don’t include the “@” for latitude or anything after the comma for longitude.
Next, enter the Google Map URL.
To do this, click the “Share” button.
After clicking “Share,” a pop-up appears. Click “Copy link.” Then, paste it into the Google Map URL box in the JSON generator. You’re done!
Testing Your Schema
Once you’ve pasted your schema into your site, test it by using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure that you’ve set it up correctly.
- You may see a warning that a price is required. However, feel free to leave it blank and continue.
Local Schema WordPress Plugins
Another option if you’re using WordPress is to install a Local Schema plugin.
Two that we recommend are:
Google Business Profile Reviews
Getting reviews can be a big challenge. We get it. You don’t want to keep bothering your clients to get reviews. At the same time, reviews are critical for potential clients.
Using BirdEye To Get More Reviews
We provide our clients with BirdEye. The biggest advantage of using BirdEye is that it allows you to quickly and easily send a review request email to a client.
The email looks professional, and it seems to help our clients get more reviews. Below is what your client will see. You can also include a link to your Avvo profile.
You can also create your own email template and include a link to your Google My Busines review page.
It’s easy. Google Business Profile Help provides a resource so you can create a review link for your clients.
Once you’re there, follow the directions under “Create a link from Google Search” or “Create a link using the PlaceID Lookup Tool.”
Once you have that link, put together a form email and include the link when asking for a review.
Make sure you follow up with clients at least twice when requesting reviews, but be careful not to overdo it.
How Reviews Help Your Local Pack Rankings
Reviews help your rankings in several ways.
- First, review quantity and velocity helps your local pack rankings.
- Another benefit is having a lot of positive reviews for potential clients to see.
- Lastly, it appears that reviews with target keyword and/or target location seem to help rankings as well.
Positive reviews are crucial in establishing trust with clients. However, it is important to acknowledge that users also seek out negative reviews to gain a comprehensive understanding of a business’s strengths and weaknesses.
An attorney profile with 200, 5-star reviews and absolutely no negative reviews appears incredibly artificial.
Do Reviews Directly Impact Local SEO Rankings?
UPDATE: We think positive reviews are a HUGE ranking factor. Here’s why.
Google aims to ensure that its users have a pleasant encounter with a local business they discover on the maps. Google intends to showcase businesses that prioritize user satisfaction. It’s worth noting that businesses with negative reviews seldom rank high in the GBP profiles.
The number and caliber of your reviews can influence the amount of clicks on your GBP, which we view as a favorable indication that affects your rankings. Having more reviews can enhance the visibility of your listing, increasing the likelihood of receiving local clicks.
On-page SEO for Local SEO
Update Your Title Tags and Meta Tags for Local SEO
Review your title and meta tags to ensure that you incorporate diverse variations of your keywords. For instance, on your attorney BIO page, you may consider including: Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer | Smith Law Firm.
A few other tips include:
- Add the city and state in front of the business name
- Add “near me” and “near you” to a few title tags
- Go through your meta tags to make sure they include the GEO are you’re targeting
Include Your Target Keyword on the Most Important Places
Keep it simple for on-page SEO. Make sure you have your target keywords and city in the following:
- Title Tag
- Meta Tag
- H1, H2
- Content (use sparingly)
For example, if your target keyword is “Los Angeles family law attorney”, make sure you include it (or variations of it) in the tags and content.
You can use: Los Angeles family law lawyer, Family Law Attorney Los Angeles, Family Law Lawyers in Los Angeles, etc.
Don’t overuse the same keyword. Mix it up and insert it naturally into your content.
Display Your Name, Address, and Phone Number
Make sure your website clearly displays your business info including:
- Business Name
- Phone Number
You should also include business hours.
Embed a Google Map
We like to embed a map for the business. To do that, go to Google Maps and search for your business.
Once you find it, click on the “Share” Button.
You’ll then get a pop-up. Click on “Embed a map.” The next step is to click “Copy HTML.”
You’ll then take that code and insert it into your website.
Link-Building for Local SEO
There are two categories of link-building for Local SEO. The first, as discussed earlier, is citation building.
The second type entails acquiring links from both local and non-local websites to direct traffic back to your site.
As per a Moz Local SEO Study (referenced below), links rank as the second most crucial factor in local ranking.
Non-citation link-building is tailored to your specific practice area and market. For instance, if you aim to rank for “Los Angeles divorce lawyer,” you should search for that term and examine the backlinks of the top 3 to 5 competitors.
Overview of Anchor Text
Typically, you will observe that the leading search results often feature a mix of various anchor texts directing to their website.
- URL: The website URL itself serves as an anchor text, offering a clean and straightforward link.
- Brand: The law firm’s brand name acts as another anchor text, building brand awareness and recognition.
- Miscellaneous: This category encompasses a range of general terms like “click here”, “learn more”, or “discover now”, providing context and direction to users.
- Exact Match Anchor (EMA) / Partial Match Anchor (PMA): These anchors directly target specific keywords, such as “Los Angeles divorce lawyer” for EMA and “divorce lawyer Bob Smith” for PMA.
Interestingly, in highly competitive legal markets, the analysis reveals a consistent pattern. Most top-ranked attorney websites showcase a relatively small proportion of EMA/PMA anchors, typically hovering between 3% and 5%. This suggests that while strategically utilizing these keyword-rich anchors remains important, an over-reliance on them can be detrimental.
To understand your market, you’ll need to use something like Ahrefs to research your competition.
We are currently in the process of developing a comprehensive guide on link-building, which will provide a more detailed explanation of this aspect. If you require any help with your link-building endeavors, please feel free to reach out to us and discuss your project.
Pro Tip: Exercise caution when generating precise match anchor links. It is advisable to use them judiciously in order to attain optimal outcomes.
Factors That Influence The Local SEO for Attorneys Rankings
To gain entry into the local pack, it is crucial to understand the key areas of focus. Presented here are two commendable Local SEO studies that effectively pinpointed the paramount factors for search engines.
Every year the folks at Moz do a study on the most important Local SEO ranking factors. For 2018, the top five are:
- Google Business Profile Signals (Proximity, categories, keyword in business title, etc.) – 26.12%
- Link Signals (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc) – 15.53%
- Review Signals (Review Quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) – 14.44%
- On-Page Signals (Presence of NAP, keyword in titles, domain authority, etc.) – 15.82%
- Citation Signals (IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc) – 10.83%
What does the Moz Local SEO study tell us?
To enhance the local SEO of your law firm, prioritize three key aspects: acquiring more reviews, implementing traditional SEO techniques such as link-building, and ensuring NAP consistency.
Location proximity is a crucial factor that is often disregarded. If your office is situated in Santa Monica, CA, but you aspire to be included in the local pack for “Los Angeles personal injury attorney,” achieving this goal will be exceedingly challenging.
So before doing anything, set realistic expectations based on:
- Your office location, and
- How competitive the keyword you’re trying to get into the local pack for.
Local SEO Guide
The Local SEO Ranking Factors by the Southeast legal marketing local seo agency.
Some of the key takeaways include:
- Get reviews with keyword and/or target city,
- Get more reviews,
- Get links with the city in the anchor text, and
- Organic SEO signals still impact Local SEO (links, on-page optimization, etc.)
Do You Want to Improve the Local SEO Service For Your Law Firm?
We trust that this guide will assist you in your endeavor to excel in Local SEO. Have we overlooked any details? Kindly leave a comment below and inform us about our performance. We appreciate your time in reviewing our local SEO guide.
If you want more assistance, call Southeast Legal Marketing today for a free consultation (+1 8007104300).