The days of yellow pages advertising as the foundation for legal marketing efforts is nearly over. This digital age, which is now largely comprised of local search, especially on mobile devices, necessitates that attorneys use Law Firm Local SEO as a primary intake method.
Local Search Is Where The Prospects Are
According to BrightLocal, within the past year, 92% of shoppers have utilized the internet to find a local business. A 2014 Google survey found that 53% of consumers searched via mobile for local information while they were researching a purchase, and 83% used a desktop or tablet.
We know even more about how consumers are seeking out attorneys. The Attorney Selection Research Study, conducted by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG) in 2012, reports that 58 million consumers sought out a lawyer over the year prior to the time of the study.
Of that 58 million who sought out an attorney:
76% (44.1 million) went online at some point in the process.
65% (37.7 million) used the Internet to gather research about lawyers.
61% (35.4 million) found lawyers to validate.
53% (30.7 million) validated at least one lawyer.
44% (25.5 million) selected a lawyer.
Sea Change In Behavior
Yellow pages have not totally died as a new business lead generator. Yet.
Personal referrals will always be important.
However, facts cannot be denied: consumers are more and more inclined to use the Internet to find an attorney.
This represents a significant shift in behavior.
Knowing this, the question becomes simple: Is your law firm reaching this online audience?
7 Elements To Law Firm Local SEO
Local SEO is the way to connect with online consumers looking for attorneys. Local SEO is different than national SEO primarily due to much greater competition at the national level. However, the local scene is still rather intense as legal marketers vie to increase quality leads and conversions while reducing cost per case.
Law firms need to commit time and resources to a local SEO strategy comprised of 7 elements, each working in harmony.
ONE: Locally optimized web pages
To ever have a chance at being highly ranked for a phrase such as personal injury attorney Anytown, a highly optimized page is required that speaks to Google. The page has to explain to Google that it specifically has to do with personal injury as well as Anytown.
Also, individual pages are needed for each office, including NAP (name, address, phone number).
TWO: Google My Business & Google Maps
Attorney local SEO also involves geographic data about the practice (for Google Maps, Google My Business. Google changes things frequently, so these accounts need to be checked often to ensure compliance. There are many details to be concerned about, too: Is the email address used to login the same as the firm’s domain? Has the business page been verified? Does the NAP exactly match what is on website pages? (Tip: do not use call tracking numbers for local SEO.)
A citation in the local SEO sense is a NAP listing on a local or industry directory. Examples: Local – Yahoo Local Search; industry – Lawyers.com. Such listings are critically important. NAP must match all other mentions (on the website page, for instance). Listing on higher-value directories is worth more than plentiful listings on low-quality listings. It takes time to weed out the low-quality directories.
FOUR: Links In
Building links to a law firm’s website originating on other, high-quality sites is extremely labor intensive. With recent updates, Google has placed even more weight into its local algorithm for external links. It is a very time consuming, ongoing task. But the rewards in terms of local rankings are well worth the effort.
Reviews take time to cultivate Google My Business reviews, as well as reviews from other third parties. Doing so, however, builds trust with prospects. According to a 2014 BrightLocal review survey, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Meet the digital referral mechanism!
SIX: Social media
This poses a hurdle for law firms to overcome. How can it be used to help generate leads while not running afoul of state bar ethics regulations? It can be done. Look at the amount and type of Tweets by Stradley Ronon. It’s a big firm, yes, but that doesn’t mean small firms can’t play this game.
SEVEN: A Mobile-Ready Website
Any law firm without a responsive web design will have its rankings hurt by Google.
Attorney SEO Can Help Build a Practice
Strategic on-going Law Firm Local SEO should:
- generate quality leads;
- reduce cost per case; and
- build your practice.
Local SEO has become even more critical for attorneys since Google recently reduced its Local Search 7-pack to a Snack Pack of 3 listings. Discover whether your firm made the cut by Googling your firm name. Showing up in the 3-Pack? Great. Local SEO is how to stay there. Not included? Local SEO is definitely needed.
DIY or Outsource?
Deploying local SEO for law firms involves more than gaining citations…it incorporates reviews, social media and locally optimized website pages, too. All the stuff that most firms do not specialize in, nor have the time to handle.
Some law firms know to have an SEO strategy, but they deploy it when they launch their website and never revise it again. That’s a common mistake, because SEO is ever-evolving. Other SEO mistakes include making all links go to the home page, and not updating your website with valuable, fresh content. Don’t get us started on not having a mobile-ready website, either.
Gain Momentum with Law Firm Local SEO
DMG specializes in Local SEO for law firms. Our team can help your firm boost leads while optimizing costs and delivering a return on investment. We understand the advertising regulations placed on attorneys, and can ensure that your marketing efforts are not only consistent…but compliant, too. Our services go beyond Local SEO to all forms of advertising and marketing, so your practice can depend on our agency to deliver all of its promotional needs seamlessly.