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.
Sea Change In Behavior
Attorney advertising in the Yellowpages is dead. The search for a law firm now takes place online.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
Any law firm without a responsive web design will have its rankings hurt by Google.