July 22, 2016

Local SEO for Lawyers

Local SEO for lawyers needs to be a crucial component of an attorney’s online marketing campaign. Without it, you’ll have a very difficult time ranking well in Google for local keywords involving your geographical area.

Most people searching for a lawyer type in the kind of lawyer they want and a particular location. For example, a person who wants to hire a contract lawyer to draft an agreement for his New Jersey business will probably search Google for any of the following: “nj contract lawyer,” “contract lawyer in nj,” or even “contract lawyer near me.”

The ultimate goal of Local SEO for law firms is two-fold: 1) having your law firm show up in Google’s Map Pack and 2) having your law firm rank on Page 1 of the organic results for local searches.

local SEO for lawyersTake a look at the image to your left. This is an example of Google’s Map Pack.

When a potential client of yours searches for “business lawyer nj,” Google populates a map of the area and prominently displays three attorneys under it.

Local SEO for attorneys helps your firm show up there.

Getting there isn’t easy, and it takes time, but it’s doable with enough determination and patience.

The first thing every law firm needs to do is create a Google My Business listing. When you sign up, give Google as much information as possible and be as thorough as you can. The more photos you upload, the more details you add to your description section, and the more effort you put into creating your listing, the better your ranking will be.

After you set up your Google My Business listing, you’re going to need to verify it. To do this, Google will send you via snail mail a postcard containing instructions and a verification code. Once you get the postcard, follow the directions and input the code Google gave you. After that, wait 1-2 days and your business should start appearing on the right side of the screen whenever someone types your business name into Google.

Attorney Profile Pages

The next step is setting up attorney profile pages on trusted sites. As a lawyer, you’ve earned the right to build your authority online in ways other companies and professionals can’t. You have the ability to create attorney profiles across a whole slew of high-authority sites.

Worth noting, some require your bar license number or a Letter of Good Standing as proof that you’re an actual attorney, but that’s a small price to pay for the huge SEO benefits these sites provide.

Many of these legal profile sites let you fill out an entire bio and add links to your website and blog. Since these sites are well respected by Google and are exclusive to only one group of professionals, both the profile itself and the links give your law firm SEO efforts a huge boost.

To help you get started, we’ve included a list of attorney profile sites below. Just in case you were hoping to see what an actual profile on each site looks like, we’ve included links to an example:

Avvo Justia Legal Information Institute (LII) Oyez
LLRX Thales LawLink LawyerLegion
Courthouse Square My Attorney Home Law Father Law Dee Da
HG.org Attorney Directory DB Lawyer Central Lawyer.com

Local Business Citations

After that, you need to claim and verify local business citations. A business citation is nothing more than a listing for your business on sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Manta. Claiming and verifying as many of these as possible is the bread and butter of local SEO for lawyers. Be careful though: you must be consistent across all of your citations to rank well.

In the same way you pay assiduous attention to detail when cross-examining a witness, writing a legal brief, or scrutinizing a contract, you need to use this skill when typing your information into the form fields on these sites.

Use the same business name, address, and phone number across every single citation you build. If you capitalized “Of” in the “Law Office Of…” do that for every single citation you create. Likewise, if you used a particular office number for your Google My Business listing, use that identical phone number for all of your citations. Lastly, use the same format and style for your address.

All of this might seem hyper-technical, but it’s one of the most important aspects of local SEO that helps you rank above your competition.

Why? It’s simple: Google places precedence on businesses that people can actually locate and get in touch with. If several citation sites are reporting back inconsistent information (no matter how minor), Google views this as a red flag.

After all, Google’s worst nightmare is a person showing up to the wrong address or calling the wrong number based on inaccurate information they gave searchers.

Consequently, NAP consistency (name, address, and phone number) is what Google hangs its proverbial hat on to ensure its own reputation.

The following list is certainly not exhaustive, but it represents a good chunk of the best citations your law practice should claim and verify. Realize, there are thousands of citation sites out there, but far less are actually considered trustworthy by Google.

Start with the ones below and you’ll be well on your way to improving your law firm’s local SEO. Again, for your convenience, we’ve included links to an example for you to see what your listings can look like.

Bing Places MapQuest Yelp Yellow Pages
City Search Manta Super Pages American Towns
White Pages Switchboard Best of the Web Local Spoke
Hot Frog 411 Brownbook CitySquares
eLocal Where to Go Show Me Local EZ Local
Lacartes Cylex Go Local 247 Chiefmail
Get Fave Yello Yello List Company NJ.com (for NJ firms only)

The Role of Reviews in Local SEO for Lawyers

Lastly, you need favorable reviews and feedback from your past and current clients. However, posting them on your law firm’s website doesn’t count for your local SEO. Instead, you need to have your clients review you on the very sites you made profiles and citations.

For attorneys, this typically includes Avvo, Yelp, and Facebook. The more five star reviews you earn, the more Google will consider you worthy of a higher ranking in local search results.

The lawyers who perform the best in local search results tend to have a streamlined approach to generating favorable reviews. Make sure your firm does the same.

Although the world of local SEO for lawyers is complicated, with enough time and effort, your law practice can break into the Google Map Pack and make it to Page 1 of the organic results.

Don’t have the time to do all this yourself? Call More Clicks More Clients today to do it for you: (732) 503-8991.