If you have hopes of being the biggest and best firm in town, then you’re going to have to master local SEO. This article will help you with just that.
The importance of local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in promoting your business in your neighborhood is undeniable. Google has become the Yellow Pages of today’s digital era. An increasing number of people are using their mobile phones to find and know more about local businesses around them.
According to Google’s Consumer Insights, between July–Dec 2015 and July–Dec 2017, “near me” mobile searches with “can I buy” or “to buy” witnessed 500% growth, while “near me tonight/today” searches increased by more than 900%, among others. This substantial growth alone underlines the ever-growing importance of local SEO.
Your law firm is no exception to this increasing trend, especially if it’s a law firm catering to local clients. In other words, you need to engage in local search marketing aggressively. The good news is that taking advantage of local SEO for promoting your law firm is no rocket science.
Here are four tips that will help you get the most out of your local search marketing efforts.
1. Optimize Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing
When you search for a local business, you can see a list of businesses with their phone numbers, addresses, and other details at the top. The data in this local search result comes from a business’s Google My Business (GMB) listing.
GMB Signals with a 25.12% share is the number one local pack/finder ranking factor. Apart from generating web traffic, it also allows your customers to locate your law firm on Maps or book an appointment. This means you need to set up and optimize your GMB page immediately.
Here is what you should do –
- Make sure to list your GMB page in the right service category.
- You need to claim the physical location of your law firm on Maps. Also, add your complete address on the GMB page, and be sure it is identical to the one listed on your website/landing pages.
- Include your phone number and website link.
- Ensure to write a detailed and keyword-rich description. Further, use relevant keywords in the title. However, avoid keyword stuffing as it goes against Google’s keyword usage policy.
- Make use of the GMB Posts feature to interact with your target audience. You can create short and to-the-point posts to share information, events or offers with your prospects.
2. Take Advantage of Local Keywords
To increase the efficiency of your local search marketing, you will need to keep your GMB listing and your law firm website consistent. The best way to make this happen is to use the same local keywords in your GMB page as well as your landing page and website.
Usually, you can create local keywords by adding the name of the city or locality to the main keyword. For example, when “estate planning attorney” becomes “Cleveland estate planning attorney,” it turns into a local keyword. Scatter suitable local keywords throughout your website to let Google know that you intend to capture the local audience.
Keep the following in mind –
- Include the local keyword in the title and meta descriptions of your website.
- Include different local keywords in as many H1 tags of your website pages as possible.
- Try to use the keywords throughout the content. However, each keyword needs to fit naturally in the text.
- Add the keyword in the ALT Tags of images on your website.
3. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
An increasing number of people are using their mobile phones to access the internet. In 2018, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones. If you are not focusing on mobile optimization, you are likely to lose almost half of your potential prospects.
Recently, Google has also switched to mobile-first indexing. The world’s leading search engine has now started using the mobile version of your website content as a priority for indexing and search ranking. So, mobile optimization is a must-have in your local search marketing strategy.
- First, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to check how mobile-friendly your website already is. Alternatively, you can also open your website on different devices including smartphones, tablets, and laptops to check it screen compatibility.
- If your website is not mobile-friendly or is partially mobile-friendly, get a responsive web design. It allows your site to perform well irrespective of the screen size.
- Make sure the text is immediately readable on all screens. Also, check clickability and interactivity of your website to ensure a smooth browsing experience.
- Avoid using pop-ups, especially on mobile screens as they are downright annoying.
4. Monitor Customer Reviews
Bad reviews can break your online reputation, which in turn, will impair your local search marketing efforts. According to a recent BrightLocal survey, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, while 89% of consumers also read businesses’ replies to reviews.
It is imperative to monitor client reviews on your website, GMB page, social media, and third-party review sites such as Yelp and Avvo.
- Always encourage your existing customers to share their feedback on your GMB page or elsewhere on the web. The more positive reviews, you get the better it is because users are likely to choose the law firm with the most favorable reviews.
- Though you should focus on getting positive reviews, a couple of poor reviews will lend legitimacy to your online profile. Don’t let these reviews get you down. However, you shouldn’t allow the volume of poor reviews get out of hand.
- Make it a point to reply to all your reviews, especially the negative ones. It is the best way to show your level of engagement with your customers.
- With 40% of customers taking into account reviews written in the last two weeks only, you should focus on getting fresh reviews from different sources regularly.
Apart from helping your local search marketing strategy, positive reviews will also improve your online credibility in the long run. However, this doesn’t mean you should manipulate customer reviews. Fake or orchestrated reviews will have the exact opposite impact on your online reputation.
Local search marketing is a must for all local businesses including your law firm. Unlike other marketing tactics, local SEO focuses on growing your online reputation locally and attracting local customers only. Keeping these four factors in mind will help you get the most from your local search marketing. So, are you planning to include these factors in your local law firm SEO? Let us know how and when in your comments.
I’m Vivek, Local SEO Business Consultant at E2M, one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies in India. We specialize in content strategy, creation, promotion, and SEO for domestic and overseas clients. I look after local search optimization and link-building strategies. In my free time, I love to stay updated with the latest photography lessons and enjoy photographing on my cam.