Local SEO for Law Firms
While Search Engine Optimization can be universally beneficial to anyone who integrates it into their marketing strategies, a lot of it can be fine-tuned to fit your law firm.
While it’s generally a good thing to get your name out to anyone you can, you should remember that the best thing about SEO is that it provides the most exposure to your target market.
People who search “do I have a personal injury claim?” and “how to get divorced” are more likely to be in need of the services you offer than those who come across an ad on their Twitter feed.
If someone from three states away sees your website or clicks on your ad, they might be able to use some of the educational content you have already published, but it’s possible their state laws are different from where you’re practicing.
The main principle of this guide is to make sure you capture the attention of those who can actually benefit from your marketing—hence, optimizing for localized SEO.
In this guide, we’re looking to fine-tune what you might already know about Law Firm SEO basics, and what you can customize to localize your content.
Localizing Your SEO Law Firm Marketing: Why It’s Important
If your law firm practices law in California, it might be more effective to show a Californian audience your available services. It's good that someone from another state knows about you, but laws change from state to state, and your content might not satisfy their specific needs.
People come into search engines with a specific need that needs to be fulfilled—might it be questions about chemistry or a quick how-to on how to handle a first DUI offense. Especially with legal services, you are more likely to satisfy a user who lives in the same area (and has the same laws).
If a user's family member committed fraud in a different state, that user would most likely look up specific state laws that pertain to their current context.
Google’s search engine (and most of the popular search engines) is so advanced that it can tailor-fit search results to what’s relevant to the user themselves. If you type in “Employment Lawyer Near Me”, Google is going to return with specific results to your city—and will allow you to filter it out based on how general or specific you want it to be.
While adding a “near me” into your keywords might not directly point anyone to a certain location, Google’s algorithm is smart enough to identify your firm’s location based on the information that’s on your page—it could be specific keywords, set locations on each individual blog post, or certain contact information scattered throughout your pages.
Users might even search for general keywords like “Divorce Attorney”, without specified locations whatsoever, and Google will still return localized results. The idea here is that you let Google know where you’re practicing, so your website gets recommended to the right people.
A Checklist: What You Can Do for Localized SEO
Now that you have a general idea of how localizing your SEO efforts benefit your law firm, now’s the time for the specific steps you can take to achieve it. Here, we’ll discuss three basic things:
Changes you can immediately implement
How your content matters
How local external links help
Changes You Can Immediately Implement
Use the list below as a quick guide to how you can improve local SEO for your law firm. Most of these you can do within a day’s time.
Claim your Google My Business page now if you haven't already. It takes just a few minutes and is completely free. One of the easiest and most powerful ways to improve your Local SEO is to begin with the basics.
When you’re setting up your profile, don’t forget to complete the following:
Make sure you've selected the correct categories in your Google My Business account. Use as few categories as possible, and use the ones that are most relevant to you. Remember to use important keywords, too.
Ensure that your office hours are accurate, so no potential client tries to call you during closed days.
Take pictures of your office, your building, or yourself and your colleagues. Users are more attracted to recommendations that somewhat give them proof of a firm’s existence (no matter how strange that sounds!).
Remember to manage and respond to reviews. This is no different than a friend telling you about their experience with a product or a service—now, it's compiled and publicized for other people to see (see more details on reviews below). Based on what you read there, you can also get ideas on how to adjust your SEO marketing strategies.
Get on Directories
While we're on the subject of online directories, double-check that you've claimed all of the major online directories. Citations don't have the same effect on rankings as they used to, but they're still relevant.
More online visibility is only better for your SEO efforts.
You should make sure that the bulk of your reviews are positive while you consider claiming your listing on review sites. High-quality ratings, according to Google, boost your firm's exposure. It's essential to pay attention to the language used by the reviewers. When customers use the city or keywords in their reviews, it tells Google that you're a reputable local law firm.
Reviews can also be found on social media. Facebook, for example, has a dedicated customer review section on their business pages. Twitter users, Youtube videos, and Instagram stories mentioning your firm in a positive light can also count for good reviews—although they’re not always easily accessible to those looking for a dedicated list of customer testimonials.
Regardless, wherever it might be coming from, reviews are a measure of overall client satisfaction. It is no different than how people used to tell friends and family about their last experience with a lawyer’s services. The better your firm has, the more likely are people going to trust you.
Make a Facebook Page for Your Law Firm
Facebook’s user base is so huge that a lot of people have been using it like a search engine. Users can find news, ads, buy products, and set up event schedules on one social media site. The sheer volume of people on the site alone should be enough reason for you to set up something to market your law firm. Establish a page for your firm and customize it with your site, schedules, and a quick descriptive rundown at the very least.
Getting Your Firm on Social Media
Social media offers so many opportunities for marketing. Even if you don’t directly pay people to post anything about you, there’s a chance that someone’s going to share their experiences online—and if any of those postings featured or mentioned your law firm, that would be great!
And yes, your firm can most definitely be on those sites (you’d be surprised at how many people use legal hashtags on Instagram), even if you don’t take a more relaxed, personable route that most people tend to do on there.
Better yet, you should look into some famous professionals (mostly doctors and lawyers) who give out occasional free advice to followers; they usually have links to a landing page in their bios/about me. Every bit of presence and engagement helps in SEO.
If you don't want to be very involved on those pages, leave a message (pin a Tweet or highlight an Instagram story) encouraging people to call, visit your website, or follow you on your preferred social media channel. People expect businesses to respond quickly on social media, so leave a note or other contact information if you won't be monitoring the account.
Keeping Your NAP Available and Consistent
Check that your name, address, and phone number are the same on all of the sites listed above, including review sites, maps, and social media. Overall, Google needs to make sure that the information they provide is correct.
Customers will find it easier to communicate with your law firm if your name, address, and phone number are all the same. Not only is it confusing for a potential client to discover different contact info in two different channels, it can sometimes turn them off completely.
If your firm is named “Smith and Co.” on your website, make sure that you don’t use “Smith LLC” in other places. Again, it’s confusing and makes it look like they’re two different firms altogether.
Use SEO Tools
A lot of SEO tools that you might already be using allow location filters. Depending on how you use them, tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Wordstream can find more specific keywords and usable stats for your localized SEO efforts. Google Ads also has a free keyword planner that can zero in on cities and counties at your disposal.
Tailor-fitting Your Content for Localized SEO
Once you’ve mastered getting your law firm out there for people in your city, state, or county, you can now look at the content you’re making.
When people are using search engines to find very specific things, they might not immediately come across your homepage. They’ll sometimes find themselves in a blog post or a site map.
This is also a good time to diversify your content. When you’re producing content regularly (such as regular articles and blog posts), the more keywords and locations you can optimize for.
Below are a few ideas for localized content SEO.
Even if your firm's legal practice covers an entire state, it's good to get out city and county-specific content. You might have come across landing pages like "San Diego Employment Lawyer" or "Orange County Family Law Attorney" on some test searches.
Even when you practice in multiple cities across a single state, it's good to cite city-specific statistics, mention landmarks, and use locations in examples.
Remember that we're trying to predict how search engine users think. People might not want to drive that far out, even in the same state, after all. It can also help you in some "near me" searches, too, since Google's algorithm can still detect a location to suggest to searchers.
Try Press Pages
Press pages are great for marketing in almost every industry. As a law firm, you don’t have to overdo it—a simple photo with you and your colleagues, a snapshot of your office, or a nice photo of your building can go a long way. These are not only aesthetic adages to your site design, but a way to provide perspective on what you do and where you do your legal practice. Make sure to include or mention your location in the captions, too.
Frequently Asked Questions are great for SEO. Some users will type in actual questions into the search bar, and a simple “where can I find a lawyer in Los Angeles?” or “What is a statute of limitations?” can help out. Try optimizing for these FAQ-style keywords, too—use them as a blog title, subheading, or landing page title. Just make sure it matches with other popular, related keywords!
Join or Partner Up in Local Events
There might be a small symposium or conference in a nearby university, a small educational function in a town hall, or a high school career talk. This is not only a great way to market your firm, but also helps you reach out to local actors around you. People will find out about you through multiple ways, but some of them will see something in person and search for it on the internet—so that's a good effort on your part, too.
Getting Local Links
If you’ve studied SEO before, you might have already heard about links and their importance to the practice. In crafting a localized SEO strategy, you must consider external links.
Definition: External links are basically links from other sites that redirect to one of your landing pages.
Local links are created with the aim of increasing a website's relevance to its immediate surroundings. When it comes to link building, the conventional thinking process is that we want high authority domains to link back to our websites, and we want as many of them as possible. However, for a small or medium-sized local law firm, that way of thinking could not always be applicable.
Remember that links don't have to exclusively come from formal, legal blogs. They can be in small listicles and blog citations. If you want ideas on which sites you can get an external link from, here are a few:
Local newspapers or other media outlets that cover legal issues in your locale.
Local bloggers, specifically those who attract followers in your area.
Tourism sites, directories, and chambers of commerce are local event pages that compose content on what to do in a particular area.
Local charities with a featured volunteers page that your firm could support or volunteer for.
Look at other local firms to see if they've had some media exposure. This will give you some insight into how other companies outside of your own that have developed links in the same local area. You can also start by looking at famous establishments in general. You might find local authors, reporters, bloggers, and influencers that might recommend or cite you in the content they produce.
If it’s seemingly hard to find people you can speak to, you can always fall back on creating high-quality content that’s going to get cited in articles. For example, if you made thoughtful, well-organized, and easy to digest legal content about some recent local news, a few authors and reporters might add a citation that links back to your content.
This one won’t be as easy to secure as simply negotiating for an external link, but it is only more motivation to produce content that satisfies the needs of your readers.
You’re Almost There
Localizing your SEO practices only benefits your legal marketing efforts in the long run. If you’ve ever encountered SEO learning tools before, a few terms and phrases might already be familiar to you—links, keywords, content, landing pages—the key to localized SEO is to tweak what you’re already doing.
Learning this new type of internet-based marketing means that you should be constantly evolving your methods. You learn your basics, you study to add some more to it, then you adjust when the algorithm changes.
While the prospect of it changing seems intimidating, there are so many online resources and tools that will make those transitions easier.
In most cases, localizing isn’t just an additional practice.
It’s not something you implement only when you want to. It has always been part of how most enthusiasts do SEO. As mentioned earlier, SEO is a great way to market law firms because it offers services to people who are already looking for it.
It’s generally good to be able to publish general content, but so many factors (especially differing state laws) reduce the universal topics you can cover.
Remember that SEO isn’t one thing only—it isn’t just about link building or exclusively about strong keywords. Your SEO efforts are the sum of its parts, and you can always check back on this guide in case you need a checklist to guide you through the process.
Remember that asking for feedback in return for anything or setting up review stations is against Google's review policies. You can, however, apply or register to be listed in a few review sites in your area—Google My Business has this function, among other examples.
Many that have significant influence over the local market might not have a highly authoritative website. They may be insignificant in size. Having links to your website from their pages, however, could be more useful than getting one from national news sites and popular media—all due to their niche influence.