Lawyers practicing law in either a small town or a busy metropolitan area can try these simple steps to improve their local search engine rankings. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to implement these steps. Instead, here is a simple approach to making a few changes to your lawyer online presence that can put you in front of more prospective clients in need of your legal services.
What is SEO?
Search English Optimization (SEO) is a method of increasing the visibility of your website allowing for it to be more readily discovered. Unlike paid options, like Google PPC, SEO is an unpaid process which results in organic or earned search results.
According to Google, many people are performing local searches to find the services and solutions they require. In regards to lawyers, people may be searching for the following:
- Location of a lawyer’s office
- Checking opening/closing hours
- Looking for the cost of service
- Shopping around for the best lawyer
Some of the research that Google performed to understand people’s search behaviors found that:
- 4 in 5 people use search engines to find local information
- 88% on smartphones
- 84% on computers
- 50% of people who made a search from their smartphone visited a store’s location on the same day
- 4 in 5 people want ads to be customized to their local surroundings
Local searches allow for people to find the information they need to make important life decisions. As a lawyer, having your legal services listed and accessible makes it easier for people making searches to find and choose you over your other lawyers.
Here are a few more of Google’s findings regarding the selection process people go through when using local searches:
|i.e. realizing you require a service and looking for choices||i.e. looking for information to make a decision.||i.e. deciding which service to invest in.||i.e. finding more information after they have invested.|
Lawyers using local SEO can add a competitive advantage to their services. One important point to remember is that people want to see directions and call buttons to guide them toward their solutions.
The remainder of this guide will show you different ways for lawyers to improve their local search engine rankings.
Business Listings / Directories
Getting your legal services on a business listing or directory site is a quick and easy way to improve a lawyer’s local SEO.
Start with putting your area of practice, contact information, directions, and a link to your website. It is important to keep your information consistent across all channels you decide to use.
Some of the most popular listings are those provided by the search engines themselves:
There are other directories dedicated to lawyers where you can also list your legal services for free:
Alternatively, you can add your website to a paid listing. While some of these may not be dedicated local listings, they can have a positive impact on your overall SEO:
- Mediate ($29/month)
- Jurist ($100 one time fee)
- State Lawyers ($50 per month)
Note: Some listings may require you to verify your practice before accepting your profile.
Keyword Research & Keyword Optimization
Keywords are the foundation of how the entire search engine system operates. Depending on the keywords you use, this will directly influence how your legal services get discovered. Let’s look at an example.
If you’re a criminal defense lawyer, you’ll want to use a range of related keywords in both your listings and throughout your website to improve your local SEO.
For help you find relevant keywords, you can use Google’s free Keyword Planner. To access this keyword research tool, you’ll first need a Google Ads account. You won’t have to pay for advertisement.
Setting up a keyword strategy will be effective for an SEO campaign. The more related words and search terms you can use, the better your rankings will be.
To understand the power of keywords, let’s split up their potential into two categories:
Research keywords are those used by people whose intentions are to find information or to learn about a topic. These kinds of searches look like, “Do I need a contract for my business?”
These kinds of searches may not result in someone taking action. Instead, they are just performing research to gather the information they need for their situation.
Actionable keywords are those used by people ready to take action. Action keywords could be in the form of contacting a law firm, setting up a consultation, or finding a location to visit your office.
For example, someone searching “criminal defense lawyer in New York” is likely looking for a lawyer to hire in their area. These are the kinds of keywords you want to focus on using within your website.
Lawyers with a website should use both actionable and research keywords throughout their website. This is one of a few things you can do to improve your local SEO.
On the more technical side, here are a few more necessary steps you can take to improve the SEO of your website and where to use those keywords:
- URL. When you are creating pages and posts on your website, choose a primary keyword to be used in the URL (i.e. www.yourlawwebsite.com/primary-keyword).
- Headers. Headers are distinct sections within your pages that separate the content. When you input this information onto a website, it will be coded as tags: <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6>. The most important tag to use is <h1> which tells search engines what the main information on the web page is about. In other headings, you can use variations of your keyword to make your page’s SEO stronger. All of AmazeLaw’s websites come optimized for Google SEO.
- Body. The body is the main content of your web pages. You are reading the body right now which, in code, is referred to as <p>. Here you’ll want to use the keyword throughout the body. Having pages with 200 to 1000 words are a great start to improving your local SEO.
- Meta Description. The meta description is a small piece of information that describes what a web page is about. This is another place to use your keywords. Try to keep your meta description under 140 words.
Understanding local SEO allows lawyers to improve their search rankings and find more clients. While there may be some technical aspects to SEO, putting your legal services on listings and directories is a quick and easy way to get started.