How many times have you typed into Google something along the lines of ‘food and drink near me’, or ‘entertainment near me’. If you’re anything like me I’d guess a fair few times. Each time you enter a query with that sort of ‘near me’ tag, you’re normally greeted with a map showing nearby relevant results, and a few top local spots, organised by ranking.
That same premise applies to any query you search, whether it’s a restaurant, a cinema or a law firm. It’s important to know that while you may have a great deal of optimised geographical or location specific keywords and landing pages, these won’t always cut the mustard.
Take for example someone querying ‘family lawyers in Leicester’ vs someone querying ‘family lawyers near me’. How does Google know based on someone’s search enquiry that your geographical area is near them. You haven’t got a landing page optimised for the mythical location that is ‘near me’. It’s a different query that will need a slightly different local SEO strategy to account for it.
That’s where local SEO for law firms comes in. Feeding Google and other local directories with that extra information will improve your authority, relevance, and credibility for certain queries and for your website as a whole. A huge percentage of leads generated for any business will come through organic traffic, so monitoring and optimising every avenue of this channel is crucial.
Google My Business
GMB is a key partner to establishing a local search presence. If you haven’t got a GMB page setup you ought to do so now. Your GMB page is generally what greets people when there are geographical searches in your rough location. This is the main information search engines need to determine if your business is ‘near’ during a search query. It will help improve your local SEO rankings.
Crucially as well, a GMB page highlights your credibility. Setting up a GMB page will allow users to review you directly through Google. Everyone wants a guarantee when they’re buying products and services nowadays, and reviews are the best ways to generate a trustworthy first impression. There are obviously other sites/pages where people can review you, and we shouldn’t rule out using those too. Google though, makes up approximately 90% of all search queries, so using their integrated review system is a no brainer.
Prominence and Relevance
One of the biggest factors impacting your local SEO and matching you for search enquiries is your relevance and authority on certain searched topics. Becoming as specific as possible when listing what it is that you do in directories, on your own website, and on GMB pages, is the best way to reiterate exactly what area you specialise in. Don’t just be ‘legal specialists’, if you specialise in divorce law, or criminal law, let everyone know.
The prominence and authority of your site are also crucial too. In order to have your site ranking well Google doesn’t just look internally at your website. While you need all your SEO rich copy and video content, you also need to prove to Google your site is reputable and authoritative on that subject. Your prominence on search engines and peoples minds relies slightly on reputation, so again, think reviews. Ensure that you have somewhere to display case studies, examples, and reviews from past and current clients of yours. This is the best way to show that you not only talk the talk, but walk the walk too.
As for authority, well your domain authority is critical to SEO in general. As for local SEO though, an idea could be to encourage other business and brands in your local area to guest blog with one another, and share relevant backlinks. Alternatively try and entice local media outlets to publish some of your content. Anything with strong anchor text relevance to not only your expert legal subject, but your local geography keywords will be hugely beneficial to your domain and page authority.
Citations & Backlinks
Don’t ignore the worth of links and citations, whether they’re outbound, inbound, or internal!
Outbound links are great to build your users/readers knowledge. You can share about your chosen topics, and highlight that you’re a great source of information. Encourage your users to broaden their understanding by sending them elsewhere. You’ll grown your brand authority and trust.
Inbound links are great to display domain authority. This is different to your actual expertise, it’s how Google views your expertise. If inbound links are embedded with great anchor text these will go a long way to improving your search engine results.
Internal links are links that point to specific pages within your own website. Identify your key page for certain queries or topics, and try to find a space within the rest of your content to link to this page. Remember again, anchor text is key, so make sure that it is relevant to the page in question.
Finally, citations from local legal directories are great for your overall SEO. Your authority in part is determined by which websites have backlinks to your site, so the more relevant, authoritative, and local pages you can find the better. Directories can receive a huge amount of traffic and have extremely good credibility as being a hub for information, so try to maximise this potential by finding reputable directories.
Conduct an SEO Site Audit
Conducting an audit of your SEO to look specifically at your local keywords is a great idea. There are tools like SEMRush, AHREF, or Moz that will help you conduct keyword and content analysis. Explore how your current local keywords are ranking for you, and research to see which keywords you might be able to rank for!
Of course there are plenty of elements of your SEO strategy that don’t revolve around local traffic. You should always try and develop some sector and location specific pages to try and capitalise on some more niche traffic in your focus area. While this is a great tactic to develop for your organic search lead generation, you should also consider utilising GMB pages. Finally, ensure you have an organised link structure, utilise citations from directories and authoritative sites, and improve your prominence, and relevance with great reviews!