Local Search SEO in 2012 and 2013: Changes for Lawyers

Local Search SEO in 2012 and 2013: Changes for Lawyers

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Local Search SEO in 2012 and 2013: Changes for Lawyers

As more Americans use the internet as part of their daily lives (282 million at the last count), more of them have started learning how to effectively use search engines.  Part of effectively using search engines to effectively search for products and services is using local search terms.  Attorneys, due to the local nature of most law firms, can benefit tremendously from understanding how to use local search SEO.  In this guide, you'll learn seven easy to use local SEO tips.  Each can help your law firm get on the path to local search SEO that actually works to make your SERPs better.

Local SEO Tips #1: Picking Your Keywords

It's a mistake to think that just because your law firm is located in a city, you can't also market to people in the suburbs.  In the same way, if you're located in a rural area or a cluster of smaller towns/cities, you may feel that geographic searches and local search SEO actually hurt, instead of help, your business.

You can fix that feeling by choosing keywords that represent more than just the area where your office is.  You can include the names of several other cities in your webpages, and most local SEO tips will suggest including suburbs or neighborhoods as long as those Google searches are being made.

Local SEO Tips #2: Claim Your Profile

On many local search SEO directory websites, your law firm may already have a listing.  For example, it's very likely that as long as you're listed in the phone book, you'll have already been listed by Yelp and Google+ Local.  However, the automated systems that input these entries are limited.  They will usually only be able to identify the name of your law firm, its location, and its telephone number.

That's where these local SEO tips come in.  By starting an account at these websites, you can claim your profile and begin to work on providing more information through this profile.  This enhances your local search SEO by showing that you are located in the area, and that you are active locally.

These local SEO tips won't just help you to appear sooner when people search for terms relating to your law firm.  They'll also get you new customers, just like an advertisement.  An increasing number of consumers are turning to ratings websites and directories for attorney recommendations.  Local search SEO is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the reasons for making one of these profiles.

Local SEO Tips #3: Check Your Website

What if you've followed all the local SEO tips you can find and nothing seems to be happening in terms of your bottom line?  Have you made sure that you're actually seeing an increase in traffic due to your local search SEO efforts?  If traffic is up but conversions are down, you may need to alter your content accordingly.  Conversion-ready content will include direct calls to action for the consumer, as well as clear and engaging copy that isn't littered with legalese or jargon.

You should also make sure that your website is running fast.  Google now includes this metric to determine, in part, where your pages will be displayed in search results.  If your website is running too slowly, you may be sacrificing search engine results pages just because of some poorly optimized code or a bad hosting provider.

Local SEO Tips #4: Use Google Instant

Have you noticed how when you start to type a search term into Google's search field, Google actually tries to guess what you're searching for?  This is called Google Instant, and it's designed to get better at anticipating web needs based on extensive user data.

By playing with Google Instant, you can find your own local search SEO tips.  How?  Just type in your location and a search term people might use to find your law office, then see what else comes up.  You may also want to include these terms in your local search SEO to get more clients, because apparently people are already searching for those exact terms.

Local SEO Tips #5: Use Local Directories

Asking for a listing from the Chamber of Commerce may sound like an antiquated marketing strategy.  You may be surprised to learn that many local SEO tips suggest taking this exact course of action.  Why?  Because local search SEO depends on being linked not only by other websites, but by other local websites.

When a listing for your website appears on a large number of local directories, you'll show up as a better match for people who are looking for a law firm in your area.  While many directory listing services are no longer worth it, local search SEO still requires local directory use to be truly effective.

Local SEO Tips #6: Update Your Profiles

If your law firm changes names, locations, or focus areas, you need to make sure that your local search SEO has been updated accordingly.  An outdated profile can lead to major SEO trouble.  Make sure that somebody at your law firm has been assigned the responsibility of updating these profiles routinely.  You may also want to consider adding new information along with your updates, like photos of your firm or links to videos.

Local SEO Tips #7: Get Reviews

One of the biggest ways clients today use local searches to find lawyers is by using Avvo.com, Yelp.com, Google+ Local, and other rating and review websites.  It's easy to see why: these websites make it easy to compare past client reviews quickly.  When looking for a lawyer, the vast majority of clients will choose the lawyer with reviews instead of the lawyer without them.

This means that in order to make your presence known with local search SEO, you should be encouraging your clients to leave reviews for you.  Even issuing a call for reviews from clients who are LinkedIn connections or Facebook friends can help you to get the extra edge you need.

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