When you're first dipping your toes into local SEO marketing, you need a local SEO guide to help you figure out exactly what you're doing. With 20 percent of non-mobile and 40 percent of mobile searches in 2012 including a location term, you can't afford to ignore the impact of local SEO. In this local SEO guide, we'll talk about how to make local SEO marketing work for you, and how recent changes to Google's local searches will impact your search engine optimization efforts.
Local SEO Guide Tip #1: Focus on Clicks That Matter
While the 20 percent number above may make you think that local SEO guide can only help you bring in a small number of clients compared to traditional SEO strategies, that's not entirely true. Keep in mind that often, people just starting to research attorneys will look up very broad search terms, which often become much more tailored—and more likely to include local SEO terms—as they realize that they want someone whose office they can actually visit.
Because of this, especially for law firms, local SEO marketing can be a great idea. Case studies for law firms have shown that local SEO results can actually give you a conversion rate that is up to three times higher than for non local results. A local SEO guide can help you get the exact right clients to your website at the exact time they're ready to make an appointment.
Local SEO Guide Tip #2: Use Directory Listings
While big national directory listings are often useless or even scams, this local SEO guide recommends using local directory listings to help your SEO placement. Local SEO marketing is much easier when you are already being mentioned and linked by several different local websites. What this means is that you should call around to the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as any city or county websites with a listing of local businesses.
You should also make sure that you're listed on Google+ Local (formerly Google Places), which will help a great deal with your firm's local SEO placement. This is one of the most important tips in just about every 2012 local SEO guide. When people search for local keywords now, Google+ Local results show up before any other organic search results. By keeping your directory link in Google+ places updated, you can ensure that your firm is more likely to appear near the top.
Local SEO Guide Tip #3: Get Reviewed
In addition to showing where you're located and linking to your website, the reason this local SEO guide recommends Google+ Local is that it also carries reviews. Because so many people use Google for their search results, it's likely that the relatively new Google+ Local review system will become one of the biggest local SEO marketing tools of the next few years.
Client reviews can really make your firm stand out from the crowd and improve your placement in local SEO results. You may want to make follow-up calls to clients and ask them for reviews on Google+ Local to improve your local SEO marketing. It's important to keep your eye on those reviews. Not all lawyers act ethically, and it's not unheard of for a rival law firm to post bogus negative reviews in the hopes of sabotaging your local SEO efforts. If that happens, you may need to contact both Google+ Local and your state bar association for more information on what to do next.
Local SEO Guide Tip #4: Do Competitor Research
Don't just research the ways that big guides on local SEO marketing are telling people to handle their search engine optimization issues. In some ways, every area is different and requires different local SEO techniques. The searches people will make in, say, rural Appalachia will be quite different from the ones made in San Jose, California. Checking out what a successful competitor is doing can give you great local SEO marketing ideas for your next campaign.
It's not ethical, or good local SEO practice, to just steal a competitor's campaign. Don't think of the goal of competition research as being one of increasing your similarities. Think of it as an opportunity to do better than they did with your local SEO marketing. Use the parts of their strategies that seem to be successful, while leaving out the parts that seem to weigh the site down.
Local SEO Guide Tip #5: Don't Use Old Techniques
When you start learning how to do local SEO marketing, you might do frantic Google searches to learn more about what to do. A word of caution: make sure you know at least approximately when an article was released. Because of the frequency with which local SEO best practices change (due to changes in search engine algorithms), it's important to never use old advice. What worked in 2008 is very unlikely to be a successful local SEO marketing strategy today.
Local SEO Guide Tip #6: Use Google Instant
Too many law firms are ignoring the local SEO marketing potential of Google Instant. What's more, you don't need to be a computer whiz to figure out how to use Google Instant to your local SEO advantage. Start by starting to type one of the keyword phrases you are trying to use to attract visitors to your website.
Google Instant, as long as your connection is sufficiently fast, will try to predict what words you're about to type. Since many people use Google Instant to help them make better searches, your local SEO will be improved by including some additional keywords mentioned by some of the suggested searches in Google Instant.
Now, this doesn't mean that your local SEO marketing should include irrelevant keywords. On the contrary, you should try to make sure that your local SEO copy reads relatively naturally and that it's about something interesting enough for people to want to read it. Use variations on your keywords to see what Google Instant predicts, and you'll find that your SERPs for long-tail keywords go up incredibly fast.