Struggling to get incoming leads at your practice? Local search optimization is an important part of any law firm’s digital marketing strategy. At Shero Marketing, we understand how difficult it can be to manage your law firm’s in-house SEO. We put together a 2022 local SEO checklist for attorneys and Law Firms to help you focus on the most important aspects.
While huge national companies with enormous marketing budgets vie for consumer dollars, it’s great to know that 46% of search engine traffic is staying local. 72% of people who search for a business, visit one within five miles. 88% who visit a local business on mobile will physically be in that business within 24 hours. We already know that proximity, relevance, and prominence are the most important ranking factors in Google’s local search algorithm, but for lawyers the competition is intense. You need an experienced legal SEO company who knows the niche marketing opportunities that can tip the scales in your favor.
As a local or regional law firm, know that being visible in local searches isn’t automatic. Search engines like Google use an algorithm to rank local law firms. Google only shows the best local search results to their customers (searchers). And if your law firm isn’t on page one, it’s virtually invisible. Following this 2022 SEO checklist for law firms will help to scale the search results to achieve that visibility.
✔️ Pay Attention to Online Reviews
We’re past the days when we need to tell you that your site needs to be fast and mobile-friendly. These days, Google won’t give you any visibility if you’re not. They’ve moved onto the finer points of what makes a quality website and business. And online reviews have taken center stage.
Online reviews on local reviews sites like Yelp and Google My Business (GMB) serve several functions.
- First, they demonstrate that you’re a local business.
- Second, they show how you treat your clients.
- Third, star levels appear on Google Maps and under your website in the search results.
These stars influence whether someone clicks your site in local search results even if you’re not the top result because they yellow stars make your website stand out.
Put all of this together and generating more positive reviews will increase your local visibility.
So your 2022 local SEO checklist for reviews includes:
- Encourage online reviews. Direct clients to your GMB page to get more Google reviews.
- Respond to reviews. Resolve bad reviews when you can while maintaining confidentiality. Thank people for good reviews.
This review activity sends signals to Google that you’re treating customers well.
✔️ Increase Engagement
As Google digs deeper into what makes a dependable local business, this year they’ll be looking more at engagement than they have in the past. And they have better, more meaningful ways to measure it because Google isn’t just a search engine. They can gather data through sources like Android, Gmail, Maps, Chrome, Google Analytics and Google Assistant.
Do people add your firm to their Android contacts or bookmark your website? Do they search for your location on Maps? Do they use Google Assistant to look up your contact information? Do they visit your website from social channels? Do they click to your site from links on other local or industry sites?
Google looks at all of this in addition to how they interact with your website, specifically performance, speed, and engagement. A recent unconfirmed Google algorithm update on January 11, 2022 had a major impact on many local law firm’s SEO campaigns. Google’s algorithm stopped giving firm and practitioner Google My Business listings with keywords in their names extra visibility. In a competitive legal market you need your Internet marketing team to factor the whole picture and take steps to increase visibility online in general, not just on the website. A wholistic approach will yield far reaching results and long-term ROI.
So continue your law firm local SEO checklist with:
- Enhance your social media presence and encourage people to interact with your law firm there.
- Network with influential local businesses.
- Update relevant local and industry directories.
- Make it easy for people to find you on Maps and encourage people to use Maps to get directions to your location.
- Create voice-searchable content.
Each of these sends signals to Google that people appreciate what you do and find you helpful online and off.
✔️ Ensure the Accuracy and Thoroughness of Business Listings
Don’t just make sure you’re in the crucial directories; know that information is accurate and that profiles are filled out completely. Remember, these pages will almost always rank higher than your actual website. So it’s vital that they are complete and lead people to contact you or visit your site.
So continuing our 2022 SEO checklist for lawyers:
- Check all directory and review profiles to ensure you’re getting the most out of them. Add hours of operation, images and other pertinent information.
- Set up business pages on social media. These will give you additional analytics and tools to engage.
- Verify that your business listing is the same across all platforms.
These help customers interact with your business. And they send signals to Google regarding the gravity of your presence in the community.
✔️ Add Structured Data
The search results are no longer just a list of website links. Search for just about anything and you’ll see images in the form of information cards and facts organized in more useful ways. Implement schema: Organization, LocalBusiness, HowTo, FAQ, SpeakableContent, hasOffer, legalService, Reviews, and much more.
These are created using structured data. Having structured data can increase click-through rate (CTR) by 43%.
Not only are these visits to your website. Each click from a potential or existing client will fill your engagement meter, further improving your law firm’s local search engine visibility.
Structured data requires more advanced web design skills and should only be attempted by a professional. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex all show structured data in their search results, making this a wise investment.
- Take inventory of pages where adding structured data would help search engines better understand the page and prioritize.
- Add structured data to the most important pages first. Your business listing information (hours, phone, etc.) is by far the most important.
- Expand your use of structured data as it begins to appear in search results.
✔️ Be “Near Me”
If you’re a regional law firm, you don’t want to only appear in searches where your home office is located. So…
- Create location pages and helpful content on your website for each location.
- List all locations services on your GMB page.
These help both Google and people know which communities you serve. Google uses this information to determine which local searches your law firm is relevant for.
2022 Local SEO Checklist for Law Firms
Local law firms have a tremendous advantage in search if they understand how to use local SEO to enhance their visibility. In addition to being fast and mobile-friendly, it’s important to manage online reviews and engagement. Make sure your information is accurate around the Internet and reach customers through the many channels they use to interact with your business. That’s how to do legal search engine optimization properly in our modern marketing climate.