Consider law firm marketing efforts of the past. Usually, they centered on television, radio, or billboard advertising. And generally, ads all kind of felt the same. Just think how many faces of smiling lawyers you’ve seen on billboards across American cities and interstates.
Times have changed. Consumers are now turning to the internet to find local businesses. But one thing has stayed the same: The cutthroat level of competition felt in the industry.
Growth propels law firms. The foundation of a successful firm is a steady flow of leads and new patients. Now, more than ever, it’s essential to optimize your online presence to attract leads. In addition to a well-designed website, you must make the most of digital advertising efforts.
Local search marketing is your key to success in a competitive market. In fact, four out of five people use search engines to find local information. We’ve already discussed how paid search advertising can help drive results for law firms. And it does. But optimizing your organic search results—including your local listings and content marketing efforts—can be equally successful.
Here’s how SEO can keep your law firm competitive.
Optimized listings make your law firm discoverable.
If you haven’t already, it’s critical to verify your business listing online. Having a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP) across all listings ensures that prospects find you in the first place. Additionally, including logos and photos of your staff helps not only humanizes your brand, it further legitimizes your listing.
As we’ve mentioned, Google relies on data submitted by businesses. It’s up to you to get the ball rolling. Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use resource that enables law firms to manage their online presence. Claiming, optimizing, and managing a GMB page improves the visibility of your law firm across local search engine results.
Reviews build trust and authority.
Many people’s first interaction with your brand is your GMB listing. In addition to your NAP, the first thing that catches many people’s eyes is the star rating found immediately below your brand name. How is this rating derived, you ask? Through user reviews.
Word-of-mouth marketing is nothing new for attorneys. While peer-to-peer recommendations undoubtedly still exist, many people now treat online reviews like personal referrals. According to research from BrightLocal, 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses.
Reviews build trust. They portray your practice as a reliable, honest law firm. In this regard, they can serve as free word-of-mouth advertising. More importantly, however, reviews are also an SEO power play. They’re an essential ranking factor. As we discussed in a previous post, review signals are among the top three local pack ranking factors according to Moz.
It’s important to have a strategy for collecting and maintaining reviews. This includes responding to—and even embracing—negative reviews. It may sound counter-intuitive, but negative reviews can actually help your efforts. Only having five-star reviews may raise suspicion. By including less-than-positive reviews, you’re showing you have nothing to hide.
The more honest reviews you have, the better. Need help gathering reviews? It may help to ask, according to some research. For even more information, check out our post on citation management and reviews.
Content creation benefits your law firm marketing.
Think that blogging is a waste of time in 2019 (and beyond)? Think again. Despite the fact that we’ve probably reached peak content saturation, blogging can still be an effective technique—if when done correctly.
Focus on quality over quantity. As we’ve mentioned, Google places a strong emphasis on websites within the Your Money Your Life (YMYL) space—verticals that have an impact on the wellbeing of its users—including the legal industry. Basically, Google awards YMYL pages that display a high level of expertise.
Gone are the days where marketers could stuff a couple of keywords into an uninspired blog post and call it a day. Instead, law firms must find a strategy that caters to their audiences. So, what’s a law firm to do? Talk directly to your customers. Discuss the implications behind your law services and answer specific questions.
During a recent engagement, Workshop Digital found that local blogging worked well for one of our legal clients. Through comprehensive keyword research efforts, we found that writing about topics like personal injury and workers’ compensation benefited the firm. The reason? Our client’s local audience was looking for information on topics like these.
Ultimately, paying close attention to local SEO builds authority and improves rankings across the search engines. This helps ensure your firm is found by users who are interested in your services. When combined with an effective PPC strategy, this helps your law firm marketing efforts compete in a highly-contested legal space.