Local SEO is crucial for any lawyer business looking to attract customers in a specific location. Here are 3 local SEO best practices to help you get started.
Although changes to Google’s search engine algorithms are behind the constant changes in search engine optimization, it hasn’t diminished the importance of local SEO.
In fact, you could say that local SEO has never been more important, what with local results occupying the topmost section of the search engine results from pages (SERPs).
But it’s also true that local SEO has never been harder.
As per Mike Miller of Search Engine Land, “…it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Google has recently reduced the size of the local pack, so now only three businesses are shown in the SERPs (unless users click through to see expanded results).”
“And the bad news does not stop there. Ads are starting to creep into the local results, and we have the ever-looming threat of home service ads eating up standard AdWords text ads and local listings,” he adds.
Still, that doesn’t mean you should just give up on the local search, especially if your business has never given it a whirl.
The good news is that Google offers a wealth of tools and resources to get started, so whether you’re a law firm serving local clients, a restaurant looking for more patrons, or some other kind of service provider that wants to reach out to your local community, getting started has never been easier.
In this guide, we go over 3 local SEO best practices to ensure you hit the ground running.
1. Add Your Business to Google My Business
Google My Business is perhaps the most basic tool you can start with to ensure your business shows up on local search queries. As Google points out in their official Google My Business guide (2), “Providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps.”
Google My Business is so easy to use it’d be a marketing crime to ignore it.
Start by searching for your business on Google, claiming your business on google.com/business. Follow the instructions to have your business verified by Google. If you’re in charge of marketing, make sure your business owner signs off on this, as only he/she can claim a Google My Business page.
You can then optimize your GMB listing by typing in your:
- Business name (make sure it’s the same name on your website, social media channels, and official storefront)
- Phone number
- Hours of operation
- High-res photos of your products and services
- Payment methods accepted
Make sure every entry is complete.
It’s also worth mentioning that Bing has its own version of this business feature with Bing Places for Business, which is always worth checking if you want maximum local search exposure.
2. Take Advantage of as Many Business Listings as You Can
Google might be the local business directory on the Internet, but it’s by no means the only one you should pay attention to. You also have the following platforms to work on:
- Trip Advisor
- Merchant Circle
You should also aim to be listed on business associations like the Better Business Bureau, as well as associations relevant to your industry.
- For law firms and attorneys, it could be the American Bar Association
- For accountants and accounting firms, The American Institute of CPAs
- For dentists and dental clinics, the American Dental Association
You might think that claiming these business directories is common sense, but you’d be surprised how many businesses, especially small businesses, fail to give them any attention.
3. Utilize Reviews
Between a business with reviews and one without any, whom would you trust?
It’s a no-brainer really. And fortunately, many businesses are finally catching up with the importance of online customer reviews.
According to the BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2016 (3), “84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation,” “74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more,” and, “58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important.”
In terms of SEO, Google notes that (4), “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
So, clearly, reviews are important. But it also comes at a price: review management.
The moment you open your business up to reviews is also when the process of proactively responding to and containing negative reviews begins. As such, you want your customer support and customer experience to be topnotch to ensure your potential customers have as little to complain about as possible.
With how Google is running its search business, local SEO is not going away anytime soon. As such, you’ll want to take advantage of as many methods to improve your business’ visibility to customers within a particular area or location. There are no shortcuts or any tricks here—just making use of features just waiting to be tapped.
Does your law firm need assistance with your search engine optimization campaign? Make sure you work with local lawyer SEO specialists with marketing experience in the legal services industry.