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Home » Insights » How law firms can make the most of local Google Search
In recent years, organic search (non-paid search results) has become far more competitive for law firms. Within the UK marketplace, where Google is the dominant search provider, search results pages have become crowded with more and more firms competing for less space.
Increasingly, UK law firms are using paid ads to acquire traffic and generate enquiries, and this comes within the context of search engines sending less traffic to websites in general.
So while SEO (search engine optimisation) remains an important channel for law firms looking to compete online, it is evident that firms need to update their strategies here in order to continue improving results.
Where do current opportunities lie? Google is constantly developing and refining the format of its search results in order to improve its user experience and ultimately to grow its ads business.
As part of this process over the last few years, Google has been creating more features and opportunities for local business owners and this is where there are opportunities for law firms to compete.
While traditional SEO covers overall visibility within search results, local SEO is the process of improving search visibility at a local level, related to a geographic location.
One of the easiest ways to improve local SEO for a law firm is through Google’s Maps platform and their Google Business Profile product.
Formerly known as ‘Google My Business’, Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows business owners to connect with prospective clients on Google.
A Google Business Profile allows you to gain visibility within Google Search and Maps for the relevant products and services that you serve.
This might seem like a lot of information, but you should encourage call handlers to work these elements in a conversation and maintain a central database for this data.
Below is our 8-step checklist for optimising your law firm’s Google Business Profile:
The first thing to check is whether your firm already has a profile for each of its locations. To do this, simply Google your firm’s name and location and then review the search results.
If you don’t see a Google Business Profile appearing, you’ll need to create a new profile.
Important: Make sure that the new account details are shared with your team.
Even if you see a profile you may still need to claim or verify it.
You should try to fill out as much of the information as possible.
Pay particular attention to the following:
Positive reviews are extremely important within the context of local SEO. They help your law firm to stand out, directly affect visibility and are an important factor in generating enquiries (conversion). They also help to provide social proof and more importantly, trust.
Law firms should use a structured approach in order to gain reviews and to respond to reviews (positive or negative). For more, read our insights piece ‘Master the Art of Online Reviews: How Law Firms Can Boost Their Reputation’.
There are different ways to approach listing your products and services but law firms should be mindful of the following.
Think of services as being related to your practice areas and each practice area should have a set of relevant products – for example, ‘family law’ as the service and ‘divorce’ as the product.
While it’s good to create as many relevant products as possible, keep services to the bare minimum. Too many can dilute your relevance and visibility within search results and map listings.
Posts allow you to create and share relevant content directly with searchers via your Google Business Profile.
You can create events, compelling offers, and product updates along with different calls to action (CTAs) that link back to your website.
Try to share relevant updates related to your key service areas on a regular basis.
You should consider adding the following types of image:
This feature allows searchers to ask questions via the search results page and can be a useful source of information for prospective clients.
As a best practice you should try to pre-populate this using frequently asked questions from your website. Typical questions could include pricing, legal aid availability, and services offered.
NOTE: You manage this feature directly from the search results page.
As Google puts more emphasis on search intent, they aren’t just showing results based on keywords but on what they know a user is looking for.
When someone searches for a lawyer to help them with a particular legal need, Google will use its location-based information and show law firms within that user’s local area.
With a properly optimised and maintained Business Profile on Google, you can manage how your law firm shows up across Google products, like Maps and Search. If your firm services clients within a particular location or locations, your Business Profile can help people find you.
If you’d like to chat about how you can more fully leverage the opportunities local SEO can offer your firm, get in touch with our specialist team or complete the online enquiry form.