So, you’re interested in the wide world of local digital marketing. Or rather, the narrow world, limited by Google’s location parameters. Congratulations! This is a big step for any independent law firm, and I’m sure you’ll do great. But in case you need a little help, here are tips from an industry pro to either course-correct or avoid problems when things get tough.
Top Tips for Local SEO Newcomers
1. Get Your Listings in Order
This is important no matter what size your firm is, whether or not you’re advertising online. Honestly, it’s just basic internet knowledge. Claim your Google My Business listing as soon as possible, since an up-to-date and put-together GMB profile will improve a lot of your local advertising. If you’ve been around for a while, or have changed the name of your business, chances are you have several listings floating around the internet. Many of which might not be up to date. Yext and Moz Local are great tools for directory cleanups and can help clean up your name, address, phone number (aka NAP) consistency. Use the Scan My Business tool to find areas for improvement.
2. Ask for Reviews (and Respond to Them)
Just as backlinks are gold for on-page SEO, reviews are a major driver for rank in local digital marketing results. As users express their confidence in your business, search engines will gain confidence as well, and your listing will be prioritized in search results. Also, remember to respond to each positive and negative review that you receive. This not only shows prospective clients that you are communicative, but it also shows search engines that you are an active business they can confidently send users to.
3. Write Weekly Posts
Posts show engagement and are a great way to connect with your audience. Google values business owners that actively engage with their listing. Additionally, the posts section on your Google My Business listing is valuable real estate that should not be wasted. Google has given you an opportunity to share current detailed information about your firm. How are you handling client meetings during COVID-19? Are you offering discounted services for first responders? Share timely information with your audience and boost your ability to show up in local results with the underutilized posts section.
4. Consider Your Landing Page
Not only is it important to have optimized information within your GMB listing, but the content on the page your listing links to must also be optimized. Make sure your website clearly states what you do and where you do it, and make sure your GMB says the same. This is not to say you should stuff your site with local keyword ramblings. We’ve all seen the practice pages for “Car Accident Lawyer in King County, Snohomish County, Chelan County, and Kittitas County in Washington State, serving Seattle, Kirkland, Issiquah.” This is counterproductive. By sacrificing readability, you are sacrificing consumer engagement. If you want to get keywords into your content, you’ll have to do it organically.
(Related: “5 Tips to Get More Clients Now and After the Coronavirus Shutdown” by Mike Ramsey)
5. Clean Up Local Spam
If you have some time on your hands, one of the best ways to improve your chances in local digital marketing listings is by clearing out some of the clutter and flagging spam listings. You wouldn’t believe how much local spam there is. Way too much of your competition doesn’t exist. Maybe the firm does exist, but it doesn’t actually have an office in your area. Spam is also usually pretty easy to recognize. If you look at the street view of their address and find an empty lot or strip mall without a law office, chances are you have a faker on your hands. Tag ’em and flag ’em.
Consistency, Engagement and Patience
Search engines really do want to provide users with trustworthy results. If you can keep this in mind, proper listing optimization will come naturally. Stay consistent, engage with users, don’t use any shady tricks and your business should fare well in local.
That being said, the benefits may not be immediately apparent. It is unlikely that you will get 100 reviews overnight. Posting consistently takes grit, and search engines are sometimes slow to catch on to improvements. As we are all painfully aware in these uncertain times, patience is a virtue.
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