If you live in Houston and you search Google for a plumber in the area, it isn’t helpful to see results for plumbers in California. This sounds obvious, but this concept is having profound effects on search engine results. In order to provide users with the best possible results to match their search, Google shows a preference for businesses based on the searcher’s location. If your law firm website is not optimized for local search, you’ll be left out.
Location, Location, Location
Giving preference for certain results based on location isn’t new. If your law firm website ranks well for “Houston personal injury lawyer,” you won’t show up in search results for users searching in California. This type of location matching is beneficial for both users and search results, and Google is expanding on its location algorithm to be even more specific.
In 2016, Google implemented a new update to its core algorithm that determines search results. The update, called Possum, looks at the brick and mortar location listed on a business’s website and shows preference to the website in search results for users located closest. This means your website is more likely to rank well for a user located down the street searching on Google than a user located ten miles away.
What This Means For Your Law Firm
Although Google’s geo-location matching might seem limiting, it’s actually an amazing opportunity for law firms ready to take advantage of it. Geo-location matching will increase the quality of the traffic to your website, which will result in more qualified leads. In addition, if you are one of the top three search engine results for a local search, Google will feature you in its map section.
This snippet, called the “Local Pack” gives the user much more valuable information than a standard search result. Additionally, results featured in the Local Pack perform much better than standard search results with more clicks to the website and more conversions.
Sign Me Up!
Now that you understand the benefits of local search results, you need to make sure your website is optimized for local search. Here are five tips that can help get you there:
- Sign up for Google My Business. If you only have one takeaway from this article, it should be this: you need to sign up with Google My Business. In order to sign up with Google My Business, you will need to go through a verification process, but the reward is that verification legitimizes your business, which in turn will help your search engine rankings, particularly for local search. Your Google My Business listing will also allow you to manage your online presence across other Google tools like Google Maps.
- Make sure your contact information is on every page. Contact information, including your physical address, should be on every page of your website. Many websites include this information in the footer section, but don’t be afraid to also place this information in other locations on individual pages, particularly on the home page.
- Use location keywords. You should use your location in a title tag on your home page. You’re not just a “Commercial Litigation Lawyer,” you’re a “Houston Commercial Litigation Lawyer.”
- Sign up for local directories. There is no shortage of spammy directories on the Internet, but there are a few key directories that can help improve local search. Register your law firm with the local Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau and ensure your information is up to date on Yellow Pages to legitimize your location and improve search results.
- Add location relevant content. To rank well at all in search results, your law firm website will need quality content; but, also adding location-specific content can help improve local rankings. This is particularly easy in the legal industry because local and state laws vary, so you can and should create content specific to the market you want to target.
Not Seeing Results? Be Patient
Search engine optimization is a long-term game. You’re not going to see a big difference overnight, but time is your friend. If you want to make sure you are optimized for local search or aren’t sure where to start with your SEO strategy, the digital marketing experts at Stacey E. Burke, P.C. can help.