Local SEO for lawyers is all about geographic relevancy (city, state, county, etc) as well as keyword relevancy (practice area, type of lawyer, legal service, etc.) Making a website relevant on these two factors is not rocket science. In fact, all it takes is the proper balance of keyword inclusion throughout the content, and right link building techniques.
Many attorneys take pride in the their content and ability to convey ideas through words. As a result, many of them take the task of SEO copywriting into their own hands.
In part II of Local SEO for Lawyers, we will focus more on the link building aspects of a website, but for now, the on-site content is the primary focus.
Once a lawyer has determined the geographic target (e.g. Chicago, IL) and the keyword target of the site (e.g. Business Lawyer,) the task of copywriting begins. The first and perhaps most important rule is to optimize a webpage only for one or maybe two closely related keywords. For instances, one page might be optimized for "Chicago Business Lawyer/Law Firm" and another page "Chicago Employment Lawyer/Law Firm." The main idea is having focused, dedicated pages.
In addition to having keyword focused pages, each page must contain the SEO-targeted keywords, and in the right areas throughout the page. There are several on-page (visible to the user) and off-page elements (visible in code and search results) that search engine take into consideration. We will discuss each below.
URL Name: URL naming is huge factor to any local SEO strategy. Typically the more inclusion of keywords in a URL, the better. A good URL name for latter example would be something like “/Chicago-business-lawyers.html.” Just remember to keep your URL’s short and tight, and never keyword stuff URL’s (e.g. “/Chicago-business-commercial-attorneys-lawyers-law-firms-chicagoo-illinois-il.html”.)
Page Title: As perhaps the most important element in the SEO process, the page title should always include the targeted keywords of the page, and in exact phrase match. The page title is also the main link or headline for the pages listing in the search results. Most search engines only display 72 characters of the page title in the results page.
Meta Description: Also shown in the webpage's listing of the search results (just below the title) is the meta description. For local SEO optimization practices, include the keyword target in exact phrase match at least once, and perhaps a variation later in the description (e.g. flip the keyword from "lawyer" to the "law firm" variation.) Most search engines only display 160 characters of the meta description in the results page.
Meta Keywords: It's argued that meta keywords have no role for local SEO, but some professionals still include them. Matt Cutts of Google has stated and posted so on his blog, but some SEO's believe the more keywords included in a page, the better.
Image Alt Tags: Search engine spiders cannot crawl and place local SEO value on images. That is why there is image "alt tags" that serve as alternative text for users who cannot view the images. Here is another opportunity to include keywords in the page. However for best practices, ensure your copy is relevant to the image and do not keyword stuff - include with cohesion and moderation.
In addition to the off-page elements, there are a few on-page elements that should be clearly stated and aligned. Alignment is key, meaning the keyword inclusion of the off-page elements must directly coincide the on-page SEO elements. Also important is having a fair amount of content, such as at least 100 words of relevant copy.
Headers: H1's are one the strongest on page elements and should reflect the off-page title. Keyword inclusion in the first H1 is important, and variations should be strategically used in H2's and H3's down the page.
Body Copy: It doesn't hurt to include the exact phrase match of your keywords early in the body copy (the first couple sentences is ideal.) Use variations throughout the content, but in logical manner. If you're struggling for copywriting ideas, don't get too overwhelmed. Try something subtle like "As Chicago business lawyers with experience serving local companies, we..."
Strong Tags: Strong tagged copy is bolded in the text. Strong tag exact phrase keywords to help make the page more relevant on targeted phrases for local SEO.
Both the on and off-page elements of a webpage are significant for local SEO, and both must be aligned and parallel. The trick to being a good SEO copywriter is respecting both the user and the search engine spider while constructing optimized content.
One last point: legal professionals are good writers, but many of them like to write thoroughly. That can mean long, drawn-out sentences that are not friendly for web users. Keep sentences easy to read and understand, and always remember the true target audience of your message.
Keep reading the Law Firm Web Marketing blog for Local SEO for Lawyers part II.continue...
In Part I of Local SEO for Lawyers we discussed the importance of well-optimized content on the website. In Part II, we move into the most significant contributor to higher search engine rankings: off-site link popularity.
Generating links to your website is ever critical for local SEO, especially if your geographic target and/or practice area is highly competitive. Links pointing to your site displays credibility and trust, which is something search engines highly value while determining rankings.
The process of link building must respect two important factors: how the links are build (such as the link name or anchor text is used) as well as where the link are built (on related, high authority websites or unrelated, low authority websites?)
When building links to your site, it is very important to understand the concept of link names or anchor text. The anchor text is the clickable words that represent a link. For example, read this Wikipedia page for more information on anchor text (note, the word "anchor text" is the anchor text of that link.)
Search engine spiders crawl and interpret the content and links of a webpage. Once a spider hits a link, it reads the anchor text of the link and then takes the link to its respective URL destination. In short, the spider knows whether or not the anchor text of the link (and the surrounding content of that link) is related to link's URL destination.
If a link has the anchor text "Chicago business lawyer," the page being linked to is most likely about (and most likely optimized for) a business lawyer in Chicago. Assuming that is the case, the spider will credit the page with not only greater search engine value, but also greater keyword relevancy to phrase "Chicago business lawyer."
In essence, the best practices of building links is using keyword targeted anchor text. It is also a good approach to mix up your anchor text by using partial linking strategies. An example of partial linking would be to use only select keyword targets as the anchor text, such as "Chicago lawyer" or "business law firm."
Where a link is built determines how powerful the link is. Google offers a measure of "webpage authority" called PageRank (PR.) Webpages have a PageRanks ranging from PR0 to PR10, however even a PR5-6 is considered high for link building purposes.
Ideally, you want to build links from sources that have high PageRanks, although that is easier said than done. Find high PR linking sources has become a hot commodity for local SEO. So much so that the business of buying and selling high PR link placements has become major sub-industry to SEO.
There are a number of resources available to build links from a variety of sources. For local SEO, using a blend of locally-focused directories and information sites can be a simple source to establish a few links. In addition, we recommend:
You can also take advantage of other attorney websites in which you may be affiliated or friends with. In many cases, the most powerful PR links come from friends with a high PR websites who are willing to lend you an optimized link. Just be sure to let them know the specific anchor text and URL destination to get the greatest benefit.
That completes our series on Local SEO for Lawyers. We hope that these points of both on-site and off-site SEO have enlightened you, and that you can now hone in on your local SEO efforts independently. To learn more check out this very insightful 2013 local SEO guide created by one of our writers of the Law Firm Web Marketing blog.continue...
For local legal practice, it is important that you optimize your law firm's website for greater online exposure, especially for the search engines.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) involves the optimization of a website, or a specific page, using both practice area keywords as well as geographic references.
The actual optimization is ensuring the combination of geo-target (e.g. "Dallas") and practice area (e.g. "Criminal Defense") are mentioned on the page, preferably in close proximity (e.g. "Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer").
However there's a lot more to local lawyer SEO than just keyword optimizing pages of a website. Now, with more social integration (via Google+) and other contributing factors that occur off the sites, a local SEO strategy must consider a number of different elements.
To help you better optimize your law firm's website for local SEO, below we offer seven strategies for local lawyer SEO.
1) Local Search Submissions: Google, Bing, and Yahoo! have free local business listings. All you are required to do is fill out info about your business and to then verify your listing. With Bing, you can have an aerial map that allows you to pinpoint the exact location of your business. Listing allows your business to be visible in local searches using the chosen keyword. You could also submit your site to Yelp or CitySearch. Proper categorizing is necessary for a successful listing. Some listings allow you to even list the payment method/s accepted and your email.
2) Google AdWords: Although AdWords is designed more for PPC advertisers, you can earn a lot of valuable insights with data provided by the platform. Here you can track the search queries and visitor behaviors that impact your website. As a result, you can capture a wealth of information to hone in on your local SEO efforts.
3) Reviews: You could ask for reviews from customers. Customer testimonials are important in that they help to convince skeptical clients to buy whatever you are selling. You will be surprised just how many of your current customers are willing to provide testimonials if you ask. You can also have customer reviews on some local websites like Google Local and Yelp.
4) Listing on Community Sites: You could list your website on community websites like the website of your local Chamber of Commerce. This not only helps you list your website locally, but it also helps you get links from a credible website. Link building is one of the most effective White Hat SEO techniques. Another option is listing with your trade organization, preferably a local organization or the local branch of the organization. Yet another option is listing on a local business directory.
5) Localize Keywords: Use localized keywords that are bit variant from the norm. As an example, include such keywords like "NYC," in addition to "New York." You'd be surprised at how many people use modified geo-local references in their search queries.
6) Focus on the Competition: Work on your keywords by using keyword research tools to come up with the most effective ones and do research on what successful competitors are doing so that you can borrow from their strategies.
7) Twitter: Using Twitter for your lawyer SEO increases the chances of your business, brand, or a particular product going viral. Creating a Twitter account is easy and free. Make regular updates and attract as many followers as possible. Offer meaningful information on your updates.
To learn more about local SEO for your law firm, check out this local SEO guide with great insights for all types of campaigns.continue...
Google Maps recently implemented a new feature that pinpoints the current location of your computer.
When I first checked out this new feature, Google Maps had my current location set in Michigan. They were correct; however I could further dial in my location as specific as my street address.
According to Google this feature, known as Automatic Location will help make search more relevant for users. Google states that:
Google Maps will always provide results that we believe are most relevant to your search. Location is one of a number of factors that we use to provide relevant results. For example, if you search for a restaurant chain, you may want to find a branch near you. Now, your initial Maps view will be set to your current location, so that you can get easy access to local results.
In short, Google will automatically pinpoint a user's location based on their IP address. In turn, the search engine results will be customized results based on the user's location.
So what does this mean for local SEO's and small business marketers? It's an obvious sign that Google is further pursuing local search as the best means to provide quality search results. More importantly, the social media network Google+ is directly tied to locally customized search results. Google+ Local pages, which have replaced the Google Places results, are very important for local SEO.
If your law firm has yet to claim and optimize a Google+ Local page, now is the time. In the near future, these pages may have just as much marketing potential as your firm's website.continue...
Long informative posts are over-rated. So in this short post, I will outline three momentous tips for local SEO. Although these SEO tips are quite simple, they will significantly help to increase your law firm's search ranking in the Google local listings.
Although Google Plus is a social media network, it directly correlates to the local organic search listings. When you have your Google Plus page created and populated, there are two important tasks you'll want to do in order to gain the most local SEO value:
1. Include a link on the law firm's website that directs to its Google Plus page. The exact HTML code for this link can be found on the Google Plus page while in edit mode. The code snippet will include the recommended anchor text “Follow us on Google+” along with a “rel=publisher” snippet in the link’s code.
2. Add a link on law firm's Google Plus page that points to its website. These is a specific field for this located on the About tab on the Google Plus page.
These two links alone will provide the "verification" need to give your listing a jump in Google local search. Think of this as a credibility measure of being one within the house (Google, that is.)
Generating link popularity is one of the most highly-sought after sources for better search rankings. However, instead of finding high authority link sources (or websites with high PageRank,) seek out local link sources.
As a law firm, one of the best places to start is with the local connections you already have. Perhaps you can write a guest blog post for a fellow attorney in the area. Because that blog has local relevance with your website, any backlinks you add in the article will have greater value for local SEO.
You should also scout for local web directories, as well as directories that reflect law or your specific legal practice. The idea is that you want to generate link popularity from relevant sources, not just high authority sources.
You may have heard of a little phrase called inbound marketing. It flows directly with content marketing, which is producing and sharing awesome content with the intention of inbounding traffic directly to your website or landing page.
From a lawyer's perspective, think about the forms of content that will educated your audience. Perhaps you handle DUI defense cases. You could write an informative article about DUI defense and share it using various social media networks. Interested readers may then turn to you for legal help regarding their DUI case.
When you think about it, these three local SEO tips are interrelated. Google Plus and guest blogging opportunities help you share and gain further the content you produce. Let us know what you think of these tips, or if you have additional tips to add.continue...
Some years back, it was thought that there was no need for professionals such as attorneys, lawyers, accountants and so on. Today, things have changed. All these professionals have discovered the power of Internet marketing and more so Internet marketing. Here are some hot Internet marketing tips that you can use to market your law firm on the web:
When the first few social media networks came into being, people started realizing how well they can network. Soon business enterprises followed suit. Here is a good platform through which law firms can make their presence felt. Look for select sites and create profiles. Ask people to like or link themselves to your page. In addition, join groups that are affiliated to lawyers. Make a point of adding comments there on a regular basis. For every comment you make, leave a link that can guide someone to your website.
Your firm could be having an award winning website where you have put photos and used good graphics. However, if you're not driving traffic to your website, it's reaching its fullest potential and purpose. If you want to attract more people to visit your site, you have to optimize it. Local SEO can be done by hiring professional firms or in-house. Local SEO involves posting well written articles covering different legal issues or services offered by your firm. In these articles, use keywords. Search for words that people browsing the web keep using when looking for law firms.
Unlike websites, blogs have an advantage in that they are regularly updated. Get into the habit of writing blogs. You can also hire article writers to provide you with quality articles for this purpose. Provide topics or keywords that can be incorporated on each blog. As an attorney, you are well aware of legal areas that people seek for most. It could be divorce, personal injury, inheritance and so on. At the end of each blog, have the writer post a link. Through this link, anyone who reads your blog can be directed to the main site. Here, they will get more information about your firm.
Make sure you submit your website links to online directories. In addition to the Internet marketing benefits, directories are also ideal for local SEO and search marketing. To be more specific, search for legal directories only as this is where the bulk of your potential clients are likely to be found. Surprisingly, most of these directories do not charge any fees for getting listed.
It is wise to know what your competitors are doing. Get some insights into what other firms are up to. Select a few website firms that are ranked among the top in the industry. Observe the way they have put content and the kind of keywords used. Take note of the way the sites have used SEO techniques and how they have worked for them. Interested in receiving an Internet marketing audit? Visit our services page to learn more about how our experts can help you with your law firm web marketing campaign.continue...
Local citations can work really well in improving your law firm's online visibility. Citations are simply mentions or references of your firm's name and address on other websites.
If you have many (and accurate) citations, Google will view your law firm as an established, credible online brand. As a result, your Google local search ranking can significantly increase.
The trick is to build quality citations on authoritative and locally-relevany sources. Nowadays, there are many citation sources that offer little to no SEO value because they come from spammy websites.
By finding the right citation sources, you can enhance the overall local SEO performance for your firm. In order for you to find out if a citation source is legit, you need to ask yourself the following questions.
It is important to find out if that citation source has been used by other people within your industry. Find out if a good number of your competitors are using the same citation source. If this is the case, then it is likely a high quality citation source. Just visit the website then key in some of your competitor’s names.
You have to make sure that the website has a reliable PageRank and domain. There are a number of tools which you can download online like the PR plugin. This will help you to track the local citation source and find out if it has a good track record with Google.
The other way to note a website’s popularity is by checking whether it is usually mentioned in articles that talk about local citation sources. You are likely to come across a number of articles which give advice on local citation sources online. Find out if the source you are considering is mentioned in any of these articles across the web. This will give you more confidence in the source if it is actually recommended by other experts.
Considering this is important because most spammy sources need very little information regarding your business. Reliable citation sources for SEO will always want to include as much information regarding your business as possible. They do this because they want to enhance the relevancy of all their listings and also enhance the chances of Google crawling to your site.
It is important to focus on only local citations so that you can find your business in the relevant listing. Relevance is important as it will help you to generate leads and enhance your revenue with the help of the listings. Appearing in a UK listing if your site is based in America can be really unfortunate so make sure that the citation source is local.
There are so many local citation sources that you can get involved in. Some of the most popular ones include Yelp, City Search, Insider Pages and Foursquare. For more, check out this article on local SEO and directory resources from OIC Group.continue...
The term "Local SEO" has been familiar among webmasters and SEO analysts for many years. But ever since Google integrated its social networking site (Google+) with Google Maps and Reviews, the potential of local SEO to gain traffic and prospects has increased greatly.
It doesn't mean your listing will reach the first page of Google for whatever competitive keyword you are targeting just because you have created and verified your phone number with Google. If you have a law firm or if you are an individual lawyer practicing in a city or town in the U.S., you should have already witnessed the immense competition in your market on the internet.
It is no wonder that lawyers and attorney related keywords are some of the most highly paid keywords in Google's Adwords PPC network. What does it mean? It means large and multi-million dollar law firms are willing to spend a fortune on the internet to find new clients.
If you represent a small firm that is committed to serve your community or if you an aspiring individual who wants to build your career as a reputed lawyer, you might be intimidated by the influence of these big-box law firms on the internet.
There is a simple yet effective way to crush your competitors however humongous they are. It is called Google local SEO. There are a lot of ways to improve the rankings of your Google+ listing and make them rank in first page of Google in a matter of weeks if not days.
One of the best ways to improve the rankings of your listing in Google is to submit your business details to all the top business directories that are specific to your market. By submitting your business name, address and phone number (or "NAP" - citations that contribute to local search rankings) to these directories, you can greatly influence the ranking of your Google+ and Map listing.
The following is the list of top 5 law firm web directories for local SEO.
They have been in the business for a really long time. Launched back in 1996, the website is considered a hub for reading legal news, message boards, local directory and more. The website boasts 5 million unique visits a month. That's a lot of traffic. By submitting your business listing to this website, you cannot only improve you Google Maps listing, but can also get a lot of leads directly from the website.
Google Page Rank: 7/10
Alexa Traffic Rank (U.S.): 1,522
The site was launched back in October 2006. You can add your business listing to this website for free in a matter of seconds. If you become a paid member, you won't just get promoted to the top of the listing, but they will also give your contact details and information to people who are looking for a lawyer in your area. Google Page Rank: 5/10 Alexa Traffic Rank (U.S): 30,339 Visit eLocalLawyers.com
This is also a free service. Attorney.com is a part of LexisNexis, and Martindale-Hubbell who have been in the legal industry since 1868. The site has great reputation not only with people, but also among search engine.
Google Page Rank: 6/10
Alexa (U.S.): 47,000
Lawyers.com is a premium service and only offers paid listing. However, placing your business listing in a website like Lawyers.com can boost the rankings of your Google+ listing.
Google Page Rank: 7/10
Alexa (U.S.): 1947
You can also search for local lawyers and attorney directories specific to your district or city. Submitting to these kinds of geo-location specific directories can help you stand out from the crowd and improve your Google search ranking effectively.
Final tip: Always bear in mind that you should submit the exact business name, phone number and address to these directories that you have furnished on your Google+ profile.continue...
The search engine results page is constantly changing and expanding. For instance, have a a look at this screenshot of Google's brand new Local Search results.
Those who frequently use the Google search engine will certainly find the new look of the local search results rather unique. So it raises a question for those with a business or planning to start one: How do I place my website in the horizontal listings at the very top of the page?
If you raised that question, then read on because I am about to share with you a few local SEO tips in order to help your business grow and get better ranked in Google Local Search.
The results shown when you search for a certain business on Google, or any search engine, depend on a specific number of variables, such as directory listings, business's web presence (such as social media pages) and last but not least, having a Google+ Page.
The last of these variables, The Google+ page, is an crucial step in getting your business properly listed. While it is true most of these businesses already have an Google+ page, usually one that's already generated by Google, more often than not the Google+ page is not properly claimed and verified the Google+ page in order for it to generate its maximum potential.
So the first step into getting your business optimized in Google Local Search is to find this Google+ page of yours and in the lower right side of the screen you will see an option to claim the Google+ page as your own. Once you click it, you'll have to go through a verification system, in which they'll send a postcard to your business address in order to verify that you truly own the business you try to claim.
In the meanwhile, you should go ahead and fill your businesses Google+ page with all the needed contact information, address, additional information, links perhaps? You want to include pretty much everything a prospect would want to read.
A citation basically consists of your company's Name, address and phone number, commonly referred to as NAP. Citations are commonly found social sites and directories that contain a listing of a specific business.
Citations are extremely important, for when Google is determining its Local Search rankings, it will sort them according to the volume, quality and accuracy of a certain business's citation.
So technically, the more citations you have, the higher your business's rank will be. Its rather obvious, but you should know the two most important elements of a citation:
So keep in mind what I said when you seek websites to built your citations. Below I have compiled a list of some of the most trusted and influential sources for citations:
Note that you should always keep on eye on the competitors. I recommend you thoroughly inspect the search engine result page and get an idea on which websites and directories your business should be on.continue...
In 2013 alone, the scope of Internet has drastically widened. Almost every organization can build a well-marketed web presence that helps grow their business.
As new technologies and changes continue to evolve the Web, specific strategies become more available. The organizations that capitalize on these changes can develop a stronger and more authoritative web marketing strategy.
In order to create a powerful law firm web marketing strategy, you need proper understanding of certain marketing tactics which can help you interact with potential clients while strengthening your web presence. Let us tell you about certain techniques you can use to create such a law firm web marketing strategy for your legal business.
A web marketing strategy can never give good returns if your website is not optimized for local and mobile search results. You can use many different ways to improve your local search engine rankings. One of the simplest things to do is to complete your profile on Google+. You should also link your law firm to local and niche legal directories.
When you have a complete profile on Google+ linked to your website, it provides better exposure in Google Local Search (results with a map and red pins indicating your specific physical location). Although Google+ Local profiles are good for mobile use, it is always better to build your website with a responsive design. This way, mobile users in your area will also have a good experience on your website.
In order to develop a powerful law firm web marketing strategy, you need a strong online presence. Supplementing your organic search presence with paid search results can be a good choice. You can integrate Local PPC Advertising with Google Local Search Results for better returns. Since paid search makes Google a lot of money, it won’t be subsided anytime soon. According to experts, search engine optimization is less consistent without paid search results.
These days, almost every person on the internet uses social media in one form or another. These people may be your potential clients. Therefore, it is extremely important to have your presence on various social media channels. You will need to develop content which is relevant to your law firm. Moreover, it should engage visitors and include a lot of potential for being shared quickly. You should have your profiles on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, at the very least.
As most experts say, 'Content is King’. It is no longer a luxury for online marketers. Content has become a necessity for the success of your website. Without good content, your social media, search engine optimization and public relations strategies will suffer. You need to hire people with some legal experience to write blog posts, develop videos, e-book, infographics, printed books, podcasts and more. In simple words, you need some people who can develop good content to establish your legal practice as a local authority.
Just like every business, a law firm also needs a strong online presence these days. In order to get people’s attention and drive more traffic to your website, you need a comprehensive law firm web marketing strategy. If your strategy includes the above mentioned techniques, you will be able to get some good returns. However, you will have to be patient, work hard and stay determined to grow your business.continue...
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