Getting your law firm to rank online in front of the right potential clients is easier said than done. This is especially true for firms that cover multiple service areas and locations. You might’ve heard of local SEO but noticed that some of the strategies don’t apply to your law firm because you don’t have only one location and/or you practice in multiple areas instead.
Of course, you still want to ensure the traffic you’re driving to your site comes from clients in your local area who can actually hire you. When someone searches for “family law firm near me” or “personal injury lawyer near me,” you need to be at the top of that list. But how can you do that?
In this article, we’re going to cover exactly how to do that using local SEO strategies that are specifically tailored for your multiple-area-based law firm.
Mulitple-Area-Based Local SEO Strategies
1. Create location pages on your website.
For search engines or maps to pull up your law firm in local searches, you don’t need only one or actually any physical address. The first step in optimizing your site for your local area is to tell search engines what areas you service. How?
By creating location pages on your website. A location page is a dedicated page for each city in your service area that talks about what practice areas you cover, your value proposition, and then includes a call to action (CTA) to get in touch. Not only will you create location pages, but you’ll also want to link to them on your homepage (hello, internal linking).
What does this look like in action? Below is a screenshot of the home page for our client, Owenby Law, P.A. You’ll notice above the home page navigation, there is a bar for the top cities they service.
Now, when you click on one of the cities, they have the following information available:
You might notice that this strategy is a combination of content marketing (using keywords on your website to signal to Google what you do and where you do it), and landing pages (which act as stand-alone pages with one CTA).
The goal is that when someone types in a search like “divorce lawyer jacksonville fl” your location page ranks high enough to serve as a landing page for that person. Going back to the example of Scorpion’s client, the image below shows how Owenby Law, P.A. shows up on a Google results page for a lawyer in a city they serve.
We recommend creating a location page for each city you work in.
However, creating them isn’t the only step. These pages also need to be SEO-optimized for each specific city. This requires conducting keyword research by location (Pro Tip: Google Trends helps with this).
Then, you need to write content that is informative and engaging, similar to the type of content you might include on your home page. Again, this would be information on what your business does, going over the practice areas you cover, the type of services you offer, the benefits of choosing your firm, and the value you provide in hopes of motivating the visitor to take the next steps and convert (meaning, give you a call for a consultation).
An important call out here: The content on these pages needs to be unique for every city page. It cannot be repeated information with only the city name changed out. If you do that, you’ll get penalized on search engines for duplicate content and you’ll have a much harder time ranking on the results pages.
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure the user experience is primed for conversion. This means there’s a CTA on the page, and it’s pointing users to contact you for a consultation.
In addition to location pages, another way to make sure your prospective clients know what areas you serve is to list them in the footer of your site linking to each location page. Again, hello internal linking. Internal linking to these pages is important for building up their SEO juice (credibility, page views, etc).
2. Properly build out your directory listings.
When people are searching for a law firm, they tend to go to directory sites like AVVO, Martindale Hubbell, or Google. We call these directories “aggregator sites” because they give consumers a list of several options. Being present and building out a profile on these sites is an important part of your local SEO strategy.
In fact, 5% of Google Business listing views result in a website click, call, or direction request.
These profiles need to have a defined service area so you show up in the right searches and if you conduct ads on those platforms, they’re targeting the right users.
The first step is to list the aggregator sites that are most important to you. Then, you should go and “claim” your profile on each of those sites. Once you claim your firm, you can add your service areas and optimize your profile page for conversion. This would mean making sure you put all the necessary information a prospect might want – locations and hours, practice areas, services offered, price, images, and contact information. On AVVO, you can even put your resume and licenses.
Sticking with our Owenby Law, P.A. example, the screenshot below shows what the lead attorney’s AVVO profile looks like. Notice that the profile highlights licensing.
Below that, the profile lists practice areas, background, photos and videos, and AVVO contributions, which can be legal guides submitted to the site, or answering legal questions for users online.
This is a great example of what a fully optimized directory listing looks like. Each listing of your site should include:
- Basic law firm information (locations, hours, phone numbers, website)
- Practice areas
- Photos and videos
- Contributions (if applicable)
You might be wondering why you need all these elements. Some of this information is for the aggregator site so they know to rank you for certain searches. But it’s also for the user experience. When a potential client is deciding which attorney to hire, they’re going to look to make sure you specialize in the area they need, they’ll look at reviews, and they’ll look at your photos/videos to see the work you’ve done, and get more information on your firm. Google recommends including images of your most popular services and attorneys if your practice has multiple.
The contribution feature on many of these aggregator sites will also impact your rankings. These sites are more likely to rank you highly if you interact with potential clients. This means answering their questions and responding to reviews if the site allows it (both positive and negative).
To see if you’ve claimed all the profiles you need, you can use sites like BrightLocal or Moz. And remember: all the information on these sites needs to be consistent (as in, it’s the same information on AVVO as it is on Google Reviews). If it isn’t, then getting your site ranked locally won’t be easy.
If you don’t have an address, that’s okay. Many of these aggregators offer the ability to define a service area instead right when you’re setting it up.
Additionally, it’s important to note that when you’re setting up your profiles, you will get to choose categories and services that your practice offers. It’s important to choose correctly and include everything you can so the site has all the information it needs to rank you for a search.
3. Build backlinks for each location.
Having a backlink strategy is important for any business, but especially for multiple area based ones. Why? Because since Google, or any search engine, will have multiple addresses or might not have an address at all, they’ll place more importance on the relevance and prominence of your site.
This means you need a good domain authority, and backlinking is one of the tried and true ways to do that. If you could get backlinks to your specific location pages, you’ll build up more local credibility with search engines.
This might mean reaching out to colleagues for endorsements, guest posting on legal blogs, etc. Then, they can list your firm and link to your location page.
4. Optimize your listings by getting reviews.
We know that clients look at reviews before deciding which attorney to hire, and this is especially true for law firms because a client has to trust you to represent them in court.
A BrightLocal study even found that transitioning from a 3-star to a 5-star average rating on Google can lead to 25 percent more clicks.
This means you need reviews. How do you get them? Well, besides offering a great client experience and good customer service, you should ask your clients to review you. You can do this with Scorpion by sending automated emails or texts, encouraging your clients to leave a review.
Then, you need to respond to your reviews, both positive and negative. This signals your trustworthiness and expertise as a law firm to search engines but also lets people know that your practice is legitimate and not spam (again, especially important for law firms because you’re representing someone in court).
In this day and age, spam might mean fake reviews, multiple listings for the same law firm, fake businesses, or keyword-stuffed business names. Unfortunately, research by BrightLocal revealed that spam in listings had increased by 59% between 2018 and 2019 and is still increasing. Following the best practices laid out here will help search engines, aggregator sites, and your clients know that you aren’t a spam law firm.
5. Define a content strategy that’s optimized for your locations.
At the beginning of this article, we talked about building out location pages. That is one component of a content strategy that you can implement to optimize your site for specific locations.
Going back to those location pages, the page should be optimized for the specific city, meaning the city is listed in your URL, title tags, meta description, throughout the content, and in the headers on the page. All of this acts as a signal to search engines that you should show up for location-specific queries about law firms near you. Again, the content on these pages should be different for every city.
Now, let’s move on to another aspect of your content strategy: Creating valuable content on your site, like blogs, videos, or even podcasts that are optimized for your locations. In the content you produce, you should use location keywords when you can and when it makes sense to.
All your content should be:
- Valuable content
- Optimized for keywords specific to location
- Not keyword-stuffed content
- Punchy headers that include targeted keywords
- Include schema markup (more on this below)
6. Use schema markup.
An important element of your local SEO, but also the more confusing and jargon-y of the strategies listed here, is to use schema markup.
Okay, so what is schema? Schema is a form of structured data that was created by all the major search engines in 2011. It helps search engines crawl your site and comprehend a landing page so they can deliver relevant content in the SERPs. The data is often referred to as rich results.
To use this, you’ll need to go to schema.org and use the markup available. This enables a landing page to be eligible for rich results.
First, you’ll need to select the best schema.org category for your business type. This would be family law attorney, personal injury attorney, etc. Then, you’ll need these schema properties:
- Url: The URL of the associated landing page.
- Name: Name of the law firm.
- OpeningHours: Opening and closing hours of tje law firm.
- Telephone: Contact telephone number for the law firm.
- Image: This can be any relevant image file on your landing page. It is recommended to use a headshot image if that’s available.
- Logo: This should be a link to your law firm logo image.
- Address: The law firm address (if you have one) which should be visible on the landing page.
- Geo: This is the geo-coordinates of your law firm location.
- AreaServed: It is recommended to use a zipcode for this schema property.
- MainContentOfPage: Main body content of your landing page.
Other common schema properties are:
- Review: A review of your local law firm.
- AggregrateRating: The overall rating, based on a collection of reviews or ratings, of the item. Make sure to follow Google’s rules on Review Rich Results on this.
- FAQPage: If you have a FAQ page it is imperative to add this specialty schema. Make sure to follow Google’s rules and guidelines.
- AlternateName: Businesses commonly have related names e.g. Acme Stores vs. Acme Inc. The alternateName property marks up other well-known corporate name variations (including abbreviations).
- SameAs: This is a reference to a 3rd party websites that are related to the website’s identity i.e. Facebook pages, Youtube Channel pages, Wikipedia pages, etc.
- HasMap: A URL to the map of your local law firm.
- Breadcrumb: This schema marks up the existing breadcrumb navigation structure on your website. This schema is highly recommended because it often appears in the SERPS as a rich result.
- PriceRange: The price range of the services you offer, for example, $$$.
Once you’ve updated your schema data, you’ll want to validate it, which you can do on schema.org. It will show you errors and warnings on your data, so you can test data before it’s enabled on your site as well.
7. Optimize your local services ads.
Local services ads are paid advertisements that appear at the top of Google search results for a local law firm search. This means when someone types in “law firm near me,” your ad will be placed along with all the other organic results that are included on the map, even though you might not have a specific address or you have multiple addresses.
They’re important for local firms because they help you pay per lead instead of per click. You only pay if someone contacts you after clicking on the ad.
Implementing these types of ads helps multiple area based businesses because they will take into account the service area, not just the singular address of your law firm.
Below is a screenshot of what LSAs look like in action. The results will be different depending on the area the search is in. This search was “criminal lawyer near me.”
Then, when you click “more criminal lawyers,” you’ll find the service area for each attorney.
Local SEO for Multiple Service Areas Requires a Different Strategy
Local SEO is so important, but the strategies you use for a multiple service area law firm are slightly different than a company that has one storefront address. With a comprehensive strategy, you can use local SEO whether you have multiple addresses or none at all.
There’s no reason for you to shoulder the burden of digital marketing alone. With Scorpion’s team at your side, you can tap into our resources to accomplish your goals. Contact Scorpion today to begin attracting more clients to your law firm.