10 Reasons Legal Professionals need Lawgical Local
If you could choose only one thing to do for your law firm or legal support service's online presence in 2012, what would it be?
Before you answer, do a search for your city + your primary service. If your business does not rank well in the "local" or "map" results, your answer should be "Local Optimization". Please see the below example.
All the major search engines feature local listings and allow you to submit your business for free. Google's local listing product is called "Google Places" and these results are denoted by gray ballons which turn red when you hover over them. Often you will see Places profiles accompanied by reviews, contact information and a business description.
Below, I outline the reasons why you need to pay attention to local and how a product called Lawgical Local can help legal professionals display more prominently in these highlighted Google results.
1. You Need to Rank for "Location + Service"
What does this mean? If you are a criminal attorney in Miami, you need to rank when someone searches for "Miami FL Criminal Attorney", or you are missing out on business. This is how potential clients are searching for legal service providers and Google is increasingly driving users to Google Places listings.
2. Local Dominates Search Results
Do a search for any type of business or service in Google. It's a challenge to NOT get a result that features Places listings (per my example below). In most cases, and this is especially true for legal, Places listings take up up to 50% of the results. They are often the first result and always near the top of the page.
Google is even starting to integrate other products and features around Places. If you've joined Google Plus, you'll start to notice what the people in your circles are +1'ing. Look for Google, Yahoo and Bing to continue to emphasize their local listings and build features and products around them.
Come on... if Blacksmith's are optimizing their local listings there's no excuse for law firms and legal service providers to not be doing the same.
3. Local Optimization and Organic SEO are blurred
In speaking with reputable SEOs, I have found that many won't touch projects that are "local only". That's because the lines between local and SEO are blurred. Many searches will return a Places listing or map of a local business merged with the organic results. Google is doing more and more to keep you in their universe. Giving the consumer more data in search results and extracting information from your web site are two ways they are doing this.
If your business focuses on a finite set of geographic locations make sure your SEO strategy includes local optimization.
4. SEO is the Single-Most Important Marketing Channel for SMB’s
A recent survey by MerchantCircle of 2,500 small to medium-sized businesses (SMB'S) revealed that SEO is the marketing channel the majority would choose if they could only choose one. While SEO and local optimization have distinct elements, the two are quickly becoming one-in-the-same as previously mentioned.
5. You Don't Want to Get Left Behind, Again.
If you’ve just started focusing on SEO as a marketing tactic, you know how hard it is to catch your competitors that have been working at this for years. With a focused Local strategy, there is an opportunity to gain ground.
That said, of the 50 million Places profiles that exist, 8 million have been already been claimed, and more are being claimed at rate of 225,000 per month. What does this mean? It means your competitors are starting to pay attention to local and you should too!
6. You Need to Control Your Places Listing
Quite often your Places listing will exist without you having created it. This is because Google uses data from a number of providers and vertical directories to seed their local content. There are a number of reasons you need to have control over your Places listing and other local profiles.
These include, but are not limited to:
- keeping your contact information up to date
- responding to negative reviews
- keeping shady competitors from marking your business as closed
- removing duplicate listings - which can dilute your ability to rank
7. Clients Search your Company Name
This also falls under why you need to claim your listing, but it's important enough to mention on its own. Take a look at your web site analytics. I'm willing to bet that your company name is in your top 5 kewords. For a number of our clients a version of their company name shows up multiple times in their top 10 keywords. This is how their clients are finding them on the web. Search your company name. What do you see? Google Places profiles are often blended with your web site as the top result. Is your firm portrayed the way you want? Is your contact information correct? Are there negative reviews?
8. You Need Citations to Rank
Citations are defined as a reference of your business data - company name, address and phone number - on other related web sites and local directories on the internet. Citations are to local optimization as links are to traditional organic SEO. The more quality citations you have, the more likely you are to rank in Places. With Lawgical Local, we will build the intitial citations for you and give you tips on how to indentify and gain more relevant citations.
9. Your Customers are Using More Platforms
More and more your customers won't be using search engines to find local businesses and services. While you should still put effort into web optimization, you should spend the majority of your time optimizing listings on Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, GPS databases, Facebook, Twitter and other socially driven platforms.
10. You Don't Have the Time
Lawgical Local is a product comprised of a number of services. We create or claim your profiles. We build citations manually by submitting you to the most important local and directory platforms. We include you into datafeeds that sites like the online yellow pages use to feed their databases. We fully optimize your local profile, and we make sure that your data remains consistent and accurate. To do this on your own would take dozens of hours. This is time you should be using to run your business.
We've created an efficient and effective process for our clients with Lawgical Local.
If you would like more information on Lawgical Local, please call us at (800) 811-4458 or email us.
Trent Carlyle is the CTO and co-founder of Lawgical. Trent works alongside the technology and marketing teams, developing products that help our clients grow their business and operate more efficiently. He has a passion for usability, search engine marketing and is involved in the local search community in Denver.