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What to Know Before Hiring a Local SEO Service for Your Law Firm

What to Know Before Hiring a Local SEO Service for Your Law Firm

What to Know Before Hiring a Local SEO Service for Your Law Firm

Across the internet, studies show that the top three organic search results, also known as the 3-pack, get 44% of the click-throughs from the page. Here, we provide a basic understanding of how to reach the top of the search engine results page (SERP) rankings. Then, we’ll take a look at search engine optimization (SEO) issues to consider when deciding on hiring a local SEO service.

As a personal injury law firm, your primary competition is other firms in your geographic area. This means local SEO is essential. Below, we’ll provide insights into what’s needed to rank high on your local SERP. Then we’ll build on this knowledge to help you find the best local SEO services for your firm.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO involves optimizing your listing so it appears on page one of local web search results. For instance, if you’re an attorney in Peoria, Illinois, and a prospect searches for “personal injury attorney in Peoria,” you want your listing to come up as one of the top results. 

It’s critically important to be on page one of the search results because 75% of internet users never look at page two. Ideally, your local search results will be in the 3-pack.

The 3-pack is the top three business listings on the first page of Google’s search results. There’s also a map to the right of these listings that shows the location of each of the 3-pack businesses. Immediately below these listings, you can click “more businesses,” and the 3-pack will expand to include up to 20 results and a much larger map showing all the listings’ locations. If there are over 20 results, you can click “next” at the bottom, and another page of up to 20 results will appear. 

How does local SEO work?

Since 77% of local searches are through Google, you must satisfy the Google gods before anyone else. For that reason, we’ll focus on what Google wants. Top among these is your Google Business Profile (GBP).

According to a Whitespark study, Google weighs each of these features to determine your local website ranking:

  • GBP gets the highest consideration with 32%.
  • Google weighs your website at 19%.
  • Google reviews get 16%.
  • Links come in at 11%.
  • Behavioral signals are 8%.
  • Citations are at 7%.

Behavioral signals refer to client interactions with the website, including website visits (traffic). The better the other parts of your SEO strategy, the greater the customer interaction. It has a snowball effect. 

We’ll briefly discuss these five other main areas to get you up to speed. You need a basic understanding of local SEO legal services if you’re going to pick the best local SEO service for your law firm.

Google Business Profile

Studies show that 97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. Google’s algorithm is most impressed with GBPs that meet the following criteria:

  • An identical name, address, and phone number (NAP) on your GBP as everywhere else on the internet
  • A good business description of only 750 characters
  • Accurate categories for personal injury lawyers
  • High-quality images — especially of your logo
  • A fast-loading and intuitive landing page for your GBP link to your website
  • A review section
  • Posts on your GBP
  • An FAQ section

You can’t set up your GBP and then forget about it. Continuously update your site as conditions change. For example, if your business hours change, someone has to update your GBP. 

SEO-optimized website

An SEO-optimized website connected to your GBP can be part of you overall personal injury marketing strategy. That means including the right keywords, links and content. Google algorithms are constantly changing, so it’s best to have an expert on hand who can keep up with these changes. 

Google reviews

People listen to what others say. The technical term is “social proof.” Word-of-mouth was the most common social proof before the internet. Internet reviews are word-of-mouth on steroids because thousands, if not more, will see these. 

If a client has a bad experience with your law office and leaves a 1-star rating, it hurts. The good news is that a lot of good reviews can swallow the effect of a few bad reviews. It’s the average star rating that prospective clients see first. If you have 99 5-star ratings and one 1-star rating, you’ll probably have 4.9 stars, so that one bad response will have little effect.

You have a chance to redeem a critical review if you have a good response. For those who get past the average star rating, they will read your response to any bad review. Also, it’s important to thank those who give you good reviews. The worst response to both good and bad reviews is to ignore them.

People with famous or powerful friends often want others to know about these connections. It impresses others and gives them credibility. The same idea works with backlinks: If a site with high credibility links to your site, it gives your site instant credibility. Getting these links from local sources is a great boost. 

A few of the more important sites all lawyers need links from include Avvo, , FindLaw, and If another website cites and links to an article on your website, that’s the best kind of citation.

DIY vs. Professional SEO for law firms

Doing it yourself will require a lower cash outlay than using a professional SEO firm. However, DIY will probably be more expensive in the long run. You have to place a price on your time. If you could have made more money practicing law, then your time working on SEO is costing you money. 

More importantly, an SEO professional will probably do a much better job than you. Consider the following advantages of hiring a local SEO service:

  • Law firms and lawyers have little time to keep up with ever-changing search engine algorithms.
  • Local SEO services must keep up with changes in the SEO landscape — it’s part of their job to do so.
  • Professional SEO services for lawyers keep up with changes in your bar’s requirements for advertising, giving you an additional safety net to avoid missing those important rule changes.
  • Professional SEO services for lawyers know the legal industry and your competitors.
  • It’s cost-effective for a professional SEO firm to invest in the latest SEO tools and research.

For the reasons above, your return on investment should be much higher when using the right pro. 

What to look for in a local SEO service

Any company that says GBP isn’t important is a company to pass on. Go with a local SEO service that understands the needs of attorneys, and look for SEO firms with case studies that show a track record of success for lawyers. 

Does the SEO service know when your state’s bar might consider an SEO keyword misleading? For example, if you use the keyword “best attorney,” it may conflict with the disclaimer many states require that says, “No representation is made that the quality of legal services provided is greater than the quality of services provided by other attorneys.” Yet, a lot of people ask search engines for the best attorney in an area, so “best attorney” is a good keyword — as long as it doesn’t get you in trouble. Choose a service that follows your state bar’s general counsel opinions on such issues.

After hiring a service, use tracking tools like Google Analytics to measure the success of their SEO. Look at key metrics like your click-through percentage and SERP ranking.

Grow your law firm marketing with CloudLex

Once you’ve optimized your local SEO, you’ll need a robust personal injury case management software like CloudLex to manage your leads.. SEO creates the contacts, but CloudLex’s software gives you a system to follow up with these contacts and turn them into clients. Contact us today for a free demo. We look forward to showing you how we can help your firm grow.

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