Law firms are quickly realising the significance of high search engine rankings for staying relevant and sourcing potential customer leads online. However, one area of SEO that often gets overlooked in their content strategy is local SEO – if your law firm isn’t optimised to appear for searchers in your offices’ locations, then you may be missing out on potential clients. To help optimise your law firm for local SEO, we’ve created this comprehensive guide covering local SEO tips for law firms that will get your website ranking in 2023.
Local SEO Tips
- Optimise your Google My Business
- Post on Google My Business
- Encourage Google Reviews from clients
- Respond to your Google Reviews
- Check your law firm’s name, address and phone number are consistent online
- Utilise online directories
- Have a page for each of your offices
- Have a legal service page for every office location
- Ensure your service and location are mentioned in your titles, headings and URL structure
- Optimise your service pages’ meta description
- Mention your service and location throughout your page copy
- Refer to local landmarks and resources
- Include your service and location in image file names
- Up your webpage copy
- Build your backlinks
- And finally…time.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing a business for local online search results (I.e., search queries that name a specific location or include the words ‘near me’). It’s an essential part of any successful digital marketing strategy, as it helps drive nearby customers to your law firm’s physical location or offices.
Unlike traditional SEO, which focuses on keywords and content to help boost a website’s organic search engine ranking, local SEO is all about helping your law firm appear in localised searches in the area surrounding your firm’s office or business premises.
For law firms with multiple offices (national and international) it’s important to optimize individual listings for each separate location. This ensures that customers searching for nearby legal services will find the most relevant information about each office location and are therefore more likely to get in touch with your law firm when they are ready to make a purchase decision.
Why is it important for law firms to consider local SEO as part of their content strategy?
Not only does local SEO help your law firm stand out from other firms in your area, but it can be a highly valuable marketing strategy for generating client leads.
Searches with local intent are on the rise, with an estimated 46% of all Google searches being for services near the user. More than 3.5 billion searches are being conducted on Google every day, making 1.6 billion of them for local businesses.
What’s more, Google searches and reviews are driving searchers to visit 1.5 billion locations a month and 28% of all local searches are followed with a purchase – making this group a highly converting pool of potential leads that law firms need to be taking advantage of.
Will posting on social media help improve my law firm’s local SEO?
Posting on social media will not directly improve your SEO efforts. However social media can be a useful tool for driving traffic to your website, and the more traffic a webpage gets, the increased chance of it getting a bump in rankings over time.
It is also important for local SEO purposes that all your law firm’s address and contact details are accurate across all social media platforms, as Google will detect inconsistencies and be less likely to promote your business as a result.
Optimise your Google My Business
The first step for optimising your law firm’s website for search engines is to ensure that your law firm’s Google Business Profile is not only claimed, but that a Google My Business (GMB) account has been set up to manage it and that every section is complete. This includes:
- Business name
- Contact number
- Office hours
- Category & attributes
- Products & services
- Questions & answers (owner and consumer generated)
When listing your services, try to not only be as detailed as possible but to match the terms your potential clients are most likely to use when searching for your services. For example, rather than saying that your firm provides ‘Private Client’ services, you may appear in more search queries if you use terms like ‘Will writing services’, ‘estate planning’ and ‘Wills & probate’.
Post on Google My Business
Did you know that similarly to social media, Google My Business allows you post regular updates? What’s more, posting on Google regularly may help improve your rankings for localised searches (as Google rewards businesses that engage with their products).
We recommend that you post on Google My Business at least once a week. Some things you could post about include:
- Upcoming events, such as legal clinics and drop ins that your solicitors are attending, charity fundraisers, cheese and wine evenings etc.
- Special offers e.g., free 30-minute consultations with a solicitor.
- New legal services that your firm have introduced.
- Holidays and awareness days. These can include ones that are important to the legal calendar such as Family Mediation Week or National Conveyancing Week.
- Updates about your law firm such as new office openings or employees that have recently joined your team.
- Great reviews e.g., ‘We love receiving feedback like this one from Tom, who said that our solicitor Sarah Howard ‘delivered a fantastic service and got the conveyancing process for my flat purchase complete in just four months!’’
- Spotlighting one of your legal services.
- Celebrating a milestone, such as your fiftieth year in business, 100th client served, or opening a new office or branch.
- Showing gratitude by thanking clients for their business.
Encourage Google Reviews from clients
If we were to encourage law firms to do just one thing on this list to improve their local SEO, it would be this one.
Having many highly rated reviews pushes your law firm higher in the ‘Business’ feature of Google searches, which appears before the organic listings (the search results that appear with a description, also known as a Google snippet) therefore is more likely to get higher clicks from searchers.
To encourage your clients to leave your law firm a review, make it a part of your solicitors’ workflow that, following a successful transaction or resolved case, they ask the client whether it would be possible for them to leave a Google review highlighting the excellent service they have received. You could also frequently put out requests for Google reviews on your social media or add it as a clickable feature to your solicitors’ email signatures.
Unfortunately, not everyone your firm will work with will choose to leave a Google Review, and there is always the risk of a disgruntled client leaving a bad one, which can negatively impact your rankings on the Business feature. If your law firm has received a negative review, then the next point will provide a good tip for preventing the bad rating from impacting your local SEO rankings too severely…
Respond to Google Reviews
Responding to Google Reviews shows Google that you are actively engaging with your customers and therefore, providing an elevated level of client care. However, it is important that your law firm is replying to ALL reviews – whether they are good or bad.
In fact, if your law firm has received a negative review either from an unhappy client or an individual who has interacted with one of your solicitors, then the best thing you can do is to respond to it. Replying openly to even the negative reviews can help prevent the bad rating severely impacting your rankings on Google’s Business feature, as Google sees it as a sign that you are attempting to mitigate the situation and thus will not punish you as severely.
Of course, ensure that you are cordial and professional in your responses to bad reviews, otherwise this strategy could backfire!
Check your law firm’s name, address and phone number are consistent online
Search engines favour consistent address and contact information, therefore ensuring that details for your law firm’s office locations are up-to-date and accurate are crucial for improving your law firm’s local SEO performance. It is also important to note that although most people use Google to find local services, there are still those who prefer using apps and directionaries like the Yellow Pages or Yelp, so it is important to not overlook this audience.
Adding your law firm profile to local directionaries comes with the added benefit of building your backlink profile easily – an essential cornerstone of SEO. We have listed a few of the most frequently used directionaries to help get you started:
- Google My Business
- Yellow Pages
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places for Business
- Social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn
- Thomson Local
- Rocket Reach
- Newspaper directionaries
Utilise legal online directories
Following on from our previous section, adding your law firm profile to legal-specific directionaries can add to your law firm’s backlink profile and be a good source of lead generation. Some of the best legal directionaries for solicitors include:
- Review Solicitors
- The Law Society
- Legal 500
- Solicitors Regulation Authority
- Solicitors and Barristers
- Most Recommended Solicitors
Have a page for each of your offices
If you are a law firm with multiple office locations, then ensure that each of these offices has its own dedicated webpage on your law firm’s website.
There are two benefits to doing this:
- It can help your law firm rank for general solicitor firm searches (e.g., ‘solicitors in Reading’) which do get frequent monthly searches.
- You can use this page to link location-specific service pages from, so that they are easily discoverable on your site for users and part of your sitemap. Pages need to be at most three links deep from the homepage in order to be crawled and indexed by Google, so hosting your location-specific service pages here will fulfil those criteria.
Personalising each office page by including photos of your office building and team, glowing testimonials your solicitors based there have received and news and events updates can not only help with local SEO rankings but can help your solicitors come across as more personable and friendly to site visitors.
Have a legal service page for every office location
One of the biggest local SEO oversights law firms make is having just one webpage to promote a service they provide – particularly if they are a law firm with offices in multiple regional or international locations.
For instance, just happening to be a law firm that provides employment law services from offices in Cardiff and Swansea is not enough to rank for ‘employment lawyer Cardiff’ or ‘employment solicitor in Swansea’, even if your website mentions having offices there on the homepage or in the footer.
In order to rank for these terms, you will need to have employment law pages to represent each office, with page titles such as ‘Employment Lawyers in Cardiff’ and ‘Employment Solicitors in Swansea’. Then, through your optimised office location page (see the above section for more details) you can direct site visitors to these pages whilst keeping non-location specific service pages in your navigational menu.
It may take some time to create location-specific service pages for each of your office locations (if your law firm has multiple offices) however it is 100% worth the effort as it will increase your search engine visibility for local searchers exponentially.
Ensure your service and location are mentioned in your titles, headings and URL structure
Following on from our previous advice of having a legal service page for every office location, your next step is to ensure that your service and targeted demographic area are not only mentioned in your page title, but through key parts of your webpage, such as your subheadings (coded as H2s and H3s) and in the URL of the page.
For example, depending on their site structure, a personal injury solicitors’ firm in Reading may wish to structure their URL like this*:
You can target ‘personal injury solicitors’ and ‘Reading’ through your heading your page sections like this:
“Get in touch with our personal injury solicitors in Reading today”
“Services our personal injury solicitors provide”
“Why choose our personal injury solicitors?”
Subheadings are key areas that the Google algorithm looks at when identifying what a page is about and for who it should be shown, so it is important that you include your service and location to reiterate that it is these specific service searches and location that you are wishing to target.
*If you do decide to change a webpage URL, ensure that the old URL is set up as a redirect to the new one to ensure you do not lose any backlinks the page may have previously acquired.
Optimise your service pages’ meta description
Did you know that you can edit the Google snippet that generates for your webpages in searches?
This can be done through most website builders (such as WordPress and Wix) in the backend of your website, where it is commonly referred to as the meta description. You can choose to let Google to generate one for you (and Google may override your chosen meta description if they believe theirs is better!) however we recommend writing your own for webpages as it provides an opportunity to advertise your service how you see fit and add more of your targeted keywords.
Take this example from one of our clients, who use the Google snippet heading to highlight their service and location, followed by a description that emphasises their unique selling points, such as a strong track record and multiple years of experience:
Mention your service and location throughout your page copy
Although the importance of keyword density (the number of times a keyword appears on a given webpage or piece of content) has changed over the years, it is still a factor you should consider when writing content for search engines.
Many SEO specialists recommend mentioning the targeted keyword 1-2 times per 100 words (giving you a density of 1-2%). Therefore, if you are trying to target localised searchers, you need to ensure that you are mentioning your legal service and location throughout the webpage copy.
Consider also adopting keyword variants to prevent your law firm’s website being penalised for keyword stuffing e.g., ‘lawyer’, ‘solicitor’, ‘legal advisers’, ‘legal specialists’ and so on. Google provides a useful tool at the end of search pages called ‘Related searches’ which can help generate some variant ideas if you are stuck. Here is one for family lawyers in Sutton Coldfield:
Refer to local landmarks and resources
Referring to notable locations unique to your law firm’s area can also help improve your local SEO, as it demonstrates to Google a local knowledge and familiarity of your area, indicating that you are experienced in delivering legal services to clients in the specified location.
When we say ‘refer to local landmarks’, we don’t mean that if you are a London-based law firm you must be mentioning Big Ben or Buckingham Palace in your page copy! Rather, refer to street names, nearby pubs and restaurants, shops and other businesses either in:
- Your page’s office location section. This can be titled with your location keyword (e.g., ‘Our Stamford office’ or ‘Getting to our Stamford office’) and include directions to your office for visitors travelling by car and public transport. For example, ‘Our Stamford office is just a five-minute walk from Stamford Railway station. If you are travelling by car, we have private parking available for visitors on Wharf Road.’
- Local resources section. Here you can share links and information for local charities and organisations that may be helpful to residents going through legal struggles, such as the nearest courthouses, Citizen’s Advice office, domestic abuse charities etc.
- An “About the Area” section. This is where your law firm can show their local pride and speak about how they contribute to the surrounding community! We have provided an example below to show you how this would look on a law firm’s website:
Proud to be serving the Liverpool community
Liverpool is a city rich in both diversity and culture, widely noted for its contributions to the arts and UK tourism. We have proudly helped thousands of Liverpool businesses and residents with their legal issues since first opening our doors in 1973, with many of our solicitors also being actively involved in the local community. We have been running our hugely successful mentorship scheme at Dunthorpe School for almost a decade, in addition to our lawyers being present on the boards of local charities, events and fundraisers.
Include your service and location in image file names
If you are trying to up your keyword density to target a specified search query, then adding it to any images present on the page (whether it be photos, animations or icons) can help bump up the density without falling into keyword stuffing territory.
You can change the file name and add your keywords to the page’s images through your website’s content management system (CMS). In addition to the image title, you may also have an option to set an “alternative text” for the image, which allows your image to be “read aloud” to users by screen reader software. Alternative texts are indexed by search engines, so use this feature as an opportunity to add your keywords e.g., for an image of your office’s exterior, write ‘Jacobsons Solicitors office building in Glasgow’.
Up your webpage copy
Sometimes, the webpage with that contains highest word count is often the one that Google will push to the top of the page. Therefore, if you are trying to target a specific localised query like ‘personal injury solicitors near me’, make sure you look at the firm currently situated at the top of the search results (NOT the paid ads but the listings underneath) and identify what their word count is and how often they are using the targeted key terms.
You can find out these factors quickly through a free chrome extension like Keywords Everywhere, which will show you the word count of any analysed page, the keywords that they utilise the most frequently and where these keywords are placed throughout their copy.
Your aim is to produce quality content that is not only useful to your target audience but provides more detail than this top-ranking page, and one way you can achieve this is through have a higher word count than them.
Build your backlinks
Although it is sometimes entirely possible to build your law firm’s local SEO rankings without a lot of backlink building, if you have done everything possible to rank and find you are still no closer to getting that no.1 ranking, then it may be worth thinking about your backlink strategy.
Backlinks are simply links from other websites to your website. They are essential for good SEO practice as backlinks validate your law firm’s authoritativeness on a subject and indicate to the search engine algorithm that your page or blog is widely recognised as a good resource.
You gain backlinks through the following:
- Creating original, high-quality content that is link-worthy such as guides, infographics and How-To’s.
- Publishing Skyscraper content. This is long form, super detailed content as long as 10,000 words.
- Online directionaries.
- Guest blogging.
- Partnership and sponsorship opportunities.
- Events and key speaker opportunities from your solicitors.
- Press releases and digital PR.
We have added this as the final point as it is important to emphasise that good SEO results takes time.
Once you have followed all these recommended steps, it can take Google anywhere from a couple of weeks to months to recrawl your page and decide new positionings for it (this process can be sped up by requesting a recrawl through Google Search Console). Older pages that receive regular updates also tend to achieve higher rankings as not only do they tend to have more backlinks, but Google views them as more authoritative due to the amount of time they have existed online.
And there you have it, our top local SEO tips for law firms to help boost potential client leads! We hope this guide helps you kickstart your local SEO strategy for 2023. For more SEO, PR and marketing advice for solicitors and law firms, be sure to check out our blog or get in touch with our team to chat about how our specialists can help your law firm gain more clients this year.