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Did you know clients search for you using local terms? That means you need to get local, too, whether you provide legal services in one jurisdiction or more. Local pages help potential clients find your website easier and faster and make it more likely that they’ll contact your firm. Below, we discuss ideas to optimize a local page strategy and provide examples to make it easy for you to apply the concept of local pages to your website.

The Law Firm Local Search Predicament: Putting the Need for Local Pages in Context

Before getting into the mechanics of local pages, it is important to understand why they are needed.

The scenario: Customers often search locally. Jane may have been arrested for marijuana possession, so she might search for “marijuana lawyer Houston” or “marijuana attorney near me.” Jack may be getting a divorce so he types in “Atlanta divorce attorney” or “What should I know about getting divorced in Atlanta?” Sam may need some estate planning, so he types in “estate planning lawyer in Baltimore” or “Can I do estate planning on my own in Baltimore?”

The problem: If your content lacks geographic indicators and local information, it’s going to be difficult for search engines to return your site when locally focused searches are made.

The consequence: You lose local potential clients who could have been a good fit for your firm.

The solution: Creating local pages to address local queries. Local pages communicate to Google and other search engines the locations you serve, and these pages offer valuable content that visitors want, appreciate, and will act on.

How Law Firm Website Local Pages Work

Local pages begin with the potential client. He or she wants to know information regarding a legal issue. The potential client’s searches usually involve things such as:

  1. Unidentified geographical location entries — in this case, search engines capture the internet user’s current geographical location and generate results based on that location (e.g., a search such as “criminal law attorney” is likely to return several pages for criminal law attorneys within the captured zip code);
  2. “Near me” entries — in this case, the results are similar as above: the internet search engine is prompted by the “near me” language to try and identify relevant websites within a certain radius of the internet user (e.g., “criminal law attorney near me”); or
  3. Identified geographic location entries — In this case, the search engine uses the location provided by the internet user and returns results based on that geographical qualifier (e.g., “criminal law attorney in Baltimore” or “What happens after an arrest in Baltimore?” will likely return pages of Baltimore criminal law attorneys).

As mentioned, when you do not have local pages and local information for each location you serve, then you can miss out on opportunities. For instance, maybe your office is in Bethesda, but you represent clients in Baltimore, too. Without local pages specific to Baltimore, your website may be less likely to show up on a search result for a potential client in Baltimore searching for an attorney or for a person using the keyword “Baltimore.” Local pages are an effective way to communicate to search engines where you provide services. It’s also an effective way to show potential clients that you understand their thought process.

How a Local Page Strategy Works on Law Firm Websites

As with all things related to your law firm’s marketing strategy, local pages require some thought in order to be effective. The gist of the strategy will go something like this:

  • Identify key geographical service areas — whether it is several cities, counties, or states — and this can include both the jurisdictions you currently provide representation and the jurisdictions you would like to break into.
  • Incorporate these geographical indicators throughout the website — meaning you will highlight them on your homepage, your About Us page, your Contact page, your substantive practice area pages, etc.
  • Create local landing pages for each individual geographical location and provide original, hyper-local information on each of these pages.
  • Identify where on your website you will place these pages — they may be nestled under a top menu item, for example.
  • Link these pages to other relevant pages of your website and vice versa for thorough and easy navigation within the website.

Employing this general local page strategy is key to getting your website noticed more in all the places you work or want to work, but it may not be the key to converting visitors to clients. It is not about quickly drafting a local page and placing geographical locations throughout that page, and then using the same language for all other local pages on your site except for changing the name of the jurisdiction. It is more about using the local landing page as a means to engage visitors and convince them to convert as clients by contacting your office. To do so, you use local language, local names, local trends, etc. that matter or make sense to the visitor in that geographical location. Thus, what follows is a discussion on how to use content on local pages to attract and convert visitors.

How to Optimize Local Pages to Effectuate Your Marketing Strategy

The local page’s first purpose is getting you noticed by potential clients in your key areas, which means getting search engines to find you and to list your website on search engine result pages for relevant searches. The local page’s second purpose is providing valuable content that your clients:

  • Want (thus, why they made a certain search in the first place);
  • Appreciate (you’ve answered questions they had and questions they may not have realized they had); and
  • Act on (by contacting your law firm).

To provide this kind of valuable content you must:

  • Know your potential clients;
  • Know the geographic area and its particularities; and
  • Know their questions and answer them in understandable language presented in an easy-to-read format.

Below, we provide the basic elements of a local page and then provide example outlines so you know how these elements are best used on the local page.

Local Page Elements

Local pages should be structured and written with all things local. These are hyper-local pages that show you understand the community and thus are in a good position to represent the community. This kind of intimacy nurtures a sense of trust from the outset between you, as a lawyer, and the potential client. The rest of the website will help develop this trust, which may lend itself to converting leads to clients. Here are the basic elements you should provide on each of your local pages.

  • Location-specific title tag (i.e., <title>)
  • Location-specific title for the page (i.e., <h1>)
  • Location-specific H2 headers
  • Location-specific content
  • Location-specific media (e.g., maps, videos, pictures, infographics)
  • Location-specific call-to-action (CTA)

Location-Specific Title Tag

The title tag is important for a number of reasons. It determines how the title of the page will display in the search engine results page, and how it is displayed may make the difference if a visitor clicks or not. And for visitors seeking a specific local area, they will likely click on a page with the specific location mentioned (if in conjunction with the specific legal issue mentioned). Examples of title tags include:

  • Arrested for drug possession in Houston? Get Board Certified Defense
  • IRS Audit | Resourceful Tax Attorney in Seattle WA
  • Eligibility for a Slip & Fall Lawsuit | Boston Personal Injury

Location-Specific H1 Title

H1 titles are different than title tags. H1 titles appear at the top of your local page. It offers an opportunity to reinforce your location and to rephrase keywords. Examples of H1 Titles include:

  • Understand Charges Related to a Drug Crimes Arrest in Houston
  • Aggressive Seattle Tax Lawyer Helps You with Your IRS Audit
  • Compassionate Slip and Fall Lawyer in Boston

Location-Specific H2 Headers

Each H2 header should have locations but only so long as it is natural. There are times given the nature of the page that it doesn’t make sense. So, only when applicable and natural, add geographic locations. Examples of H2 Titles include:

  • Drug Possession Crimes in Houston TX
  • What the Prosecutor Must Prove in a Houston Drug Possession Case
  • Penalties for Drug Possession in Texas
  • Houston Drug Possession Defenses

You want the geographic locations and keywords to be read in a variety of ways because people type in searches differently.

Location-Specific Content

The content you add on the local pages should be specific to the location. For instance, if you are writing a county page and are a criminal attorney, you can provide information like jail and prisons located only within the county. More on content is outlined below.

Location-Specific Media

Everyone takes in information differently, so you want to add different media to your local page, like:

  • Maps
  • Videos
  • Pictures
  • Infographics

With things like pictures or images, you can add a title and alt text, too, with your specific geographical location added.

Location-Specific Call-to-Action (CTA)

Every page should end with a call-to-action. In your call-to-action on the local page, reiterate the area you represent and provide contact details.

Local Page Content Examples

Most of the above elements are pretty self-explanatory, but some of you may have questions about the actual content you provide on your local pages. This is important because it is what will turn your local page into an important marketing tool to convert visitors. Your local pages may be:

  • City pages;
  • County pages; or
  • Pages for specific states.

Regardless of whether or not you are focusing on cities, counties, or states, you must provide information that is unique to that location — information your potential clients want to know and need to know. Here are some examples of content outlines to better help you understand the type of location-specific content you should provide.

The DWI Criminal Defense Attorney Outline

  1. Brief Introduction to DWI in Houston For example, provide any local details, like roads where there are high rates of DWI arrests or local entertainment areas where police wait for people leaving clubs, etc. Link to any relevant external sites.
  2. What Happens After an Arrest Provide a brief summary of what happens, including:
  • Where arrestees may be taken to be booked,
  • Courts where misdemeanor and felony crimes may be heard,
  • Jails and prisons where you could be sent.

All local information should be complete with links, addresses, phone numbers, names of police chiefs and judges for each court, and embedded maps, among other details.

  1. Alternative Sentencing Available Within the Jurisdiction If there are drug courts or other specific courts available in lieu of sentencing, then provide that information, location, embedded maps, and other important details — like if the alternative sentencing is in your best interests or not (this will be aligned with your law firm’s brand and specific practice goals).
  2. DWI Charges You Represent Provide a list or summaries of DWI offenses you represent. For example:
  • Misdemeanor
    • First DWI
    • Second DWI
  • Felonies
    • Third and Subsequent DWI
    • DWI With Child Passenger
    • Intoxication Manslaughter
    • Intoxication Assault

You want to provide links to any practice area pages you may have for each of these offenses.

  1. Why Your Law Firm is the Right Fit Provide information about you and your specific experience and qualifications in the law practice area and the specific jurisdiction. You should provide links back to your website’s attorney bio(s) and your case results.

The Dog Bite Personal Injury Attorney Outline

  1. Brief Introduction to Dog Bites & Personal Injury Law Provide local details and this could include local data on dog bites, e.g.: demographic information, nature of injuries, where they occurred.
  2. State Laws & Local Ordinances Provide the state’s laws, but also go into detail on local ordinances — explain what they mean and link to ordinance’s external site.

III. Hospitals / Medical Centers Provide information (and links) about local hospitals and medical centers where you could be treated, complete with addresses and embedded maps. Inform if rabies shots are provided, etc.

  1. Other Relevant Information Provide information (and links) on local authorities, like where to report the dog bite incident (police, dog pounds, etc.).
  2. Why Your Law Firm is the Right Fit Provide information about you and your specific experience and qualifications in the law practice area and the jurisdiction. Provide internal links to relevant pages.

The Tax Attorney Outline

  1. Brief Introduction to Tax Law
  2. Provide Specific Local Information For instance, if you provide IRS audit services, then provide information and links to local IRS offices. Potential clients may search for local IRS offices. If you provide the relevant information, then you could result in organic searches for the same.  

III. Local Tax Services Provide a list or summaries of all your services and provide an internal link to any law practice substantive page on your website. Examples of services include: •  Tax Audits •  Tax Problems •  Tax Fraud

  1. Why Your Law Firm is the Right Fit Provide information about you and your specific experience and qualifications in the law practice area and the jurisdiction. Provide internal links to relevant pages.

For all your local pages, make sure you review and update them on a regular basis. Because you are providing ultra-local information, it may be subject to change more so than other information on your website. For instance, each election year, judges may change — so you may want to calendar the date to review your local page at that time. Keeping these pages current is important.

Law Firm Local Page Best Practices

In addition to structuring and formatting your pages for optimal local landing pages, here is a summary of key points as well as other local page best practices you will want to implement.

  • Create a page for each jurisdiction or location.
  • Use only unique and original content for each page — do not copy and paste and simply change the location or else you may be penalized by the search engines for duplicate content.
  • If you serve the entire state, you still need local pages — the State of Texas, for example, is not locally optimized, so you won’t be considered for local searches when cities like Houston or San Antonio are used.
  • Structure content with headings that use geographic location indicators and keywords.
  • Make the headline <H1> tag unique from the title tag — this allows you to use different keywords to accommodate differently phrased searches.
  • Use geographical keywords in meta descriptions — make sure meta descriptions also accurately describe the content of the page because, if not, visitors will click the link and then click out of it, causing a high bounce rate.
  • Update information on the local page regularly.

Complementing Your Local Page Strategy With the Entire Website

To get the best use out of your local pages, you want them to work in sync with the rest of your website. This means making sure your substantive practice pages have introductions or calls-to-action with each location mentioned and links to each location’s local page. It also means making sure your home page includes where you work. You may also consider a top menu option like “Where We Work” to neatly house your local pages in one place and make it easier for visitors to find. Finally, if you write blogs, make sure you write them on all your locations. They can be about interesting yet relevant local events, news, rules, processes, etc. In the end, keep in mind that your potential clients have a tendency to think locally, not legally. As a result, your website needs to provide potential clients with information that mirrors the way that they think and search. When you focus on a local strategy, your website is likely to bring better and more qualified potential clients to you.    

About the author: Tina Sorenson-Banavathu, LLM, is the Senior Content Editor at LawLytics. Tina graduated from McGill University Faculty of Law, and then worked at an international law firm in Washington, DC in the Environmental and Energy Department. Now at LawLytics, Tina helps lead the editorial and content creation efforts for our content clients.

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