If you’re a solo attorney or you own a small law firm, there’s a good chance that carefully crafted local pages on your law firm’s website will benefit your business.
This is an area that attorneys sometimes overlook or misunderstand.
What are local pages, exactly?
In this post, we’ll discuss how local pages benefit law firms, how they drive web users to your site, and why they can encourage potential clients to contact you.
What are local pages on law firm websites?
There are foundational elements that make up all successful local pages.
The most basic element you have is your domain. That includes your website and the content that you own and control. For your website and content to be successful, you’ll need to invest your time or money (and sometimes both) into creating useful content for your potential clients. You want to build infrastructure that’s local in nature which isn’t just useful right now, but that’s also beneficial for your law firm as time goes on.
Consider the potential clients who have (or believe they have) a problem that’s local in its nature. You’ll need local information that’s actually relevant to those potential clients. That information should go beyond what you might discuss about a practice area generally. For example, a blog post might outline some recent changes in local politics that could impact cases, or a substantive page might explain local rules and processes that potential clients need to know about.
Local pages can show up in different forms. Local pages show up as blog posts, or as pages such as your case results, recommendations, an office location page, or your attorney bio. Any of these could be targeted to be local in nature. When you decide to make a page local, make sure the page contains specific information about the location and your firm can solve the local problem that your client has. You can also add things like locally optimized images, maps and addresses.
What isn’t a local page for law firm websites…
It’s important to define what a local page looks like. It’s also important to know what a local page is not. There’s enough misinformation out there already for attorneys, so it’s valuable for you to be able to distinguish between the two. When you can clearly define what a local page is (and what makes it work), you’ll know what’s empty sales talk or what practices are in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Local pages exist within your website. When it comes to local pages for attorneys, a local page isn’t something that happens outside of your website. For example, local pages aren’t things like your Yelp listing, Avvo, or Google Local.
A good local page isn’t stuffed with local keywords. A good local page isn’t one that you can stuff with local keywords. Here’s an example of local keyword stuffing:
“Attorney John Smith is a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney who handles personal injury cases in Pittsburgh as well as personal injury cases in Mount Lebanon, Franklin Park and Edgewood. If you need a personal injury attorney in Pittsburgh, Mount Lebanon, Franklin Park or Edgewood, call our firm today.”
Keyword stuffing looks strange. Potential clients are able to spot it quickly. It’s also a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and it can hurt your law firm’s web presence. (For more about other practices that can hurt your firm, view our on-demand webinar about Google Webmaster Guidelines For Lawyers.)
A good local page isn’t a find-and-replace page template. When we talk about what makes a good local page, we’re not talking about:
- Creating a page template with a city name in it;
- Conducting a find-and-replace for that keyword;
- And duplicating that page over and over again for different cities, towns, counties or otherwise.
Doing this isn’t useful for your potential clients. And duplicate content, even when the city name changes, is a violation of Google’s Webmaster’s Guidelines.
A good local page doesn’t exist without purpose. Your local pages shouldn’t exist to vaguely touch on something local but fail to make a meaningful contribution to the online conversation. Does your local page make a potential client any smarter after reading it? If not, it likely needs some revisions to add to the collective knowledge that your potential clients and referral sources gain by reading that page.
Which practice areas benefit from creating local pages?
There are lots of practice areas that can benefit from creating high quality local pages. They include but aren’t limited to:
- Criminal Defense
- Personal Injury
- Small business
- Family Law
- Property Law
…and many others.
Think about the problems your clients have. Now think about how those problems relate to things like local areas, local landmarks, local functions or events, and so on. These things are ripe for local targeting. When you think about your clients’ problems on a local level and put some planning into it, your law firm is more likely to see an increase in leads.
Potential clients don’t always realize they need an attorney when they conduct online searches. They may conduct Google searches related to their problem. And, when they do a search, they may focus on the local nature of their problem. For example, someone arrested for a DUI might search for, “What should I do if I was arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles?” or something more complicated like, “I was arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles. Do I have to mention that on a California job application?”
When your law firm creates the content that speaks to locally targeted problems, those pages are likely going to be offered to potential clients in search engine results pages.
Why should I create local pages on my law firm’s website?
Keep in mind the advantages of creating a solid plan to target potential clients in a local fashion. Most of your competitors are not going to take the time to think about their clients’ problems on a local level. They’re not likely to be creating these detailed, useful local pages. And the legal marketing companies that most lawyers engage aren’t likely to be thinking about this on a hyper-local level. Here are the reasons why.
First, they may not understand the benefits of doing so. Secondly, they are unlikely to have the bandwidth to do so. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, no one understands the local nuances of your practice as you do. That’s one reason why it’s so vital for attorneys to be able to control their own marketing. By taking a little time to understand law firm SEO and how your potential clients find you online, attorneys can quickly learn how to think about their local market and reach potential clients in their area. Having good, attorney-focused technology like LawLytics makes the process of creating web-optimized local pages easier than ever.
In future blog posts, I’ll be discussing specific elements of local pages and provide examples for your specific practice area.
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