This post originally appeared in March 2019. We’ve updated some of the content and encourage you to read our recently published Lawyer’s Guide to SEO.
Competition for the all-important first page on Google is fierce and your strategy for local SEO has to be equally aggressive if you want to outrank your competitors in local search.
Search Engine Land provides these 5 tips for SEO tactics that your competition probably doesn’t know about:
Local SEO Tip #1: Google Posts
Claiming your Google My Business listing is a MUST for local SEO. No getting around it! It’s probably safe to say that most of your competitors have done nothing else with their listings beyond claiming them because some SEO expert told them they had to. You can go beyond to beat them with Google Posts.
Google Posts look like PPC ads but they are free. They can include a photo, description, offer, landing page URL — whatever you have to say or promote. You can offer holiday greetings, a free report, or information on an event you’re hosting.
To create your Google Post, go to your Google My Business dashboard. In the left-hand navigation, you will see “Posts”. Just click on it and start posting! Google keeps it up for 7 days or, if you are promoting an event, after the event date has passed. They will email you to remind you when your post is expiring to let you know it’s time to create a new one.
Local SEO Tip #2: Choose a specific Google My Business Category
Having the right Google My Business category can make a big difference in how your firm ranks on Google. Don’t just go with the “Lawyer” category — claim a more specific category that says what kind of law you practice (i.e., family law attorney, estate planning attorney, business attorney, etc.). If your competitors are currently outranking you, check out which category they are using and try using the same one to see if that moves the needle for you.
Local SEO Tip #3: Use URL Best Practices
URLs are important because they tell Google and your site visitors what your site is all about. They should be as descriptive and specific as possible while also being concise and user-friendly. Use your keywords when possible as well as your city.
If you have a WordPress site, you will have to go in and manually create a custom URL structure for your permalinks and archives by accessing “Permalinks” from Settings in your WordPress dashboard.
Local SEO Tip #4: Have a Secure Site
If your site is not secure — the URL shows “HTTP” instead of “HTTPS” — it will issue a “not secure” warning to visitors using the Chrome browser (which has a hefty 70% market share), and that can be the kiss of death for your site. Google is basically telling visitors not to visit your site, and an unsecure site suffers when it comes to search ranking as well.
Search Engine Land recommends this guide on how to switch your site from HTTP to HTTPS.
Local SEO Tip #5: Create Quality Content
Not only does Google value high quality content, so do your prospects! If you’re stuck for content ideas, there are some great online tools that will help you discover the most popular questions asked about a particular topic, including:
In addition, you want to make sure you do the basics for strengthening your local SEO, including engaging on social media and obtaining positive reviews from happy clients.