So far this month, the James Attorney Marketing blog’s SEO Trends feature has focused on upcoming changes to Google’s algorithm to benefit mobile-friendly websites. The big advantage for US lawyers from this trend is that potential clients on the go are likely to search for a lawyer through their smartphone or tablet. Local search goes hand in hand with mobile search, because usually, those searching through a mobile device are looking for services in their neighborhood, and that’s where most lawyers get their clients. The basics of acing local search are fairly straightforward. All search engines created local search services by tying their search engine algorithms to their mapping services. So, step one of getting your law firm’s local profile active is getting your location registered on Google, Bing and Yahoo maps. After that, things get a little more complicated. Some news stories over the past week in Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal will help you grapple with the task of getting your legal practice visible locally.
Every task requires a plan. This article from Search Engine Watch covers strategies for implementing local search visibility. It combines a range of media and explains where it is worth paying for search results positions and advertising, and where you should focus on your on-site presentation. The article will introduce you to a digital marketing concept called the Local Marketing Adoption Curve. Thinking strategically will help you get your law firm’s local marketing beyond a pin on a digital map.
This interview with local SEO guru, Greg Gifford is basically a promotion for a Search Engine Journal summit on local SEO in Dallas at the end of the month. However, if you are really trying to focus on your law firm’s local SEO strategy right now, it might be worth going along to the event – the expense will be tax-deductible. If you can’t make room in your diary for a trip to Dallas, you can read through Mr Gifford’s opinions on local search in this article.
One big advantage of getting your law firm registered on Google Maps is that Google will then display it in a group of local results at the top of the search results page alongside a map. This article explains that Google is currently playing about with the “local pack” block. Usually, when Google starts fiddling about with an element of its layout you can bet something big is about to happen to that aspect of SEO. Google has announced a mobile-friendly adjustment to its algorithm scheduled for April, so there will probably be a big element of those changes that derive from local SEO.
Here is more evidence that Google is focusing more development on local SEO signals. This Search Engine Roundtable article explains a change in the layout of local business displays on Google Maps. This should make it easier to notify Google when your law firm moves to new offices.
Search Engine Roundtable reports that Google seems to be cutting back its support services on Google My Business, which is the place you have to go to organize your law firm’s listing on Google Maps. Maybe they are spending less on support because they are blowing all their budget on development. However, you now have only between 7 AM and 12 PM PDT to contact support by phone. The American Heritage Dictionary defines 12 PM as noon. “PDT” means Pacific Daylight Time.