When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) for small to medium sized law firms (SMLFs), you need to think more like small to medium sized businesses. What does this mean?
First, think hyper local. Look, everyone wants to be number one for the highest volume search terms that are relevant to their practice. Unfortunately, unless you can allocate thousands of dollars per month to search marketing, in most cases, it’s simply not going to happen.
However, as SMBs understand, there are many new clients to be had on the hyper local level. This means that your search marketing efforts must be focused on hyper local. Here are a couple quick tips:
1. Link Acquisition: Instead of trying to acquire links for very broad terms, focus on highly localized and specific terms. For example, if you’re an injury lawyer in Chicago, instead of acquiring “chicago injury lawyer” links, perhaps you acquire “lincoln park injury lawyer” or “belmont injury lawyer” links (note: these terms have not been properly researched and are for example purposes only).
2. Local Web Places: In addition to changing your anchor text strategy, you should also localize the sites from which you acquire links. Instead of getting links from the same places every other lawyer is getting them (although you should get these too), look for hyper-localized websites. Again, in our Chicago injury lawyer example, look for local community sites that have link acquisition and advertising opportunities. We have seen a great deal of success in simply advertising with local news outlets and radio stations. Typically, these links are also of very high quality.
3. Local Social Networking: Social media and social networking usually have localization built-in. Your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook networks typically contain people you may know from your community. If they don’t, start building local social networks.
4. Local Review Sites: Sites like Yelp! are popping up all over the place. Getting reviews on these sites plays a huge role in increasing the visibility of your SMLF online. Claim your business listing and encourage clients and colleagues to leave reviews.
5. GetListed.Org & Universal Business Listing: I frequently sing the praises of these sites. Go to GetListed.Org and claim your profiles. It’s probably the single most important thing you can do for local visibility. You should also consider Universal Business Listing. It’s only $30 for the year, and can have significant impact on your visibility on local directories, as well as, the most important directory of all, Google.
Fortunately, search engine users are a very diverse bunch, I don’t just mean in national origin, age, and other socio-economic demographics. I’m talking about diversity in the ways they perform searches. Which is key for those of use who are trying to increase our visibility within search engines.
Not everyone is using the head terms that you will find in the Google Keyword Tool and WordTracker. In fact, as many as 25% of all searches have never been performed before. The bottom line is that there is a lot of opportunity for growth. So, if you’re the owner of an SMLF, when it comes to SEO, think like an SMB.