When marketing your law firm, you are likely familiar with the workings of search engines and how they show results when a user searches for an attorney within a specific geographic area. While the major search engines like Google and Bing are aware of efforts to “best” the system and actively combat overt attempts to manipulate their search results, there are some simple best-practices you can follow to make sure your site is optimized to present the best option for their algorithms and appear in the top results for a given search.
Multi-lingual and geo-specific search engine optimization (SEO) techniques however present unique challenges for lawyers. This article will help you determine your goals and offer some special considerations required for reaching potential clients in a specific area.
Who are you targeting?
The first step of any successful marketing technique is to consider your audience. Do the majority of your clients live in the same community you do? Are most people you service out of state? Is English their first language? The answers to these questions will help you determine the extent to which you will need to implement language specific to a location. Geo-specific language can be useful if you are faced with the following:
- Reaching people in a different part of the country: Many firms offer services that extend nationwide. To keep up with the competition in those regions, it is common to create local landing pages to provide unique content to potential clients in other cities.
- Reaching people who speak a different language: Especially if you work in an area where the residents speak a foreign language or you specialize in immigration law, multi-lingual web pages can help you reach more potential clients.
Although lawyers in the categories above may benefit the most from geo-specific language, all attorneys should use the tool to help their search results. Keep reading to learn about the best techniques that will address your needs and keep your content engaging.
SEO best practices for your website
When you are attempting to reach people searching for your law firm, having a well-optimized site is the way to go. To indicate to Google and other search engines that your practice is indeed located in your particular city and practice-area, your site should have all of the following:
- Title and description: Your title and meta description are the first impressions people will have of your page. Be sure to incorporate the name of your city, state, or another region you are trying to promote.
- Geographic keywords: At the very least, include your location in your title, opening paragraphs, and call to action. Keeping the place relevant will increase the likelihood of Google and other search engines displaying your page.
- Unique content: There is no point in creating a local landing page if it contains the same information as your regular homepage. Incorporate location-specific content including events in the area, blog posts about the community, and testimonials from past clients from that city.
- Name, address, phone number (NAP): Your NAP data should be on your page, and it should be localized. People on your site will notice whether your phone number has a local area code and if your office is in the area. Consider investing in different phone lines for different regions if you haven’t already.
- Include a map: This feature is useful regardless of your location. Including a user-friendly map with directions to your office will prove that you are working in the neighborhood and add an extra layer of trust and reputability to your firm.
- Promote local backlinks: Backlinks are (typically do-follow) links that take users from one website to a different website. For example, if the local newspaper wrote a story about your firm and included a link to your main website, that’s a backlink! Backlinks are essential because they prove you are a legitimate and trustworthy business. Try to identify and expand backlinks whenever possible.
- Call-to-action: The call to action should be the last paragraph of your page, and it should encourage people to contact your firm. When people know how to reach you and are prompted to do so, they are more likely to turn into a client. Make sure to include information specific to the city if you have more than one location.
Translating your Pages
The suggestions above for writing optimized local landing pages apply even if you are writing your page in another language. Keywords and creativity can help your page rank regardless of who is searching for it, but the following guidelines are also relevant when attempting a multi-lingual conversion.
- Hire a translator: The quality of your translation will make all the difference when someone comes across your page. Unless you are fluent in the foreign language you are writing, hire someone else to translate your pages for you. People browsing your site will appreciate the clarity and effort you put into providing them with great content.
- Avoid duplicate content: Search engines do not favor duplicate content. When two pages contain the same material, one will inevitably win out over the other, which will cause one of your pages to suffer in ranking. In general, if your content is in another language, it will not count as a duplicate. Just to be sure, there is a tag you can use that will let Google know your intentions. Read more about the “hreflang” tag in this article published by Yoast.
When people are looking for an attorney, the first place they turn is usually Google. Keeping your website current and interesting attracts new clients and helps convert curious internet browsers into clients. Implementing geo-specific language is an advanced technique that will show others that you and your firm take their individualized needs seriously.
Of course, proper SEO and marketing techniques can take a long time to develop and may be difficult to maintain for some attorneys. If this is the case for your firm, consider hiring an external media marketing company. Many of these businesses specialize in optimizing websites, and they can help you add geo-specific language to your site. Whether you do it yourself or contact a professional, these tips will put you and your firm on the path to expanding your clientele.