Nick Baird

Nick, the SEO guru, specializes in catapulting businesses to the forefront of search engine rankings. With a keen eye for cutting-edge tactics, he’s dedicated to maximizing client revenues. Elevate your online presence with Nick’s tailored strategies for unparalleled success

How Local SEO Will Help Grow Your Family Law Firm

Relying on your personal network to grow your family law firm has gotten you this far, but growth has plateaued. You’re a stellar lawyer; all your clients know it. But marketing is proving more difficult than you expected. 

Local search engine optimization (SEO) can provide your family law practice with a predictable source of leads so that you can focus more on your work and less on promoting your business. 

How? By putting you on the map. Literally.

 

 

Google is the number one marketing channel in the world; an estimated 77% of consumers use it to find information about local businesses. That’s why over half of small businesses invest in SEO. And if your family law firm isn’t, you’re losing business to the competition. 

In this guide, I’ll walk you through how SEO works as well as provide real examples and actionable tactics you can implement on a DIY basis. If you’d prefer done for you services, consider contacting us for a complimentary website audit and strategy session instead.

Table of Contents

·  What is SEO?

·  Why is local SEO valuable?

·  How does SEO bring inbound traffic?

·  How is SEO different than other marketing channels?

·  How does local SEO compare to national SEO?

·  How does Google’s algorithm work?

·  What exactly does SEO do?

·  Local SEO Techniques You Can Use In 2024

 

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. The job of an SEO is to bring traffic from Google to your website. Simply put, you are optimizing—or enhancing— your website to best match what your target audience is searching for.

The industry is notorious for overcomplicating our work; it comes down to two essential pillars: 

  • Content
  • Link Building

Content means service pages, blogs, and home pages designed to convert curious visitors into customers.

Link building means earning hyperlinks from other websites; SEOs call these inbound links. Google treats them as votes of confidence. Imagine two identical websites. One has only a handful of inbound links from low-quality blogs while Forbes has linked to the other as a top 20 law firm of 2023. The latter will earn Google’s favor. 

 

Why Is SEO Valuable to Your Law Firm? 

Google search is the ultimate form of inbound marketing. It places your business in front of customers at the moment they’ve decided they’re interested in your services.

Not only that, but nearly half of all Google searches are performed by people looking for local information. 

Consider a local coffee chain. They’ve opened their first location in a well-traveled location but are not implementing a strategy to earn Google traffic. Customers will discover them by walking by, and then by word of mouth, but this can only take a business so far. 

Many thousands of people search for “best coffee near me” or “local coffee shop” every day; every business owner should want to compete for that traffic. 

 

How Does SEO Bring Inbound Traffic?

Google generates results based on over 200 ranking signals. Some are more important than others, but they each fall under one of the following categories: 

  • Search intent; what is the user looking for?
  • Content relevance
  • Content quality
  • Usability of web pages
  • Geographic location
  • User search history

Once again, consider a financial advisory practice looking to expand its client base. The firm invests in local SEO. A successful outcome will have you appearing in the map pack and/or organic results. 

The lingo SEOs use for the above is as follows: 

  • Sponsored Ads
  • Local Pack
  • Organic Results

Those sections aren’t equal, either. People don’t trust the sponsored section. Despite appearing second or third, organic and results receive the lion’s share of clicks. 

One last thing; earning traffic as a local business is highly dependent on reviews. In your DIY efforts, consider implementing a system for ethically soliciting reviews for your Google My Business listing.  

 

How Is SEO Different Than Other Marketing Channels?

On social media, anyone could see your post, regardless of whether they’re interested in legal services. Just a few hundred Google search impressions (when a user sees a search result) are worth thousands of social media impressions. 

If you appear in Google, the algorithm has concluded that your content is relevant to a user’s search intent. It’s inbound marketing at its finest.

Paying for advertising, complete with algorithmic targeting, is also good at finding people interested in legal services. But that tactic requires your firm to pay for ads perpetually. When you stop paying, leads dry up. Not only that, but users trust organic results more than sponsored ads; that’s why SEO carries a higher ROI than PPC (pay-per-click) marketing.

How Does Local SEO Compare to National SEO?

  • Local SEO serves results to users within a defined geographic region, with the maximum radius being ~1.5 miles.
  • National SEO serves results to anyone from anywhere, with significant variation from country to country.
  • The value of national SEO is declining. After 2023 algorithm updates, small websites yielded significant amounts of traffic to larger websites. For example, Yelp, Reddit, and Quora.
  • Google is experimenting with “Generative AI.” Imagine searching something and having ChatGPT answer your question. Gartner, an S&P 500 research and consulting firm, predicts that organic search traffic will decrease by 50% as consumers embrace generative AI-powered search.

Related: How Google’s 2023 “Helpful Content” Update Hurt Small Businesses 

 

How Does Google’s Algorithm Work?

Google’s algorith curates the internet.

Since their founding, Google has never explicitly outlined the details of the algorithm. But they have shared the following three core components: crawling, indexing, and ranking. 

Crawling

New websites go through a process Google calls “URL discovery.” When your site is brand new, you can manually submit it to Google. From here, Google will hop from link to link on your website, and others, constructing a map.

Researchers visualized what that map might look like. I’ve taken a screenshot but encourage you to click over and explore the map for yourself.

  • Each circle represents a website
  • Size is relative to traffic volume
  • Proximity indicates how often users move from site to site

Indexing

After Google’s web crawlers go through a web page, they enter a stage called indexing. This involves analyzing text, HTML tags, titles, images, and videos to understand a page’s content. Similar pages are grouped together.

This stage is performed entirely by algorithm. It also collects signals which are used in the next stage, including: language, country, usability, and quality. 

Ranking

When a person asks a question, the algorithm matches the search to indexed pages and returns results evaluated to be of the highest quality and relevance. This process involves hundreds of factors, including user’s location, language, and device (desktop or mobile).

The details of this process are a black box. Nevertheless, through many years of trial and error, SEOs have established an understanding of techniques and best practices that help websites succeed. 

 

What Exactly Does an SEO Do?

SEO experts have a habit of overcomplicating this topic, but as I stated it comes down to two key components:

  • Content
  • Links 

Quality content is about more than grammar and top-notch images, though that matters. The central goal is to satisfy a user’s search intent. 

An SEO will optimize your code and site structure to communicate to Google Bot what your pages are about. From here, we strive to create quality content that engages users. If people remain on your site, it’s because they found what they want, and Google takes note and rewards you with more traffic. 

Backlinks, or inbound links, come from other websites. They act as a vote of confidence, indicating that your content is safe, credible, and trustworthy. The more traffic the website linking to you has, the better.

In the next section, I’ll touch on the best practice tactics SEOs have arrived at after many years of trial and error.

 

SEO Techniques You Can Use in 2024

SEO experts have settled on a handful of methods to move the needle. Here’s a brief overview of these tactics; we’ve gone into more detail in subsequent articles.

1. EEAT: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness

In simple terms, your content should showcase expertise in the subject, establish authority in the field, and be trustworthy for better search engine rankings. Search engines favor content from reliable sources, written by knowledgeable authors, that users can trust for accurate information.

2. Maintain and Optimize Your Google Business Profile

An optimized Google Business Profile acts like a digital storefront.

It helps people find your business, displays important details like your address, phone number, and operating hours, as well as showcasing reviews. A well-optimized profile boosts your rankings and increases the likelihood of attracting local customers to your firm. 

3. Name Address Phone (NAP) Citations

“Citations” are instances of your business’s name, address, and phone number that appear in directories across the web: Facebook, The Yellow Pages, and Better Business Bureau, for instance. 

Consistency establishes trust and credibility by verifying that your business is located where your website and Google My Business profile indicate. Inconsistent NAP information can confuse search engines, leading to lower visibility in local searches. 

Click here for a how-to guide to optimizing your NAP citations and here for a list of the top law firm directory websites.

4. Link Building

Authority and credibility play a major role in rankings and inbound links from credible websites boost trustworthiness in Google’s eyes. 

Some links will come organically alongside quality content, but SEOs also use a host of tactics to earn links inorganically. Read here for the top xxyy ways SEOs help local businesses earn inbound links.

5. Keyword Research

Keyword research is akin to uncovering the words people use when searching for products or information. 

For example, according to our SEO research tools, “family law attorney” is searched 8500 times a month while “divorce lawyer” is searched only 4800 times. If you had to pick one, it’d be best to optimize your website for “family law attorney.” 

Performing the keyword research process is one of the most important skills an SEO possesses. Click here for our 101 DIY walkthrough and here for the top xxyy keywords family law websites should strive to rank for.

6. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

Approximately 60% of web traffic comes from mobile devices while 40% is from desktop. That said, most web design happens on a desktop, so there’s often a mismatch between what a designer produces while working on their desktop and how the site appears on a phone. 

Google indicated in 2023 that mobile-friendliness, while not explicitly a ranking factor, is couched in a larger system of signals that determine search results. In short, it’s important.

7. Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics Google uses to measure real-world user experience. They include: 

  • Page load speed (how quickly does it load?)
  • Interactivity (how quickly can users click elements on a page?) 
  • Visual stability (how much does the layout shift as the page loads?)

 

Conclusion 

The majority of users turn to Google for local information; neglecting SEO means losing out to competitors. By leveraging local SEO, you can stop relying on unpredictable referrals and grow your business with a sustainable and predictable source of leads.

We encourage you to read the guides we’ve linked to in this article: much of SEO can be accomplished on a DIY basis. Additionally, consider learning more about our SEO services here and when the time is right, contact us for a complimentary local SEO website and strategy audit.

Discover the secrets to skyrocket your business’s visibility and dominate search engine rankings in 2024.

Nick Baird

Nick, the SEO guru, specializes in catapulting businesses to the forefront of search engine rankings. With a keen eye for cutting-edge tactics, he’s dedicated to maximizing client revenues. Elevate your online presence with Nick’s tailored strategies for unparalleled success