SEO for lawyers for freeby Tim Hagan on 02/28/12
As an experiment, go to Google and try searching your name. Then do it with your office location and terms like “attorney” and “lawyer.”
You will find that you are already listed in a number of lawyer-directories, like Martindale Hubbell, Justicia and AVVO. Then again, it may be your name at a former address. Your first step is to go to those sites, claim your listing and fill it in. That way you control what people see when they plug your name into a search engine. Moreover, many of these directories will let you list your website. The search engines view links to your site as an indicia of credibility and they can’t tell whether you put them up yourself.
Get yourself rated by Martindale Hubbell as part and parcel of this process. If you get an AV rating, that’s a feather in your cap. If you are rated as BV, you can claim that you have the highest possible rating for honesty and integrity, which in many cases, is the main thing that people are looking for.
Your next step is to go to Google and claim your listing in Google locations. If you know anything about Google, you know that the success of the Company flows from its ability to provide search results that the user finds relevant. They recognize that one weakness of internet searches is that they can’t be naturally targeted to specific locations, yet that is often exactly what the user wants. Google Places represents their effort to fix that. You need a physical address to appear in the search results for a given location. When you claim your listing in Google locations, you help them make sure that someone who lives within five miles of your office will find you when they search for lawyers within five miles of their home. This gives you an advantage, with respect to your own backyard, that state-wide advertisers can’t compete with. This is a relatively new feature. It’s being pushed by Google, but not all of the local businesses have caught on yet.
As you go through this process, keep track of which sites allow for customer reviews. Google is one. When you have a satisfied client, ask them to rate you and tell them where to go.
If you want to take it one step farther, without spending any SEO money, go back to Google Places and supplement your listing. Load your listing up with keywords that will generate responses. List your practice areas. List terms related to your practice area. Thus, a divorce lawyer might want to list “QUADRO” or “child support.”
If you want to take it one step farther still, set up a Google AdWords account and use it to test for keywords that will yield results. You don’t have to purchase any AdWords, but the AdWords site contains free SEO tools that let you discover effective keywords.