How can your law firm get found on Google for cities where you do not have an office? Well, there are three common approaches to this challenge. You can either:
- Have individual websites for each service area
- Have one website, but list each service area on one landing page
- Have one website, but create separate landing pages for each service area
Weighing Your Options
The best approach? I’ll tell you right off the bat that I don’t recommend the first choice. While the multiple website strategy has its pros and cons, it’s better to concentrate your link juice towards one site than split up your efforts across multiple sites. You’ll see quicker results over time when you’re focused on one bulls-eye.
You won’t necessarily benefit from the second strategy, either. By stuffing information about all your service areas on one page, you will miss out on some ranking opportunities.
Option three would be your best bet if you care to get online visibility for all your service areas. The question is, should you care? Are location pages the right move for law firms?
ABSOLUTELY. I’ll tell you why: more online visibility equals more website traffic, and more website traffic equals more open cases. Who doesn’t want free more of the right cases?
What Are Location Pages?
Location pages, (also known as “geo pages” or “city pages”) are landing pages that represent your individual service areas. Many businesses add them to their websites.
I’ll give you a perfect example. What’s the first page you look for on a fast food, grocery store, or pharmacy website? Most would say that they look for the store locator to find the closest establishment near them. That’s essentially what a location page is.
Location pages are an essential element to a franchise business’ website. It’s an easy way for current and potential customers to find them locally. Although your law firm isn’t a franchise business, there’s one similarity you might share: numerous service areas. If you serve multiple cities, you need location pages as much a franchise business. You might as well use them to your advantage and reap the benefits.
More Reasons to Add Location Pages to Your Site
Let’s face it—you broadened your local service area to expand your reach. While this is a surefire way to attract new faces, potential clients in those areas may not know that you exist. Proper advertising can solve this problem, and search engine optimization (SEO) can be a fantastic free advertising tool when done right.
Speaking of SEO…
As a local business, there are SEO strategies you can implement that location-independent businesses can’t (called local SEO strategies). Location pages happen to be one of them. These pages are a valuable asset to your website when you have several service areas. I encourage you to leverage them at all costs.
Let’s dig deeper into the SEO benefits of a location page. Search engines feed off details. Google, Bing, and all the other websites want as much information about your business as possible. The more details they can index, the better. More specifically:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why you’re doing it
- How long you’ve been doing it
- Where you are
You better believe that the search engines will want information on your service areas. With optimized location pages already on your website, they can index these details easily. Not only will they get the local information they need from these pages, but you can also improve your site’s ranking authority for the geo-targeting keywords they’re optimized for. It’s a win-win for both you and the search engines!
If you want to beat your competitors in local search results, location pages can also help you score the #1 spot for certain search queries.
That in itself is a big accomplishment. Let’s say that you’re a personal injury attorney in La Jolla, CA. If you’re the first result that pops up for that search term, you can get a good amount of website traffic from that alone.
How to Set Up Your Location Pages for Success
Location pages have to be done with tact in order to benefit from them. There are right ways to do them, and there are wrong ways. I encourage you to use precaution when setting them up. As long as you follow these guidelines, you’ll be in great shape.
Optimize Your Pages for SEO
There’s a lot that goes into a successfully optimized location page. If you want Google to rank these pages, you’ll need to include certain elements on each one.
Here’s the essential information you should add to your location pages:
- Unique, keyword-rich content that describes each service area
- Your business name, address, and phone number (also known as your NAP information)
- Embedded maps that pinpoint your service areas
- Office hours
- Contact forms
You also have your nice to haves that would enhance your pages, which are:
- Photos of your staff members based on the areas they serve
- Service area-based testimonials
Build, Internal, External & Local Links
If you don’t have any quality backlinks linking to your location pages, you’re wasting your time.
Backlinks are established when one website links to another. Quality backlinks from high-authority sites signal that you yourself are an authority site. In other words, they prove to Google that you’re a website worth visiting.
As a result, Google rewards websites by the amount of high-quality backlinks they have. The reward? Higher search engine rankings.
Link building is one of the most critical aspects of your SEO campaign. You’re going to need a good link building strategy to get your location pages found on Google.
On top of that, we want to get your location pages on the first page for certain search queries. This alone will require some effort.
As a law firm, there are multiple link building tactics you can use to your advantage. You have a wealth of internal, external, and local link building opportunities at your disposal.
Internal Link Building
Internal link building is the act of cross-promoting your pages within your site. For instance, if you add your homepage URL to one of your location pages, that’s considered an internal link. While your link building opportunities may be limited amongst your core pages (e.g, your homepage, your about page, your services page, etc.), blogging provides endless internal link building opportunities.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say that you’re a criminal defense attorney in Southern California, and Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County are three of your service areas. We’ll also assume that you have location pages on your website for each city. Since the common types of crimes differ by location, you can turn that into three different blog posts. The new blog posts serve as an opportunity for you to link back to your location pages. Get where I’m going with this?
External Link Building
External links are links that are earned from other websites. The key to success with external link building? Getting high-authority sites to link back to your website. As a law firm, you’ll hit the jackpot when you can earn links from Forbes, Inc., and popular legal blogs and publications. Don’t beat yourself up if Wall Street Journal doesn’t come knocking down your door right away. You can start small and build up to that. What matters most is the progress you make over time.
Aside from blogs and publications, there are plenty of other ways you can build external links. First things first, sign up for Help a Report Out (HARO).
Journalists and editors look for experts on this website to solicit their expertise. If the expertise fits whatever story they’re working on, they’ll usually mention that expert in their article. A lot of journalists and editors hang out on Twitter as well, so you can create a Twitter list to keep track of their latest updates. You just might find a potential opportunity in the mix.
Surprisingly, attorney collaborations are another effective strategy for external links. You have a blog. Other attorneys have blogs. By contributing guest posts to other law firms’ blogs (non-competing firms, of course), you can build some really great links.
Local Link Building
Finally, there’s local link building. Local links—also known as local citations—are highly important for local businesses. You can earn these types of links by establishing a presence on social media, and leveraging local and lawyer-specific directories.
These websites are a great starting point for local citations:
- Google My Business
- Lawyer Central
- Super Lawyers
Link building gets easier as you become a thought leader in your niche, but thought leadership doesn’t happen overnight. Think of link building as a marathon rather than a sprint. Like your content, it’s important to focus more on quality rather than quantity.
Before you put any link building energy towards your location pages, check Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. You’ll want your site to be indexed properly by the search engines. If it isn’t, your links won’t give you much ranking power.
Steer Clear of Redundant Content
Quality is the name of the SEO game across the board. If your website is flooded with low-quality content, you are jeopardizing your ranking potential as we speak.
Clear indicators of poorly-performing content include:
- Low page traffic
- Poor engagement
- High bounce rates
- Duplicate or copied content
- Thin content
Numbers don’t lie. Google’s algorithms can easily detect low-quality content.
They base it off the amount of website traffic coming to each page. High amounts of low-quality content—called index bloat—is bad for SEO. The consequences? Let’s just say that they aren’t good. Thankfully, you can avoid index bloat with stellar content that perfectly fits the searcher’s intent.
Keep Location Pages Off Menu Navigation
Site navigation plays a huge role in the user experience.
It makes perfect sense to have core pages like Car Accidents and Wrongful Death accessible via the main navigation. But if you are going to build out several location pages, it might be a little tacky to showcase them front and center.
Instead, leverage them has landing pages accessible to users who found them from organic search or Google Ads campaigns.
Provide Unique Value on Every Page
Do you know how many law firms are eyeing the same keywords as you? If you live in a big city and you focus on a popular practice area, you most likely have a lot of competition. It’s going to take more than a pretty website to outrank your competitors. Value-based content is your secret weapon.
Why? Value attracts visitors. While location pages are a smaller priority for your website, they should still provide as much value as your other pages. The level of quality matters. It just has to be there if want the search engines to rank your website.
How closely you match the searcher’s intent determines how well your location pages perform. It’s also important to speak each audience’s language. If you’re targeting the keyword, “Irvine Car Accident Lawyer,” make the verbiage of that location page relevant to the city locals.
There you have it. Location pages can support your bottom line when it comes to SEO—as long as you don’t miss the mark. The pages just have to meet the search engine’s guidelines if you want proven results.
As you know, I love hearing from Law Firms. Does your firm utilize Location Pages? Have you had success with the tactic? Feel free to leave a comment and share your experience with rolling out location pages.
Of course, if you’d like professional help with the initiative, don’t hesitate to contact us today.