Law Firm SEO Case Study + Tips 

 Increase In Organic Traffic Over

310%. With Zero Content.

A study showed that 78% of “local” searches on Google resulted in offline purchases or “instore purchases”.

Put simply, if you own a local business, capturing Google searches = more clients.

In this post, I’m going to break down the exact “local SEO” tactics we used to help Scottandsmithlaw.com increase local keyword rankings and organic traffic by over 310% in just 12 months.

Ranking them #1 for all of their locations they ultimately hit client capacity and hired a larger team to handle more cases.

NOTE: Scott & Smith were an established firm in the Washington region and received a small amount of traffic from branded searches. All new organic traffic came from “bottom of funnel” keywords (I.e. “personal injury attorney near me”).

I will get the same results for your business

Specifically, I will be covering 6 “local SEO” tactics we used to achieve this growth:

 

  1. Keyword Research
  2. “On page” optimization
  3. Schema + Structured data
  4. Google My Listing Optimizations
  5. Citation audit and cleanup
  6. Local PR campaign for backlinks

I will get the same results for your business

1: Find keywords + map intent to pages

Doing proper keyword research is straightforward  – there’s plenty of research on Google about this and best tools to use.

The challenge is trying to identify localized keywords when:

  • You have multiple office locations 
  • You have multiple keywords with different intent


For Scott and Smith Law, we had to tackle both.

Not only does Scott and Smith Law have more than 1 location, but its model is a full-service law firm – personal injury, family, divorce, and criminal law.

Each of these searches (E.e. “location + service”) triggers a different set of results in Google.

This tells us that Google sees each keyword as completely different. It’s can be challenging to rank the same page for multiple terms that Google sees as separate services.

But each of these keywords was crucial to the Firm’s growth. The goal was to maximize organic footprint by ranking for all of their services + locations. 
We had to come up with a strategy that would allow Scott and Smith Law to rank for multiple keywords in multiple cities. We decided to go this route:

A:  Build out /location-service/ pages on the website to target main keywords.

Before working with us, the website was relying on the homepage to target all keywords, across all locations.

If you want to rank a website for multiple locations, you need dedicated landing pages targeting each local market.
We decided to set up “location” pages that would target the main, higher search volume keywords (i.e. “location” + law service). For example:

  • scottandsmithlaw.com/freeland-lawyer – a dedicated landing page for each physical office location. These pages would contain unique descriptions of that office, hours, map embeds (with driving directions), Schema Markup, reviews and photos.
  • Scottandsmithlaw.com – the homepage was already indexed on page 4 for their region so we decided to stick with ranking the homepage for the region to save us time and resources.

Ranking these pages for primary keywords allowed us to dictate the office hours, Attorneys on Staff and services offered for potential clients.

 

B:  Using “Legal Queries ” sites to grab more exposure.

Ranking in the legal niche is tough. In today’s age you are no longer competing against other law firms websites but also against aggregator sites (Avvo, Yelp, etc) this leaves about 25% of traffic to organic results in a competitive market.

Aside from just ranking their website, we wanted to deploy additional tactics to gain traffic.

Instead of trying to fight aggregator sites, we took advantage of them. Avvo, Justia, Super Lawyers – they are monster sites.

The beauty of these monster sites is they each have their own internal algorithm to rank lawyer profiles.

We optimized their profiles to rank for their “money keywords” almost immediately.

To summarize our plan of attack:

  • Build location pages on the website to capture “main” keywords
  • Rank their homepage for a larger area
  • Optimize each Attorney ’s query listing page to gain more traffic faster.

2: Correct “on page” elements

 

As mentioned, we created “law service” pages for each physical location using a inner page architecture.
 

We focused on a few key elements: 

Mobile Friendly

When people are searching for “lawyers”, they are typically browsing on the phone. Their old website was not mobile friendly. We had to change that ASAP.

Set up a standard naming for Titles and Headers:

Location Main Keyword – Secondary Keywords – Name (or Brand)

For example:

Oak Harbor Lawyer – Family Law – Attorney Andrew Scott

We then used citation page titles to capture other keyword searches.

Avvo:

Scott and Smith Law – Oak Harbor Lawyers 

Google My Business:

Scott and Smith Attorneys at Law PLLC – Oak Harbor Lawyers

Google Map embed

We want to connect the association of your website with the verified GMB listing.

The best way to do this is building a section on your homepage lander with a map embed.

Firm Images

We suggest you get professional photos. But its not always necessary. People like to see your office so try not to use stock images.

Reviews

In order to get review stars to show under your URL on the SERPs, there needs to be schema coded into your page.

Firm Info

It’s crucial to add the firm’s info to each location page – it’s one of the main things a visitor looks at. It’s often referred to as NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) and is a big ranking factor in Local SEO.

 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Hours

Remember, NAP should be set correctly on the landing page of each location.

 

 

External Links

Search engines like Google go from webpage to webpage via links – these links help to build an association and “equity” between linked pages.

I like to add external links to create an association between relevant online properties.

  • Google My Business listing
  • Google Maps/directions to the office
  • Social media profiles (link to location-specific ones)
  • Other important citations like Avvo

This helps clean up what is shown for branded search.

3: Add proper Schema Markup to location pages

 

Structured Data (sometimes called it microdata or Schema) helps search engines know what your page’s content is about.
In Google’s Intro to Schema Data, they say:
“You can help Google Search understand the meaning of a page by including structured data in your code. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content.”

Source

To deploy proper local SEO schema, we did the following:
Use JSON-LD Format
Google prefers that you markup your pages using JSON-LD (JavaScript) versus Microdata and RDFa (HTML).

You don’t need to be a technical wizard to write this code – you can use an online free tool like JSON-LD Schema Generator

You can read more about Structured Data formatting here.

Add Local Business microdata

You can use schema to tell Google your page is attached to a physical location. We added this markup to each of the “location” pages we setup.

4: Build, verify and optimize “Google My Business” pages for each Location.

 

“Maps pack” rankings are tied to your Google My Business listing, not [only] your website. Since the Google Maps Pack gets hella clicks, it’s important we pay special attention to optimizing each of our listing.

Get Verified

You will have a very hard time ranking in the map pack without being verified by Google.

Read More On Verification Here.

Completely Fill Out Your GMB Info

Google always is expanding what you can add here. So keep an eye on it. Obviously, make sure hours are correct and contact info.  

 

Leverage keywords in title

As mentioned above, we like to use Google My Business to target our main location and keyword.

You’re able to edit the title of your GMB page to include keywords. You have to be careful not to “stuff” titles, or you’ll get spanked by Google.

Bad title:

Keyword + Brand

Oak Harbor Lawyer Scott & Smith Attorneys at Law

Good title:

Brand – Keyword

Scott & Smith Attorneys at Law  – Oak Harbor Lawyer

It’s subtle, but it makes a diff.

Ask for Reviews

Reviews are a big ranking factor in local search – but they can challenging to get

Our two favorite methods other than point blank asking are:

“Locked” wifi to solicit reviews + social growth

To unlock the wifi (in the waiting room) we implemented a prompt to leave a review (or follow their Facebook page).

Used our 5 Star Review Link + Email

We set up a link tool that you send to clients. If that client is signed into Google (95% people are) a pop up will happen with a pre-filled 5 stars.

Try it here. Feel free to ask us about this tool.

5: Find, build & clean up citation pages

 

A “local citation” is an online mention of the name, address and phone number ( “NAP”) for your business. Essentially, it’s like an online version of the yellow pages.

Creating citations helps with local SEO because it tells Google you’re a legitimate business and you want to be found.

This was a lengthy process for Scott and Smith Law. They recently changed their Firm’s name. As a result, we had to replace old citations with new and updated citations.
We have a 3 step process to manage citations:

 

  1. Clean up existing citations.
  2. Discover new opportunities.
  3. Create new citations

Clean Up Existing Citations

We look at citations in 2 parts:

  • Citations for SEO purposes. These help boost rankings (i.e. includes a link), but serve no real value to your clients as these citation sites are NOT heavily used.
  • Citations for client purposes. Sites that people are actively using to find local businesses – Yelp, Avvo, Justia, etc.

When it comes to cleaning up citations for SEO purposes, we typically outsource using these companies:

BrightLocal

WhiteSpark

Citations for customer purposes (Yelp, Avvo) we clean up in-house. Not only do potential clients actively search these sites, but we can also rank them in organic search for valuable keywords (mentioned way above).

These get way too much visibility to trust outside work.


For the client-focused citations, we optimized them for “on page” SEO, just like you would for a website’s page.
For example, we were targeting Andrew Scotts Avvo page to rank for “Criminal defense attorney” keywords.

Your primary Avvo “category” pulls through into the SERPs.


Make sure to select the main category based on the keywords you want to rank for.

Other items to optimize:

Description – Add unique blurb of text here for each location.
Images – Unique images to that location (you can use the same from Google my business).
Links – ALWAYS include a link to your site. If you have more than one location, make sure to put the link to that particular landing page.

2. Finding New Citations

After cleaning up existing citations, we are on the hunt for new opportunities.

We want to pick local, relevant sites – it’s best to find them manually. We do this 2 ways:

The simple method

Quick hack: Go on Google and search: Your niche + 50 best citations 

The better method

Whitespark has a quality tool that does the legwork for you. They will generate a full list of citations your business should be on. They also show what citations your competitor has and doesn’t have.

Creating New Citations

The final step is to take your list of sites and manually create a profile on each. This is a labor-intensive process. You can hire a gig on Upwork or use our Team that is vetted and trained up.

6: Launch a local PR Campaign for high quality backlinks

 

We wanted to use authority publications to achieve 1 primary goal:

  • To build high-quality links to power up Scott & Smith’s website and improve SEO rankings.

Type 1

“Local News” articles

(to rank for “secondary” keywords)

“Local lawyer searches” keywords generally return “news” style posts on local authority sites – these articles present a perfect opportunity to gain additional organic exposure.

It’s a simple outreach process to secure coverage in these articles:

 

a) Use Google to find “law” articles relevant to attorney blogs, car accident related.

This is a massive niche so sometimes its better to go deeper into Googles pages

 

b) Locate the author of an article relevant to your keywords. 

c) Record their contact info

d) Repeat until you have a large list of opportunities.

e) Send a personalized pitch via to each prospective author.

 

“Hey [Patrick],


My name is [Sage]. Our agency manages the marketing for [Scott & Smith Law].

We’ve got a new case that we think would be a great fit for your column on helping people after an accident. We’d love to share our data with you  

If interested, please let me know and we can schedule a call.”

f) Secure the opportunity.

 

Finishing up

Scott & Smith’s firm saw such tremendous growth with our local SEO efforts that they asked us to pull back our efforts to rank them for more locations. After about 7 months together they were maxing out their capacity to handle more cases and eventually added to their legal team.

Let me and my agency help manage your marketing. Learn More.

 

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Since starting I’ve helped dozens of businesses, generating multiple 7 figures in online sales. I want to do the same for you.