GEO-Targeted Pages for Local Law Firm SEO
Chris Dreyer | March 24, 2014
The SEO strategy for your firm will be modeled after how you do business. For law firms with multiple offices in different cities, optimizing web pages with location-specific content can help generate more visibility in search.
Google, Local Results and the Venice Update
With every change to Google’s algorithm, the company is looking for ways to improve the user experience with its service. Back in 2012, it rolled out a lot of changes, one of which was the so-called Venice Update. That update provided an improved ability to recognize when results were relevant to a user based on their location.
Basically, what this means is that Google now delivers results that are localized for very broad queries. So, when a user types “personal injury attorney” (with all other factors being optimal), they will get results relevant to their location above others. Check out the results in the screenshot below where my default location is set to Chicago, IL, and I’ve searched for the keyword phrase “personal injury attorney.”
Even though you can’t control some of the factors Google looks at when serving up localized results, it’s important to know about the factors that you can manage. Part of the reason why certain results are served is because of the presence of a keyword plus a location name in the content.
Following this theory, you can optimize pages for localized queries. If your firm operates offices in multiple cities within a given geographic area, you can create a page for each city + keyword combination.
Unique Location-Specific Content
You should make a unique location-specific landing page for each office or location that you have. Many site owners who manage location-specific pages use cookie-cutter content that they dump on every page they create, only changing the location name. This may be easier to do, but it does not add value to your site. Write the content for each page from scratch.
Include your keyword + location name in the page copy. This is the tricky part because (in order to be well optimized) your page must be about the keyword and its relation to the locality you are writing about. If you just insert the phrase without any context or further elaboration on why it’s in the copy, you run the risk of looking like a spammer.
Optimize Page Elements
As always, you should optimize other page elements with your keyword + location name. This includes title tags, meta tags, image file names and alt attributes (if appropriate), captions on images, link titles and any other elements.
SEO should be done on multiple levels and not just on your site as a whole. Google serves relevant documents to searchers, so you should be building highly specific links to your location landing pages. Ideally, they should be from local organizations (i.e. chambers of commerce, partner businesses, location specific directories, etc). Some links should also contain the target keyword + location name. Be careful not to overdo that part, and always keep your anchor text distribution in mind.
Schema and other types of markup are important here. Users benefit from markup because relevant, useful information will show up in SERPs (like phone numbers, ratings or other contact info).
Search engines use markup to help find, index and display content. They use the data to populate maps, driving directions and other applications that could be incredibly useful to searchers. You can use geolocation-specific markup to identify the exact location of a building or business. You can learn more about schema tagging at Schema.org.