Have you moved your office, changed your phone number, or altered your law firm website address? If so, add a local search result audit to your list of things to sniff out problems that can impact your search engine rankings.
The major search engines are putting greater weight on local search, particularly for businesses like lawyers who offer primarily local services. If I type, “file for bankruptcy,” while sitting in my office in New York I will get a different result than if someone searches for the same result in Dallas.
Local search results are based in part on your firm name, address and phone number – your core business information. So long as this information matches up in the information the search engines find about you elsewhere online, it’s considered accurate.
If the information isn’t the same across the board, your local rankings are likely being harmed.
What A Local Search Audit Will Uncover
Our practices leave a trail online, where information is updated infrequently if ever. A search audit will uncover any inconsistencies about your law firm’s data such as name, address and phone number – not to mention your website URL.
If you have entered or exited a partnership, there may be duplicate listings that can be consolidated or eliminated entirely.
Finally, auditing your local information will also uncover other firms and lawyers who are in your area. Finding out which firms rank best for local searched will help you see what they’re doing – and what you can copy.
How To Perform A DIY Local Search Audit
There are a ton of tools and service providers out there to help you do a local search audit, but I’m a big do-it-yourself fan. Here’s what I do.
Head over to Google and type in your last name followed by your old addresses and phone numbers. Also check Google+ Local and Yahoo Local for your listings.
Take each of the resulting listings and dump them into an Excel spreadsheet, noting the URL of the faulty listing.
Grab a VA or office assistant and have them visit each site to update the listings. If the listing can’t be updated, find the site’s contact information and send an email.
Wait a week, then visit each URL again to ensure that the listings have been updated. If not, repeat the process. Remember that some of these sites don’t have many employees working on them, so it may take a few tries.
Remember To Check Your Website
Remember, Google is looking to your website to see if the location information matches what’s listed elsewhere. Make sure there is indexable location information on the contact page as well as elsewhere on your site.
The Hard Work Pays Off
This is tedious and time-consuming. The longer you’ve been in practice, the more work it involves. Once you’re done, however, your local listings will likely improve significantly. More to the point, prospective clients will be less likely to call an old number or visit an outdated website.
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