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By Officense, An MSBA Affinity Partner

By now we’ve all noticed the transition of advertising from newspaper, tv, and radio to online media. While most attorneys already have a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, many are not fully utilizing Google’s emphasis on local results. In the competitive legal market, obtaining high search rankings can seem overwhelming and foreign, but with some helpful techniques your practice can be pulling in leads effortlessly across searches throughout the DMV region.

Why Should I Care About Local SEO?

The majority of all searches today are done online. If your firm is not appearing in these results there is no chance you are reaching the majority of valuable clients who are looking for your services. Stats from FindLaw consumer surveys and Google consumer studies show the reality of the marketing landscape facing attorneys today.

  • 96 percent of people use a search engine when seeking legal advice. (National Law Review, Google Consumer Survey, Nov 2016)
  • 85 percent use online maps to find legal service. (National Law Review, Google Legal Services Study, Sept 2016)
  • 62 percent of legal searches are not firm name specific (ex: “Baltimore divorce attorney”). (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2016)

Three Steps for Fast Local Results

While traditional SEO methods can be tedious, technical, and take months to see results, local optimization is fast and simple if you follow some fundamental practices.

  • Set up a Google My Business Listing. The first step to Local SEO success is to set up your firm’s free Google My Business Listing. This will allow your business to appear in Maps and local search results, above the standard page results in Google. Even if you are not top of page for the search terms, your local listing will appear in Maps above all other results. Click here for instructions to create a listing.
  • Focus on Reviews. Search engines like Bing and Google heavily weight reviews within their Maps results. To really take advantage of your listing you’ll need to encourage client reviews and star ratings for your practice. Doing this can be as simple as asking clients to review and rate your firm. You could also opt to send emails or social media messages with review links and requests following a successful interaction with a client. Even negative reviews can be turned into a positive if you respond in a professional manner and offer to help resolve the referenced issue.
  • Set Up Additional Branch Listings. Through MSBA Affinity Partner OFFICENSE, you can easily set up “virtual branch offices” which will further boost your local presence. Many attorney’s use branch locations to tap into local markets they feel are missing from their current advertising strategy.

OFFICENSE facilities and address members pay a low monthly rate (10 percent discounted to MSBA Members) which includes access to hourly office and conference space at locations across the region. For little additional cost, attorneys can actually maintain a business address and receive mail at these locations. You can then set up these branch locations as local listings and begin capturing online search leads.

OFFICENSE branch locations include:

  • Bethesda
  • Rockville
  • Edgewater
  • Towson
  • Beltsville
  • Columbia
  • Lanham
  • Silver Springs
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Alexandria
  • Tysons Corner

Click for more information on “virtual address services” and visit MSBA Member Benefits for a complete list of discounts and partners!