The Awesomeness of Premier Google Partnerships….

I haven’t crowed too much about Mockingbird’s Premier Google Partner status. (OK – yes that’s uncharacteristic of me, but I digress….)

That picture to the right?  That’s Google’s Celena Fergusson, sitting down with Nate Bruns, our Director of Advertising to review our accounts.  That means… if we are lucky enough to count you as one of our clients, its not only our eyes, but also some of the best and brightest at Google ensuring that your Adwords spend is working as well as it possibly can.

Worth crowing about – great for me, but even better for our clients.

How to Handle 1-Star Reviews

what percentage of Yelp reviews are 1-star?
15% of Yelp reviews are 1-star. You’ll almost certainly get a few. (Data Source: Yelp)

That saying about not being able to please all the people all the time is 100% true. If your firm does any sort of volume—and even if it doesn’t—there’s a strong chance you’ll encounter the occasional 1-star review.

Fair or not, the rise of prominent user reviews on Google My Business, Avvo, Yelp, Facebook, and a large number of other platforms means you’ll be getting constructive feedback from people that may have been less than satisfied with their experience.

For convenience, let’s categorize 1-star reviews into these three buckets:

  • Legitimate negative reviews from actual clients
  • Misleading reviews from prospects that weren’t actually clients
  • Fake reviews from people you never worked with

In theory, you should be able to have items that fall into the latter two groups removed completely, since they’d be in violation of most site’s terms of service. However, in our experience that’s an uphill battle rarely worth fighting.

Options for Handling a Bad Review

Realistically, once a bad review is attached to your firm’s profile it’s probably there to stay. Now you’re faced with some options.

  • Let the negative review drown in a sea of positivity
  • Try to remedy the situation that led to the bad review
  • Respond politely and take the conversation offline

All three of these options have merits, and the idea of taking the conversation offline is always a best practice. Getting into a heated back and forth with a former client in a public forum isn’t going to be a good look regardless of whether you’re correcting false claims.

It may seem that all the power is in the hands of reviewers, and to a degree that’s true. Fortunately, shoppers are getting more sophisticated and increasingly view the occasional 1-star review as a signal that the 5-star reviews are more trustworthy.

Perfection is unrealistic, and a business with a massive amount of glowing reviews and a flawless 5-start rating can breed suspicion. Are they manipulating their reviews? Are all of them real? How can everyone be unanimously pleased with this magical business?

Having a few dissenters goes a long way toward validating praise from the majority. As long as you’re striving to deliver a 5-star experience every time, occasional negative reviews will only make your profile stronger.

Handling Negative Reviews from Non-Clients

This example is a fun one, and not entirely uncommon. Let’s take a 1-star review for the Las Vegas law firm De Castroverde Law Group. Along with their handful of glowing reviews, the firm also has this gem that questions the integrity of one of their attorneys:

1-star Yelp review from a non-client

Even ignoring the SNL Guy Fieri profile image, there are a few other red flags in the review itself. The reviewer doesn’t mention whether Carmen Amen was his attorney, but instead focuses on his overall displeasure with her presentation of facts. For a profession as adversarial as law, reviewing opposing counsel with a 1-star rating is actually a weird form of flattery.

Digging even deeper, you can see that this same person left a two-star review for a criminal defense attorney that, “ass kissed the very cowardly DA, William “Billy” Knowles after he continuously made up BS…and manufactured charges.” He posted a 1-star review for the Las Vegas Metro Police because, “you wonder what kind of IQ standards the police have in hiring.” And another 1-star review for Family Courts and Services Center, saying, “These assholes should change the name to Mommy Court because all they do is crush fathers.”

Is it possible everyone is conspiring to make Ben G’s life as miserable as possible? Sure, it’s possible. But the more likely scenario is that this is someone who needs to vent and is using Yelp as his venue.

Most consumers are savvy enough to make the distinction between reasonable and unreasonable complaints. This one doesn’t pass the eye test and shouldn’t cause the firm much (if any) concern.

Should You Respond Publicly to a Bad Review?

Whether or not to respond is at the discretion of each firm. There are pros and cons to both options, and there’s not always a clear right answer.

In the example above, it’s pretty evident that this reviewer seems to have a chip on his shoulder. And, given the overwhelmingly positive reviews sitting alongside this one, it’s not a bad decision to leave it be.

The other option would be responding with something along the lines of:

“We’re very sorry to hear that you had an unpleasant experience with one of our attorneys. Although Carmen was not representing you, we’d be happy to hear your feedback if you’d be willing to contact us directly. Thanks!”

This helps maintain your professionalism while also pointing out to potential future clients that your attorney wasn’t actually representing the person that left a negative review.

Whether you choose to respond is up to you. The only thing you want to avoid is doing anything to escalate the situation and present your firm as combative or uncompassionate. As tempting as it is to say, “We didn’t even represent you. Our job was to protect your EX-wife’s interests, not yours!” That’s hardly a constructive path when dealing with someone willing to take the time to review his arresting officer in a public venue.

In Summary

As long as you’re delivering consistently exceptional service, the occasional bad review is nothing more than a minor annoyance. It’s a cost of doing business and most consumers are savvy enough to recognize that. Don’t stress about the one-off rant from someone you couldn’t help, never worked with, or don’t even know. If you’re at 4.5 stars or better you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Is Your Law Firm Domain Registered Through Weebly? That’s a Paddlin’

Full disclosure: This post is more of a public service announcement than a typical “how to” post on improving your law firm’s online marketing.

Pros and Cons of Using Weebly as your Registrar

Pros: They do all of your DNS configurations for you!

Cons: You’re required to have them do all of you DNS configurations for you.

My Experience Using Weebly’s Support to Update DNS

I recently helped migrate a website from a shared hosting environment on Blue Host to a faster, cleaner hosting environment with WP Engine. A typical WordPress website migration for a site with less than 25 pages takes 2-3 hours. Most of this time is spent backing up, crawling, uploading files and verifying everything made the move without issues.

There are many things that can complicate a migration. If you have an overly complex DNS that isn’t setup well, things get complicated quickly. The likelihood that your DNS setup is configured well is 5%. If you’re domain is registered through Weebly, it’s 0%.

Since Weebly tries to make things as easy on you (the attorney) as possible, they don’t have a typical Cpanel or advanced DNS settings page to create and adjust normal DNS settings like GoDaddy, or Namecheap, or Blue Host, or Host Gator, or…

Unfortunately for my client and to make things worse, his Name Servers were pointed away from Weebly and over to Bluehost. Which is where he had configured his email settings (MX records).

This means that I had to move ALL of his DNS settings away from Blue Host over to Weebly, in addition to moving all of his Website files from Blue Host to the new hosting company: WP Engine.

Because Weebly does all of the DNS changes for you, I had to contact their support to make a whole lot of very important, highly technical DNS changes for me. Yikes.

This also meant that I need to carefully articulate what changes I needs made and when. Ugh.

This also meant that I have to repeat myself multiple times. Doh.

This also meant that I have to work on behalf of my client and not on behalf of me – the guy who knows what he is doing (no offense). Bleh.

This also meant that they need to change the Name Servers BACK to Weebly’s Name Servers, which takes 48 hours to update across the web AFTER they finally make the changes. Boo.

This also meant that I have to verify they don’t mess this up….For the record, they did not mess it up but they took nearly a week to update DNS settings from start to finish.

In short, if you can at all avoid registering your domain through Weebly, I highly recommend doing so. Especially if you think you’ll eventually become large enough to hand this off to your VP of Marketing.

For those of you who need help with this, I’m happy to talk: 206-209-2125.

Optimizing Images for Search: The Basics

Images are important. They can improve SEO as well as break up text and help make your website or blog post aesthetically pleasing. However, large uncompressed images can slow your page speed and impact your ranking factor. With the majority of people using their mobile devices for web browsing rather than desktop pc’s or laptops, making sure that your images are optimized is vital. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to becoming an image optimizing machine.

Finding The Right Image

Whether it is the header image for your website, a featured image for your blog post or a product image for your web store, make sure that you are using an image that reflects what you are trying to accomplish. There are many great resources that provide free stock images however it is best if you can supply your own images or have professional images taken. Original images will always be better than stock images, but if you do not have the resources to take your own photos, free stock images will work as long as they are high-quality and not too tacky. A couple website that I frequent are:

There are plenty of other stock image sites, however make sure that you can legally use them and whether or not you need to provide attribution.

Choosing The Correct File Format

Whether you are using Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or any of the other photo editing programs available, you will need to figure out which filetype will be the best for your image. This could be confusing considering how many file options are available. In this post I will be going over two popular file formats, JPEG and PNG.

  • JPEG: This is one of the most common image file types on the internet. JPEGs do not support transparency within images like PNGs do. JPEGs keep file sizes small and is pretty much supported universally.
  • PNG: Unlike JPEG, PNGs support transparency and possess a better color range. On the downside, file sizes are larger than a JPEG.

Unless you need transparency, JPEG should be your first choice when deciding file format.

Correctly Naming Your Image

Using a proper file name for you image is important because you want Google and other search engines to know what the image is about. For example, let’s say that you took a photo of a sunset at the beach in Hawaii using your own digital camera. When you upload that photo to your computer, you might have seen something like DSC1234.jpg as the file name. When looking at the image, you can instantly tell that it’s a picture of a sunset at the beach. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for Google. Instead you want Google to see that the image is sunset-hawaii-beach.jpg.

Optimizing Your Image For Web

When posting an image on the web, your main goal is to decrease the file size as much as possible without losing too much quality. With websites like compressjpeg.com and compresspng.com this process is incredibly simple. Simply upload your image to the site and it will do everything for you. After the image has been compressed, you can make further changes to the image when you hover over the image and click on “settings” (shown below).

Once you’re happy with the changes you have made, simply download the image and you are ready to go!

If you have access to Photoshop and want an in-depth “hands-on” approach, you can read about compression and how to compress images in Photoshop here.

What Alt Text Is and Why You Need It

Alt text is the text that search engines use to understand what the image is. When we look at a picture of a sunset at a beach, we understand what is going on in the picture. At this time, search engines cannot recognize images unless you include alt text. If you are uploading your image to WordPress, all you need to do is update the alt text option within the edit image options. Another way to include alt text is simply through html. For example:

<img src=”sunset-hawaii-beach.jpg” alt=”Sunset Hawaii Beach” />

Done!

It’s that simple. By following the steps previously outlined, you will have images that look great and load quickly.

 

A Quick and Easy Guide to Internal Linking

If you are a someone who writes content for your website, such as practice area pages or blog posts, it is likely that internal linking is near the bottom of your list of priorities. When creating content, a lot of factors come into play, from keyword usage, to alt text, to images on the page. All of these are important, and it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed with all the “best practices” and “how-to” guides. And, many small businesses simply don’t have the budget to hire a SEO expert to curate their content for them.

That is why we have put together this quick and easy checklist for you to follow when it comes to adding internal links in your site.

But first, let’s brush up on some of the basics…

What is an “internal link”?

An internal link is a link on one page of your site that points to another page on your site.  You may have done this already, by including links to your “Contact Us” page on most of your pages. An external link, on the other hand, is a link on your site that directs the user to another website. You can read our blog post, Back to Basics, to learn more about on-page SEO best practices.

For an example of an internal link, imagine a law website, lawsite.com. This site may have a practice area page called “Family Law”. This page is identified by the URL lawsite.com/family-law/.

Within the content of this page, the author may include a link to another page on their site that is about divorce (lawsite.com/divorce/). The reader would get to this page by clicking on the anchor text divorce.

lawsite internal link example

Using internal links usually aids the natural flow of users from one page to another, but that is not always the case. Often, content creators include internal links just for the sake of a link. This is not the most optimized strategy for internal linking, and sets the basis for this guide.

What’s the purpose of an internal link?

Including internal links on your site actually serves a variety of purposes. More important than just SEO, internal links are a way of directing readers around your site.

Here are some of the other purposes of internal linking:

  • Guide readers to other content on your site that they may find helpful
  • Increase user-friendliness
  • Decreases likeliness that user will leave your site after visiting just one page
  • Shows search engines which pages you deem important
  • Helps “boost” pages that aren’t performing well in search engines

lawsite internal link pages

The most important purpose of internal linking is to help readers and customers that are using your site. Search engines prioritize content that is helpful to the user and provide a great user experience. When it comes to link building, always consider what information your potential customer may be looking for, and then provide links to that information.

Easy (5 Step) Guide to Internal Linking

Now for the good stuff.

We have compiled our best tips and tricks for internal linking into an easy-to-follow checklist for you to use when creating and updating the content on your site. After reviewing this list, you may consider going back over old content and removing any internal links that are not providing a benefit to your potential customers.

1. Make Sure the Link “Makes Sense”

Include links to other pages on your site that are relevant to the page you are linking from. If you are linking from your “Employment Law” page, linking to your “Worker’s Compensation” page would be a good choice. Do not link to a page that does not make sense for that page, such as your “Personal Injury” page. This is not helpful for the user, and it confuses search engines.

It is okay to link to your “Contact” page on most pages of your site, since it is helpful for those readers that need to get in touch with you. We would discourage businesses from linking to the “Contact” page multiple times on one page. Once should be enough 🙂

2.  Use Helpful Anchor Text

Anchor text is the word(s) that users click on that directs them to page you are linking to, such as “divorce” in the earlier example. Anchor text, like internal links in general, should be helpful for the reader. This is not a place to stuff in keywords in order to boost your rank in search engines. 1-3 words usually suffice, and the text should give some indication what the next page is about. DO NOT use “here” or “click here” repeatedly, as this is can look spammy. Anchor text is an opportunity to direct users to other pages on your site. Be as helpful as possible, for both the user and search engines.

anchor text example

3. No Page Should Be More Than 3 Clicks Away

You want to make it as easy as possible for users to find the pages on your site. Most businesses include their most important pages, such as their “About” page, blog, and practice area pages in their main menu. This makes it so those pages are only 1 click away and thus very easy for users to find. If your site is set up correctly, no page should be over 3 clicks away.

The ideal internal link structure is more like a pyramid. You will have your most important pages included in your main menu. These pages then link to other pages that are relevant to them.

Once optimized, your internal link structure should look something like this:

 

link building pyramid

Here, the blue dots are pages that are being linked to from the main menu pages, and so on. Note that no page is farther that 3 clicks away from the home page. This is ideal, as it makes it fairly easy for users to find what they are looking for. Note that the Search box is not an option, as search engines will not utilize the search box to find your pages, and a user may not know what to search for. Having all the information as accessible as possible is best for your potential customers.

4. Don’t Have Orphan Pages!

Related to the point above, make sure that you don’t have have any pages that are completely unlinked to on your site. These are pages that are not in the main menu or in the sidebar, and are otherwise impossible to find by clicking around on your site. To “unorphan” these pages, link to them in other pages that are related to the orphan page. If the content is important to you, consider adding it to the main menu or side bar. If the content is no longer important to you, but you don’t want to delete the page, noindex the page so it won’t be crawled by search engines. v

Visit this latest blog post to learn how to find and fix orphan pages.

5. Link From Pages That Have Quality Inbound Links

This step is a little more advanced, but pretty simple once you understand the basics of internal and external links. If you have pages on your site that have received links from other reputable sites (i.e. inbound links), it is beneficial to link to other pages on your site from these pages.

The idea here is that an external link from another reputable site adds authority to that page. By linking from that page to other pages on your site, you are sharing the love, so to speak.

To find out which pages on your site have backlinks from other sites, use can use Moz’s free tool, Open Site Explorer, or the more robust tool at ahrefs.com.

external and internal links

Summary

The most important purpose of internal linking is to provide a route of helpful information for your readers. Not only will this result in a better experience for potential customers, but will lead to payoffs in SEO and your overall business. By linking to relevant pages, optimizing anchor text, and having an organized internal link structure, you can increase traffic flow on your site and drive growth. Don’t forget to go over older content to make sure that you are linking to pages that serve the interests of your users.

Be sure to visit our SEO blog for even more tips and tricks. Feel free to leave your questions in the comments below!

Back to Basics: On-Page SEO for Law Firm Websites

This blog post is specifically aimed at helping you optimize a page on your WordPress site, and even more specifically assumes you are using the Yoast SEO plugin. However, you can use these tips and tricks on pretty much any content management system.

There is no shortage of advice and articles out there about optimizing for on-page ranking factors. In this post, we’ll avoid the highly technical and look at some of the easiest, most basic wins.

Page Elements You Can (and Should) Optimize

  1. H1 tag
  2. URL
  3. Content: internal linking and images
  4. Title tag
  5. Meta description

My Not-So-Scientific Methodology

From the “Edit Post” or “Edit Page” view in WordPress, I simply work my way down from top to bottom and left to right: H1, URL, content, categories & tags (if blog post) title tag, meta description (Yoast SEO).

Optimizing Your H1 Tag

Your H1 is the title to your page and should describe the page appropriately. That is the most basic, and also most important thing to get correct. Search engines look at the title tag (we’ll get to this later) and the H1 to help them determine what the page content is going to be about.

Optimizing Your URL

Things to do: Keep it short, keep it human (avoid random strings of numbers and characters), and keep keywords to the front. Look to this post’s URL slug as an example; there are no stop words, my most important keywords “on-page-seo” are at the front, and it’s very easy to read and type as a human being.

Don’t allow WordPress to decide the URL for you or stuff it with unnecessary stop words (such as “the”) and keywords.

Optimizing Your Page Content

I could dedicate an entire blog post to this section, but in an effort to keep this post short and digestible, here is my bulleted list of the most important things to get correct.

  • Images: try and use images within the content when possible, and make sure that each one has alt text describing what that image portrays.
  • Internal linking: make sure that you are linking to relevant pages when it makes sense. For example, if you have a call to action such as “contact us for a free consultation,” that’s a great opportunity to link to your contact page. Or, if your page on personal injury describes more specific areas such as “motorcycle accidents”, that’s another great internal linking opportunity. 1-3 internal links per page is optimal.

Optimizing Your Meta Title (or Title Tag)

Your title tag is the most important piece to on-page SEO. This is your chance to tell the search engines what the page is about. Above all, you have to optimize this element.  Far too often we see our clients with uninformative title tags like “home” for their homepage, or “injury lawyers” for an important practice area page. Google usually displays somewhere around the first 65 characters and you should use all of that space. If you’re not sure where to start, here is a very safe and typical format to be used for law firms: “Practice Area | City, State | Brand Name”

By using this format, you are 1) putting your most valuable keywords first (this is important for ranking), 2) optimizing for specific location you serve, and 3) showing the searcher that you are actually a law firm. See example below of how this format would show up in search results.

Title Tag Google Results Example

Optimizing Meta Description

This is your chance to give the searcher a sneak peek at your page’s content. This is where you draw the actual click. You get roughly 160 characters to try and compel the searcher to click so use it wisely. You want to describe the page as concisely as possible; here’s the meta description I wrote for the post you’re reading right now… “This post describes how to optimize a page on your law firm’s WordPress site in under 15 minutes using the Yoast SEO plugin. Easy for anyone to learn!” Maybe not my best work, but at least it gives the reader insight into what they can expect from this post.

Wrapping Up

If you’re interested in learning more about the importance of these factors and how to capitalize on them, please feel free to reach out to me directly: dustin[at]mockingbirdmarketing.com. If you would like to learn more on your own, here are a few of my favorite additional resources on the topic:

 http://backlinko.com/on-page-seo
https://moz.com/blog/category/on-page-seo
http://neilpatel.com/blog/the-on-page-seo-cheat-sheet/

Don’t Optimize for “Child Pornography” or: Why Titles Matter

A few weeks ago we were talking to an attorney that’s made a priority to produce an abundance of highly informative video content. However, during that discussion he asked us to look at his YouTube channel to see if there were any opportunities he may have missed when uploading and marketing his videos.

Here’s the first one I saw:

Definitely Not Child Pornography
Well…now we’ve got something to talk about…

One of the things he’d specifically asked about was whether we had any input on what he should be titling his videos.

The main point of optimizing your titles is to make sure expectations are clearly defined and your article or video aligns with the search intent of your potential audience. That’s why super generic titles are usually a bad idea in the first place.

However, for something as immediately off-putting as child pornography, it’s even more important to make it 100% clear what your video is about and why it’s not actually offensive content.

A better title would be, “Criminal Charges for Possession of Child Pornography” or anything else that clearly captures what the video is going to be about and increases the likelihood it will be found by someone worried about this scenario.

Granted, this is an extreme example of when generic titles go bad, but it illustrates the importance of fine-tuning titles for any content you intend to publish.

Not only is this a scary example of YouTube search traffic you don’t want to capture, it’s also likely this video’s nonspecific title will prevent it from appearing for searches where it would be totally relevant.

In short, if you’re going to take the time to publish content online it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to think through what it’s about and title it appropriately for its desired audience. That goes triple when you’re dealing with child pornography.

Hat tip to Christopher Morales for letting us use this example.

Building Quality Links on Trusted Sites – Email SPAM

You’ve likely received an email with a subject line like “Building quality links on trusted and high authoritative websites” or “Blogpost/Links.” Heck, even search quality representatives at Google get these embarrassingly lazy emails to try and sell high DA (domain authority) links.

Here’s an example I received this morning:

link building spam email

I appreciate being part of your team, mate. However, I’m not buying the BS.

We know what linkbuilding is, and it’s not following up to a poorly written email and handing cash to a stranger.

We know that linkbuilding, especially for law firms, is difficult. So difficult, many law firm marketing agencies won’t even bring it up to you. Go ahead – ask em. What is your SEO agency’s strategy on earning your website links?

I’m hoping their answer didn’t involve replying to Deep and spending your hard-earned money on the small chance of getting that buzzfeed link…

For the record, Google is very good at ignoring these types of links. You may even be penalized for breaking their quality guidelines.

Please, don’t fill Deep’s pockets.

gary illyes spam email links

How to Write Content for Local Search, Not “Links”

SEO experts and business owners alike know that when it comes to ranking well in local search results, having quality links to your website can help you rise above the competition. However, the type of link that makes the difference may be changing. This could mean a shift from link building for “the sake of a link”, to creating specific content that is optimized for local search.

Creating Content for the Sake of a Link

Moz’s most recent study confirmed that link building is still the top competitive difference maker when it comes to ranking well in Google. That is, having a solid link building strategy is pivotal in helping your site rise above your competitors.

Knowing this, business owners and marketing strategists work to create content that will drive links to their website. Perhaps that means gaining links from sites that are in their industry, or those with a high domain authority. The main focus here has been to get a link for the sake of a link. Though the quality of the link was important, the location of the link source is often less of a consideration.

A Shift Toward Localized Link Building

Now, more and more, Google is prioritizing localized content when it comes to how well a business ranks in local search results.

In Moz’s study, they found a shift from general link building to a focus on gaining “localized” links and creating location-specific content. They explained that one of the key factors for ranking well in local search results was the business’ proximity to the point of search. Google is now showing searchers what best matches what they are searching for AND what businesses are closest to them.

What This Means for Businesses

Rather than trying to gain links from quality websites for the sake of a link, more consideration should be put into what “type” of links businesses are drawing to their website. With localization as a priority, businesses should be drawing links from sites that are related to their location.

Businesses should be adapting their link building strategy to account for this new shift toward localization. In order to do this, they must create content and draw in link sources that are related to their business location.

Localized Link Building for Businesses

With this knowledge of localization in mind, businesses should be looking to create content that is optimized for local search. Creating content that is specific to the business’ location in key. Below we have outlined a few things to consider when adapting your new link building strategy.

1. Optimize Existing Pages for Local Search

It is likely that your website already has standard pages related to your business, such as an About page, a Contact Page, and a few pages about the services you provide. If you are a law firm, you probably have an Attorneys page, a blog, and several practice area pages.

Your existing pages are likely optimized to rank for type of business, practice area, and brand name. The page may mention the location a few times, but it isn’t the focus of the page. Your adapted strategy should be to optimize content to make it clear to the reader (and search engines) where your business is located.

Contact Page

For example, your Contact may include your business address, but consider adding written directions to your office. These directions can include important landmarks and businesses in your area that makes it clear that your business operates in that area. Be sure to include the areas that you serve, and add a short paragraph about your practice in that location. Soon you will have a page that includes all the information a potential customer or client needs in order to know where your business is.

Practice Area Pages

For your practice area pages, mention the location of your business throughout the page in a natural way. Describe your practice as it relates to how you serve your local area.

For example, if you are an employment attorney in New Mexico, instead of saying

“Need an employment attorney? Contact us today!”

write something like,

“Need an employment attorney? Contact the experienced attorneys at our Albuquerque office to find out how we can help.”

On your Attorneys page, you may want to explain how you have been “serving the Albuquerque area for 25 years” or attended the University of New Mexico. Look for opportunities to add localized information in your existing content.

Also, be sure to include your location in the title tag and the meta description, in the alt text of your images, and in your headings if possible. Even these seemingly minor components will help you rank well in local search results.

2. Build Out New Pages and Posts with Localized Content

If you discover that you are lacking localized content on your site, consider building out new pages and posts related to your business location. If you have multiple office locations, create a page for each location with content that is specific to that location. Consider splitting broad practice area pages (such as Employment Law) into more specialized pages (such as “Workers Compensation” or “Employment Discrimination”). Then, make sure these pages include localized content and information. This provides more opportunities for other sites to find content that they are willing to link to.

Blog posts are a great way to get unique with your content and write about issues that are unique to your area. Perhaps you write about the best legal conferences in your area- something that is related to both your field and your location. You can cover local news that is relevant to your practice areas, being sure to include location information and local businesses/landmarks in your content.

3. Draw Links to Localized Pages

For the longest time, businesses have worked to gather links to key pages on their website or on their blog. This often meant prioritizing links to the home page, practice area pages, or their contact page.

With localization being a key factor in ranking in local search, more focus should be put on drawing links your localized pages.  By this step, most of your existing pages should be optimized for local search. Going forward, your link building strategy should involve gaining links to these localized pages. Having links to these pages will indicate to search engines that these pages are of high priority on your site. The more you can boost pages with localized content, the more search engines will see your site as relevant to the searcher’s location.

4. Look for Link Building Opportunities from Local Sources

In previous link building strategies, the focus was simply to get a link to priority pages for a little SEO “boost”. Though the quality of the link was important, the geographic location of the link source didn’t seem to matter so much.

By focusing on localization, you can get a bit more unique with your link building. Gone are the days of struggling to get that coveted link from some obscure, high authority site. The source of your incoming links should be localized and related to your business. Look for opportunities to gather links from other local businesses, news sources, and blogs related to your field.

5. Think Creatively About Your Localized Link Building Strategy

Part of localized link building is being aware of the many features that your local area has to offer. Learn more about your area and look for opportunities where local businesses may be interested in your content.

Here are some ideas that you may want to consider for localized link building:

  • Getting your business featured in a local directory
  • Host an event and have it featured in a local news source
  • Get a link from a local business owner that has used your services
  • Conduct interviews with local entrepreneurs and have them link back to your post
  • Write reviews of your favorite places in your area and get links from those featured businesses

These are just a few of the many possibilities for link building with local sources. Remember that the quality of the links still matters, so be selective in your strategy. Work with your marketing team to find sources that are relevant to your business area and location. Doing so will give search engines more information about your location and what other local sites are saying about your business.

Summary

With Google’s shift toward prioritizing location in local search results, business owners and marketing experts should adapt their link building strategy to get ahead of the curve. By optimizing existing content, creating new localized pages, and focusing on local link sources, businesses can provide search engines with more information about where their business is located and the areas it serves. By doing so, businesses are more likely to show for potential customers who are looking for a business in their area.

As the world of SEO continues to shift every day, and it is important for businesses keep up to date with the current trends. We expect to see localization to be a significant factor in local search. This post will help you adapt your marketing strategy to drive success for your business.

For more answers to your marketing questions, check out our business resources page.