Why Local Directories Are Important to Legal SEO

SEO providers have a full range of tools that they can utilize on behalf of their clients. Given that the primary goal of SEO is to improve search engine rankings, providers pick and choose the tools they use based on the client’s industry and how to best promote the client’s site within the constraints of that industry. Legal SEO is a perfect example of this.

Some of the tools an SEO provider might use to promote an e-commerce website simply aren’t appropriate to the legal industry. Likewise, there are ways to promote a law firm that would be useless to a retail outlet. A good SEO provider knows the difference.

This post will discuss one particular tool that Salt Lake City-based WebTek insists is particularly important to legal SEO: local business directories. Such directories have little to no impact on some industries. They are critical to the legal sector. Here’s why:

1. All Law Is Local

You have undoubtedly heard that all politics are local. Be that as it may, the same is true for law. Unless your law firm specializes in corporate law involving companies with a global reach, the majority of your clients live and work in the same general area as your office.

A potential client living in Salt Lake City is unlikely to search for a lawyer in Indianapolis unless there is a specific reason to do so. In the absence of such a reason, that client wants a local lawyer who practices in Salt Lake City. A local directory highlighting Salt Lake City businesses is a good place to start.

2. Laws Searches Are Local Searches

Hand-in-hand with the previous concept is the reality that law searches are local searches. A driver charged with DUI offers the perfect example. That driver is going to search for a local attorney who specializes in DUI defense. And in all likelihood, that search will be conducted with a question that looks something like this:

“Where can I find a DUI attorney in Salt Lake City?”

Local directories purposely link businesses with local geography. So if a law firm were listed on a Salt Lake City business directory, the above question could end up being a gold mine of SEO opportunities. Create content around that question and combine it with a local directory listing and you have a winner.

3. Local Directories Create Citations

Have you ever noticed that Google searches sometimes produce a small block of text that highlights business names and addresses? Without getting into all the details, that information comes from what the SEO industry refers to as citations. A citation is simply a business’s name accompanied by address and contact information.

Local directories are made for citations. The more local directories a law firm can get listed on, the more citations Google has to work with. And the more citations Google has, the more likely a law firm’s link will show up in that small block of extra text.

4. People Trust Local Directories

Trust is everything in the legal profession. Attorneys bend over backwards to establish a relationship of trust for the sole purpose of fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility to the client. But guess what? Attorneys can start building the necessary trust before they ever meet a potential client. Local directories can get the ball rolling.

Most local directories are careful about the businesses they list. After all, their reputations are on the line. This dictates a certain amount of trust among users. When a user visits a local directory in need of a product or service, there is a certain understanding that he or she trusts the information on the directory. Thus, local directory listings make it easier for clients to trust the law firms they find.

5. Local Directories Create Networking Opportunities

Finally, there is more to legal SEO than improving page rankings. A big part of successful SEO is reputation management. And one of the best ways to manage one’s reputation at the local level is to network with others. Networking establishes personal relationships with other people who can boost an attorney’s online reputation by writing reviews, linking to content, sharing on social media, etc.

It turns out that local directories open the door to networking opportunities. Someone else whose business is listed in that directory might run across a law firm’s listing while checking on his own. Or he might specifically go to the directory when in need of legal services. It all leads to more opportunities to network.

At the end of the day, the importance of local directories boils down to the fundamental truth that most lawyers primarily serve their local communities. The best way to utilize SEO is to target a local audience as much as possible. Local business directories are perfect for that purpose.