It stands to reason that all kinds of businesses, including law firms, strive to dominate in their local markets. Since the internet has become the primary source people go to for information, ranking well in local searches isn’t exactly an uncommon goal. In fact, not showing up in local searches can be detrimental to a business.

So you are a digital marketer for a local law firm (maybe an administrative person or a solo lawyer wearing your marketing hat) and you know the importance of ranking well in local searches: now how do you do it? Although there is no straight and direct answer, Search Engine Land columnist, Jason DeMers, has six statistics that you can apply to your own marketing efforts that will get you on the right track.


1. Local Searches Bring 50% of Mobile Visitors Into Stores Per Day

According Google’s research into local search behavior, people who search locally are likely to use the information they find to make a decision or take some sort of action. Their data states that “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same”. In other words, ranking well in local searches has a profound impact on in-store traffic


2. Over 60% of Consumers Have Used Local Information in Ads

Findings in the aforementioned study by Google show that consumers clearly prefer having ads customized to their local surroundings. The study shows:

  • 67% of smartphone users prefer ads to be customized via city and ZIP code, and 61% want them customized to their immediate surrounding.
  • 61% of users get the address or call the phone number in the ad
  • 68% use the “Get Directions” or “Call” buttons

So what can we learn from this? When targeting your ads, make sure you are doing so by location. Use location extensions. Adwords will pull your information from your Google My Business settings. So you should be sure it is set up the way you want it to appear in ads.


3. 88% of Consumers Rely as Much on Online Reviews as They do Personal Recommendations

This stat from BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey shows that positive online reviews is essential for any local business. Without them, competing with other companies will certainly be an uphill battle. More and more consumers are using Google to get recommendations for local businesses. There are many reliable and commonly used review sites such as:

  • Yelp
  • Google+ Local
  • TripAdvisor
  • Angie’s List
  • Urbanspoon
  • Yahoo! Local

When deciding where to list your business, search for your business name as well as the keywords you think prospective customers are searching for. Once you decide which site has a display that best fit your standards, you can get to listing.


4. Searchers Primarily Look for Businesses’ Address

As discussed earlier, the use of local information in your ads can be a critical factor in your traffic and revenue. It is just as important to ensure you are including key contact and location information on your website and social media pages.

According to research done by comScore, Neustar Localeze, and local search agency 15 miles, address and location are the top two pieces of information local searchers look for. Other types of information searchers are commonly seek out:

  • Business by category
  • Phone number
  • Products or services
  • Work hours
  • Directions
  • Coupons or sales
  • Reviews

Keeping in mind the preferences of local searchers, you should keep your mobile content concise and actionable. Provide the information listed above and include links to any additional content you have.


5. 18% of Local Mobile Searches Lead to a Sale Within a Day

As mentioned earlier, local mobile searches brings in-store traffic. But what about sales? Customers brought into stores by mobile searches are likely to make a purchase as well. Google’s study also found that one in three smartphone searches occurred immediately before a visitor arrived at a store and 15% of in-store activity involved product or price comparison searches.

Since a good bit of these customers are likely in the final buying stages of the buying cycle, a good strategy would be to use mobile coupon campaigns to give buyers incentive to make a purchase at your store.


6. 50% of Mobile Users Would Rather Use a Mobile Browser Than a Mobile App

Just like how the internet has become a primary source for information, mobile devices have become more and more a part of our lives over the years. So what does this mean for digital marketing strategy? Simply put, user experience should be as much of a priority for mobile as it is for desktop: if not more.

Since Google’s move to include mobile-friendliness as a factor for ranking search results, many companies have been talking about mobile optimization, mobile apps, and responsive design. New research from BrightLocal indicates that half of mobile users prefer using mobile internet browsers, 40% use mobile maps, and only 10% use mobile apps.

If you noticed a drop in your search rankings lately, it may be because of Google’s “Mobilegeddon” update to their algorithm. If you aren’t sure if your site is optimized for mobile friendliness, you can try using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. With this update, it is more crucial than it has ever been for companies to optimize their websites for mobile.


In Conclusion

It would be crazy to deny the importance of showing up in local searches. Simply put, the better you rank in local searches, the more your in-store/in-office traffic will increase. Ensure your website and content is optimized to appeal to local searchers. Another important priority is getting positive online reviews so prospective clients will feel more inclined to choose you other than another law firm. Finally, you should make sure your website is optimized for mobile browsing.

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