We are asked this on a regular basis and taking the wrong approach could be costing your firm thousands of online enquiries each year. Our answer is yes – clients do search locally. Indisputable data provided by Google supports this.
Here are the monthly search volumes (as at June 2015, provided by Google AdWords Keyword Planner) for various relevant ‘short tail’ local keywords relating to searches conducted by people looking for a solicitor in a certain area:-
- solicitors London – 880
- solicitors Manchester – 880
- solicitors Birmingham - 720
- London solicitors - 590
- solicitors Edinburgh – 480
- solicitors Glasgow - 390
- solicitor London - 210
- solicitor Manchester - 170
- solicitor Birmingham - 110
- solicitor bristol - 119
- solicitor Edinburgh - 90
- solicitor Glasgow - 70
- solicitor Cardiff - 70
- solicitor oxford – 50
Need more convincing that these local searches are happening? A survey by comScore found a growing local search trend showing that 79% of smartphone owners and 81% percent of tablet owners use their device to search locally.
And, for comparison purposes, here are the monthly search volumes for certain similar relevant nationwide legal sector keywords:-
- solicitors – 22,200
- solicitor – 12,100
- solicitors UK – 170
- scottish solicitors – 140
- solicitor UK - 90
- uk solicitor – 50
- solicitor scotland - 40
- scottish solicitor – 20
- solicitor england – 10
- solicitor wales – 10
- english solicitor - 10
To summarise, clients search both locally and nationally, but given that there are many more individual locations within any given country, it is vital to focus on those clients searching locally.
Do legal consumers have to type in a location when searching Google to get a local search result?
The data above for local searches doesn’t account for people in local areas simply searching for ‘solicitor’ on their desktop or mobile device. Google doesn’t rely on users stating a preferred town or city when searching. Instead, it picks up their current location information and gives them relevant results.
Millions of searches and online enquiries for many types of lawyer / legal service
As an important caveat, clients do not just search for a general solicitor – there are millions of searches conducted each month around the UK for all types of solicitor, for all types of legal service and indeed for all types of legal questions and issues. With mobile phone usage continuing to grow rapidly also, the number of such searches is continuing to increase. Therefore, more online business leads will stem from local searches, especially for consumer-based legal services.
Isn’t having a local office enough? How to grow a great local online presence
Some solicitors in particular areas of law, personal injury for example, understand how important it is to get found in local search. But many don’t, and think that having a local office and a simple brochure style website is enough to create an excellent local presence online. This isn’t true.
From an online business generation perspective, excelling in local SEO is a great start. It is important to recognise that you could focus all of your investment on local SEO to achieve decent results, but if it’s not part of a wider online business generation campaign it’s not going to work as powerfully as it could. Acquiring clients from local searches demands excellence in many aspects of digital marketing over and above local SEO, such as content marketing, Pay Per Click advertising (PPC), SEO, strategic conversion focused web design and various others.
As a cautionary note, today’s average internet users are becoming savvier. Search engines are becoming smarter. So, trying to rank first in Google for a handful of keywords (even for local ones) is no longer best practice. It can lead to you doing more harm to your online marketing efforts than good. What’s best, instead, is to implement a robust online business generation strategy aimed, in part, at getting you ranking prominently for as many long tail (niche) local searches as possible – and ideally those that have the best chance of converting into profitable enquiries.
Moore Legal Technology – Helping law firms succeed
If your online presence isn’t currently contributing to your firm’s bottom line and you want to partner with an agency who is focused on helping your law firm grow, call Chris today on 01413548862 or email