Local citation building is one of the most important factors for ranking a law firm website locally in 2023. Properly optimizing and building citations can help lawyers attract more clients searching for legal services in their city.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about local citations for lawyers, including what they are, why they matter, finding and claiming your best citation sources, citation building tips and strategies, and more. By the end, you’ll understand exactly how to build and manage local citations to boost your law firm’s visibility and search engine rankings this year.
What Are Local Citations and Why Do They Matter for Lawyers?
Local citations are mentions of your law firm’s name, address and phone number on various directory listing and review websites across the web. They help establish the location and credibility of your business in the eyes of Google and other search engines.
The more high-quality citation sources that correctly list your firm’s business information, the more signals you send to search engines that your business exists in the real world. This helps your law firm’s website rank higher in local search results on Google when potential clients search for legal services in your geographic area.
According to recent studies, local citations are one of the most influential ranking factors for local SEO in 2023. Properly optimizing and building citations can help improve your local search rankings, drive more website traffic from local searches, and attract new clients looking for attorneys and law firms near them.
That’s why local citation building is especially important for lawyers and law firms focused on ranking locally and getting found by potential clients in their city or region. By claiming and optimizing your listings on all the best local legal directories, review sites and business listings, you make it easier for search engines to understand your business and where you are located.
Finding the Best Local Citation Sources for Lawyers
The first step is identifying and making a list of the most important local citation sources to claim and optimize citations for your law firm.
Here are some of the top platforms and directories lawyers should focus on for local citations in 2023:
- Google My Business – This is the most important citation property to optimize. Make sure your Google My Business listing contains complete and accurate business information.
- Legal directories – Claim listings on top legal directories like Avvo, Lawyers.com, Martindale, FindLaw, LawInfo, etc.
- Local business directories – List your law firm on directories like Manta, Hotfrog, CitySearch, Localeze, Foursquare, etc.
- Review sites – Build citations on review platforms like Yelp, BBB, JudysBook, InsiderPages, etc. Monitor and respond to reviews.
- Local chamber of commerce – Make sure your law firm is listed in the local chamber directory.
- Industry associations – Claim citations on relevant bar association and legal industry directories.
- Local citation building services – Use a service like Moz Local, Yext or BrightLocal to distribute your business information to hundreds of directories.
- Law firm directories – List your firm profile on platforms focused on the legal industry.
- Government directories – Claim listings in local municipal and state directories.
The more relevant, high-quality citation sources you can properly build and optimize, the better for improving local SEO and visibility for your law practice.
How to Find and Claim Your Best Local Citation Sources
Once you have a target list of citation platforms for your law firm, it’s time to start searching for and claiming your listings. Here are some tips:
- Do a search for your law firm’s name – Search on Google, Bing and other search engines to see what directories already have a listing for your business. Make a list to start optimizing.
- Check top legal directories – Search for your firm on Avvo, Lawyers.com, FindLaw and other top legal platforms. Claim or optimize any listings.
- Look for duplicate listings – If you find duplicate or inconsistent listings on multiple sites, take steps to merge or optimize them.
- Use Moz Local and Yext – These paid services help you find hundreds of citations and local listings for your business.
- Ask for recommendations – Talk to colleagues and clients/referral partners to find out where they would search for or review legal services.
- Build new listings – For any important directories you don’t yet have a listing on, go ahead and create and optimize new profile listings.
- Download and organize – Keep a spreadsheet to organize the directory URLs, logins, and track optimization progress.
Putting in the work to find all your best potential citation sources will give you the widest reach with local search engines and directories to improve visibility.
4 Tips for Optimizing Your Local Citations for Lawyers
Once you’ve claimed listings on all your key local citation platforms, optimizing them is crucial. Here are some top tips for optimizing citations for lawyers:
1. Consistent NAP – Ensure your law firm’s name, address and phone number are 100% consistent across all citations and directories. This helps search engines understand you have an authoritative online presence.
2. Include keywords – Work primary keywords and phrases like your practice areas into citation profiles when possible to help with search visibility.
3. Link to your website – List your law firm’s website URL as the official website link in citation profiles. This can help pass authority and ranking signals.
4. Monitor and update – Set a reminder to check back regularly on citations to update any changed information and monitor reviews. Maintaining optimized citations is key.
Properly optimizing your local citations takes work, but pays off by strengthening your law firm’s visibility and SEO in the local market.
10 Local Citation Building Tips for Lawyers in 2023
Here are our top 10 local citation building tips and strategies lawyers should focus on this year:
1. Start with Google My Business – Having complete, accurate info here gives your law firm a big visibility boost locally.
2. Build citations on 50+ directories – Aim to have listings on at least 50+ top local and legal directories to build authority.
3. Prioritize most influential platforms – Focus first on building citations on the directories that carry the most influence for legal services searches.
4. Be consistent with NAP – Having perfectly consistent business name, address and phone number is vital across all citations.
5. Automate where possible – Use local citation building services to distribute listings across hundreds of sites.
6. Get client reviews – Positive online client reviews on directories like Google and Yelp help establish credibility.
7. Update old citations – If you find outdated or inconsistent citations, take steps to update or merge them.
8. Monitor and maintain – Ongoing management and updates of your optimized citations is important for sustainablity.
9. Tie into your link building – Earn links from directories to your website to complement your citation building efforts.
10. Include schema markup – Use schema markup on your law firm website to help search engines understand your business info.
By following citation best practices each year, your law firm can continually improve local search visibility and attract more website visitors and clients.
The Local Citation Building Process Explained
Here is an overview of the typical end-to-end process for building and optimizing local citations for a law firm:
- Research and compile your list of the most important local legal citation platforms to target.
- Search for any existing outdated or duplicate listings that need to be claimed, updated or merged.
- Build new optimized profiles and listings on any top directories where you don’t yet have a presence.
- Enter complete, consistent business information (name, address, phone, website URL) across all citation listings.
- Include relevant keywords and service categories in citation profiles where applicable.
- Use a local citation building service to distribute your business data across hundreds of directories.
- Ask clients for online reviews on sites like Google, Facebook and Yelp.
- Build links to your law firm website from citation listings and directories where possible.
- Add schema markup to your website to help Google understand your business info.
- Set reminders to monitor and update citations on an ongoing basis as information changes.
By systematically building and managing citations for your law firm across all the most important local platforms, you can improve search visibility and attract more clients.
Why Lawyers Should Invest in Professional Local Citation Services
While it’s possible to manually search for and build local citations on your own, the most efficient strategy is to invest in a professional local citation building service.
Top local SEO agencies provide citation building and optimization packages that distribute your law firm’s business information across hundreds of the most influential online directories. This saves you time while also getting maximum visibility benefit.
Some top local citation services popular with lawyers include:
- Moz Local – Complete local data management platform. Distributes listings across 250+ sites.
- Yext – Builds optimized local business profiles on dozens of directories.
- BrightLocal – Local citation audit and distribution service. 100+ directory submissions.
- Citation Builders – Manual submission and optimization across top directories.
- Whitespark – Full local citation setup, auditing and monitoring platform.
Investing in a professional citation building company can get your law firm listed on hundreds of key platforms very quickly to make a big impact for local SEO. They handle all the heavy lifting of researching, building, optimizing and managing citations.
Citation Tracking: How to Measure Effectiveness
Here are some ways lawyers can track and measure the effectiveness of your local citation building efforts:
- Citation monitoring – Use a tool like Moz Local to monitor new citations as they get published online.
- Rank tracking – Use software to track your local pack rankings for target keywords over time.
- Click and call tracking – Implement call tracking numbers and UTM parameters to measure actions.
- Site traffic – Analyze your Google Analytics to see if you get a local traffic bump after citation building.
- Reviews – Monitor if citation building helps generate more online client reviews.
- Brand searches – See if search volume for your law firm brand name increases over time.
- Google Search Console – Check for changes in local organic visibility.
- ROI analysis – Calculate the value of new clients and cases from SEO and track over time.
Frequently monitoring both citations and important law firm KPIs makes it easy to see the impact of your optimization and building efforts.
Main Takeaways and Action Items
Local citation building is crucial for helping lawyers improve website visibility and attract more clients from search in 2023. To summarize the key points:
- Research and compile your list of most important local legal citations.
- Find and claim any existing outdated or duplicate listings.
- Build fresh optimized profiles on new top legal directories.
- Distribute citations across hundreds of sites via professional services.
- Optimize with consistent business info and keywords.
- Monitor, update, and maintain citations on an ongoing basis.
- Track effectiveness with rank changes, traffic, reviews and ROI.
By following best practices with local citations for lawyers, your law firm can enhance trust and authority in the eyes of Google to gain more local site traffic and clients from SEO.