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Your Law Firm’s Local SEO Strategy for 2015

local_network_logosIn July 2014, Google released the Pigeon algorithm update, which significantly altered local search engine results pages (SERPs). As 2015 begins, it is important for law firms to understand the effects of Pigeon on local SEO strategies.

One of Pigeon’s biggest impacts was that directories like Yelp and Legal directories increased in ranking, while some local businesses took a hit. Jobs, real estate, movies and insurance took the biggest hit. However, on the whole some law firms actually saw a small boost from the Pigeon update.

According to Moz’s Local Ranking Factors 2014, Pigeon also changed which ranking factors were most important. Following the update, the following ranking factors became more important:

  • Domain Authority of Website
  • Proximity of Address to Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance)
  • Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Domain
  • Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to Landing Page URL
  • Physical Address in City of Search
  • Quality of Reviews by Authority Reviewers (e.g. Yelp Elite, Multiple Maps Reviewers, etc)
  • Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
  • City, State in Landing Page Title
  • Click-Through Rate from Search Results
  • Page Authority of Landing Page URL

At the same time, certain ranking factors decreased in importance:

  • Proximity of Address to Centroid
  • Physical Address in City of Search
  • Individually Owner-verified My Business Page
  • Quantity of Structured Citations
  • Proximity of Address to Centroid of Other Businesses in Industry
  • Location Keyword in Business Title or Modified
  • Quality/Authority of Structured Citations
  • Quantity of Native Google Maps Reviews (w/text)
  • Geographic Keyword in Website URL
  • Proper Category Associations

Although Pigeon has changed local SERPs considerably, the key principles that have guided local SEO strategies in the past continue to be just as important today. Having a strong website with high-quality content, a strong domain, and plenty of inbound links and reviews is essential. In addition, all landing pages should be optimized for location.

At the same time, Pigeon and other Google algorithms continue to punish over-optimization of pages, particularly at the expense of quality content. As always, the best base approach for local SEO is to create quality content that will interest the local community, then incorporate the optimization techniques that will help the content rank as high as possible in SERPs.