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Good luck is not a local search strategy

Lucky Law Firm MarketingWhen conducting a search on Google's homepage, you may have noticed a little button to the right of “Google Search” which says “I'm Feeling Lucky”. Originally, the feature was a fun way to explore the web. Click “I'm Feeling Lucky,” and you go straight to the top-ranking website connected to your search while skipping the search results page. Today, Google uses the button to help Googlers discover art, food and even charities.

While it may be entertaining to play a game of “I'm Feeling Lucky” when meandering around the web, you shouldn't rely on luck to get your law firm ranking high for local searches.

You may have noticed some law firms that are ranking pretty well in your local search results for your keyphrases. A lot of them probably have the following attributes:

1) A website with a lot of content
2) A website that has an established reputation
3) A solid link portfolio
4) Listings in most of the prominent local directories
5) Multiple client reviews

When we encourage our law firms to reach out to their client base to get reviews, we inevitably get a question like, “Why is Smith Jones & Associates ranking on the map when they don't have any reviews?” Well, the not-so-scientific answer is that they've got sheer luck ... for now.

Over the last 10 years, we have monitored our clients' search engine performance. In doing so, we have also become well-acquainted with their competitors. We know the usual suspects and their approximate rankings. We have seen many of our clients' competitors come and go with lucky first page rankings. We have even seen law firms make it to the map that don't have a website at all, just a Google+ Page. Sometimes they only have an empty Google+ Page that doesn't have any content or followers.

Those lucky few get to spend some time at the top of a popular search results page, and maybe they see a little extra call activity. But those lucky rankings don't last. The law firms that make it to the map and stay on the map are the firms that take the process seriously and invest time and resources into their online marketing strategy.

Until you capture a wish-granting leprechaun, you should develop and execute a local search strategy instead.