Optimizing Your Legal Website for Google Places
Google Places is extremely important when it comes to your law firm being found for geo-based search terms like “Seattle divorce attorney” and “Orlando personal injury lawyer”, but not all of the Google Places ranking factors have to do with how well your Google Places profile is optimized or how many reviews you have. There are actually certain changes that you can make to your law firm’s website which can help to improve your rankings on Google Places, which include:
City and State in the Website’s Page Title
Implementing city and/or state into the page title of a legal website is a pretty common SEO method. Page titles like:
Orlando Accident Lawyer | Florida Personal Injury Attorney
Seattle Divorce Attorney – Washington State Family Lawyer
are pretty common. But, if you’d be willing to forget about some of the old school SEO tactics, and implement something like:
Cullen and Hemphill, PC – Personal Injury Firm in Orlando, Florida
Engel Law Group- Family Law Firm in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, WA
you would probably have a better chance of not only improving your Google Places rankings, but you would also play better with Google’s Penguin over-optimization update which penalizes website for keyword-stuffed on-page factors like page titles, meta descriptions, and content.
A Website’s NAP in HTML Matching Up With NAP On Places Profile
A businesses’ NAP, which stands for name address and phone number, can be implemented into the website using rich snippets which tells Google’s spiders what the correct name, address, and phone number of a business is outside of what it find’s in the website’s content. Websites which implement these rich snippets have a better chance of ranking well on Google Places, and if the NAP that’s included in these rich snippets are an exact match to the NAP on the Google Places page, it helps to build authority with Google Places and prove to them that you’re an a legitimate business.
For more information on which rich snippets you can implement into your law firm’s website check out Google’s rich snippet guide for businesses and organizations, and also be sure to put your website in Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool which will show you which rich snippets are currently implemented on your website and how they appear.
NAP in hCard / Schema.org
There are additional markup codes which you can implement into your website, such as schema.org markup, and an hCard which includes your name, address, and phone number.
Schema.org and hCard are two different types of markups. Hcard has been around for longer and is still the most preferred method, but Google has publicly endorsed schema.org markup code and many believe that it will become eventually become the standard. For more information on each check out:
Schema.org for lawyers and attorneys – http://www.schema.org/Attorney
Create an hCard for lawyers and attorneys- http://tantek.com/microformats/hcard-creator.html
City, State in Most/All Website Title Tags
It’s important for your website’s home page to include the city and state that you’d like to optimize for when it comes to Google Places, but what if you have multiple locations and they won’t all fit into the page title of the home page?
If that’s the case, make sure you have a page created for each location that you have, and make sure the city and state are listed in the page titles of these pages.
The amount of authority, aka “link juice’, that a page has probably also comes into play when it comes to Google Places, so try to include the city and state in the interior pages that have the most authority (which are usually your practice area pages and attorney pages) if you can.
City, State in Places Landing Page H1/H2 Tags
If you can also implement the city and state in the H1 and H2 tags of your home and some of your practice area pages, you would probably have a better chance of improving your Google Places rankings for that specific city and state as well.
KML File on Domain Name
A KML sitemap is a loction-based sitemap which is crawled by Google Places. To create a KML sitemap check out any of these free KML sitemap generators:
KML sitemap generators for lawyers and attorneys:
and be sure to create a KML sitemap for each location, as well as upload the appropriate KML sitemap(s) to your website’s domain. It would also be a good idea to include the URL of the KML sitemap, once it’s uploaded to your domain, in the sitemap.
This is a list of the most important on-page Google Places optimization factors according to a survey conducted by a number of Google Places consultants and experts from all over the world. The survey is located here.