Competitive Analysis for Local Law Firm SEO

Competitive Analysis for Local Law Firm SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), particularly local SEO, is the number one way to get potential clients to find your law firm online. Unlike general SEO, local SEO for lawyers focuses on increasing visibility in specific geographical locations — a key factor for law firms serving particular cities or regions.

Local SEO involves optimizing for local keywords, getting the law firm’s website to appear in local directories, and managing local listings like Google Business Profile.

An effective local SEO strategy helps law firms stand out in a competitive market, one where potential clients need immediate legal advice or representation in their area. One way to get a leg up is by doing competitor analysis, examining what the competition is doing that works for them.

In this article, we’ll dive into the importance of competitive analysis for local SEO, how to perform competitive analysis, and how to use that information to build your own local SEO strategy.

About Competitive Analysis for Lawyers

Competitive analysis is a fundamental aspect of any SEO strategy. It’s the process of evaluating how your competitors rank and perform in search results, understanding their strengths and weaknesses, and identifying opportunities for your own SEO improvements.

In the context of local law firm SEO, competitive analysis begins with identifying who your competitors are — these are likely other law firms in your area working in the same practice area.

If they appear at the top of SERPs, they’re doing something right. You can get insights into what marketing tactics work and find gaps in their strategies to exploit.

For example, if a competitor ranks well for certain keywords but has poor content, there’s an opportunity to create more engaging and informative content for those same keywords.

With that said, some key elements to look at include:

  • Keyword usage
  • Website structure
  • Content quality
  • Backlink profile

When we think about competitor analysis as it relates to local SEO, it’s also worthwhile to look at their:

  • Google Business Profile
  • Presence in local directories
  • How they handle client reviews

Related – Google Business Profile for Lawyers A guide to setting up and optimize your Google Business Profile.

Identifying Your Law Firm’s Competitors

Knowing who you compete against allows for a more targeted and effective SEO strategy.

Here’s how to pinpoint your real competitors:

  • Start with a Simple Search: Begin by searching for legal services in your area on Google. Include your practice areas and your location in the search terms (e.g., “personal injury lawyer in [City]”). The law firms that appear in the top results are your main competitors.
  • Use SEO Tools: Use SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz. These tools can provide insights into which law firms are ranking for your target keywords and what their domain authority is. They also have built-in competitive research tools that may reveal competitors you might not have found manually.
  • Analyze Legal Directories: Look at legal directories like Avvo, FindLaw, or Martindale-Hubbell. Firms that have high visibility or ratings on these platforms are likely to be strong competitors.
  • Consider Geographic Proximity: For local SEO, competitors in close geographical proximity are particularly important. A firm located across town could be a bigger competitor than one farther away due to local search algorithms prioritizing nearby businesses.
  • Check Social Media and Online Forums: Law firms who are active on social media platforms and online legal forums are competition.
  • Monitor Reviews and Client Feedback: Look at online reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Firms with higher ratings and more reviews often rank better in local SEO and are key competitors.

Competitors can vary based on different legal specializations. A firm that is a major competitor in family law might not be a competitor in corporate law.

And if you work in several practice areas, you’ll have to repeat these steps for each one.

Analyzing Competitor Websites and SEO Strategies

Once you’ve identified who your competitors are, you then want to dive into their SEO strategies to get an idea of what works and where they’re lacking.

Using a mix of tools and manually scrubbing through websites, you can find some interesting tidbits.

Here’s what you want to do.

  • Website Structure and Content: Review the structure, user experience, and content of competitor websites. Pay attention to their navigation, types of content (like blogs or case studies), and how they incorporate keywords.
  • Keyword Strategy Analysis: Tools like SEMrush offer a ‘Keyword Gap’ analysis. This feature allows you to compare your website’s keyword performance against your competitors. Identifying the keywords they rank for, which you don’t, lets you know where you should be focusing your efforts.
  • Backlink Analysis: Backlinks are a cornerstone of SEO. Use SEMrush’s ‘Backlink Gap’ tool to compare your backlink profile with your competitors. This tool helps identify where they are getting their backlinks from, indicating potential sites for your own backlink outreach.
  • Local SEO Tactics: Evaluate how competitors optimize for local SEO. Check if they include location-based keywords, local news or events in their content, and their presence in local directories.
  • Online Reviews and Google Business Profile: Assess how competitors manage their Google Business Profiles and online reviews. High-quality, positive reviews and an optimized GBP profile can significantly influence local SEO rankings.
  • Social Media Presence: A strong social media presence can indirectly impact SEO. Look at what platforms your competitors use, how they engage with their audience, the type of content they share, and how they integrate their social media with their website.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a good place to start. If you can identify strengths and weaknesses in your competitors’ online strategies, you can level up your law firm’s SEO strategy.

Related – SEO for Lawyers: A guide on setting up and optimizing law firm SEO.

Learning from Competitor Analysis: Building a Better SEO Strategy

Using the insights from competitor analysis is key to elevating your law firm’s SEO strategy.

Here’s how to turn these observations into action items:

Refining Keyword Strategy

Start by using relevant keywords identified from the competitor gap analysis on your website.

Prioritize long-tail and locally relevant keywords that your competitors might have overlooked.

For example, if you find that competitors are ranking for specific keywords like “estate planning attorney in [City]” but not for “trust and wills lawyer in [City],” this is an opportunity for you.

You can target these less competitive yet relevant keywords in your content, potentially capturing a niche market they’ve missed.

Enhancing Content Quality

Identify areas where your competitors’ content is lacking and fill those gaps. Produce detailed, well-researched articles on specific legal issues not thoroughly covered by others. Focus on making your content more comprehensive and engaging, setting a higher standard for information quality on your website.

For example, a competitor might have a blog post on divorce law in Austin that’s lacking depth. It should be easy for you to create a more comprehensive resource that beats out that blog post on Google.

Optimizing Website Structure

If you notice that top-ranking competitor sites have more streamlined navigation and faster load times, it’s your sign to make some improvements on your own website.

Improving Local SEO

Competitors may have Google Business Profiles that are more built out, with more images and client reviews. Again, use that information to pinpoint areas of your own Google Business Profile to improve.

Expanding Backlink Portfolio

If a competitor has backlinks from local community websites or legal blogs, try to establish similar connections. Offer to write guest articles or participate in local events to gain backlinks from these sources, improving your site’s authority.

Utilizing Social Media Effectively

While less important, social media does affect your overall SEO. Make sure you’re on the same platforms as your competitors and regularly share content. Our advice is to turn your blog posts and other content into social posts.

Ongoing Performance Monitoring

Continuous monitoring is vital. If analytics show that your new content strategy is driving more traffic than traditional methods, it’s a sign to double down on this approach.

By strategically responding to the strengths and weaknesses in your competitors’ strategies, your law firm can not only match but surpass them in SEO effectiveness, creating a stronger online presence in your local legal market.

Proactive Reputation Management Strategies

Actively building and maintaining a positive reputation is important for all law firms.

Aside from just responding to reviews, you can also take a proactive approach. Here are some tips.

Soliciting Reviews

You likely have an idea of what clients you’ve worked with in the past who’d be willing to leave you a review. All you have to do is ask.

After successfully concluding a case, ask clients to share their experiences in a review.

Make it as easy as possible, sending them links to where they should go (like your Google Business Profile). The key is to make it as convenient as possible.

Monitoring Online Presence

A part of taking control of the narrative involves monitoring your firm’s online presence. This means proactively looking at what people are saying about your firm on review sites, legal directories, and social media.

Tools like Google Alerts or specialized reputation management software like BirdEye.

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Regularly monitor your firm’s online presence across various platforms. This includes review sites, social media, and legal directories. Utilizing tools like Google Alerts or specialized reputation management software can help you stay informed of what’s being said about your firm in real time. This way, you can quickly address any negative comments or misinformation.

Using Competitor Analysis to Level Up Your Legal Marketing

The best law firms use competitor analysis to pinpoint their local competitors and find ways to usurp them in Google’s SERP. It’s a tricky process, but is well worth the investment.

If you’re looking for help with your law firm marketing, reach out. We have a team of specialists ready to help.