A comprehensive SEO plan for a law firm includes many components. It could involve a content marketing plan, technical optimizations, and local SEO activities. Citations and listings on local directories are a key part of the latter.
Citations are listings for your law firm across the web. They can include anything from simple contact details to more involved data like links to your law firm website.
We've put together a listing of the 83 most important local citations for law firms. You'll find both niche lawyer directories and key general citation sources below. Our list is also downloadable so you can quickly find and obtain citations using your own workflow.
You can use this list to acquire and maintain citations to improve your local SEO results.
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What are Citations?
Citations are relatively simple in comparison to other aspects of your law firm’s SEO campaign. They are also extremely important.
Citations help Google confirm the key details about your law firm. In particular, your name, address, and phone number, or "NAP."
While this information likely appears on your social media profiles and website, adding local citations confirms them. This helps boost your online presence so long as you keep these citations up to date.
There are two main kinds of citations: structured and unstructured.
Structured citations are formal listings on data platforms or major directories like Yelp.
Mentions of your NAP outside of a directory are unstructured citations. These happen when another company, like an online news agency or blog, references a local business.
Both can benefit a business, but your law firm must obtain structured citations to help with your SEO.
Below is an example of a Yelp law firm citation unclaimed by the firm owner. Claiming ownership helps you update critical details about your firm. It also allows you to directly manage your profile. Look up your own law firm on various directories and follow the instructions to claim it.
A Google Business Profile is more than an opportunity to gather reviews for your firm. It also lets you keep information like hours, phone numbers, and addresses updated. In the above Google Maps screenshot, a viewer can see the firm's location.
Here are some of the most common directories for local citations:
- Google Business Profile
- Angie's List
- AP Lawyers
Some directories may not be worth it for you. They may be low quality or irrelevant to law firms.
You can vet them yourself by seeing if other lawyers are listed there. Use our list above to focus on the best local citations for lawyers. You can also check out our guide to lawyer directories to cut out the vetting process.
Are Citations a Ranking Factor for Local SEO?
Local citations are almost certainly a ranking factor for search engines. They may not all provide you with a backlink, but they give Google crucial context.
Some citation listings are very simple. You might only need to add your law firm name, office address, and phone number. Others allow for more details, and you should take advantage of these as much as possible.
Your local search rankings may benefit from accurate details in these citations.
Each time Google finds your law firm cited across the web, it verifies the data against what it already knows about your firm. When the data is clear and consistent, this adds a vote of confidence and credibility to your law firm.
Citation factors like consistency, quantity, and completeness may all help your law firm. To determine local SEO rankings, Google looks for relevance, prominence, and distance.
Having more citations in the right places could help with each of these factors.
The more Google sees you in relevant places, the more relevant and prominent it may consider you. Your address in citations may also assist Google in serving good results. It can use the address to find the distance of your firm from the potential client doing a local search.
Inconsistency, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. It sends confusing messages to Google about your firm. As a result, Google has a harder time telling if it makes sense to include your law firm in local search results.
As a final note, these local citations are most helpful with local searches. They help Google determine the rankings when someone searches for very targeted keywords.
For example, a keyword like South Side Chicago injury lawyer has local intent. If a potential client searches for a broad term like Can I sue after a bike injury citations are less helpful.
How Can You Build Citations for Your Law Firm?
You can build citations manually, with the help of services, or hands-off with an SEO partner. Building citations manually is very time-consuming. It also leaves room for data entry errors along the way.
Using a self-serve option like Moz removes some of the manual labor. It still requires input from you to get started to maintain these profiles.
Working with a law firm SEO expert is the most effective route to consistent citations. You'll also get other important aspects of local SEO handled for you at the same time. This allows you to focus on what's most important: serving clients.
Your local citations will, along with other SEO marketing plans, bring new clients to you.
Avoiding the Biggest Local Citation Mistakes
Seemingly minor mistakes with local citations for lawyers can have big impacts.
Inconsistent name, address, and phone number details confuse crawlers like Google. This occurs when setting up a new location or changing your phone number.
Each time you change any of these details, add updating your local citations to your to-do list.
Another common mistake is ignoring niche directories. Legal directories help to supplement your online presence and only take a few minutes to claim and update.
While the big directories like Yelp and Avvo are obvious ones to pursue, don't stop there. There are plenty of small, niche attorney directories.
The third mistake is not monitoring your citations. Other people may be able to update your citation on certain sites. When other people make changes, it can lead to outdated or incorrect information.
The solution here is to have a system for staying on top of your citation data. This is a challenge if you decide to handle things manually. If you use a service, it's easier. If you have a marketing partner, it's no problem at all.
Hand Off Local Citation Listings to a Pro
It doesn't make sense for you to put in the time and energy to claim every local and niche citation for your law firm. They're beneficial for local SEO for lawyers but aren't worth you personally adding and updating them.
Work with a qualified SEO partner who can manage citations for you. It's a hands-off process, and you can get more out of it. Citations are just the beginning of an effective campaign. A law firm SEO expert can take your campaign to the next level.
If you're interested in taking the SEO work off your plate, contact Rankings.io. We can make sure your citations are up to date and help you with much more.