A little while back Moz.com published their 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors. Positive, negative and other specific ranking factors are called out (Local SEO’s would do well to review this page).
Now, on August 4, 2016 Alexandra Tachalova published on Moz.com, A Different Kind of SEO: 5 Big Challenges One Niche Faces in Google. This article focused specifically on SEO for the legal niche.
Having SEO’d a dozen or more legal sites over the years, I was interested to see her take on the challenges for this niche industry.
Here are the main findings boiled down to bullet points:
- Online legal business are dominating local SERPs
- Google doesn’t give priority to local legal businesses in organic search results
- The local pack is still a saving grace for local businesses
- You can’t stand out without a site — even in local pack results
- There’s no correlation between a legal website’s ranking number one in a local pack and its number of reviews
Since I’m in the southern California region, I thought I would do a quick and not in-depth test of just one keyword phrase, “lawyer Los Angeles” to see what I could glean from this.
Even though this screenshot represents a small amount of information regarding lawyer SERPs in the Los Angeles area, we can glean this:
- 4 out of the 6 organic listings at the top of the page are not for local law firms
- 3 of the 7 organic listings at the bottom of the page are not for local law firms
This means that 7 out of 13 organic listings on the Google homepage, including the Maps section, are not for local lawyer sites. As the Moz.com article points out, the local legal SERPs are some of the most competitive in Google. Most other local niche businesses don’t have to deal with this specialized type of competition that make local legal SEO so challenging.