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As search engines increasingly work to match search results to user intent, the importance of local marketing continues to increase for lawyers and law firms. Check out this post to learn more about two often overlooked pieces of local marketing: Google's local justifications and attributes.
One piece of local marketing that often goes overlooked by both beginner and more experienced law firm marketers is Google’s local justifications and attributes. Like much of online marketing, local justifications and attributes are one piece of a larger movement to match search results, ads, and other web content to the intent of internet users. This intent-based movement has led to the ever-increasing importance of local marketing for lawyers.
The information displayed through local justifications and attributes may be that one small thing that influences a potential client to reach out to you instead of a competitor. Therefore, you want to ensure you do everything possible to make the most of these features through your Google My Business (GMB) presence and other places on the web, such as your website.
Keep reading for an introduction to local justifications and attributes and how they may influence the way your law firm appears in Google search results.
What are Local Justifications?
Local justifications are still relatively new to the Google search results. The justifications are an extra snippet of text that Google displays on certain GMB listings in the local pack, local finders, and Google Maps. They are used to signal searchers that some feature of a particular result matched their intent when searching.
For instance, if a user searches for a “Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer”, they may get results similar to those shown below. In this example, the first result and the third result show a local justification next to the icon.
There are various local justification categories, including review, website, posts, service, menu, in stock, and sold here. Some attributes, such as menu, in stock, and sold here generally do not apply to law firms. However, the following justifications can be very important for law firms:
- Review Justifications: These snippets pull directly from your Google reviews. They do not include reviews from other sources, such as Yelp. This is one of the most common justifications and can be highly beneficial if you have positive Google reviews. Thus, you should encourage happy clients to leave reviews of your firm.
- Website Justifications: A website justification is a snippet that pulls from your website. These justifications are another great reason to have strong, descriptive pages on your law firm website for key practice areas, as this type of content may get increased visibility through justifications.
- Posts Justifications: This type of snippet pulls from the content of your GMB posts. There does not seem to be an age limit for the post from which this information is pulled. It may come from your most recent post or content that is several months old. You have complete control over what you write about in these posts, so these justifications represent another opportunity to share key messages with your clients and potential clients.
- Service Justifications: It appears that the service snippets are pulled directly from the services section of your GMB account. Thus, you should add relevant services, such as offering free consultations, estate planning, etc., to the services section of your profile to optimize your GMB presence for this snippet.
Despite the usefulness of local justifications for local marketers and users, there is no way to guarantee that a justification will display with your law firm in the search results, nor is there a way to control the type of justification that shows with your GMB listing. Thus, you should focus on putting your best foot forward in the most important areas, so that any displayed justification places your firm in a positive light and presents value for marketing to your potential clients.
What are Attributes?
Attributes are similar to justifications in that they display as snippets of text in GMB listings. These attributes describe your law firm. However, unlike local justifications, attributes are predetermined options that you can add or edit from within your GMB account. Many attributes are also crowd-sourced or suggested by Google users.
Attributes are best described as characteristics of your firm like whether you are “Women-led” or “LGBTQ-friendly”. Attributes offer searchers more information about your law firm’s amenities, accessibility information, services, health & safety options, and more. They keep your clients and potential clients informed about crucial information, like whether you have available wheelchair-accessible parking, offer services in multiple languages, or require advanced appointments.
For more information on adding or editing attributes, check out this resource from Google.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
Local marketing indisputably helps you reach clients and is crucial to your law firm’s long-term marketing success. People often want a local lawyer and don’t want to dig to find one. Justifications and attributes are important, but often overlooked, pieces of your local marketing presence. Attributes and justifications offer key information about your law firm to searchers. Moreover, according to data from Moz, justifications show up on approximately 57% of local pack results.
Start optimizing your GMB presence for local marketing today. Want the advice of seasoned local marketing professionals? Contact Justia. We can help.