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More on Google local search for law firms

Here’s more info on Google local search following up on my earlier post about Google putting a ‘local search’ tab on its main search page. Orlando bankruptcy lawyer Jon Alper asked why, being ranked near the top of search results on Florida bankruptcy lawyer, he was not displayed when someone did a local search using the same query.

I went to the best source I knew for an answer, Tim Stanley, founder of Justia, the leader in search engine optimized Web sites for law firms.

Yellow page data is effecting local search

Though search engines will start using addresses on blog and Web sites, Stanley says for now, yellow pages’ address data is being used for local searches. The distances from where the Internet user is located to service providers displayed on a local search is also primarily coming from a yellow pages/white pages providers.

However, Stanley advises putting a law firm’s address on all blog and Web page footers as that is all a law firm can really do to improve their ranking for different search terms in the local search. Even if the firm has moved offices, if it is in the same city or state, at least the web pages will count towards the text searched for when the yellow page ad shows up.

No registration for local search

There is no registration with Google or the other search engines to take advantage of the local searches. Just as is the case with normal search rankings, the search engines will spider law firm blog and Web sites and cache the information on the sites.

Physical distance from user effect search results

Stanley points out one factor that local search takes into account which the normal search does not is the actual physical proximity to the client. Even if a lawyer is number 1 for “florida bankruptcy law,” his local search ranking will also depend on his address and the address of the searcher.

For example if the lawyer is in Orlando and the searcher is in Miami, the lawyer will not do well. This is not just on a city to city level, search results can be impacted by distances as small as a 1/10 of a mile. That gets further complicated knowing it’s a combination of the relevance of the search terms with the physical distance.

The main reason is that the local search is now very very locality (local) focused and is made for local services that tend to involve walk in traffic as the driver of obtaining customers. Stanley says this will change over time, and for some search terms physical distance will be less and less important than for other terms.

Stanley further explains Google gives options to group the searches within 1 mile – 5 miles – 15 miles – 45 miles, but that this is just a filter, as opposed to a factor in the search algorithm. Use 45 miles for a search on pizza, and nearly every result will be close to the searcher, even with the 45 mile radius. Do the same for antitrust lawyer and the results are from different locations with some weight being given to the physical distance between the searcher and the law firm.

Get’s a little complicated towards the end for me Tim, but your information answers Jon Alper’s question and gives us the general idea where local search for law firms is at today.

If anyone has questions on blogs, Web sites, search engine marketing or any aspect of Internet marketing, just send me an email. I’ll post answers on my blog. If I don’t know the answer I’ll go out and contact the most knowledgeable folks on the Internet.

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