Locally Influenced Organic Search Results

How poor geo-targeting could be costing your law firm clients

Back in February, Mike Ramsey published a piece on SEOmoz detailing the Google Venice updates, and the hybrid local/organic results they produced. These hybrid results, which I’ll refer to here as local(ish) are being triggered more and more often when a user seaches a broad keyword query which GOogle identifies as being locally relevant. For example, try searching “Personal Injury Lawyer” with your Google browser localtion set to “United States”. You’ll probably see something like this:


Now, change the browser to a specific city. Here is what you will see searching the same broad term “Personal Injury Lawyer” with the browser location set to Seattle:

These organic results, displayed beneath the traditional local results, are locally relevant even though the search term is broad, or not geo-specific.

How to optimize for these local(ish) results

There is a lot of research and testing still to be done on the ranking factors that go into these local(ish) results (which we at Ethical SEO Consulting are working on as we speak!). However, there are a couple of things that we do know are necessary to be able to rank highly for these kinds of searches:

1. Location + keyword in page title, URL, H1, meta description, etc.
2. High domain authority (quality and quantity of inbound links)

Why does this matter to your firm?

Simple. Without the proper optimization you could very well be ranking highly for these broad search phrases on a national level, but when users in your target markets are searching these broad queries, you may be getting beat out by local competitors whose sites are better optimized for these local queries.