How Proximity Impacts Localized Google Organic Results for Law Firms | Marketer Intel

How Proximity Impacts Localized Google Organic Results for Law Firms

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Two Keywords, One City, 72 Postal Codes, Five Different Law Firms

Earlier this year Juris Digital released a great case study on How Proximity Impacts Law Firm Rankings in Google’s Local Pack. This was one of the most insightful studies that came out in 2018 and totally changed how we analyzed our clients rankings moving forward.

We wanted to do a case study in the spirit of the Juris Digital study but focusing on the localized organic results instead of the 3-Pack results. Given that the localized organic algorithm is separate from the local pack algorithm we hypothesized that we would see a much different result than what Juris Digital discovered. That is exactly what happened.

What We Analyzed

  • We analyzed 144 searches (72 searches for “Personal Injury Lawyer” and 72 searches for “Personal Injury Lawyer Toronto”)
  • We performed the search with and without the city modifier across 72 postal codes, in one city, Toronto
  • We analyzed the top three localized organic results

Key Takeaways

  • Only 5 different law firms appeared in the top three localized organic results across 144 searches
  • One of the law firms appeared in the top three results 100% of the time
  • Because you can dominate the localized organic search results across a city and multiple zip codes, a top organic spot has the potential to drive more traffic than Google My Business when you only rank in a few zip codes.
  • When the city modifier was added, Yelp appeared in the top three results 90% of the time. Without the city modifier, Yelp appeared 0% of the time.
  • The Wikipedia page for “Personal Injury Lawyer” appeared in the search results nine times when the city modifier was added.
  • When the city modifier was removed the Wikipedia page would appear as a mini knowledge panel 100% of the time.

Localized Organic Rankings for “Personal Injury Lawyer” and “Personal Injury Lawyer Toronto” Across 72 Postal Codes

Law Firm Name % of searches they appeared in top three local organic
Neinstein Firm 100% of the time
Preszler Injury Lawyers 94% of the time
Mazin & Associates 43% of the time
Grillo Law 5% of the time
Diamond & Diamond 2% of the time

Do the five law firms that dominate the localized organic results exhibit characteristics identified in the Local Search Ranking Factors?

Just last week Darren Shaw and Moz published the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors study results. Since the localized organic results for “Personal Injury Lawyer” and “Personal Injury Lawyer Toronto” are so heavily dominated by five law firms across the entire city of Toronto I thought it would be insightful to see how they stack up against a few of the “Localized Organic Ranking Factors”.


Firm Name Domain Authority of Website (using ahrefs) Quantity of Inbound Links to Domain Mobile-friendly/Responsive Website Geographic (City/Neighborhood) Keyword Relevance of Domain Content
Neinstein Firm 37 16,200 Yes Yes
Preszler Injury Lawyers 34 9,800 Yes Yes
Mazin & Associates 34 1,490 Yes Yes
Grillo Law 26 5,530 Yes Yes
Diamond & Diamond 48 15,600 Yes Yes

All five firms are strong in the ranking factors identified in the LSRF study. This is what I was expecting to see.

What’s really insightful to me after analyzing the localized organic results across the entire city of Toronto is that it is possible to dominate the search results which is the opposite result when Juris Digital analyzed the three pack results. So if you are a law firm in a big city you can dominate the local organic results but don’t expect the same results for your three pack rankings.

If you or any of your clients are also in a big city in the personal injury space here are some things that I would actively be doing, based on the results of this analysis:

  1. Check your main keywords across all the zip or postal codes in your city. Pay attention to your competitors who dominate the top three localized organic. After the first three positions the businesses that show up tend to be less consistent so there is something special about the top three results.
  2. Cross reference what you can be doing in relation to the local organic section of the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors survey. What factors are the top three competitors crushing you at?  Prioritize the tasks that will help you catch up.

Questions?  Please leave them in the comments.


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