For years, businesses have been taking advantage of using keywords in their name to improve rankings. If you’re considering opening your own law firm or changing the name of your practice, you may be wondering if you should do the same. But do keywords in a business name really impact local rankings? Let’s discuss!
What are the most important local search ranking factors?
Before we explore the impacts of adding keywords to a business’s or law firm’s name, let’s take a quick look at some of the different factors that impact local search rankings.
While there is evidence that adding keywords to a company’s name can improve rankings, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only way to rank higher.
Here are some essential factors to consider when launching your new law firm or renaming your current firm:
- Google My Business Profile (Proximity, Business Categories)
- Links (Backlinks, Anchor text, etc.)
- User Behavior (e.g., How long does a user stay on your page?)
- Keywords in Headings and Titles
- Reviews (Quantity and quality of reviews)
- Physical Address (in the city of search)
Contact a Law Firm Marketing Experts representative if you’d like to learn more about the factors contributing to local search rankings.
What’s the difference between Local Pack and Local Organic results?
To better understand how your law firm may appear on a local search results page, it’s helpful to know the difference between Local Pack results and Local Organic results.
Local Pack Results – Local pack results include businesses from Google Business Profiles. They appear at the top of the results page and are pinned on a map highlighting the address, phone number, business hours, etc.
Local Organic Results – Organic results will appear right below local pack results with the traditional Google blue links leading to a business’s website.
Solo lawyers and law firms will often wonder if one of these categories of results should be prioritized over the other. The best approach is to focus on both!
Showing up at the top of organic results shows that you’re providing all of the fundamentals that Google’s algorithm prefers (high-quality content, user-friendly navigation, valuable information).
You also want your law firm to appear in the local pack results because these results provide essential information about your services that can produce legitimate leads (phone numbers and an address so potential clients can instantly make contact).
Should you change your business name or add keywords to the law firm name?
Studies show that adding keywords to a business name can significantly impact rankings. Besides proximity and business category, a law firm’s name is one of the most critical elements affecting rankings.
Even though adding keywords to a business name is an SEO trick that has been used for over 10 years, experts say it’s still an important factor that can be advantageous to a company.
However, there are many things to consider before you start adding keywords to your law firm’s name.
What do you need to know before you change your law firm name?
First, and most importantly, you need to keep in mind that stuffing keywords into your business name can get your listing suspended, especially if your business name looks like spam and misrepresents your legal services.
If a competitor reports your law firm for going against Google’s guidelines due to keyword stuffing in a name, you can face consequences that will negatively affect your rankings and your overall online appearance.
Branding means a lot with any business, but especially legal services. You want your brand to have strength in a sea of local law firms, and you want to build a brand that people recognize and trust.
When naming or renaming your law firm, keep both your brand and possible keywords in mind. While keywords in a business name can be incredibly powerful in rankings, you should be just as mindful about your brand.
Make Sure It’s a Legitimate Name Change
If you decide that you’d like to change your law firm’s name, make sure you go all the way and register a D/B/A. You can also use the D/B/A name for other purposes, but consult the laws governing your state to make sure you are allowed to use it for Business licenses, signage, registrations, affiliations, and any other domain that contains your law firm’s name needs to be changed. This helps fight off spam-fighting onlookers and creates trust between you and Google.
Will changing the name of the law firm affect my current rankings and traffic?
There is a chance that changing a business name and URL could affect rankings, but when it’s done properly with an SEO expert, any dip in your traffic will be temporary. An SEO expert can ensure that your redirects are working correctly.
Should you report competitors who are breaking the Google guidelines?
While we all hope that local solo lawyers and law firms are abiding by the rules and following the GMB guidelines, unfortunately, not everyone does! And watchdogs aren’t always around to ensure that every business is representing itself ethically online.
The good news is that there are ways to take action if you believe one of your competitors is breaking the GMB guidelines by keyword stuffing in their business name.
Google allows users to update and edit information on a business if they see any discrepancies. For instance, if your competitor is keyword stuffing their law firm’s name and misrepresenting their services, compare the name to their registered business, signage, and anywhere else that showcases the practice’s name. If the name doesn’t match, you can suggest an edit for Google to approve.
Of course, there’s no reason to sit around all day and analyze a competitor’s SEO practices. However, if their unethical business name strategy affects your rankings, it’s perfectly okay to try to set the record straight.
If you’d like more information about using keywords in your law firm’s name and brand, contact an SEO specialist at the Law Firm Marketing Experts. We can help you decide if a name change is right for you and help you execute a relaunch of your brand if you’re ready.