Many law firms have multiple locations. How should multi-location law firms handle websites and marketing? Marketing strategies for multi-location law firms are varied and may require more planning and management than marketing for one location. A multiple-location firm may choose to host multiple websites or just one website incorporating multiple links. A multi-location law firm may focus on improving its Google Business Profile or increasing traffic to its specific locations using legal blogs and informative content. There are best practices in marketing strategies that should be followed depending on your law firm’s practice, expertise, and goals.
Creating Websites For Multi-Location Law Firms
Should my multi-location law firm have one or more websites? More than one website may seem like a good decision if you have multiple office locations, especially if each location focuses on a different type of practice. Consider the following scenarios:
Some law firms may choose to create multiple sites, but doing so will require a little extra planning. The choice to have one or more websites is complicated. Depending on your law firm, a multiple-website plan may work for you. The following situations may warrant multiple websites.
- Your locations are multiple but are in no way connected.
- Each of your locations provides different services that do not fit together. For example, one of your locations handles estate planning and the other handles personal injury law.
- Your law firm wants to establish itself as a leader in one particular legal area.
- Your law firm aims to target time-sensitive cases.
Your law firm may benefit from multiple websites if the above situations apply, but there are some situations where having multiple websites may not be advisable. The following situations may not benefit from having multiple websites.
- Your law firm practices the same law in all of your locations.
- Your law firm has no reason to have more than one website.
- Competing law firms have many websites.
- Your firm is changing plans with marketing vendors.
- A new website design is all that you want.
- Your firm is planning on abandoning an unsuccessful website.
Speaking with a digital marketing professional before deciding if you want multiple websites for your multi-location law firm may be beneficial and help your firm decide on its website plan. It would be wise to employ the help of a professional if you decide to construct multiple websites, as the undertaking may present unique challenges.
Challenges of Multiple Websites
Creating, managing, and marketing multiple websites can be a challenge for a law firm, especially if no dedicated employee is responsible for managing and upkeeping the multiple sites. Before deciding on this marketing strategy, you must be sure that your firm can handle the extra work and planning that goes into creating and handling more than one website. Answering the following questions before building multiple websites may help your firm prepare for this venture:
Will you have the time and energy to handle more than one website?
It will take a significant amount of time and money to create multiple websites. You must have the time and budget necessary to produce professional websites. You may even need to hire one or dedicate a team to perform this additional work.
Will you have enough content for multiple websites?
Consistent content is needed for each website. If you do not have enough content for each location’s website, it may make sense to only run one website. When blogs become sporadic and a firm is not providing consistent content regularly, its reliability will be questioned.
Will you have the patience to wait for the results?
Results take time. Climbing the SEO rankings will not happen overnight. You must be patient waiting for results. You will have to double (or triple) the amount of patience if you are building more than one website. Each is unique and separate for SEO purposes.
Are you informed about best practices and Google’s guidelines?
There are specific guidelines and rules all website owners must follow. You must be aware of these practices, so you do not do anything that could hurt your website’s online reputation. It is wise to review these practices and understand their complexity before deciding to manage multiple websites.
Do you have the technical expertise and the support to upkeep and manage multiple websites?
If you do not have the expertise to support multiple websites, you may want to limit your websites to one site. Again, hiring a specific person or team may need to support, upkeep, and manage your firm’s multiple websites may be necessary.
Local Search Results Tips
Discrepancies regarding your law firm’s information may cause problems with local search results. To perform well on Google, you must consider the following tips:
Contact Information Consistency
Names, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP) must be consistent for a multi-location law firm to perform well in local search rankings. To ensure that the information on your website and Google Business Profile is always accurate, you must consider the following when evaluating your NAP accuracy:
- Name: If the name of your law firm has changed or been rebranded, if you have added a new partner or removed a partner, you must make sure that the name your locations use online is correct. Run a search of all the name versions of your firm and then update and remove anything that is not current.
- Phone number: Your locations may have multiple phone numbers, and each office may have numerous numbers within it. Make sure each office has one official contact number, and update your websites and profiles accordingly.
- Address: Multiple address listings may exist, and additional address information may also exist after moves or expansions. Ensure the current addresses are current and accurate for each location, and check to ensure all details are correct, including suite numbers, zip codes, and zip code extensions.
- URL: URLs can be challenging. Updating a URL could break links and disrupt user sessions if done incorrectly. If you need to change a URL, use the correct procedure to update and verify the URL link works correctly.
Your website is a resource that shares local data about your law firm. It must remain consistent online. To stay consistent, focus on the following elements of your website:
- Landing Pages: Your website must contain separate landing pages. Each location’s landing page should include the address, phone number, operating hours, and services provided. A map and directions would also be an informative addition to each location’s landing page.
- Accessibility: All landing pages must be accessible to Google’s spiders – the ones that crawl and index web pages. You should also include a unique URL and a clear sitemap with internal linking. Your website will not be effective if it is not accessible to the public.
- Formatting: Use consistent formats for dates, times, and other informative elements, so they work across all web pages, websites, and social media. Consistent formats across location websites will demonstrate reliability and dependability. Lack of this consistency will question that reliability.
- Quality of the site: Focus on the overall quality of your sites and follow Google’s best practices. Use unique content on each page, and be sure it is relevant and well-written. Also, make sure that your site loads quickly and is user-friendly.
A clear, concise website shows that your firm is responsible and trustworthy. This reliability will help to build trust with future clients.
Google Business Profile
A Google business profile is an effective tool that will build and strengthen your law firm’s local visibility. Your Google business profile must show up in local results and map results. Consider the following guidelines when creating or updating a Google business profile:
- Keywords should not be included in the law firm name.
- Your firm should have unique phone numbers for every location.
- Your address should be listed exactly as it appears on your website.
- Use the same law firm name and categories for all locations.
- Employ a review strategy to help your profile stand out among the competition.
The Google Profile is an important facet of your marketing strategy, whether your firm is small or large, no matter how many offices you have. Using the right marketing strategy and management, a google business profile will help to increase your business over time.
Digital Marketing Next Steps
There is much to consider when devising a marketing strategy for a multi-location law firm. It depends on your firm’s culture, brand, and plans. Multiple websites might be the perfect plan for your law firm, or you might find multiple websites that do not fit your time frame and budget. If you decide to employ multiple websites, you must be ready for the challenges that may present themselves. Knowing your limitations and what to be prepared for is half the battle. Consistency of data, a reliable and consistent website, and a fully optimized Google Business Profile will provide a great marketing basis for your multi-location and multiple-website law firm.
Annette Choti, Esq. graduated from law school 20 years ago, and is the Founder of Law Quill, a legal digital marketing agency focused on small and solo law firms. Annette wrote the bestselling book Click Magnet: The Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide For Law Firms, and hosts the podcast Legal Marketing Lounge. She is a sought-after keynote and CLE speaker throughout the United States and Canada. Annette used to do theatre and professional comedy, which is not so different from the legal field if we are all being honest. Annette can be found on LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.