For any small business, one of the biggest challenges in building an online presence is getting your listing to the first page of internet search results. This is especially true for law firms and other small businesses in highly competitive industries. How your potential clients find you depends on how you design your website as well as how well your website communicates with search engines. Regardless of the search engine, whether your potential clients use Google, Yahoo, or Bing, making it easier for engines to find your business can also make it easier for you to be found by your customers.
However, just as technology is constantly advancing, the algorithms used by search engines are also evolving. Getting the help of an experienced SEO marketing specialist or a law firm web designer is a great way to start generating customer leads online. If, on the other hand, you prefer to do your own SEO, you will need to make sure that every component website helps search engines find you and understand what your business does and where it is located. This can be accomplished in many ways, one of which is utilizing geographical metadata called geotagging.
Geotagging involves attaching location metadata to your media – identifying the exact location of your media through longitude and latitude. Simply speaking, geotagging is telling the search engines where the picture was taken.
Suppose you took a photo of a sunset on a beach. Your phone automatically generates data and attaches it to the image file indicating the date, time, settings, camera model, and potentially, the location where you took the photo.
When you upload the photo, this data is retained and indexed to help provide search engines with more context on the page the image is uploaded to. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is communicating with Google and other search engines in a way that Artificial Intelligence can understand. Geotagging helps search engines identify your location. By geotagging already existing photos with latitude/longitude all around your county, you tell the search engines – we don’t just do business in our office, we also serve clients all over our county. Thus, the next time someone searches for a business like yours from another town, you are more likely to be seen by that searcher. After all, you are showing pictures that were “taken” in that town. And as far as Google is concerned that creates additional relevance to that searcher. Of course, geotagging is just one of many, many ways we explain to Google that our clients are relevant for search results all over the county, as well as next counties over.
While it may be nice to have a wide reach and have people from, say, other states or even other countries find your website, it isn’t likely that your service would be helpful for them nor will their clicks convert into business for you. By geotagging photos we can also limit your reach – after all getting calls from a different state if you do not practice in that state can actually cost you both time and money.
A lot of people use search engines to look for services when they are in need. Geotagging helps by indicating to the search engine that you are nearby and can provide the service their user needs.
As more people transition to using their smartphones to search for information, search engines have been scrambling to find ways to ensure that the search results they provide are high quality. The primary goal of search engines is to provide relevant information for users’ search and to make sure that those users continue using their service.
The purpose of geotagging is to make it easier for search engines to provide results that are located near where the user is searching, and to drive those local users to your business.
For example, there are about 91 places in the US called “Washington”. If a user is looking for a service in Washington, D.C., the search engine will try to return businesses in that locale and eliminate those that are from other places. So if a user says plumber in Washington but is actually in Washington D.C., Google understand they probably want a local plumber and will not provide them with any results in Seattle. The inclusion and exclusion metrics and algorithm the search engine uses involve the use of geotags among many other factors.
It works the same way for attorneys. Let’s say someone is injured in a car crash in Cleveland, Ohio. Your office is located in central Cleveland but the accident took place 10 miles away in Brooklyn, Ohio. When the victim goes online and searches for car accident lawyers, they will likely get a list of lawyers that have indicated to Google they are located within 2 to 5 miles of the accident. From billions of searches, Google thinks that people want to go to lawyers near them (not always the case, but search engines are machines and do not understand context). If you have many geotagged pictures on your site that show you have relevancy for Brooklyn and other areas around Cleveland, (plus other signals such as local pages that cover the area) Google is far more likely to show you during the search, which means you may get the call. It goes without saying that this works the same for divorce clients, bankruptcy clients or anybody else who might need an attorney in your area.
Geotagging the information on your website, like images, helps you build relevancy without making your website look cluttered. It’s good to remember that you and search engines essentially have the same goal of wanting to provide the best result (your business) to users. It is your job to show Google why your business is the best. By utilizing geotagging in your SEO strategy, you are helping search engines do their job, and, in turn, helping your website rank higher.
While AI can determine what is in a picture, search crawlers also rely on website developers to describe what is on a photo and where it was taken. While an AI might be able to determine that the subject of an image is a building, we can make the search engine’s job easier by adding a description of the building’s name, location, etc.
Search engine crawlers look for metadata which is descriptive information about your site that helps boost your site’s rankings. Adding metadata to images is a good way to increase your ranking without getting a penalty for overstuffing your website with keywords. Image metadata can be found in your images’ file name, alt-text, and, most commonly, in your image captions. Metadata can also already be found on the photos themselves such as in your photos geotags.
Geotagging photos allows you to add location data of the photos on your website and use that data to tell search engines that your website is relevant to the locale. For instance, when you are creating a page for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may post a picture of a courtroom – even an image available on a stock website. While the image is stock, the data you attach to it is uniquely yours, and by geotagging, you can help Google understand that the courtrooms you work in are located in Cleveland – not Los Angeles where the original photo was taken.
All photos can be geotagged. For new photos, you can use a modern phone and take pictures with your GPS enabled. For old photos, you can use special software.
The easiest way to geotag photos is to take them using a GPS-enabled camera. Most modern smartphones and digital cameras register geotagging data as a default setting. As long as your phone has location settings on, any new images taken will contain geotag metadata. To improve your site’s ranking using the images, just upload the photos and add the appropriate file name, caption, and alt-text and you’re good to go.
Most photo editing software also has the feature to add geotagging data on photos taken with professional cameras that don’t typically use GPS.
Tagging your older photos – those not taken with GPS-enabled devices – is also possible. Manually editing a file’s EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data can allow you to include geotagging information on any JPEG file. Take note that this method will only work for JPEGs. Adding EXIF data on GIFs and PNGs is not yet possible.
To use this method, you can download any app or program that allows you to open image files to add location data. Here are some programs that you can use for this method:
You can also use the properties tool on your Windows computer to edit your images’ metadata but options to edit location information are not included in the tool.
You can geo-tag images with EXIF data to include SEO keywords but you should always remember to keep it simple. Add 2 or 3 SEO keywords, and proprietary information like your business name, and the location. Overoptimization is a very real problem and you might find your ranking actually drops if you add too many keywords to a page. Proceed with caution.
Always make sure to only add information that would be relevant to your website.
It’s a good idea to include photos with geotagging information anywhere on your website, but especially on the following pages of your business website:
This is the bare minimum of where you can include geotagged photos on your website. You can choose to include additional photos with geotags on other pages. To optimize and get your listing in organic search results, this process would be very helpful to repeat throughout your business site. Choosing a photo that is eye-catching and relevant to your searches can also help in keeping the attention of your site’s visitors and can also help in delivering your business’ message effectively. Google and other search engines track how long someone stays on your webpage and webpages with longest visits get rewarded with higher rankings.
While this process can be complicated for business owners who already have their hands full running a business. At BSPE Legal Marketing, we can help ease the burden of building your business’ online presence in order to let you focus on what matters most: your clients.
Our results speak for themselves. We do not have contracts and our clients are free to leave at anytime. Few do – we have a 95% client retention rate. Our team is composed of digital marketing experts who are passionate about legal online marketing and can help your website keep up to date with the latest SEO trends.
For a case study or to speak with one of our experienced digital marketing experts, call us today at (929) 362-6419.
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