Like it or loathe it, but law firm SEO is a key ingredient to gaining new clients for your firm. Here are 8 components for a friendly law firm SEO strategy
Good search engine optimization is a critical element of achieving great online results for your firm’s visibility, but times are changing and new aspects to law firm SEO are emerging regularly – some that will hurt your firm’s rankings, others that will lift them.
Lawyers need to know what the best marketing strategy is for SEO as more lawyers get to grips with great online marketing strategies, while others languish and fear the sheer shifting landscape of search engine optimization.
We have rounded up an ultimate guide to building a successful law firm SEO strategy for 2022 and beyond.
What IS Law Firm SEO?
SEO is a marketing practice that helps to promote your law firm online. Through SEO, people can easily find your website.
This strategy enables law firms to get better organic search ranking positions without paying a dime. As such, they’re likely to get more cases or clients from their preferred practice area.
The first page of Google holds 96 percent of all organic search engine users. Therefore, only 4% of visitors click beyond the first page of rankings on Google or any other search engine.
However, this does not mean you only have to rank well on the first page of Google. You don’t need to be number one for a specific keyword or phrase.
This is because, in SEO for lawyers, you will notice that ranking on the top 5 results only generates 40 percent of all clicks. But ranking between 6th and 10th position can still get you 30 percent of all clicks.
The more visitors you have, the more potential clients your law firm will receive.
SEO for lawyers exists as an art and a science. Therefore, expert practitioners should have creative and technical skills to get the most out of their SEO strategy.
How Does Legal SEO Work?
The basic function of law firm SEO is to improve your on-page and off-page optimization. On-page optimization helps you rank first in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Off-page optimization, on the other hand, which also known as backlinks. Backlinks are links that go from one web page to another and their importance is oft-debated in terms of how effective they are and how you might go about obtaining them, but they remain a key element of good SEO.
Backlinks are a type of validation that search engines use to establish the authority and relevance of a specific site or page.
This is an essential part of law firm SEO because you need backlinks from related websites to rank well in major search engine results pages. When obtaining backlinks there are opportunities to write guest posts for sites with good ranking (LawFuel has opportunities for high quality content), but you need to avoid black hat methods of posting poor quality content on average quality sites.
It won’t help.
In many respects the best tactic is simply to provide high quality content on your own site, which can help build backlinks organically back to your site, particularly if you are also smart in the use of keywords and quality, actionable content providing the sort of answers your potential clients are seeking online.
Many lawyers considering an SEO strategy tend to ask, how long will it take to see results? The answer depends on many variables that are constantly changing and evolving as search engine algorithms alter.
If you intend to start a new campaign, you need lots of upfront work to help assess the firm’s current state, identify its goals, and develop a plan for the strategy.
This may include something as simple as focusing on getting great online reviews. You can check our recent article on the 5 steps towards obtaining top online reviews for your law firm at this link.
All these can take a couple of months. Upon starting the technical work, the campaign may take some time to get traction and the firm to see results.
Even though organic search results are practical and powerful, they take time to obtain. You need to be in the legal SEO game for the long haul, not for instant results and ‘quick fixes’. This is a long game, but having said that a properly organized site with quality content will still see relatively rapid results and an improvement in your law firm’s overall online ranking and visibility.
Why is SEO effective for Lawyers?
Online searching for lawyers is one of the most common ways of locating a lawyer for particular work, but the online world is also a busy one with local search, paid ads, local map reviews and the rest – but the organic listings remain an essential element of any law firm marketing plan.
Some years ago a ThomsonReuters survey showed that 38 per cent of people searching for a lawyer used the internet and that figure has doubtless continued to rise. But the online space has also become more crowded and specialist listings or expertise see the growth of quality content helping with the online lawyer search.
A potential client searches for a lawyer online through Google, Bing, or Yahoo. People have lots of options to choose from. Even though you rank on page 1 for your targeted keyword, the chances are high that there’s at least one other law firm that ranks just as well as yours does.
It’s a competitive area and you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. That is where good law firm SEO will help.
When potential clients search for a lawyer online, they want to compare the number of law firms specializing in their case first. So if your target keywords related to divorce cases and other family-related legal problems, it’s highly likely that you will be the first google result of someone searching for these kinds of terms.
If they search, most people don’t even go beyond page 1, other than those handling a ‘deeper search’. But your preference is to reach the higher echelons of page one, rather than 2 or 3, which puts you in a better position to get new clients.
However, it’s not just about getting on page one of Google. Of course, ranking high is clearly important, but your rankings have to show that you know what you’re doing and that people can trust your law firm.
To stand out from other lawyers and law firms, you need to do more than just rank well on Google. You also need to show your expertise and authority in the niche of your practice area. Google and the other search engines are focused on your credibility and authority.
Build Your Law Firm Brand
To do this, you have to use brand anchors. Brand anchor is a technique that can make you rank for specific keywords and help people trust your law firm website and – when they email or call – your expertise as a specialist in your area or areas of law.
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said there was a need for businesses to stand apart from the ‘cesspool’ of the internet by building their brand.
Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.
And that is one reason we see so many brand names – Wikipedia, CNN, BBC, NYTimes, Skaddens – appearing with their authority and content atop so many searches.
Brand building is a key ingredient to online visibility and online success.
What are the benefits of a successful SEO for Law Firms?
A law firm can get lots of benefits from its SEO strategy. SEO for law firms goes beyond increasing the law firm’s rankings on search results. It works to drive more traffic that gives qualified leads.
The Benefits of Having Good SEO for Your Law Firm
There are any number of advantages to having good law firm SEO. While there can be some intimidating-sounding aspects to achieving the ultimate goal of a top ranking, keep in mind the ultimate reward that awaits for those who make the effort.
Here are 4 to think about –
1. Increase in Leads
One of the most important benefits is an increase in leads. If your website ranks higher than other pages for one or more related keywords, you will likely get more traffic through organic search than your competitors, which means you’ll have a greater chance to convert these people into clients. It also helps to show people that your law firm is the best in the niche of your practice area.
2. Rankings on Google
It’s quite hard to get on page one for competitive keywords. Still, if you do, it’ll be beneficial for your overall business because most people who search online want to compare multiple options before making a final decision. If your law firm website is on page one, you will reach more potential clients.
3. Customer’s Trust
When you build authority and show your expertise in the niche of your practice area, it helps to build trust among your target audience, which means over time, you’ll have an advantage over other law firms offering similar services.
4. Competitive advantage
SEO can help build a competitive advantage for your law firm. Without SEO, it will be hard to know what keywords your competitors are ranking for and how you can outrank them.
Therefore, if you want your law firm website to win the top spot in Google’s organic search results, you have to understand how your law firm website ranks against other lawyer websites.
8 Components of a Friendly Law Firm Website SEO Strategy
There are various aspects to developing good law firm SEO, some of which need not require immediate technical or other involvement, but they are the factors that you need to keep in mind or be aware of for when you brief your SEO assistant, be they an outside expert (of which more below) or someone within your firm.
Let’s consider 8, key SEO ingredients necessary to achieve the best search engine rewards for your law firm website.
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research remains a cornerstone of creating great, compelling content. Using the right keywords and using them properly is a vital part of the process and is something we have written about in LawFuel recently when actually analyzing keywords your site is already ranking for and optimizing it for them better.
Ranking can be badly affected by adopting a strategy of targeting very low-volume, low competition keywords that are easy to rank for, but fail to generate a decent ROI for your website.
Watch for SEO experts who do so, making themselves the heroes, but not delivering the results you need. You need to think outside the square and do some decent keywords research to come up with those nuggets that you can build into your website or blog to generate good traffic and returns.
But remember, despite what Google’s keyword tool or other software might show as ‘traffic’ for a keyword phrase, you can actually target longtail keywords that show little traffic or competition, but are nevertheless phrases that WILL generate traffic for your site. We have frequently come upon such terms and found significant traffic.
For law firms, it is important to understand that local SEO will see a bunch of keywords looking for phrases like “best DUI lawyer in …..” and “best business lawyer in ….. County” etc. The tools may show little traffic – if any – but the results may be very pleasing.
2. Meta Tags
You have to make sure all your pages have unique meta tags, including title tags, description tags, and keyword tags. These meta tags are what people see when your website appears on Google results pages. This is where you can pass on the benefits of ranking high in searches to your law firm website.
Using the right meta tags the right way will let you tell the search engines the key information about your law firm by –
- Saying what your page is about.
- Explaining how to read the page
- Identifying who should see it.
With that in mind, let’s go over which meta tags are crucial for SEO, and how to use them well.
3a. Inbound Links
For a page to rank well in Google, it has to have good authority and relevance, and the only way to do this is by getting relevant and high-quality inbound links.
These can come from your website, social media profiles, or blog posts that outrank pages on other sites, as discussed above.
The preference is – as mentioned – to have such great quality content that you will automatically generate links back to your site. If it ranks well in the search engines then you will simply find that there is an organic backlinking that will occur – the best result you can hope for.
3b. Social Media
SEO for lawyers means it’s a good idea to create accounts with major social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Most of us know that already, perhaps, but many still defer or fail to use the platforms to market their law firm content.
We have previously posted on the 12 key social media marketing tips you need to consider.
These platforms can help you reach a wider audience of potential clients worldwide if you get lots of followers or likes on your posts. It helps to show you are experienced in your practice area because most people get their information online. That’s why your law firm website must have an SEO strategy.
4. Website Design
For law firms, it’s a good idea to have a well-designed law firm website SEO that is easy to navigate, easy to read and fast to load.
Load speed is an increasingly important aspect to good page rank with search engines and avoiding ‘heavy’ scripts and plugins that weight the site down should be a priority.
A fast-loading site is not only good for SEO but it is also good because people want to have a pleasant experience when they visit your site. You don’t want them to leave right away if your website design isn’t up to par.
5. High Quality Content
There are many law firms that create content for the sake of creating content, but if you want your law firm website to rank high in Google, you need to make sure it has good quality content written by experts in the niche of your practice area.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it has to belong or be full of keywords. You just need to make sure it is valuable and relevant information and that your blog posts are compelling, authoritative and answer questions your clients want to know about. We have some tips here.
6. Technical SEO
Technical SEO refers to all the factors Google and other search engines consider when ranking a website. You need to make sure your law firm website complies with the necessary technical requirements, which means it has an XML sitemap, title tags, and meta tags that include keywords relevant to your practice area and easily navigable links.
The use of heading tags will help with the design and effectiveness of your site. Although the search engine value is the subject of some conjecture, their use is important for at least a couple of reasons –
7. On-Page Optimization
You want to make sure the content on your law firm website is relevant and doesn’t just include keywords without any meaning. Keyword-stuffing is a major black mark and – besides – why would you write for the search engines instead of your potential clients? Aiming for the latter will help achieve the former.
You need to optimize pages for target keywords by using them in page titles, H1 tags, heading tags, and URL names. The tags need to fit in with the overall site content and architecture so that the overall ‘look’ and content of your site is organized.
That process may take some time, but it is well worth ensuring your title tags and page descriptions are appropriate for both the page or blog post and the overall site.
- For search engines, good headings make it easier to read the content and will also mean the structure of the content is better for the site.
- For users, the headings will help work through the content to make the text easier to navigate.
The best practice is to keep headings that are totally relevant to our text beneath. They may not be directly associated with search engine ranking, but they are almost certainly something that will be taken into account and if your readers are finding your content readable and useful, it will have a longer ‘on page’ factor that the search engines DO recognize and reward.
For a great explanation of on-page optimization including the use of title tags check the article on SearchEngineJournal here.
8. Off-Page Optimization
When it comes to off-page SEO for law firms, you need to make sure your law firm website has relevant backlinks and comes from sites with good authority. The idea behind is off-page optimization relates to that activity you take outside of your law firm website to lift its rankings and authority.
It is backlinks that form the backbone to off-page optimization for your law firm to achieve the best for the SERPs.
This means the links should be placed on pages with high traffic.
With all these components working together, your website can achieve higher rankings in search engines like Google and help your law firm be more visible online, which means more incoming traffic.
When people visit your site because they found it through a search query, you want them to find what they’re looking for and ultimately become a client of your law firm.
What are the Best Law Firm SEO Companies?
For many lawyers, the economics of actually working on search engine optimization is something that they can budget for using an SEO company to do the heavy lifting.
For smaller law firms, the ability to generate good SEO results is something they are prepared to do themselves. This is a question thast depends entirely on your own preference, ability, budget and inclination.
However, if you choose to use an independent SEO company – and there are plenty of them out there – then consider some of the main factors to have in mind when you make a selection.
There are snake oil salesmen out there and promises that can’t be kept, but equally there are quality SEO experts who can work towards achieving the search engine ranking results your law firm is seeking.
Several Factors To Consider
Before choosing the best law firm SEO company to do your law firms search engine optimization, you need to consider several factors. How much experience does the company have? What are their fees? Do they have any reviews from past clients? (And check our earlier article here about some key questions to ask any SEO company before hiring them).
1. Experience And Credibility
Experience and credibility are essential because you don’t want to waste time or money on a search engine optimization company that doesn’t know what they’re doing and doesn’t understand the needs of your law firm.
Understanding the way Google’s algorithm works and the latest updates and the increasingly technical nature of search engine optimization means you must satisfy yourself on the company’s ‘cred’ and ability to properly communicate in a clear, non-technical way what they are doing.
2. Google Ranking Is Everything
It is important for a company to have a good ranking in search engines in today’s competitive legal world. The increasing importance of decent online rankings, particularly as factors like local search, voice search and mobile search play a greater role in online marketing means that the ranking factor is more important than ever.
Just getting a decent local search via the ‘3 pack’ on Google can make the world of difference in terms of generating new clients and these areas should be targeted, particularly by smaller firms where the ability to do so is something that can be done relatively inexpensively.
In order to know if a company is legit or not, you should check for reviews from past clients. This way you can get a better idea if a company is like and make sure the checks are as comprehensive as possible. There is much trumpeting about success in this area, but ideally you want a firm with a proven track record, and preferably with a track record with law firm SEO too.
Fees vary according to the law firm SEO Company and how much work they have to do. For example, reputation management might be something that takes time, so it costs more money than SEO which isn’t as time-consuming generally.
It is a ‘horses for courses’ approach where you need to ensure the SEO expert has a focused strategy to obtain the best results for your law practice, rather than giving them some open slather approach towards the tasks you set.
Conclusion: How To Get Higher Law Firm Rankings in 2022
The details outlined above provide a good grounding in terms of what is happening with SEO developments online. And one thing that will make your job as a lawyer seeking higher rankings for your law firm in 2022 is the fact that there are increasingly effective automation tools that make your job easier.
For instance, with content writing tools like Jarvis.ai which help with SEO and content writing in a highly effective, time-saving manner.
It is the increasing use of artificial intelligence tools that will continue to make a massive difference to the way law firms generate content and achieve good SEO, but as always there are some foundation principles that still need to be adhered to, including –
1. Having A Good Reputation
Before you start doing anything else, you need to ensure your law firm has a good reputation. The easier it is for people to find positive information about your business, the more likely they hire you. That is why it’s so important for new clients to be able to find online reviews about your law firm and to see quality content that is genuinely helpful for potential clients when they reach your firm’s website.
2. Get Reviews
Gathering reviews for your law firm proves that you are a good attorney and that people love the work you do. This is important because it helps clients find your law firm on search engines and using reviews, like local search, is an inexpensive but powerful way law firms can achieve high Google rankings.
3. Optimize Your Website
If your law firm website isn’t optimized for search engines, then you won’t get the results you want. Optimizing a website means making it easier for search engines to crawl so they can find it and rank it higher in their search engine results. Again, as mentioned, the automation processes that are coming online will make that job easier, but to ensure you have a properly designed and fast-loading website with quality content will make sure you stand a much better chance of getting great law firm rankings in 2022.
4. Join Online Communities
Joining online communities is important because this increases your site’s credibility and lets you connect with potential clients. Just make sure that these communities are relevant to your target audience and serve them well with useful contributions that add to the conversation in a meaningful manner.
5. Use Keywords
Using keywords is a key way to optimize your law firm website, especially when it comes to getting good rankings in Google. You can use tools like Google Analytics or Moz’s keyword difficulty score to get good keywords that are highly relevant to your law firm.
There is much you can read about searching for keywords including our LawFuel content on the topic. (Just search ‘seo LawFuel’ or ‘keywords LawFuel’.
6. Build A Social Media Presence
Having a good social media presence is important because it helps potential clients find you through this channel. And since everybody spends so much time on social media, having something there for them to see makes it easier for people to hire you, which means more money in the bank.
Let us know
If you have queries or content about your own law firm SEO activities let us know or leave a comment below this article. We are always keen to know how law firms are using SEO and keyword research, tools and other tactics to achieve good law firm rankings.