SEO for Lawyers: Grow Your Firm with Search Engine Optimization in 2018

Many people don’t realize it, but the legal industry is extremely competitive. Law firms and sole practitioners have to stay on top of their online presence to ensure they continue bringing in new clients.

This starts with a high-quality website. It’s the flagship of any business.

A website establishes how you can help clients, provides relevant legal information, and also promotes your brand. These are all critical factors in a person’s decision-making process when looking for an attorney. In fact, studies show that 74% of people who visit a law firm’s website plan on contacting them.

However, if your client-base can’t find your website, how is it helping you?

This is where SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, comes in. In order for you to reach your target audience and grow your firm, you need a strong SEO campaign.

If we’ve gotten your attention, you’ll want to keep reading. We’re going over some important tips for good SEO for lawyers.

Why SEO for Lawyers is So Important in 2018

With traditional marketing methods such as direct mail, newspaper ads, and radio spots, you’re unable to target a specific audience. These marketing techniques cast a wide net.

The internet and specifically SEO has changed all that. With a good SEO campaign, you can hone in on people who are looking for your services.

This is extremely important in the legal industry. Depending on your area of practice, your client-base will be totally different than the attorney down the street who practices a different type of law. In short, SEO helps you target people who are more likely to pick up the phone and call you.

In addition to narrowing your marketing focus, SEO does great things for your website. First, it helps build your organic traffic, which is crucial for establishing healthy rankings in search engines. In addition, SEO doesn’t require too much maintenance once in place.

Another huge benefit is that you can track your campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not. You’ll get hard data that tells you where to focus more on your marketing efforts and what’s failing. This means you can revise your SEO strategy from time to time in order to capitalize on what brings you the most business.

Now, let’s drill down into some key components of good law firm SEO.

Performing an Audit Before Your Start

Before implementing an SEO strategy, you need to audit your site. An audit will show you how your website is currently performing and what changes you’ll have to make.

An SEO audit shows your website’s position in search engines and social media. This gives you a good idea of how people are finding you.

A site audit will also evaluate on-site SEO elements and expose errors and missing items. This is your first step in understanding the type of SEO strategy you need to implement.

Some of the on-site elements an audit will expose include:

  • Duplicate or missing title tags
  • Redirect links taking people off your site
  • Anchor text phrases
  • Broken links
  • Error pages
  • Problems with the navigation structure

All of these things hurt a website’s ability to rank well in search engines. So, think of an audit as a way to pinpoint what needs to get fixed.

If you plan on taking on this task yourself, there are many audit tools available online. However, you may benefit from seeking out the help of an SEO specialist to help you through the process.

On-Page SEO Elements

On-page elements are little details every website has which helps the site rank well in search engines. Most people don’t even notice them.

An audit works to expose problems with many of these elements. If you’re working with an SEO professional, their next step will likely be to fix these on-page errors.

If you’re taking on the task yourself, it’ll benefit you to understand some of the most common on-page elements that need to be in place in order for your site to rank better.

One of the most important on-page factors is the page title or title tag. This is the snippet of text you see at the top of your browser when you visit a website. These need to be brief (around 70 characters) summaries of what the page is about, including keywords and the name of your law firm.

The meta description is the snippet of text you see under a website listing after a Google search. You should treat these in the same way as the title tag.

Alt tags help identify an image on your site and should be relevant to the subject of the image and contain keywords. In addition, all broken links must get fixed.

The Importance of Keyword Research

Another extremely important element in any successful SEO strategy is the keywords contained on a website. These phrases have a lot to do with how your site ranks for specific search queries, so keyword research is essential.

This is where you start focusing in on your target audience. The keywords you end up using will get woven into the content on your site.

The point of keyword research is to find out what search phrases people are using in order to find the legal service you provide.

For example, if you’re a personal injury law firm in San Diego and you find that the phrase “San Diego personal injury lawyer” is highly searched, you’ll want this phrase to appear within your content. You’ll need to do this with all your specific practice areas.

It’s important to keep in mind that if a certain keyword phrase is highly competitive, meaning many other law firms use it, it could be difficult to rank for it. The goal is to find phrases that are highly searched and also have moderate to low competition.

Once you’ve established what keywords to use, you’ll need to insert them into your content. Even better, you should write your content around these keyword phrases.

Your Local Presence

Most law firms and attorneys focus their practice on a specific area. This means a strong local SEO strategy is crucial.

Implementing local SEO techniques is now more important than ever. Google now monetizes local search with advertisements that compete for real estate on Google My Business. Plus, with so many people now searching for local services on mobile devices, you can’t afford to ignore local SEO.

Local search marketing puts you in front of people’s eyes who are searching for products and services in your city or general area. In this case, legal services.

The great thing about your law firm’s local presence is you don’t have to be tech-savvy to help enhance it. There are some simple ways to boost your local reach.

The first and most important task is to claim your Google My Business listing. For attorneys, it’s also important to create an AVVO profile.

You also need to list your law firm in local directories such as Bing, Yelp, and other directories. Listing yourself on legal-specific directories is a good idea too.

When doing this, it’s crucial all your pertinent information such as your phone number, office locations, and hours of operation is correct and consistent.

Custom Content

We talked about the importance of keyword phrases woven throughout the content on your site. However, the quality of your content is also crucial to your site’s performance.

This can be a tricky area for some attorneys, as legal information tends to be a little too technical for their audience. It’s important you write your content with your target audience in mind. It may help to work with a marketing copywriter.

Your content should offer useful information and answer a person’s questions. Keep in mind that if someone is looking for legal service, they’re likely in a very vulnerable state and aren’t sure what their next step should be. Take this opportunity to answer their questions and also explain how you can help.

High-quality content not only helps your potential clients. It also helps your rankings.

Search engines index the internet on a regular basis in order to rank sites. In the past, the quality of the content on a site didn’t matter too much. Now it has a direct effect on rankings.

The content on your site should remain focused on your overall practice area and drill down into sub-practice areas. Each page should focus on one of these sub-areas.

In addition, avoid overstuffing your content with keywords, as this will result in being penalized by search engines.

A Solid Link Building Strategy

We’ve been talking about how to grow your law firm by enhancing the SEO on your website. However, with a strong link building strategy, you can use incoming links from other sites to boost your rankings.

But it’s not good enough to simply get inbound links to whoever will give them to you. They need to come from high-quality, authoritative sites. They also need to be contextually relevant.

To help your law firm SEO, you need to acquire links from legal-related sites like AVVO, NOLO, and Justia. It also helps to go after links coming from your local bar association and Chamber of Commerce.

You may be asking how this helps your rankings.

When search engines index the content on a website, they move between pages via links. When an authoritative site sends a search engine to your site, it increases the value of your page and helps boost its ranking. Think of it as a vote of confidence from that site to yours.

Your site should also contain internal links, which send visitors to other relevant pages on your site. This internal linking also provides SEO value.

Online Reviews

When searching for products and services, people use online reviews now more than ever before. For attorneys, client reviews are extremely important, as they give people a firsthand account of your professional conduct.

But online reviews also serve another important purpose. They have an effect on your online presence.

Search engines now pay attention to reviews, and positive customer feedback can act as a sign of trustworthiness and authority. This is similar to how search engines find relevance in authoritative links to your site.

When search engines see positive reviews, it’s a sign your business is legit and that customers are interacting with you. Reviews also work to provide additional content that’s connected to your law firm.

This means it’s a good idea to add client reviews to your website. You should also add them to your Google My Business page and any social media pages you have.

If you’re struggling to get reviews, it doesn’t hurt to ask clients for one once you’re done with their case. If they’re satisfied with your work, they won’t mind leaving a review.

Add Something Extra with a Blog

Adding a blog to your site is a great way to both interact with your target audience and boost your search engine rankings. It also provides another dynamic element to your online presence.

Unlike the static pages of your site we discussed earlier, a blog is a way to reach your audience in a more conversational tone. You have more freedom to interject some of your law firm’s personality into the articles while also providing useful legal information.

Creating a blog and publishing relevant content establishes you as an authoritative resource. If done well, your audience will return to your blog over and over.

When thinking about topics, take a similar approach we discussed earlier. You want to help answer people’s legal questions. Think of your blog as an extension of the subject matter on your site.

In addition, you should also blog about things going on at your law firm. This could include new partners or community events you’re participating in.

Keep in mind that your blog should be connected to your website and not external. This way search engines will see each article as fresh site content.

Implement Smart SEO and Expand Your Firm

In today’s competitive legal marketplace, a strong online presence is essential. Simply having a website will no longer cut it. Optimization is critical.

If you’re not seeing any new leads from your site, it’s time to take action. Use these tips on implementing SEO for lawyers and start reaching more people.

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