Lawyer SEO: Guide to Law Firm SEO and Where to Find Services for Lawyers
What Is SEO?
Website optimization for lawyers starts with SEO, which stands for search engine optimization. SEO is the intentional effort of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website. Optimizing your website is the practice of making your site more visible on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
SEO is cyclical: the more optimized your website is, the more and better traffic will be guided to your website, thus increasing your SEO further. SEO for law firm websites requires a continuous practice of demonstrating that you are the top law firm in your area by proving your outcomes and knowledge. Since there is a constant flow of new content on the internet, lawyer SEO marketing is the attempt to “spread the word” about your provisions, outcomes, and knowledge.
Search engines want to make their searchers happy by providing answers to their queries. It’s Google’s goal to provide the best results by presenting the most qualified websites to their searchers. When it comes to SEO for law firm websites, Google looks over the quality of content, backlinks, website building itself, and more to give the optimized result to the people who need their questions answered.
SEO for Lawyers, Attorneys, and Law Firms
Search engine optimization for lawyers works similarly to building your law firm’s reputation in your community. The more successful cases you have, the more your reputation will grow. SEO takes that concept and puts it to practice online. When a potential client needs legal answers, more often than not they will head to Google to find an esteemed law firm that can meet their needs.
Though there are numerous analytics to concentrate on for successful SEO, the most prominent and obvious measuring tool for the layperson is your ranking on a search engine. An imperative question to ask yourself is this:
When someone has a question or query, does your law firm appear on the first page of a search engine?
Lawyer SEO makes sure that answer is yes. When you appear on the first page of a search engine result page (SERP), future clients will be able to find you with efficiency. In fact, more than 99% of clicks happen on page one of a SERP. The more they have to search past the first page of a SERP, the less likely potential clients are to visit your website, thus the less traffic you will receive.
Why Is Law Firm SEO Important?
In recent years, the field of marketing has drastically changed for lawyers. As of 2020, online legal services in the U.S. have seen a $9 billion market size increase. If you are not investing in digital marketing, you will most likely be beat out by competitors who do utilize SEO services for lawyers.
As of April 2021, 97% of Americans own a cell phone, 85% of whom own a smartphone. When people need an attorney, they turn to their phones, not just to call you, but to find you in the first place. Law firm SEO is so important because SEO is how you are ranked on search engines. If you do not appear on a search engine’s first page, the people who are in need of your services cannot seek you out. SEO is how you beat competitors in online marketing. It’s as simple as that.
Law Firm SEO Statistics
According to the American Bar Association, less than half of all law firms, no matter their size, have a marketing budget. And according to the survey respondents:
51% of law firms use external marketing consultants
32% of law firms retained clients through their website
81% of law firms and individual lawyers use social media
87% of law firms have a website
68% of law firms have mobile-friendly websites
Only 3% of law firms produce marketing videos
29% of law firms retained a client from their personal social media
Additionally, more than 40% of individual lawyers do not have a website. And if they do, over 50% of those websites are not mobile-friendly.
Law Firm SEO Ranking Factors
SEO is an ever-changing field that requires constant attention to detail. SEO is always changing because:
Content is constantly being added to the internet
People’s needs and searches change
Search engine analytic programs are regularly updated
Competitor SEO rankings change
However, in the constantly developing realm of SEO, there are some prevailing constants. There are three main factors that determine your SEO ranking:
Backlinks and off-page citations
Ranking Factor #1: Content
Content marketing is one of the driving factors of SEO for lawyers. Content is used to:
Prove your credibility by telling or showing your clients what you know. Examples: case results, images of awards, fact-based articles about your field of work
Increase organic search rankings by supplying quality material to your website, which will then be analyzed by search engines for both its accuracy and value to users. Example: a well-written web page about a specific legal topic you specialize in that is relevant and specialized to popular questions—like the differences between economic vs. non-economic damages or what people should look for in an attorney
Drive traffic to your website. Example: You can analyze SEO data and compile a keyword list of popular words people are searching, then incorporate those keywords into your website content. The more people who search those will see that your law firm or you as a lawyer can answer their inquiries.
Boost lead generation. Example: The more approachable and findable your content is—for instance, when organic search traffic leads to your “contact me” subpage—the more likely you’ll be receiving an email or phone call.
Answer Inquiry or Search Term Used by the User
Lawyer SEO involves providing legal information to the everyday person. This means that a lot of legal jargon that applies to a situation may be more known by the average searcher who needs legal assistance.
Knowing the search terms that people are using will completely transform your optimization. Using data-driven practices to research users’ inquiries will create a word-map of what specific terms you should include in your content.
SEO prioritizes literal text that appears on your webpage. Let’s bring SEO back to the basics: Someone has a question, Google wants to give them the best answer. Google uses a technique called crawling to find the most relevant text to match search queries.
Knowing what your audience is looking for is crucial to having the best SEO for law firms. If you know what your target audience is looking for based on what they’re asking search engines, you’ll be able to provide content that answers their questions.
Not only are you answering their questions based on definitive words, but you are also able to engage with these searchers and ultimately generate leads.
Content Needs to Be Keyword Optimized
Knowing what your audience is searching for is the first step to creating search engine optimization for lawyers. The second step is implementing those inquiries into the content itself.
Keyword optimization tells search engines that your content is:
Up to date, if not progressive, in your awareness of what people are searching
Credible to answer the questions people are asking
Engaging with users based on their intent
Keyword optimization focuses on user intent. SEO expert Brian Dean’s research breaks down user intent as what searchers are looking for when they ask Google a question. Google pays close attention to why people are asking what they’re asking and then finds the most applicable content to satisfy that person’s internet experience. If your content satisfies user intent the best, Google will present your content to the searcher.
So why exactly is keyword optimization necessary? Because it focuses on user intent, it in turn enhances your lawyer SEO, especially when compared to your competitors who are attempting to provide answers to the same questions being asked.
Keywords must be premeditated to specifics. Let’s take a look at an example:
A lot of people in your area are in need of a personal injury lawyer, but they don’t know who to go to. They turn to Google and type in “personal injury attorney in my area.” You know that people are searching for law firms, so your content is titled “Car Accident Lawyers.”
You’re waiting for the search traffic to drive upwards, but it’s just not happening. Why? For two main reasons:
You have used “lawyers” instead of attorney.
Lawyers is plural, whereas attorney is singular.
“Car Accident” may involve personal injury, but personal injury is specific to the audience’s needs, not just in the content of a car accident.
Though these words are similar, their differences are enough to change the entire landscape and outcome of your SEO. Knowing the specific language your audience is using is pertinent to the optimization of your website.
Keywords are all in the details. Keywords used will determine how engaged you are with your audience, which can make or break your law firm search engine optimization.
Content Should Be Comprehensive Enough to Address Primary and Secondary Keywords
Throwing keywords into content at random won’t do the trick. Your primary keyword—the one word a majority of people are using to search about a topic—and secondary keywords—other high-ranking search query words that drive volume—must be placed strategically into the piece of content being written. Diction is also important. If your keywords are haphazardly placed, search engines will recognize the unruly syntax and diction, and your SEO will likely suffer because of it.
Ranking Factor #2: Backlinks and Off-Page Citations
Even though content is crucial, it’s also pretty much infinite in the bandwidth of the internet. With so much content out there, Google and other search engines have found additional ways of providing the best answer to a search query. Acting as little flags for the search engine crawlers, the answer lies in backlinks.
Backlinks are hyperlinks from your website to another website, or vice versa.
Website optimization for lawyers relies on backlinks, not only the quantity, but also the quality. The more and better your backlinks are, the higher your SEO may be. The more backlinks you have, the more credibility you have. If you have credibility as a law firm in the eyes of Google, you are more likely to be ranked higher and presented as a voice of authority.
Improve Local SEO Through Off-Page Citations
Local SEO is a decisive factor in the overall continuity for lawyer SEO. Local SEO, in short, is an SEO strategy to let people in your geographical region know that you are present and ready for business! It’s great to be an authoritative voice in the online field of law in general, yet a balance has to be met to retain clients specifically in your area. Hello, Local SEO.
Having your backlinks on sites that provide locational information is a sure way to flag Google down and let search engines know you’re reputable in your area. Having your backlinks on directories like Avvo and Google My Business can help tremendously. When looking for SEO services for lawyers, make sure that backlinks are high on your priority list.
Technical SEO is how well your law firm SEO functions practically. It has to do with user experience, meaning the experience the users who visit your website have. Aspects of technical SEO for attorney SEO marketing include:
Accessibility: Do all users have access to the law firm’s website? What factors may prohibit a person from using the website?
Sitemap: This is the blueprint of your website. Think of it as the architectural stability of how your site functions.
Security: How safe is the website for users?
Usability: Can people easily navigate your law website to find what they’re looking for?
Technical SEO needs to be performed strategically and carefully. For expertise, consider consulting a law firm SEO company.
Why Does My Law Firm Need an SEO Optimized Site?
If your website’s structure is unstable, you will not be considered a viable option to be presented to searchers. Having strong technical SEO tells search engines that you are not only an authority in law, but that the information you can relay in content is accessible for those who need your know-how.
Having a Fast, Mobile-Friendly High-Performance Website
Accessibility includes being able to view your website at any size. Having a mobile-friendly site is a large part of technical SEO. A site that is considered to have technical SEO can adapt to any screen size.
High-performance websites must adapt quickly. The faster your website loads, the better your technical SEO will be.
Follow Google’s Technical Guidelines and Resolve Errors and Warnings
Still a bit lost on the intricacies of technical SEO? That’s okay, most of this topic has to do with development and site building/maintenance. Check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide to know what to look for and avoid penalties.
SEO vs. PPC: How Is SEO Better Than PPC?
PPC stands for “pay-per-click,” meaning that you are paying for people to see your advertisements. While there is still much merit in paid search campaigns, one of the main difficulties is that PPC stops once you stop paying.
SEO, on the other hand, is long lasting. The effects SEO have on your law firm marketing remain substantial far into the future; PPC is instant, getting you fast results. Not in a sneaky way by any means, but it is a different strategy. Organic search results are also noticeable to viewers. SEO brings these organic results based on your authority alone and through the hard work building your SEO.
SEO vs. Social: How Is SEO Better Than Social?
SEO is utilized by search engines, and search engines are expert investigators. The flippant nature of social media lacks the ingenuity of search engine results. Social ads are not random, they have their own algorithms they attend to, but search engines can decipher users’ searches and use the SEO you’ve built over time to present your material.
Social campaigns are valuable in their own right—there is no doubt about that. But, relying solely on social media presence to gain audience attention limits your audience to people who already know who you are. SEO, on the other hand, can broaden your audience because they are looking for specific answers, not necessarily your law firm. However, when your law firm provides the answers through a Google search, potential clients will be introduced to you as a law firm who can meet their legal needs and answer their specific question. SEO has the power to present your answers to looking and wanting audiences.
How to Implement SEO for Lawyers
Put simply, you have two options for implementing lawyer SEO: do it yourself or work with a law firm SEO company. We’ll cover both directions in the section below, then you can assess the best way for you to practice SEO in your law firm or as an individual lawyer.
Implementing SEO Internally or by Yourself
1. Set Goals
Be realistic with yourself about your SEO goals. Get an idea about what your goals may be, such as getting on the first page of Google results. Then, come up with a strategy where you can bring those goals to fruition. Remember that SEO is constantly changing, so don’t be afraid to revisit your goals and steps to help you reach them. SEO can be intimidating, not to mention difficult, so approaching your goals with flexibility, grace, and patience is a good place to start.
2. Conduct Keyword and Competitor Research
The best way to get an idea about how to implement SEO is by looking at how others operate SEO for law firm websites. What are your competitors doing, and is it working? How can you adopt some of their tactics in ethical, personalized ways?
Researching keywords will also give you a basis for what content to produce. Make a list of your specialties. Then, compile a list of words to put into a search engine and see what comes up. A thesaurus is a great place to start. Different keywords yield different results, even if the words are synonyms.
3. Focus on Writing and Publishing Quality Content
Now that you’ve done your keyword and competitor research, and have a comprehensive list of your own services, combine the two to start writing content.
If you are able to practice in multiple towns around your home office, consider writing location pages for each location you practice in. If Smallville and Ourtown are right next to each other, but you only have a web page that gives information about your practice in Smallville, how will the people of Ourtown know you also serve in their area?
Make a “Contact Us” page to give immediate details on how your audience can reach you. Easy access to your information is a sure way to build SEO and makes navigating your site—not to mention reaching you—easier for your potential clients.
Of course, you did your keyword research for a reason. Place keywords strategically into your content. A great place to put keywords are in titles and headings, that way the words can get your audience’s attention, as well as the attention of search engines.
4. Resolve Technical Errors
If you have technical errors on your site, Google will know. If you are not confident in your ability to identity these errors, but are not ready to commit to a law firm SEO company, there are many training classes that you can attend to learn a bit more about the technical side of your website.
5. Build Links and Online Presence
Adding backlinks and getting onto local sites is, as we mentioned before, of ultimate importance. Just as you are participants in a community, think of link building as being a part of an online community, supporting and being supported by those in your online space.
This will, of course, require you to have an online presence. This takes time. Again, be patient, yet commit to your online marketing. Seeing results takes time, but if you build your online presence, that time will bring outcomes you may never have expected.
Hiring a Law Firm SEO Expert
The second option for implementing SEO is hiring a digital marketing company to provide law firm SEO services. SEO is a huge undertaking. It demands precision, patience, and time-consuming tasks that may not be your top priority in your busy day. You are, of course, an attorney first and foremost. Adding managing your law firm’s SEO marketing may be a task that requires too much time and commitment. If you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t worry. There are lawyer SEO experts who do this as a career so that you can focus on your career.
If you believe hiring a lawyer SEO company is the best option for you, there are a few things to consider while choosing a law firm digital marketing agency.
Work With the Lawyer SEO Agency to Set Goals
We understand that when first starting out with SEO, it can be hard to even distinguish what is “right” and “wrong” to do. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult a law firm SEO company to set your goals. Digital marketing companies can get a thorough overview of the integrity of your website, and assess what your needs are from there. You may have your own goals, too, which is great! Present them to the agency you’re working with, and with their technical skills, they can combine your ideas and their knowledge to create attainable goals.
How to Find a Lawyer SEO Agency
Networking is a great place to start! Consulting other lawyers on who they have used for their digital marketing can lead you to marketing companies of your own. Going to marketing events like digital summits is also a great way to search.
What to Look for in a Law Firm SEO Expert?
When looking for a law firm SEO company, look for one that has your best interests in mind. Though there are many things to look for in a law firm SEO agency, some major attributes to consider are:
Their transparency—are they willing and wanting to discuss what they do to support your business?
Their specializations—just as you have your specialization as attorneys, digital marketing firms have their own strengths. Does the digital marketing firm have experience working with attorneys? Do they specialize in SEO? Content marketing? Having specific expertise to match your goals is an important component in deciding what company to choose.
Look into what other people are saying about them. What is their reputation in the digital marketing field? What are other lawyers’ experiences with the company? Even Google reviews is a great place to start in your search for a lawyer SEO company.
Warning Signs of an Untrustworthy Law Firm SEO Agency
If a digital marketing firm exhibits these signs, they may not be trustworthy and may be trying to take advantage of you:
You are left in the dark about their strategies. If they do not communicate with you about how your investment is being used, they may not be using it for your benefit.
They want quick results. A professional SEO digital marketing agency will know that good SEO takes time. If they promise quick results, they may be using sketchy SEO tactics, such as black-hat SEO, that could ultimately result in penalization for your website.
If a law firm SEO company promises results, look somewhere else. These are empty promises, especially with no background on who your firm is. A marketing firm should never guarantee results, only work with you to make goals.
Partner With Metric Marketing: A Transparent Lawyer SEO Agency With Integrity & Proven Success
If you’re looking for SEO services for lawyers, look no further! Our team here at Metric Marketing is here to build your SEO and we will put in the intentional effort to do so. We are industry leaders who take the time to create detail-oriented, data-driven results that will continue into the future.
The future? SEO is constantly changing. That’s why we examine, re-examine, and continue to investigate your site. When you partner with us, we will perform tasks for your SEO like:
Keyword building and content development
Backlink building and cleanup
When working with Metric for your law firm SEO services, you will find that we make sure that you are kept in the loop. Transparency is one of our top priorities. We believe that trust between partners is of the utmost importance. We value honesty and mutual respect. Out of those attributes, along with a skilled team of industry leaders, we can help transform your law firm SEO marketing.
Reach Out to Metric Marketing Today for a Consultation & See What’s Possible for Your Firm
We understand that SEO can be a lot to learn about all at once. Though we’ve tried our best to explain the basics of law firm SEO, we know that it may still seem overwhelming. Or maybe you have SEO down pat and are just looking for some extra tips or want some advice about how to look at analytics. Whatever it is you need when it comes to lawyer SEO marketing, we’ve got your back. Set up a meeting today by giving us a call at 734.404.8714. You can also fill out an online contact form to ask any of your questions about SEO or Metric Marketing. We look forward to hearing from you!
White Hat SEO is the strategy of using ethical SEO tactics to build your SEO over time. Creating content and backlinks in honest ways that are transparent to Google will show that your website is an ethical source to use.
Keyword stuffing is writing your keywords in inconvenient and nonsense ways within your content. It is the practice of using keywords—a tool used by search engines—to try and get your webpage to rank first.
This tactic used to work a few decades ago, but as Google’s algorithms have advanced, the sheer amount of keywords is less important than the intuitive placement of words. Your keywords need to make sense within the context of your content. Your keywords should not be used as a ploy to get more attention. Rather, keywords are tools to strategically provide comprehensive information to your audience and potential clients.
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