There are almost 1.4 million licensed and practicing attorneys in the United States. A decade earlier, the count was only at 1.16 million. That represents more than a 15% growth in a span of ten years!
What’s more, the BLS forecasts the industry to grow at an 8% rate within the next eight years. In other words, there’ll be more legal professionals.
That said, you want to step up your marketing game to have clients ring you up.
This is where SEO for law firms come into play.
Search engine optimization isn’t as hard as you think. It works, otherwise, folks in the U.S. wouldn’t spend $72 billion on it.
The question is, how exactly do you optimize your law firm’s web assets? Keep reading as we’ll give you insider info!
Lawyer SEO in 150 Words
Search engine optimization is a digital marketing technique aimed to increase website visitors. In short, you optimize your website to rank better in search results.
It’s different from other online marketing tactics, like pay per click, because it’s unpaid. You get your site visitors from the “organic” or “natural” search engine results pages (SERPs).
For example, a consumer is searching online using the keyword “personal injury lawyer.” Let’s also say you’ve optimized your site the right way (such as using that keyword). That then gives you greater chances of appearing high on SERPs, possibly even at the very top.
Note that SEO isn’t only for websites though. You can, and should, also optimize your other online assets (think social media). Doing so lets you get the most out of online marketing.
Now that you know the basics of SEO, let’s delve into what you can do for your law firm website.
1. Great SEO for Law Firms Means Localized SEO
Local SEO is still SEO, but it’s more location-centered and geographically-specific. You optimize your online assets for you and your clients’ specific location.
In local SEO, you use local signals, such as a specific city within a state. This makes it easier for searchers to find businesses or professionals near them. As such, localizing your law firm’s SEO makes it easier for potential clients within your area to find you. If you aren’t sure how to approach this process, take a look at this local lawyer SEO reference guide.
Now, think about this. Your law firm is a local practice, isn’t it? You provide your legal expertise to a very particular set of people, within a fixed location.
While not all 1.4 million lawyers in the U.S. practice in your area, many of them still do. So, if you don’t optimize with local signals, your website will get lost in the thousands of search results. You may still show up on SERPs, but you won’t appear on the first page.
Keep in mind that 75% of online searchers don’t bother with the second page of SERPs. So, if you don’t make it to the first page, you may already lose three-fourths of potential clients right away.
Should you approach an SEO agency that focuses on legal marketing, they are likely going to have different businesses and legal experts within your area that they might already be working with. For this reason, it’s important to make sure your site design, website optimization, and inbound marketing efforts are somewhat in place before shopping around — otherwise you will likely get a hefty up charge for some of these simple Google and SEO services.
One such service that many link building services and legal agencies are trying to upsell at a higher premium, is the business of online reputation management. This is much like SEO, but at a much higher cost, as the monthly monitoring and management of new SERPS and content going live is a big focus for brands and businesses of all sizes.
In essence, local SEO makes it easy for both search engines and consumers to find you. Telling them you’re a personal injury lawyer in Santa Ana, Orange County, LA is already a good start. Instead of using only generic terms, include local signals such as your specific area of practice.
2. Make Sure Your NAP is Consistent
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Be sure to make it consistent throughout all platforms it appears on. The NAP that appears on your website should be the same on your social media and online directories.
While this might not seem too important for online marketing purposed, it’s actually very crucial if you want to have a success content strategy plan and making sure your site properties are all SEO friendly. With the advanced Google algorithm improving every day, if your business location doesn’t match up with the address found on your site, this can cause problems.
NAP consistency is the key to successful online citations. Citations are any mention of your NAP online. The more citations you have, the better for your SEO campaign.
Because NAP citations allow Internet users to know you exist, they make it easier for potential clients to reach you. After all, these mentions include your address, phone number, or both.
3. Set Up Your Google My Business Account
Having a strong local search presence starts with a Google My Business (GMB) profile. Consider this as the backbone of your local SEO campaign.
GMB is a key component of SEO for law firm websites because it’s one type of citation. More than that though is the fact that this Google service is one of the top online directories.
Take advantage of this tool, and you can interact with your target market in various ways.
For instance, you can respond right away to customer reviews. You can even create branding blog posts through it. There’s also the recently-added messaging feature, allowing you to have real-time interactions. With all of these improvement and monitoring in place, there is no reason why you shouldn’t see improvement within your local search and Google rankings.
Google My Business also delivers powerful and valuable customer-related insights. You can find out whether customer searches were direct or through discovery. It even tells you whether your site visitors found you through Maps or through SERPs.
4. Get Your Firm Listed on Legal Directories
Whether local or organic, authoritative law firm websites top the Google search results. To get to this status, you need to make your domain authoritative. One way to do that is to drive more backlinks from authoritative and high-quality sources.
The important thing to remember with most link directories these days, is that they will likely charge money for a placement on their site, but they often won’t pass link juice. This is due to the most recent changes from Google of the past few years. In short, they don’t like the idea of buy site traffic in the form of links and using keyword anchor text to link back to a site. This is often fixed by adding ‘nofollow’ to the link commands with the code of a site.
Even with all of that being said, online legal directories are your best pals when it comes to high-quality backlinks. Many of the sites have a lot of traffic flowing to them, and lots of organic search rankings to go along with it. So, you’d want to sign up for sites like HG.org, Nolo.com, and Lawyers.com. Findlaw.com is also a great online directory your NAP should appear on.
5. Start Blogging
Every minute that passes by, people consume information from some 542,000 web pages. That’s almost 24 billion pages every month! Throw in the fact that there are now more than a billion active sites on the internet today, and that is a whole lot of new content flooding the internet daily — thus making it harder for your site to acquire quality links, while also making it easier for your site to get lost in the mix.
That should tell you that blogs have become so valuable to consumers. It has such a huge influence that 61% of readers made a purchase after reading a blog.
That’s how powerful blogs are, so you should take advantage of it to boost your SEO campaign results. Plus, blogging can also help you get those backlinks from authoritative sites.
Curating awesome, interesting, and useful blog posts make you more credible and professional. People will consider you a specialist in your niche. This then helps increase not only site visitors but potential clients for your firm too.
Not sure how and where to start? Check out this in-depth guide on how to start blogging like a pro.
6. Make Your Website and Content Mobile Friendly
That should already prompt you to take your SEO campaign to the mobile world. You stand to lose a huge portion of your market share if you don’t optimize your site for mobile searches. Half of the searches now take place through mobile phones.
Mobile-friendliness is also one of the most important Google ranking factors. Again, this search engine giant is all about delivering the best customer experience. You need to make your site as easy to navigate on mobile as it is on desktop or laptop.
That way, you can meet Google’s (and other search engines’) rigorous ranking factors. If you do, then they’re likely to rank your site and pages higher. That’ll pave the way for potential clients to visit your law firm’s website or even ring you up!
7. Keep those Reviews Coming and Respond to All of Them
In today’s digitally-connected world, news spread around pretty much with the speed of light. All it takes is one unhappy customer with hundreds or thousands of social media followers to break a business’ online presence.
For one, because almost everyone – a whopping 97% – reads online reviews. 87% of them put their trust in these reviews as they do when it comes to personal recommendations.
If you have negative or no reviews, you can already imagine what it’ll do to your law firm. Negative or zero reviews won’t get clients to visit your website. If they don’t visit your website, you can’t expect them to set an appointment.
It’s time you start putting more importance on these reviews. If you did a great job, clients won’t have qualms giving you raving reviews. But you can always “humanize” your practice and request them to give you one.
Also, make sure you respond to all reviews about your law office. That applies to both positive and negative reviews.
Liked these tips? Try these top rated law blog categories as well:
Legal Writing / Legal Education / Canada Law / New York Law / International Law / Australia Law / Criminal Law / Intellectual Property / European Law / Consumer Law / Indian Law / Legal Marketing / Law /
Up Your Law Office’s SEO Game to Bring in More Clients
SEO for law firms don’t have to be as complicated as the legal world. It does take time to see the results, however. That’s why as early as now, you need to start optimizing your site and content the right way.
So, start by researching the best high-ranking and relevant keywords for your law firm. From there, make sure you pair it with proper local optimization. Follow everything on this list, and you’ll boost your chances of ranking better on search engines.
No website or just about to start blogging? If so, then know that we can help you start off on the right foot. Check out our extensive list of blogging and SEO services now!