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SEO for Immigration Lawyers: A Complete Guide for Higher Ranking Results

updated
July 28, 2022
20 min
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Immigration law firms can benefit from learning and applying strategies that allow them to use digital marketing to reach their target clients. The best place to start is search engine optimization for lawyers.

Chances are that there are people in need of your services searching Google right now. If your immigration law firm isn’t landing at the top of their search results, you can bet they are giving business to your competition instead.

When you want to increase the amount of organic traffic reaching your immigrant law firm website, you need to start with search engine optimization. This work is key to your ability to acquire new clients and drive more traffic to your immigration law firm website.

If your online presence is optimized for search, you will find your efforts pay off significantly. The better your traffic metrics, the higher you rank in relevant searches. To help with this, we’ve created this guide with search engine optimization tips specifically for immigration law firms.

Why SEO for Immigration Lawyers Is So Important

There are several reasons that your immigration law firm should care about SEO. Optimizing for search can improve how you rank in Google search as well as in other search engines. In addition to that, optimization leads to higher conversion rates.

Over time, you will find that your return on investment (ROI) for organic search campaigns is much higher than for paid ad campaigns. This disparity is even greater if you invest in SEO services for lawyers. Immigration law is competitive. SEO gives you one more advantage.

If you master the latest SEO techniques, the immigrants who need your services will be able to find your law firm when they search for help online. Your top-of-page ranking will give you the opportunity to share how your experience and knowledge of immigration law can help them solve their problems. Most of your leads will be generated from organic searches.

SEO is so important that you may seriously consider investing in help from a qualified agency. Immigration law SEO experts work with law firms like yours to understand your goals, then implement an SEO strategy that aligns with those goals. This work will include website optimization, link building, local SEO, and content creation.

How Can Immigration Lawyers Improve Their SEO?

Turn to Local Immigration Keywords

Turn to Local Immigration Keywords

Due to the nature of immigration law, potential clients can come from many locations, even abroad. They might be seeking advice for a 188 visa from a spouse visa lawyer. Perhaps they're searching for an eb5 lawyer. Because of this, locally targeted keywords are generally less competitive. Start with local keywords as you begin to build your SEO strategy.

Is your law firm located in a major metropolitan area? If it is, work at optimizing for keywords that are targeted to your city and state. This approach will give you a good chance of earning top search rankings.

There is significantly more competition for keywords that are related to international and national search intent. This competition is why your focus on local SEO is likely to pay off sooner in comparison.

Later, you can work to optimize for search terms that are more geographically broad. However, you may find that you earn enough business simply by focusing on law firm local SEO. It might take some testing to see which is best for meeting your business objectives.

Improve Your Google My Business Profile

Improve Your Google My Business Profile

There are some steps that you will need to take if you choose to optimize for local keywords as part of your search engine optimization strategy. These are necessary for ranking on the first page in organic search results.

Start with your Google My Business (GMB) profile. If this profile isn’t optimized, you won’t be able to rank in the "local three-pack" in search results or show up on Google maps.

Your profile should be completed and optimized. Start by ensuring your GMB profile is completely filled out, add new photos of yourself and the other attorneys in your practice, and use relevant keywords. Don’t forget to write posts that describe your services.

There are external signals that can impact how your GMB profile ranks. These include having your firm listed in reputable business and legal directories. Ensure that these listings are also optimized. Information such as the name of your law firm and location should be consistent in all area directories as well as your law firm GMB profile.

Invest in an Attractive and Optimized Website

A well-designed website is an important tool that helps immigration law firms attract and retain clients.

Ideally, your site will be aesthetically pleasing and reflect that it was designed by a professional. Your website should also offer easy navigation for your potential clients. Visual elements, formatting, and content should align with your branding as well as reflect your values.

Don’t shy away from adding up-to-date features to your website. You can incorporate video, GIFs, infographics, and interactive elements to make your pages more engaging. These will help keep your audience on-site and viewing your attorney website content as long as possible.

The longer people stay on your site, the better ranking you will earn on search results pages. It’s worth investing in website services for lawyers for a truly engaging site.

Manage Your Immigration Law Content

Immigration law firms can stand out in a positive way by serving up relevant content that is related to changes in immigration policies. This data is the kind of current information that people seek out and use to make life-altering decisions.

Also, the people who need this information actively look for it on search engines like Google. If you are offering it, then that traffic goes to your web page. This flow creates an additional opportunity for you to share your knowledge and establish thought leadership in the field of immigration law.

Timeliness is exceptionally important when it comes to creating content that improves your SEO strategy. You must be the first to write about these pressing issues so that people are attracted to your law firm's website.

Additionally, you must create content that engages. Use the right keywords. Optimize your page structure for readability. Add an attention-grabbing headline. Work with other content creators to earn backlinks.

It’s also important to find a balance between content that is loaded with information and content that is readable and engaging. Posts that are too long and too wordy don’t engage. Readers can’t maintain attention, so they bounce.

It’s important to format content so it isn’t overwhelming to consume in one sitting. Use small sections, add bulleted lists, and consider breaking up larger paragraphs. Finally, remember to write in a conversational tone using vocabulary that the average person can understand. Avoid legal jargon.

Don’t limit your view of content to writing. Content includes lawyer videos, legal podcasts, interviews, GIFs, tweets, law firm social media posts, and infographics. Use these elements to add to written posts to make them more interesting.

Many of these elements can also be used to start your own law firm content marketing. Great visual content can lead to better ranking and more engagement. Think of it as an important part of your SEO strategy.

Post on Your Website and Social Media

Post on Your Website and Social Media

Now you know the best way to connect with potential clients is to become a source of accurate, up-to-the-minute information on immigration law and policy. But what is the best way to do that? Many immigration law firms are able to use legal blogging as a way to connect with potential clients. Additionally, they use links in those posts to direct traffic to their website.

Blogging can be beneficial for immigration attorney SEO as a way to explore detailed topics. This approach allows them to show their insights and expertise using an appropriate platform where the subject might be too detailed for a web page.

Blog posts can also be used as a way to rank for keywords that aren’t used quite as frequently as others. This approach offers an additional opportunity to increase search rankings.

As you write about various topics, you will find opportunities to mention services you offer and even introduce your team members. All of these things can provide potential immigration clients with a path to your website when they have questions about the law.

Your immigration law firm should also incorporate social media in your marketing efforts. By posting consistently, you can build an audience and increase traffic to your law firm's website. Of course, this can be a lot to manage. You will need to decide whether you want to manage this in-house or give the task over to a social media marketing agency.

You can also check our guides Twitter for Lawyers and Instagram for Lawyers.

Provide a Good User Experience

Since Google released the Core Web Vitals update in Spring 2021, speed and user experience (UX) are now important factors in search engine optimization. That’s something you will need to include in your SEO strategy.

Since image loading is often a performance issue, consider using compression to decrease file sizes. Also, use newer file formats such as JPEG 2000 that are easier to compress.

Google has also adopted a mobile-first approach to indexing websites. This approach means that performance on mobile is given priority when ranking pages for search. When you test your page speed, your mobile site scores matter much more. Optimize those for better results.

Once you have optimized for performance on both desktop and mobile devices, you can focus on user experience. If your site doesn’t offer intuitive navigation and digestible content, prospective clients will find an immigration law firm that does. A web development pro can offer help with analyzing your site for performance and UX.

Get Down to Backlinking

Get Down to Backlinking

Link building is one of the most important elements of your immigration law firm SEO strategy. It’s also one of the most complicated. In fact, you may be tempted to avoid adding this to your strategy because it’s so complex. However, backlinks are so important to search engine algorithms that ignoring them just isn’t an option.

A backlink is a link to your website from another site. Think of this as a vote of confidence in your content and expertise. The more backlinks you earn, the better your ranking, as Google will see your site as being authoritative and trustworthy.

Just remember that all links aren’t the same.

There is a lot of competition in earning backlinks for your law firm's website. Because of this, many so-called experts have engaged in black hat link-building methods. For example, they build links to sites with poor reputations. While this may have worked in the past, search engines are now able to recognize these tactics and will penalize your site for using them.

Take time to engage in link building by focusing on earning links from other high-authority websites. This work will require that you build relationships with other webmasters and also engage in reciprocal linking.

Mind the Site Structure

Mind the Site Structure

There’s a nearly limitless amount of content that your law firm can publish online. However, you have to organize all of that content effectively for better search engine results. This work means planning out a website structure that builds authority and ensures better indexing.

The first thing to understand is that your pages pass authority to one another using links. When this feature is used correctly, high authority pages can pass authority to other pages. If it is used incorrectly, your ranking will decrease because your relevance and "link juice" will be depleted. 

There are four elements to consider when you are optimizing the structure of your website and ensuring that your internal linking works for you:

  • Internal links in your web page content
  • Navigation from your main menu
  • Navigation from your home page footer
  • Navigation from your sidebar

So how do you determine how to structure your navigation links for each of these? First, prioritize logic and ease of navigation. Your link structure should always be based on improving the user experience. Next, consider relevance. The internal links you use in your content, headers, and footers should be within the same topic families and add value.

Internal and External Linking

The purpose of internal links is to keep users on your website as they look for answers to their questions or seek out immigration law services. How your links allow users to navigate your site influences how well your SEO efforts work.

If they contribute to better UX, you can be sure that search engines will reward that. Additionally, your internal links also guide search engine “crawlers,” making it easier for them to index your site and understand your content.

For external links, immigration attorneys should focus on two things. The first is earning inbound links from high-authority sites. The second is ensuring that any outbound links are also to high-authority sites. Both steps help ensure you create a web presence based on authority and trust. This approach will lead to more traffic to your site.

How to Get Internal And External Links

How do you earn links back to your law firm from other reputable sites? One of the most effective techniques is guest blogging. Reach out to online publications that feature legal content or other law firms. Just make sure to focus on firms that aren’t also focused on immigration law practice. Most will allow you to include at least one link to your site.

Next, work on building profiles for your law firm in legal directories. You will be able to link these profiles back to your website.

Finally, client reviews that are published on reputable consumer sites often include a link to your site as well as a citation. In addition to the link, you also receive a word-of-mouth endorsement. That will help build trust among your future clients.

SEO Best Practices for Immigration Attorneys

On-Page SEO

on-page seo

As you review your pages, take some time to compare your content against a checklist. Ensure that you are using keywords and longtail variations in your URL, page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and image tags. These are the items that Google looks at to understand how to categorize and rank your web pages against those of your competitors.

To make sure that you are on target with your SEO, double-check these elements as part of your on-page SEO process:

  • Meta descriptions — missing or duplicate meta descriptions to be fixed
  • CTA optimization
  • Mobile-friendly features
  • Title tags
  • Appropriate use of keywords
  • The proper URL structure for SEO
  • Alt tags and captions present on all images
  • Use of secure HTTPS instead of unsecured HTTP
  • Header tag optimization

By taking care of these basic tasks, your site will appear to be more trustworthy to search engines. This work ensures everything you are doing on your website will attract potential customers.

Let Google Crawl Your Links

Google needs to be able to follow your links, and it can only do that if you use anchor tags and resolvable URLs. To do this, start with simple "A" tags. Search engines may ignore complex tags which could lead to lower rankings on search engine results pages (SERP).

Also, the links you use on your website should be crawlable. We determine crawlability based on how your web document uses anchor names consistently and follows best practice rules of page hierarchy.

This approach helps search engines to identify your most important pages. Otherwise, the search engine spiders that crawl your pages could become lost in complicated links or pages with lots of content.

While your pages may be easy to understand for humans, remember that search engines are limited to the algorithms they use. Think of this when taking care of issues such as broken links so that search engines can give your site the ranking it deserves.

Avoid Content Duplication

avoid content duplication

You need unique, original content to earn a high ranking in search engine results. When there is duplicate content found on your website, it could lead to penalties that hurt your search engine optimization efforts. This duplication can also cause confusion among readers who may encounter content that isn’t what they were expecting.

Avoid this confusion by being aware of places in which duplicate content can appear. For example, reposting content on third-party sites can cause issues. So can using duplicate content on your own page for various products, service pages, and articles.

Duplicate content is either exact match content or content that is very similar to other content without any sort of attribution being provided.

You can avoid the latter by always using proper reference links in the text or as a footnote. 

Search engines will also penalize duplicate content because it is often used as a black hat tactic to manipulate SEO results and traffic. User experience is also impacted when you do this because users run into duplicated information instead of original content. If this is an issue with your page, Google will see it as low-quality and low-authority.

Make Your Law Firm Immigration Website Mobile-Friendly

All of the pages on your immigration practice website should be easy to use on any mobile device. Avoid including images or tables that have a height-to-width ratio that doesn’t work well on tablets or smartphones. As mobile use continues to rise, your potential clients are more likely to use smartphones to access your website.

Also, Google now requires that web pages be mobile-friendly as part of the ranking factors it considers for its organic search results. This friendliness includes optimizing images to work on a variety of screens.

If you implement changes to make your pages mobile-friendly, they can have a net positive impact on your overall web presence. In the future, keep all of this in mind as you design new pages for your website.

Part of your website testing process should include mobile compatibility. Visit your website using a variety of devices. Ensure that you can navigate through all of the user processes, view videos and images, and review all content with ease. In addition to improving SEO, this will also create a better UX.

Make Use of Redirects

You will likely use redirection when you change links on your website that are broken or outdated. Essentially, when someone visits an old link, a redirect sends them to a different page.

This type of rebuilding is a valid technique, but search engines will look at redirects and decide which ones are okay.

Used correctly, redirecting can increase page relevance. This outcome will generally be the case if your redirect is pointed at a relevant, high-authority page. For example, you could use a redirect if you removed an outdated page on your website to ensure that external links to that page go to a new page and aren’t broken.

Here are some valid reasons to use redirects:

  • You have updated an older piece of content and want the old URL to direct to new content
  • You are moving content to a new domain
  • You are combining content pages that are optimized for the same keyword group
  • You have changed the URL to a web  page
  • You are involved in a website migration
Negative redirects are those that route users to an irrelevant page or one that doesn’t align with their search intent. 

If you don’t use redirects, people visiting old pages on your site will encounter 404 (page not found) errors. This result isn’t just frustrating for them. They will most likely leave your site to find information and services somewhere else. Additionally, search engines will drop pages out of indexing pretty quickly after they are moved or removed without proper redirection.

When you decide to use redirects, you have a few different options. First, if you only plan to redirect traffic temporarily, you will use a 302 redirect. For permanent redirects, use a 301 redirect.

Are there times when you should not add a redirect? Yes! Avoid redirects when the new content is not closely matched to the old content. Also, there may be instances when you don’t want search engines or users to follow the new link.

Engage Google Search Console

Engage Google Search Console

Google Search Console is an extremely useful tool for analyzing how your website SEO is working. It will give you helpful information about the overall health of your website. Also, the tool provides valuable data about impressions, clicks from organic search results, and how you are ranking for your chosen keywords.

The tool also returns information on backlinks, indexing, and any issues with mobile usability. You can take all of this information and use it to help plan for future efforts, including keyword research, content creation, and link building.

In addition to providing a current view of your site, Search Console also provides a look at your page performance over a period of time.

If you don’t like what you see in terms of performance, this will give you insights into the page experience. Then, you can make changes such as making your pages AMP-enabled, improving your content, or switching to a secured website protocol. 

Use this tool along with Google Analytics and keyword research tools. These all provide insights that allow you to improve SEO and understand user behavior.

Some Thoughts on Immigration Attorney PPC

As you work out your overall digital marketing strategy, you will have to decide whether you are going to add immigration pay-per-click (PPC) marketing to your efforts to earn traffic and leads through organic search optimization.

At first, you might reject the idea out of hand. Why would you spend money on PPC services for lawyers when SEO and content marketing are more cost-effective?

While it is true that optimizing for organic search doesn’t have the costs associated with it that PPC does, it isn’t “free” either. Whether you hire someone or do the work in-house, you are going to spend time or money on SEO.

Also, while SEO will pay off, the results can take a few months. On the other hand, PPC works quickly. That can fill in the gaps and help you acquire some clients while you wait for immigration law firm SEO to take effect. Later, you can switch over to an SEO-only strategy.

If you do decide to add PPC to your efforts, don’t waste money and resources attempting to do this on your own. You will get the best results working with a company that offers PPC services for attorneys.

Final Thoughts: Better SEO for Immigration Lawyers

If your goal is client acquisition for your law firm, then SEO is the best approach for immigration law marketing. It’s ideal for ranking for keywords that are relevant to your practice and connecting with potential clients when they are looking for your services.

Using best practices, you should be able to optimize for local search, organic search, and even rich snippets (the content-rich excerpts that Google puts on the first page of search results).

With that being said, you have to be prepared to invest time and resources. It will require a budget to obtain the tools you need, conduct keyword research, create content, and implement your strategy. You’ll also need the stamina to wait for your efforts to pay off. It takes a high-performance team to make SEO work. 

How will you know when your SEO efforts are working? You should have, at a minimum, a professionally designed website, a robust collection of engaging content, backlinks, and positive reviews. However, all of this can be undone if your SEO initiative isn’t consistent or you haven’t received any positive engagement.

What’s the best way forward? Partner with an agency that specializes in marketing for law firms. With Grow Law Firm's expertise, your investment in SEO is sure to pay off. Let’s talk. Contact us today for a consultation.

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Top techniques for busy lawyers to bring in more clients in 2022
  • Easy steps you can take to bring in more clients and up this year’s revenue
  • The top website and marketing mistakes holding your law firm back
December, 9th
10 am CST60 minutes
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    Sasha serves as Managing Partner for Grow Law Firm, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency focused solely on specialized growth strategies for attorneys and their practices.

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