Imagine this: every time a potential client in your area looks online for a service your law firm provides, your firm ranks at the very top of the list of results.
Sounds great, right?
That’s just how SEO for lawyers works.
Search engine optimization is a powerful tool that, when used well, will attract clients to your door.
Studies show that most people looking for legal representation begin their search online. Which means that’s the best place to find them.
Or rather, that’s the best place for them to find you.
Read on to find out how to utilize the best SEO for lawyers, to make sure potential clients find you and not your competitors. We’ll show you:
- What Lawyer SEO Is
- Why Lawyer SEO Is SO Important
- The Factors that Go Into SEO Rankings
- The Most Effective SEO Techniques for Lawyers
What is Lawyer SEO?
Simply put, law firm search engine optimization brings more potential clients to your website.
By ensuring that search engines like Google and Bing have everything they need to find your law firm among all the other firms online offering similar services.
Good lawyer SEO not only provides search engines with the right cues they need to locate you, it makes them prioritize your website.
This is all done using keywords, content curation, backlinks, meta tags, Google Analytics, and other SEO tools.
When it’s done well, SEO will put your firm high among search results.
People will find you quicker.
They’ll perceive you as among the best and most attractive law firms for the services that you provide.
And they’ll visit your website rather than those of your competitors.
Why is Attorney SEO Important?
According to a report in the National Law Review, 96% of people looking for legal advice go online to find it. Almost three-quarters of them go with the first firm they contact.
And when people search the web for law firms, they tend to look for a certain type of service in a certain area.
In other words, they’re in a specific place and they want a representation of a specific kind.
This is what makes SEO so effective for law firms - you can target the very people looking for what you offer, where you are.
And if you don’t, you better believe your competition will. You’ll miss out on a marketing opportunity tailor-made for law firms.
Here’s why SEO for law firms is so important - when potential clients scour the web for legal advice, most never consider visiting anything after the first search engine results page (SERP) that comes up on Google.
According to a study by backlinko, 97 percent stop looking and click on something they find there.
And the higher up on that first page, the better - the first link that comes up in a Google search receives more than 30% of all clicks.
In today’s world, it’s vital that your law firm is among those top few results.
Effective law firm SEO can get you there.
Your firm needs to have a strong and efficient SEO strategy, because legal SEO is among the most competitive fields of search engine optimization, according to a 2017 study by AccuRanker.
To take full advantage of SEO, you need to understand how search engine ranking works.
SEO Ranking Factors
Google has cornered the market when it comes to search engines. It’s not even close – the massive tech titan outpaces its competitors by 86%.
So, understanding what Google wants in a search - and what determines its priorities - only makes sense. You need to optimize for Google, in other words.
It’s important to consider Bing and Yahoo and others, but anything that works well on the biggest and best will likely produce results on the others, too.
When a prospective client does a search on Google, the engine looks for several SEO ranking factors. The first is content. Next up is links. And third, RankBrain, Google’s artificial intelligence algorithm, which determines the most relevant results for any query.
Other factors come into play as well, but these three are by far the most important to consider. We’ll help you understand what makes them integral – and how to make Google work for you.
Content is key when it comes to SEO. Google rankings look favorably upon websites with the right keywords, readability, and quick load speed. If you want a place at the top of SERP, you must make sure the words and images that populate your site are relevant, topical, accessible, and unique. Helps to refresh them often, too.
It’s important to include quality links in your pages. If Google associates your website with other relevant and reputable websites, it will consider your site authoritative and push you to the top in its rankings. You know the old saying “guilt by association?” This is the opposite – high quality by association.
RankBrain is what Google calls the internal algorithm it uses to analyze search results. In other words, it’s the robot brain that decides what you really want when you type “divorce lawyer, Detroit” into Google’s search engine.
Words have multiple meanings, contexts, and connotations, and RankBrain attempts to make sense of them all before displaying what it thinks you want.
RankBrain studies user experience to determine if it – RankBrain - is functioning well. It watches whether people visit pages after it ranks them, how often they click links on those pages, and how long they spend on a site. Then it uses that data to refine itself.
To optimize for RankBrain you need to make sure your content is relevant and attracting people who will visit, click on things, and spend a little time. You want to emphasize clarity over clever turns of phrase, keep it topical, and make sure everything loads quickly. You also want to make sure you’re mobile-friendly.
Essentials of Effective Lawyer SEO
Everyone wants to know how to show up higher in Google searches. What are the essentials to do so? The SEO ranking factors shown above are components of good search engine optimization. There are a handful of others and well-executed SEO makes use of them all in an integrated strategy.
Keyword Research for Lawyers
What are your clients asking for exactly when they type a query into Google? Keyword research for lawyers is vital in SEO, allowing you to discover just the law firm keywords that will drive clients to your door.
And it goes beyond coming up with a few words and phrases.
You need to think about what it is that your potential clients actually want, what the intent is behind their search.
You should understand the need they are trying to fill.
To do this, you analyze the market to get an idea of how many people are searching for the services you offer and what the words are that they’re using to find it.
When you know what people are after, you can create content relevant for them and improve the user experience on your site.
And when you do that, Google will push you up to its rankings.
For lawyers, this is usually pretty straightforward stuff. Most people who type “divorce lawyer, Detroit” into a search engine are indeed residents of Michigan’s largest city who are looking for legal representation to end their marriage.
Content Marketing and Optimization for Lawyers
Once you have an idea of your keywords, you’ll see themes and topics and patterns emerge among them.
For example, those people looking for divorce lawyers in Detroit might also search for “fast divorce in Michigan” or “Michigan divorce law.”
You can turn those queries into blogs and articles, creating SEO-friendly content on your law firm website. Potential clients searching for those things will see you as providing them.
Not only that, you’ll be offering information that will capture their attention.
Good content needs to be relevant, easily digestible, and engaging.
And you should refresh it often – SEO content creation is not a one-time thing. If you continually publish articles people find helpful and compelling, they’ll spend a lot of time on your site. And they’ll click back for more.
Google will notice this and see you as an authoritative source of information people want. Your site will rise up in rankings. Which will only bring more potential customers.
Potential clients will see you as a leader in your market. Your brand recognition will improve and your profile will rise.
Which Google will notice, too.
Good content marketing for attorneys creates a cycle that just keeps building and driving more prospective clients to your law firm.
On-Page SEO for Lawyers
On-page SEO is another way to get Google to notice you. Sometimes called on-site SEO, these are all the behind-the-scenes things you can do when setting up your site.
It’s important to make the infrastructure of your website work for you.
On-page SEO factors include:
- Well-organized content
- Quick-loading pages
- The right meta tags to describe your site
- Strategic internal links
- Schema markups that help search engines understand your data
- URLs that make sense
Most of these share the same goal of enhancing the user experience.
Your potential clients want a site that is relevant to them.
They want it to be easy to find.
They want it structured in such a way that is simple to use and intuitive.
They want interesting content that loads quickly.
They want useful links to even more information.
And they want it all right in the palm of their hands. Most will access your content on their phone, so it better be mobile-friendly.
With good on-page SEO optimization, they’ll get all of this. Which means they’ll dwell on your site. They’ll come back.
And, you’ll increase the likelihood that when it comes time to select an attorney, they’ll pick your law firm.
Technical SEO for Lawyers
Technical SEO is much like on-page SEO – it’s all about how you set up your site. This is the back-end, not-very-sexy stuff that is absolutely crucial to achieving high Google rankings.
It’s the kind of stuff that is difficult to do well by yourself. Google publishes a guide to optimizing your site, but it’s all very technical.
You’re better off finding a digital marketing agency that specializes in lawyers and is an expert at SEO.
Technical SEO for lawyers includes things like link building and Google My Business, which we’ll discuss below.
Link Building and Off-Page SEO for Lawyers
How can you optimize your site by doing things that are not even on your site?
With strategic off-page SEO.
What is it?
Probably the largest component of off-page SEO is link building. We already know that Google likes when your site is associated with other sites it holds in high regard.
Link building for law firms maximizes those associations. Simply put, backlinks are connections with other sites, referrals to your site from external sites.
To get them, you first need a quality site that others want to be linked with. Getting others to work with you is much easier if you’re considered a leader in the field.
Once you’ve established a great site with exceptional content, you might consider doing some guest blogs on another site.
Reviews on other sites work well, too. Editorial links, when journalists or bloggers write about you, are ideal.
Getting your firm into directories, reconnecting with law school friends, doing interviews and podcasts, hosting events – all of these are techniques to build links.
Off-page SEO can help in creating that cyclical effect you’re after, where Google ranks you high, which attracts more potential clients, which pleases Google’s RankBrain and pushes you even further up its rankings.
Local SEO for Lawyers
If you’re like most attorneys and want clients from your geographic area, local SEO is the way to go. You want Google to rank you highly in your city for the services you provide.
The best way to achieve this is through Google My Business optimization. Using Google My Business, you control the profile you have on the massive search engine.
These are the little business boxes that come up in searches, with your name, address, and phone number.
If you allow Google to set this up for you, you’ll find it often makes mistakes. With Google My Business you can take control of your profile and your law firm local SEO.
And it’s free.
When you set up a Google My Business account you can unlock management and editing capabilities that are unavailable without an account.
You can add things like business hours and a link to your website.
You can make it onto the map, earning a place on Google’s map pack.
You can add services and even create blogs.
You can interact with potential clients through direct messaging and respond to questions and reviews.
You can place strategic keywords that help you climb in Google’s own rankings.
And you can use analytics to see how you fare in local searches, to better target prospective clients.
Measuring SEO Performance
It is crucial to analyze your SEO activities.
And thankfully measuring SEO success for lawyers is relatively simple.
Google will show you how you do in local searches, for example.
You can see what keywords are working and which ones are not. You can see what links people click on and how long they dwell. There are countless metrics to utilize.
All of which allows you to hone and refine your content – optimizing, that O in SEO – to draw more clients to your firm.
SEO is The Way to Go for Lawyers
SEO works. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to reach potential clients. And it’s particularly well-suited to law firms, which tend to know just who they want to attract.
You know people use the web to find legal help in your area. Just the kinds of services you provide.
Make Google and other search engines work for you. Put yourself at the top of the list.
Set up an SEO with a reputable digital marketing company – one that specializes in legal marketing – and see for yourself.