Your skills and reputation don’t matter if no one can find your law firm online.
A Martindale-Avvo survey found that 43 percent of legal consumers listed Google searches as part of their research process, while 46 percent said they accessed review sites such as Yelp, Avvo.com, Lawyers.com and other online directories.
Search engine optimization for your law firm is mandatory if you want to grow or maintain your competitive standing in the marketplace. The more you know about SEO, the better equipped you will be to decide how to go about it in your firm.
Not sure where to start? Contact our friendly office at (844) 972-6224 or send us a message through our SEO services inquiry form.
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Challenges with SEO for Lawyers
SEO is the practice of driving more traffic to your website by improving its position in organic (unpaid) search engine results.
The higher up the list you are on Google (or another search engine), the greater your visibility and the more likely people will be to visit your website and retain your services.
Pretty straightforward, right? So, when it comes to SEO for lawyers, all you need to do is improve your position on Google. Well, that can be the hard part. There are a few challenges that come with SEO for lawyers.
1. Competition with SEO
When each of your competitors is leveraging SEO, you may wonder “what’s the point?” But imagine if every Olympic runner thought the same thing and simply stood at the starting line after the starter pistol went off.
If you don’t try, you’ll undoubtedly fail. But if you continue to work hard you can rise above the competition.
Dedication and adaptation will help your firm to succeed with SEO. You need to dedicate yourself to the SEO process (it takes time), and consistently adapt to things like changing Google algorithms.
Focus on producing ongoing content, specifically for your geographical location and practice area. Content may take the form of:
- Social media posts
- Or other ways to share valuable information
By offering original, high-quality content that your audience actually wants, you can increase your visibility in search results as well as traffic to your website.
Many law firms will cut corners or fail to leverage certain tools. But by understanding how SEO works, researching, and working hard, you’ll be able to cut away a lot of competition.
2. Agencies Promise Big Returns – Without Delivering
Many marketing companies that offer SEO services to lawyers will sell you snake oil. They promise you the world, only to disappoint. Other SEO agencies fail to set realistic expectations, leaving you under the false impression that SEO provides instant results or that you’ll be guaranteed the number one position.
They can’t promise everyone the number one position…
Sometimes, the answer to outrageous costs and unrealistic expectations is for law firms to bring SEO in house – if you have the time, knowledge, and budget. Customized SEO training can go a long way towards equipping you (or your staff) with the foundation needed to put an SEO plan in place.
This approach only works, however, when you make SEO a dedicated part of your marketing strategy (vs. something that’s only done in spare time). Hiring an in-house SEO specialist is an excellent approach, but one that comes with a lot of associated costs – salary, recruitment, onboarding, and health insurance, to name a few.
3. There Just isn’t Enough Time in the Day
Trends, tactics, and technology are ever-changing. One of the biggest issues facing lawyers and their firms is that they just don’t have the time to keep up with them.
SEO, research, and content creation aren’t exactly quick and easy. They can be full-time jobs in and of themselves.
When you’re already juggling a full schedule, adding more marketing responsibilities can be about enough to push you over the edge. But if your website or blog becomes stagnant, Google may use it against you.
An alternative to adding SEO to your plate is finding a reputable agency that handles law firm SEO. Look for one that is transparent about the work they are doing and will take the time to explain it to you if you have questions. Your agency should always be under-promising and over delivering – not the other way around.
At Emily Journey & Associates, we offer both SEO training and done-for-you SEO services. We’ll help you evaluate the best approach for your firm.
Office: (844) 972-6224 Contact Us
Categories of SEO for Law Firm Websites
Having a clear understanding of the ways search engines evaluate a website can make your decision about how to handle SEO easier. Is SEO something you or your staff can understand and execute on your own? Or is your brain power better left to the law?
The thing you must pay attention to for law firm SEO include two major categories:
- Content SEO
- Technical SEO
A basic understanding of SEO can go a long way to determining the best approach for your firm.
Content SEO for lawyers
What do you do when you need to find a new product or service? You go online and search for it. And you expect to find websites that relate to what you are searching or answer your questions.
So it follows that the content of your web site – or the information found there – will need to answer common inquiries by those looking for your services.
For instance, if you’re a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, you’ll want your firm to pop up whenever someone puts in the phrase “Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.”
Also, since search engines like Google are trying to match users with websites that best fit with the intent of their inquiry, you’ll need to put some thought into what your ideal client will be asking themselves:
- Does this firm practice personal injury law?
- Is the firm located in Philadelphia?
- How expensive is the firm?
- Is a consultation free?
- Does the firm have experience with my specific issue?
- Does the firm have a good reputation?
Be sure that your site includes content that answers these likely questions. Google likes sites that best answer users’ inquiries and rewards them by ranking them higher up on the results page.
You’ll also want to consider using variations or longer forms of the phrase that you know people are searching for. For example, in addition to “Philadelphia personal injury lawyer,” you may also want to include variations of it, such as “personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia,” or “best personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia.”
Using relevant words and phrases on your website will help you climb up the search results. It won’t happen overnight (it usually takes 4-6 months), but when done right, it’ll be worth the investment.
Sound complicated? In all honesty, it can be. That’s why we offer comprehensive do-it-for-you SEO services in addition to do-it-yourself SEO training. Contact our friendly office at (844) 972-6224 or fill out our inquiry form to discuss your SEO options.
Technical SEO for lawyers
Whereas content SEO includes answering potential inquiries and optimizing your keywords, technical SEO examines things such as sitemaps, security and performance to determine how user-friendly and compatible your website is with Google (or the search engine of your choice). Basic website maintenance ensures that these things are in order.
A few good examples of what Google looks for in terms of website structure and performance include:
- Load time: You’ll want to ensure that your law firm’s website loads quickly (in less than 2.5 seconds).
- Responsive design: Your site should look good on a variety of devices and screen sizes – think about how much searching you do on mobile.
- Navigation: Simple and easy-to-use navigation helps search engines to not only find all of your website’s pages, but to also understand them.
In an ideal world, technical SEO should be set up correctly from the beginning so as to reduce the risk of error and likelihood of having to go back and fix something later on. But this isn’t an ideal world. That’s where we can help.
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The role of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Take a moment to congratulate yourself. You’ve increased your visibility in search engines and prospects are visiting your website. It’s a big win.
Now it’s time to get back to work.
Here are more facts reported by the Martindale-Avvo study:
- Over a third (36 percent) of legal consumers said they used attorney websites as a resource, and
- 45 percent of survey respondents said they checked a firm’s or attorney’s website before making contact.
So now you need to get your website visitors to convert. In other words, take the next step— call, fill out a form, download helpful information or some other action. That’s the whole reason you got them to your site in the first place, right?
Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is the process of improving how frequently visitors to a website complete a desired action. Improving CRO is essential to drive more leads and maximize your return on investment (ROI).
CRO helps you get more from the traffic that your SEO generates, which increases your ROI.
CRO spans a wide range of activities on your website. Often, it involves making enhancements to your website that just make common sense. For example:
- Optimize page speed
- Create interesting content
- Leverage social proof and testimonials
- Highlight your brand’s unique selling points
- Follow universal design recommendations and avoid common design mistakes
After you tackle the “just do” basics, CRO requires more effort. Changing your website’s navigation, streamlining forms, and rearranging page elements are all ways to improve your conversion rate. Changes like these typically involve a “test and learn” approach:
- Start with analyzing visitor behavior and understanding user journeys.
- Next, you form hypotheses based on your observations and analysis. For example, “I believe changing x on my home page will lead to an increase in phone calls.”
- You then test the hypotheses and measure the outcomes.
- This data, in turn, gives you the insight necessary to optimize landing pages, enhance content, improve user experience and make other changes to improve the likelihood of conversions.
CRO and SEO take time and patience but are well worth the effort when you do them correctly. The results are rewarding.
Time to Implement SEO for Lawyers
The bad-ish news: SEO can very quickly become complicated and time consuming.
The good news: When SEO is done right, then the results are powerful. A single piece of SEO content can generate a major increase in calls to your office.
More good news: Google is relatively transparent, even providing you with an SEO Starter Guide to help your law firm with tips on SEO.
You’ve heard that proverbial phrase, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Hands-on, personalized SEO training for you or your team means that your firm will be equipped to handle SEO for the long term. Such an approach can be a big cost savings. Plus, you know your business best, right?
But even when you know how to do it, SEO takes time–your time. For that reason, many law firms will hire a digital marketing company that specializes in SEO.
SEO training or execution, whichever you land on, Emily Journey & Associates will help your firm get found online. Contact us to learn more about the SEO services we offer.