The basic premise of search engine optimization (SEO) is simple: maximize your law firm's visibility online by using proven techniques to rank higher in search results. These techniques range from creating content that puts you in the shoes of an expert to technical tasks like making sure your site's structure and code are properly optimized.
While SEO can be a significant investment, it is an important part of the marketing mix for those operating in a competitive market such as a jurisdiction. However, there are challenges: some law firms that employ outside SEO for law firms may be frustrated by the lack of transparency or failure to improve search engine rankings.
Those trying to manage SEO internally may find a shortage of well-qualified candidates in local SEO, copywriting, and link building. These are all unique qualifications not normally found in an individual. Whether you fall into one of these categories or are new to SEO, this search engine optimization guide for law firms can help you determine the ROI you should get from your investment.
Creating a comprehensive SEO strategy for your law firm is essential to attracting the right clients and continuing to create content that engages and ultimately converts your audience. Since 75 percent of internet users never get beyond the first page of search results, appearing on the first page of a search engine can offer law firms many advantages, such as:
Increase organic traffic to your website
Increase traffic to your law firm
Generate more leads
Increase your return on investment (ROI).
Stay competitive in the legal industry
To get the visibility you need, you need to perform Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your website to:
Index the page properly
Make your indexed pages appear high enough on search engine results pages (SERPs) for potential customers to find your page on Google
Google uses complex algorithms to decide how to rank pages for keywords. To be successful on Google's rankings, your website optimization must meet Google's changing requirements and provide customers and prospects with the information they want in a user-friendly way.
Your website is the foundation of successful SEO. From a general standpoint, your legitimate SEO campaign should include:
1) Keyword research for lawyers: This involves finding keywords that can be used on your website and that are relevant, have good traffic, and an achievable level of competition.
2) Website Optimization for Law Firms: This includes:
Create new content regularly that is relevant to your target audience and supports your keyword strategy
Optimize your content and relevant backend tags to reflect the keywords you need to rank well for
Make sure your website is as easy to navigate and as user-friendly as possible
Use additional SEO strategies that we will describe below
3) Local SEO for Lawyers: As the name suggests, your SEO efforts should be focused on attracting the best prospects to your area.
4) Link building for law firms: In order to rank well, you also need to get official and high quality referrals from various relevant sites.
There's more to this tactic, of course, so read on for details. If you have any questions along the way, please contact Nextwave Creators to learn more about our SEO services for lawyers.
Keyword research is all about using professional tools and strategies to find out how people are searching for the legal services you offer. While some keyword tools offer some level of free use, the most advanced ones are usually not free.
Therefore, consider paying for a subscription or outsourcing your keyword research to experts who offer SEO services for lawyers. Another short term option is to take a look at the free trial offers currently available for this tool. We chose the short term slant because SEO is a long term endeavor. Some of the tools we use are:
Google Keyword Planner
Your ideal keyword is highly targeted with consistent traffic and good competition. The last requirement is why you don't try to qualify as an "attorney", for example.
During research you have to analyze keywords found for commercial purposes. While commercial terms may get less traffic than other terms you'll find, they have two advantages:
You can rank more easily with these terms
They tend to convert at a much higher rate because people are looking for a service, not just information
For example, the keywords in the image below are from someone who is clearly interested in suing an insurance company. This keyword is entered as a search term an average of 90 times per month.
Another example of a commercial keyword is the 320 people who search for “Florida Legal Services” each month. Their intentions are commercial because they are trying to obtain (hire) legal services.
You also want to search for keywords for research purposes. They often start with "why" or "how" because people look for answers to problems by searching for these terms. Content based on these keywords can be used meaningfully in content such as blog posts, white papers, case studies and videos.
These seekers may not be quite ready for legal services yet, but it makes sense to put your law firm ahead of them to maintain the top spot. This is where creating quality content matters: content that is enlightening or informative tends to get more links and shares, which is a ranking factor we'll cover below.
After completing your research, you can create a strategy based on the keywords you find, monitor their success and modify them if necessary.
When it comes to SEO, the legal industry is one of the most competitive, so outsmarting and staying ahead of the competition requires a strategic approach. In addition to looking up keywords for research purposes, it's important to know which keywords your competitors are doing well and which aren't doing well on the SERPs so you can chart your strategy accordingly.
Prioritize keywords with high volume but low competition
Add relevant long tail keywords
Satisfy search engine and user intent
Integrate on-page and off-page SEO into your strategy
Makes it longer but easier to read
Confirm credibility by linking information to reputable publications
Create content types that don't have (such as graphics, images, videos, etc.)
For more detailed information, see our post on keyword research for lawyers.
Additional note: At this point, you probably already have a domain name. Otherwise, contact us to discuss how to choose a suitable, keyword-rich, spam-free domain name.
As a basic requirement, you must have a responsive page design. If so, then you're good to go, and here are the key elements of website optimization.
How your website is organized and where your content appears in your website architecture are important parts of a search engine friendly website. Your website should be logically organized and structured so that website visitors can easily find the information they need.
Since you want potential customers to find your service area as quickly as possible, place this option to the far left of the main navigation bar. Here's an example:
You may be tempted to place the About Us link first in the navigation, but this is better for SEO purposes and for users who want a practice page first. These are pages that you really want to rank well in search engines, and placing them more prominently in the navigation will send a more authoritative signal to search engines.
Our experience in examining the click patterns of many client websites is that users go first to the practices page, then to the attorney's profile and About Us pages.
Look for other ways to ensure a quality user experience (UX) across your sites. When your website is easy to use, users feel more comfortable using it and tend to spend more time exploring it.
Good UX is also playing an increasingly important role in your SEO effectiveness. Google pays attention when people spend a relatively long time on your pages and website (and vice versa when you have a high bounce rate and little time on the page/website). Google also tracks other engagement metrics.
Google has stated that engagement metrics (which allow Google to measure how much website visitors engage with your site and content) are not direct ranking factors. However, research shows a significant correlation, with highly ranked websites more likely to be places where website visitors engage.
When people find your website through organic SEO, they usually don't see your homepage first. Instead, they find you through the pages of your site that rank highest for the keywords they use. This means you should think of every page on your website as a potential gateway to your entire website and first impression of your law firm.
Think about where they are every time you add a page, and the streamlined simplicity is a real bonus. A common mistake lawyers make is adding too many pages to the navigation menu, which can result in reduced service page credentials. Instead, we recommend creating sidebar navigation items on each page to dig deeper into topics.
Make sure to also include proper sitemaps so search engines can find and index your content more easily. Here is information from Google about sitemaps.
Based on the keyword research you've done, use the keyword in every URL on your site without overusing it. To quote just one example, we've seen several personal injury lawyers use the term "personal injury" in every URL on their website. For example, you could use www.domain-name.com/personal-injury-attorney-about-us.
This goes from keyword stuffing to keyword stuffing, which can hurt your efforts instead of helping your SEO. A better URL for that page for us is www.domain-name.com/about-law-firm. This is a better option because this page is about your law firm as a whole and not a specific service like B. Personal Injury that you offer. Another example: your motorcycle accident service page is www.domain-name.com/autounfallanwalt and your car accident service page is www.domainname.com/autoanwalt.
Important Note: We cover optimizing new pages that aren't on your site here. You may not have optimized the URLs on the pages that are already on your site. This page is almost certainly indexed in Google, and once indexed, it probably doesn't make sense to change the URL of the page for optimization purposes.
Where reasonable, this involves more sophisticated SEO techniques which, if done incorrectly, will cause you to lose search engine visibility for that URL. So please contact us before changing the URL.