How to Grow a Law Practice with SEO

How to Grow a Law Practice with SEO

Did you know that over 90 percent of clients looking for your legal services want to see your website first? But then, a majority of lawyers have their time tied around cases, and they forget to market their trade online. Just the other day, law firms sold their services on TV, billboards, and the classified sections. Quite demanding, right?

Today, your law Practice website needs digital visibility more than ever. This tells you that a perfectly organised marketing campaign will prop your Practice high above the stagnant and non-performing law firms.

If you don’t want your Practice to be branded among the losers, law firm SEO is the way to go. It’s a must-have cog that drives your overall law firm marketing strategy. Before you leverage it to foster your firm’s growth, there are trends and cardinal rules you’ll need to master.

What is Law Practice SEO?

Law Practice SEO means optimising your law firm’s websites to attract more organic traffic to your site. It’s the collection of strategies and tactics that drive your website by optimising it for first-page rank positions on top search engines.

Once you improve your Practice website visibility, the chances are that you’ll reach out to more than 50 percent of legal clients who didn’t have an idea that you existed. Sounds legally enticing. 

What’s more, optimising your site works two ways. You’re telling search engines and your target audience what your firm is about and what you can offer. Such clarity guarantees you a pipeline teeming with leads, high ranking, and a consistent flow of ready-to-engage clients.

SEO for law firms can be classified into two categories. These are On-Site and Off-Site. It’s simple, just like it sounds. With on-site optimisation, it’s all about the procedures and actions that happen on the site. With the off-site optimisation, it entails tactics that take place away from your website. Still, they’re directly connected with the positive growth of your website.

On-Site SEO

On-site SEO, equally referred to as on-page SEO, involves your site and how it appears before search engines. Is the site structure well organised? Are you leveraging keywords that are relevant to your Practice? When optimised correctly, search engines perceive your website as relevant to a specified keyword or phrase.

The top determining factors here include:

  • Content
  • Site Optimisation
  • User Experience
  • Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness 

Off-Site SEO

Off-site SEO, on the other hand, entails creating awareness or marketing your site online. Your website won’t come alive unless you notify the digital environment about its existence. Have you probably come across business owners who launch a website but forget to advertise it? The results are usually disappointing.

So, how to you enhance site visibility using off-site factors? First off, you’ll need to keep it relevant, real, and trustworthy. You can include links from highly reputable sources on your social media profile. Even though the factors can be limiting, you can leverage internal links with anchor keywords that search engines find easy to approve.

Leveraging On-site and off-site SEO as a combination guarantees success. You’ll need to craft strategies for both when you plan, run, and manage your law firm website optimisation.

We can now agree that SEO for your law Practice enables more qualified leads to find you when searching for legal representation. But, hey, it doesn’t mean that you ignore all other digital marketing strategies. Remember, it’s about getting relevant keywords ranking at a particular time. You’ll need to keep tweaking your tactics and remember success won’t come overnight.

Important SEO Considerations for Lawyers

Before you think about SEO implications for your Practice, you need to think about the ultimate. Take a moment and ask yourself what happens when prospective legal clients search for “lawyers near me”? What law firms do you think will show up first on the search results page?

Better still, ask yourself what you need to do for your website to rank equally high with clients clicking on your site’s title tag. As a lawyer, SEO can drive your rank up, but there are things you’ll need to take care of. These can be checking whether:

  • Your law Practice or firm has the perfect footprint online
  • You’ve optimised your site to beat your competition

As a proven long term marketing strategy, SEO can guarantee consistent success with your website. Fortunately, you can run it in-house or hire SEO experts to do the heavy lifting. All you need is the right information, approach, resources, and patience.

The SEO Audit

If you expect SEO to work for your Practice website, the best starting point is with an SEO site audit. Why do you need it?

An SEO audit lets you know the current status and performance of your law website. It informs you of the pertinent issues that need fixing. Auditing your site shows you whether there are search engine issues such as Google penalties or flags. You’ll notice whether your site shows up in searches and gives you a heads up.

SEO audits aren’t just critical for technical aspects, but they help you to benchmark. It’s the only way you’ll know whether the SEO campaign gains traction and whether your efforts are bound to pay up. Whatever the platform you leverage-WordPress or otherwise, you can’t afford to ignore an SEO audit. Remember, if you ignore the grey areas that need enhancement, it could end up as an effort in vain.

What Does SEO Audits Entail?

Really, you cannot quantify SEO audits. They can be surface deep or quite comprehensive. What you need to know is that you need to consider on-site and off-site aspects during the auditing. It’s the comprehensive audits that help to position your site above the rest. What boxes should you tick when planning such a procedure?

  • Ascertain that your site is crawlable and index ready
  • Check whether there are pending Google penalties
  • Test run the website and its structure
  • Check your backlinks
  • Run competitor analysis
  • Check page errors and redirects
  • Audit your on-page tags.
  • On-page tag audit

Don’t be scared. The technical aspects that revolve around SEO audits can be overwhelming. But, there a rich cache of tools you can leverage. The well-known Google Search Console tool can get you started. Don’t shy off investing in tools that give you a comprehensive SEO report, even if you have to pay for them.

Reasons Why SEO Is Essential For Law Firm Marketing

Get me right, growing your law Practice the SEO way isn’t unachievable. The benefits always outweigh the challenges. If you’re wondering what SEO can do for your law firm, take a look at some benefits you stand to gain.

  • Increased Site Visibility

Your potential clients research on the web when they need representation. They’ll contact a law firm on the first search results without a second thought. If you’re ranking for the right keywords, no doubt your site will show on top, especially if you emphasize keywords around your firm’s areas of specialty.

Additionally, SEO boosts your visibility when you add a location to your keywords. Your website becomes easy to find if you’ve signed up with Google business or other relevant online listings.

  • Boosts Credibility

SEO activities that help you to rank high on SERPS do much more. For instance, guest posting or link building help to polish your credibility.

You become a trusted legal resource if the links and guest posts are affiliated with highly reputable sources. When you demonstrate to your prospects that you can solve their problems from a legal perspective, you gain a stellar reputation, quality referrals, and high ranking.

  • Gives a Competitive Edge

The law Practice arena is competitive. If you’re a smaller firm, competing with the big league law firms sounds impossible. But it’s not. Large firms tend to rely solely on their reputation to attract clients. They rarely market themselves. This is where you can capitalise on SEO for law firms to get a competitive edge. You’ll appeal to local clients more compared to the top firms. Remember, SEO doesn’t force you to shell a considerable budget to stay relevant in this vertical.

  • Increases Exposure

Law firm SEO enables you to bolster your presence online. Further, it drives clients to prefer you over other firms. How you might ask? Suppose you’re always creating useful content across different channels, and the value is always top-shelf. In that case, prospects will know about you even if they don’t need representation at current. If they ever do, guess who they’ll be calling next? If you leverage social media channels, the result is mind-blowing.

  • More Qualified Leads

Implementing law firm SEO best Practices can attract leads to your site. But does it compel them to take action? What you need to do is incorporate compelling calls to action to nudge them on. In fact, if you add a call to action at the end of your case studies or articles, that offer for a free consultation can be the beginning of a long term engagement.

  • Long-term Juice

When appropriately implemented, law firm SEO comes with long-standing benefits. Search or social media marketing doesn’t require prompted pay to play or for clicks. In fact, SEO activities keep driving the success of your site as time goes. That means you can beat your competitors in organic search every time. The only thing you need to do is to keep modifying your SEO strategy as time goes.

Getting Started With Law Firm SEO

One fact that needs no overstating is how SEO grants your Practice a more comprehensive range of potential leads. But it’s more than sieving and sprinkling keywords. Before you kick-start your strategy journey, always consider a marketing analysis for your legal website. How do you go about it?

1.Establish your strategy

I’m sure you cannot take the plunge blindly. However, you need to check if you have an SEO strategy perfectly visualised. You can’t afford to be like firms that launch their websites without a road map. It’s best if you work with a copy checked, well thought out, and proven SEO strategy.

2. Exploit Tools

If you’re yet to learn the ropes, don’t panic. The web is awash with tools that enable you to scrape all the SEO information you need. After all, it’s the metrics that should be guiding your efforts.

3. Perform Link Analysis

Without your knowledge, links get broken, and others lead to not so credible sources. When you audit your links, you’ll fix the broken ones and delink with the trashy ones. That tells search engines that you’re affiliated to authoritative links-and you’re relevant enough.

Do you have a solid SEO Strategy?

Your competitors are already leveraging law firm SEO to get found. In light of this, you need to look for ways to stand out from the clutter. The little-effort tactics won’t work. That means you’ll need to work extra hard to get quality links that win you more traffic. SEO can work for every Practice though it’s more efficient in some niches.

Additionally, there are times where some specialty firms need to hire SEO experts. But, remember, your in-house team can execute too if you have the resources.

Do You Need The Keywords?

Any SEO strategy has keyword research at the heart of the project. If you’ve aligned the website and your services to reach your prospects organically, you need not incur extra costs. Again, if your website is optimised for specific keywords, you can find your target clients easily.

Calls to Action and SEO

You’re running your law SEO campaign to attain higher conversions. But you cannot if you lock out CTAs. You can achieve it by having your CTA above the fold. You don’t have to make it too hard for your potential clients to find it. Fortunately, you can introduce more than one way of communicating with your clients.

Site Schema

Schema denotes the HTML code representing content on any website. It makes your pages machine friendly. This way, search engines can tell whether there is a relationship between the different content sections. The schema in a law website has unique differences that help search engines discern whether the content therein is law related.

Structured Data

Structured Data, like schema, give your website the chance to earn a high SERP ranking. Here, it’s the rich snippets that provide site-aiding data and context. The schema arena isn’t as congested as such, meaning you can tweak, implement and get a head start.

Great user experience-UX

UX plays a vital role in your Practice SEO. Search engines can assess the dwell time on your site. If clients take longer times or there are high bounce rates, Google will use such to rate your site. If anything, don’t ignore engagement metrics if you want these search engines to keep ranking you high.

Additional UX tips

Did you know that potential legal clients don’t rely on your homepage page when they search for you organically? What happens is that they are directed to your page that is ranked highly for the keyword they use to search for your kind of services. 

Take a pause. This is the reason why you need to perceive every page on your site as a potential gateway to the entire site. You should treat every page as the first impression of your Practice.

If you have multiple pages, align them relevantly and don’t overstuff them. A majority of attorneys make the mistake of linking too many pages to the navigation menu. 

This can viciously affect the authority leading to your service pages. You can create a sidebar or drop-down menu that directs clients to individual pages that address the subject they’re searching for. Additionally, you’ll need to provide sitemaps to ensure google finds and indexes your content appropriately.

Actionable Law Practice SEO Techniques for Better Ranking

We’ve been hammering on about guidelines that can ensure your law from SEO hits the bull’s-eye. What other moves can you make?

Build a User-Centric Website

With one, your prospects and search engines will love and reward you. You need to weigh what your legal l website has to offer to visitors. If it sounds unrealisable, some of the steps to take include:

  • Create scannable content and info that is easy on the eyes.
  • Avoid the legalese. Your content should be jargon-free and in precise summary form.
  • Substitute gray blocks of text with short sentences with impressive whitespace between paragraphs.
  • Your visitors love bullet lists, and subheaders make use of them

Make It Easy To Navigate

If you’ve optimised your legal website, ask yourself, can potential clients find what they want in a few quick clicks? The key takeaway here- ensure that crucial service pages can be accessed through the homepage. Also, ensure that the visitor doesn’t have to click more than twice to get to their desired page.

Leverage Relevant Law Firm SEO Keywords

You know, if you choose the wrong set of keywords for your SEO campaign, it’s bound to go south. Also, if you opt for highly competitive keywords, you’ll be forced to spend more. Relax. All you need to do is pick keywords that resonate with:

  • Your target audience-think about what they search for and how they communicate about legal services
  • Keyword volume – if you can’t manage manually, choose online keyword planner tools to assess keyword search volume in a given timeline.
  • Keywords associated search intent – always choose keywords that imply that the site visitor is ready to initiate a conversation.
  • Check keyword competition- like I mentioned, if you’re trying to rank for a highly competitive set of keywords, it’s difficult to rank for them. Again, paid keyword planning tools or google keyword planner can assist you.

Supercharge Website Speed

Slow page speeds kill user experience right off the bat. Make sure that you don’t get penalised by google. Top search engines won’t approve of your efforts if your page load speeds are duck-slow. Fortunately, you can evaluate your site’s load speed by using free tools online. Additionally, you can crank it up by:

  • Subscribing to a premium hosting platform
  • Optimising and compressing images before uploading
  • Leveraging plugins to speed up the process

Produce SEO-Friendly Content and Blog

For one, you’ll need a blog. But before that, you need to acknowledge that potential legal clients are inclined to pick a site with informative content. I should tell you; legal clients want to gravitate towards a website that provides a range of content that speaks to them. If it’s not text format, a video or a webinar can do it better.

Don’t Publish Ambiguous Content

Instead, make it digestible.

Your blog doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you publish the latest, relevant and informative subject matter content, the rest is easy. Again, consider posting content that circles around your area of specialisation. 

For example, if you’re a criminal lawyer, prioritise pages that offer more insights about your expertise, reviews and other crucial details. As long as prospects find educative posts regarding the kind of legal representation they want, they will keep coming –and referring others.

Before you create your bog, make sure you’re ticking the right boxes. For instance, you need to verify:

  • Your audience or potential clients you want to attract
  • The overall blog and blog message-who you want to speak to, how you’ll do it and what you want to say
  • The content elements you’ll leverage-text, visual or audio
  • The preferred and highly impacting post frequency
  • Your blog post sources
  • You’ll manage the blog personally or get professional help

Make it Mobile Responsive

Mobile searches have already surpassed desktop search. You cannot deny it. Your legal website needs to be highly responsive. On the one hand, users are conducting searches for legal services on the go. 

Again, Google will punish you if the site isn’t optimised for mobile. The trend isn’t relenting soon. What you can do is ensure all pages are accessible on small screens. In fact, design the website from scratch with a mobile-first approach entrenched with the code. It should work.

Assess the Competition

Since you’ve already figured out your lottery winning keywords, it makes sense you check how you stack against the competition from a search rank perspective. 

You’ll realise that there’s a tray full of factors you’ll need to check against the competition. At least, make sure that your site is SSL secure, has the right content length, and has compelling social signals that redirect back to you.

You can checklist all these aspects in an excel sheet and compare how the competition is doing. Then you can fix areas that need shaping up.

Fix Website Page Errors

If you wish to amp your SEO results, you need to do some housekeeping in your page build-up. Check through your site and ensure that every service offered comes with its dedicated page. Don’t stop. Sift through your competitor pages and see whether they got a “goldmine” page that you’re missing. If you identify one, you know what to do.

Optimize For Local SEO

Your law firm is in a specified locality or jurisdiction. But, can you ignore Local SEO? Simply no. It’s what gets you top on every search in your local area. There is a slight variation from regular SEO. 

Why? Local SEO emphasises the local pack in Google SERPs.  The local pack information is drawn from your Google My Business account. What does that suggest? You need to register and optimise Google My Business to exploit local search.

How can I do that?

The “Google My Business” process is the most reliable way of listing your law firm on google maps. It determines how you’ll perform on the local pack based on the competition and your location. The details captured in your Google My Business profile offer details including: 

  • Your name
  • Address 
  • Phone contacts 
  • Business hours 
  • Updates, and reviews

If you want to claim and optimise your Google My Business page for your legal outfit. Here’s how:

  1. Select suitable business groupings on GMB.
  2. Compile a keyword-rich blurb describing your legal frim (usually 200-300 words)
  3. Provide accurate NAP details- Name- Address-Phone number
  4. Include relevant links to your site
  5. Incorporate your law firm’s social media and online review outline
  6. Include highly defined images/photos

What you didn’t know is that reviews are part of your local search juice. Your prospects trust them. Suppose you’re getting them from top search engines or reputable legal directories online. In that case, they’ll enhance your trustworthiness and exposure right on top of SERPs.

If you’ve forgotten to add FAQS, you’ll have made a mistake. You’re offering legal value, and FAQS provides the right answers that clients want in split seconds. 

Understandably, clients come with a barrage of questions when contacting your law firm. Make sure the FAQS answers a broad range of questions with precision. You’ll spice it up biter if you can include video and digestible infographics.

Track, Evaluate, and Repeat

Your law firm’s success depends on how well you can measure, analyse, tweak, and repeat the process. Always check top performance indicators such as:

  • Rankings – how your main keywords perform on SERPS
  • Traffic – the number of prospects visiting your site organically
  • Page performance–what are your prominent pages, and where’s the traffic landing
  • Lead volume- number of targeted clients contacting your business

All this time, you need to trust the mantra that it won’t happen overnight. Yes, I said it. Numerous variables determine the rate of success with your law Practice SEO campaign. The intensity of your efforts, resources, and overall strategic goals are some of them.

If you bid your time, other factors that determine success include:

  • The quality of content you post
  • Volume of content on-site
  • Unique value of content site architecture
  • UX, niche competition, and the breadth of your target market, among others

Advantages of Hiring an SEO Company for Your Law Firm

There are statistics of law firms that do SEO in-house and end up with disappointing results. Others go for self-acclaimed, fly by night SEO firms just to cut costs. 

Like me, you bet there are legitimate SEO professionals who can assist you better your UX, optimise your site and keep the lead pipeline brimming with prospects. What differentiates the professionals from the rest? In a nutshell, time tested experts will:

  • Create your new legal website optimally
  • Create killer website copy that calls to action
  • Drive your SERP rankings up without giving unrealistic guarantees

Moving forward, you need to partner with an SEO provider that is an extension of your larger team. Such an outfit must display an in-depth understanding of SEO for your law Practice. 

They can customise their skills to fit your needs, and they understand google algorithms to the core. Then, how do you select the ideal law from an SEO agency?

What’s Their Track Record Like?

Are they newcomers in the field, or they have an impressive portfolio? If they can show you a list of happy customers in your niche, they will deliver. If they seem hesitant when you query their track record, it means they lack traction. You can check their referrals/reviews to be on the safe side.

What Approach Do They Take?

Money minded legal SEO service providers will tell you what you want to hear. They’ll promise colossal gains in a short duration. But you know SEO takes time to generate top results. If they don’t have an elaborate plan to get you on top rankings, they’re probably out for the money. SEO providers who cannot demonstrate their strategy aren’t worth your time or money.

Complementary Services?

The right law SEO agency doesn’t offer a single recipe. You should be looking for a company that provides related services such as web design, social marketing, content creation, or site audits. Bundled services are economical. If they offer customised packages, the better. All I’m saying is a fully-fledged law SEO firm is your best bet.

Are They Industry-Savvy?

You cannot preach what you cannot Practice. Cliché? Your SEO provider needs to demonstrate what they claim on their site. Otherwise, you don’t want some firm with the slowest of websites handling the marketing for you. If they can’t rank for their keywords, how will they make it happen for you?

Are They Law Firm SEO Specialists?

Practical SEO for law firms can only be offered by a provider that specialises in the law Practice niche. To rank your site for top spots needs exceptional skill. If they’re well aware of your preferred strategy and they have additional talents to effect it, you’re in good hands.

Are There Flexible Contracts?

Any SEO agency in the law sector or elsewhere that tries to fix you into a long contract is a no-go zone. If they insist on locking you into years of contact with no evidence for success, you’re biter off without them.

Before wrapping it up, you must know what to avoid once you take the plunge into legal Practice SEO. Here are some pitfalls

Don’t send out Press Releases

Yes, they used to be valuable, but google algorithms don’t love them anymore. Hey, you can make use of them exclusively if you’ve accomplished something newsworthy as a firm.

Avoid Link Schemes

Every attorney is tempted to purchase links for better and fast ranking. However, you can get penalised, especially if you link to spammy sites.

Don’t Pay To Guest Post on High Ranking Sites

Guest posting a highly informative article is bliss, but don’t do it. If you pay to get the article on top websites, you’ll end up losing since it will bear no-follow links.

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.
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