Search Engine Optimization is one of the primary marketing channels for a modern law firm. In fact, the stats are quite surprising…

96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine. (Google Consumer Survey, Nov 2013)

Searching Google for an attorney is more common than looking through the phone book. Therefore, many law firms have decided to focus all of their marketing efforts on building their search presence. The benefit of focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) is that the traffic that a law firm receives via search engine is typically of high quality, especially if the website is optimized for the right keywords.

74% of prospects beginning a search online end up contacting the office via phone. (FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014)

So How Should A Law Firm Do SEO?

Answer = Carefully! 

SEO is a difficult channel to manage for a number of reasons:

  1. There is a lot of bad and/or outdated advice regarding SEO.
  2. SEO services can be overpriced.
  3. It only pays to be at the top.

There are many search engine competitors in the legal field and many of the top players have spent thousands of dollars on a monthly basis for years to secure their position. Therefore, it may not be feasible to acquire new clients at a profit in the first 6-12 months. Even if you were willing to make the SEO investment, there may still be a waiting period. Some marketers call this the “Google Sandbox” and the idea is that Google give your website more value over time. In other words, new websites won’t be as trusted as older websites with a history.

It is wise to know the challenges of SEO, but it is also a powerful channel that can be a game changer for you.

For example, if you are able to secure the top position for your best keywords….you may get 46% of all clicks. These clicks would be extremely valuable. The Pay-Per-Click costs could be over $4 per click and you could receive hundreds of these “free clicks” per month.

I worked with a personal injury attorney that invested in SEO for 2 years and then remained in the top position for over 5 years. Within these 5 years, they were able to cherry pick the cases that they wanted to work on multiplied their return on investment.

74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action (Google Legal Services Study Sept. 2013)

SEO Strategies for Law Firms

There are over 200 different factors that affect your search ranking, so getting all of these right is going to be a challenge. It’s best to start with the basics….so here is a list of things you should do to start the process of optimizing your website:

  1. Create a list of keywords that you want to rank for.
  2. Use your list of keywords to create content for each keyword or keyword phrase. (for example, if your keyword is “Bankruptcy Lawyer in Baton Rouge” then you might want a page of content about hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Baton Rouge)
  3. Optimize your Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
  4. Add an image and then add an “Alt Image Tag” with the keyword.
  5. Make sure your focus keyword is in the Title, Content, Permalink, and Images. (3% keyword density is suggested)
  6. Link content to other pages within your website.
  7. Add your website to Google’s Search Console
  8. Add Google Analytics to your website so you can track the website performance
  9. Add your Website to a SEO tracking software so you can track your rankings
  10. Start acquiring backlinks for your internal pages.

Now, this is definitely an overview and you’ll likely need to dive deeper into each of the tasks above, but there are a lot of resources that are helpful to optimizing your website for SEO. Everything changes over time, so make sure that you take note of the date when reading about specific SEO tactics.  You will want to make sure that you get accurate and updated advice to taking the wrong action. If you do SEO wrong, you could get a spam penalty and it could dramatically impact your website.

I once had 40 law firm websites drop from 1 to page 4 in one day based on a new Google update. The Google update caused each of the websites to get a spam penalty and it took us over a month to recover.

If you are in doubt about what you should do and how you should move forward….let us help you. We help law firms take the next step and implement the proper Search Engine Optimization strategies.

 

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