This is a comprehensive SEO for lawyers guide. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- the fundamentals of law firm search engine optimization
- how to do keyword research…the right way
- how to write legal content for your actual prospective clients
- how to optimize a law firm website without a degree in web development
- how to stand out in local search/maps and get the best cases
- how to build links without getting your site penalized
- how to measure SEO success without a background in statistics
What is attorney SEO?
Attorney Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves strategies, techniques, and tactics that help attract more prospective clients to a law firm’s website by obtaining first page ranking positions in search engines (such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo).
It’s already pretty clear that for most people, search is their go-to for finding legal services. Social and word of mouth certainly play a role, but online search almost always dominates the research phase.
Some elements of search engine optimization also have the ability to compound or increase their benefits over time. Content, for example, presents two opportunities: the first is the potential to rank for more keywords and the second is that, through an exceptionally well-crafted piece of content, the potential exists for natural link building to occur.
Why is law firm SEO important?
The way consumers find, research, and choose a law firm has changed dramatically in recent years. Search is a primary channel that people use to find information online and since Google’s founding in 1998, it has grown to dominate the search space.
- When Google was founded in 1998, it served about 10,000 queries per day. 3.5 billion.
- Nearly 93% of all global traffic originates from Google search, Google Images, and Google Maps.
- Search is 53 percent of all website traffic, while paid search only drives 27%.
- Almost a third of consumers use SEO on a daily basis.
- 49% of marketers believe organic search is the most profitable channel they use.
- Organic search generates up to 66% in the legal sector
That means if you run a law firm and want to generate new clients, much of your success hinges on whether or not your website can be found in Google search.
Why does my law firm need an SEO optimized website?
Attorneys need a website because the way that consumers find businesses has changed.
This isn’t a new idea, obviously, as the Yellow Pages are not (and haven’t been for quite some time) the go-to source for research that they once were.
Businesses need the best resource to answer searchers’ queries and intent and showcase the business’s expertise.
A website, no matter what business you’re in, is the central hub for your search engine optimization strategies. It’s the foundation of everything you’ll do to put yourself in front of your ideal prospective client, as well as create and promote your brand.
- 70% of law firms land new cases through their website
- The first position in Google search results carries a 31.7% click-through rate.
- In fact, only 0.78% of Google searchers click on results from the 2nd page.
Why is SEO better than PPC?
Pay-per-click and sponsored ads essentially lease your marketing visibility: that visibility disappears as soon as you stop paying for it. Law firm SEO is an investment. The content and backlinks that you acquire have a long-lasting and evergreen impact; in effect, their rankings pay dividends long into the future. Ultimately, SEO creates an asset your firm owns, not rents.
Further, PPC in the legal vertical can be incredibly expensive. For example, it may cost you $300+ per click on average if you’re bidding for a high intent keyword such as “car accident lawyer.”
Why is SEO better than social?
Search traffic converts 10x better than social media traffic (on desktop)!
Search engines (especially Google) have only gotten better at understanding the meaning behind the phrases we type into them and are therefore used even more on the internet to cut through all the noise.
With so many people using search, it makes sense that lawyers marketing themselves online should ensure their websites are built and configured to be found easily using these tools.
Why should attorneys care?
It’s already pretty clear that for most people, search is their go-to for finding legal services. According to the National Law Review, 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine in their research process and 74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action.
Simply put, prospective clients use organic search to find and hire law firms.
Arguably the most important aspect of an SEO campaign lies in measuring your return on investment (of not just money, but also time). After all, whether you hire an independent agency or you do the work yourself, you need to be sure that the seeds you’ve sown will bear the proper fruit.
Understanding keyword research
One crucial factor in improving your rankings is keyword optimization.
You want to rank highly for targeted keywords, ideally those with a respectable amount of traffic. How do you tell?
A keyword research tool like SEMrush or even Google’s Keyword Planner can give you an estimated search volume and tell you how hard it’ll be to rank for that keyword.
Research is important, as 92.42% of keywords get ten monthly searches or less. While ranking for these low-volume keywords isn’t bad, we don’t recommend prioritizing them over more valuable key phrases.
When someone searches Google for “lawyer,” they’ll get millions of search results.
From there, they’ll get more specific and search for something like “family lawyer,” and so on. Ultimately, they’ll end up searching for a location-specific keyphrase like “family lawyer in Chicago.”
A digital marketing agency specializing in law firms can help you rank at the top of Google for valuable, geo-specific keywords. These are the keywords you want to rank for, as they’re highly targeted and will likely lead to more conversions.
What a law firm SEO company can do for you
A lot goes into SEO. It’s complex, with many different services available to you.
A site audit involves evaluating websites to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Essentially, it’s a comprehensive look at a website’s performance and SEO.
By doing a site audit, you can see what should be prioritized to improve SEO positioning.
It’s something an SEO service for lawyers will do off the bat to see what optimizations will produce the best returns.
If you’ve never done a site audit, it should be prioritized as a means to generate higher search visibility, solve any existing SEO issues, and improve user experience.
If you want to give it a try yourself, tools like SEMrush have site audit features.
A law firm SEO service will help map out a strategy to get your law firm to the top of Google’s search results.
Your strategy helps you organize the content on your website to improve your overall SEO and your chances of ranking highly. A strategy keeps you on track, making sure you’re producing content that you know people want.
Ultimately, the goal is to increase your organic traffic by producing high-quality, thoughtful content.
Most law firms will want to prioritize local SEO above all else.
The majority of your clients are likely local, so it pays to be hyper-specific with who you’re targeting.
We already mentioned the importance of targeting location-specific keywords like “divorce lawyer in Calgary,” but there’s more to local SEO than keywords,
An expert SEO service for lawyers can help you set up and optimize a Google My Business page, which is arguably the most important element of local SEO. A few things that go into your GMB listing include client reviews, contact information, and images.
Technical SEO is better left to the experts, as it involves getting into the nitty-gritty of your website.
The goal of technical SEO is to make your website more “Google-friendly.” Making sure your website follows Google’s guidelines, is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate are just a few items on the list.
It’s not enough to set it up and forget about it either. Google is constantly updating its algorithms, shifting variables related to rankings around. If you want to keep rankings high, you’ve got to stay on top of the algorithm.
When creating content, there are a lot of on-site and on-page SEO elements that need to be in place. Excellent on-site SEO makes sure your site structure is easy to navigate so that Google can find it while also allowing readers to more easily find what they’re looking for.
The ultimate goal of on-site SEO is to make sure that users and search engines:
- Understand what a page is about
- Identify whether the page accurately answers a search query
- Figure out if it’s high-quality and worth ranking highly on a search engine result page (SERP)
Some elements of on-site SEO include internal and external links, load speed, URL structure, metadata, as well as elements like keyword usage, tags, and headers.
At the core of any legal SEO campaign is content creation. Blogs will always have a place in content marketing, but there are also things like videos, infographics, gated content, landing pages, and other resources to consider.
By doing keyword research, you can determine what type of content your target customer persona is interested in and create content to address it.
For example, someone might be looking for an answer to their search query, “how can I beat a DUI?”
If you then create authoritative content in multiple formats answering that question, you can get hundreds of new clients.
For example, Cory Wilson has a comprehensive blog section on his website.
Your content also needs to address the user intent behind the search queries. That is, your content should address what searchers are actually looking for.
An essential part of SEO is link building.
Getting links from high-authority websites in your niche can help your website rank higher on Google and build domain authority. It’s definitely something worth doing, as it can help your law firm’s SEO.
One way to build backlinks is through guest blogging. A lot of companies will be happy to let you publish content on their blog in exchange for a small fee or a link in return.
But it’s time-intensive, which is why SEO experts include this in their packages.
Our typical law firm SEO services includes:
- Experienced law firm SEO experts optimizing your website
- SEO friendly site architecture *
- Keyword research
- Local search optimization
- SEO content writing
- Technical SEO analysis
- Title tag optimization
- Link flow analysis
- Internal linking
- Link profile analysis
- Link building campaigns
- Link profile monitoring
- Content analysis
- Content strategy
- Content ideation
- Content marketing
- Citation building
- Influencer outreach **
- Social sharing **
- Keyword ranking monitoring
- Competitor content analysis
- Competitor link profile analysis
- Monthly Google analytics analysis
- Daily monitoring of Google algorithm to check for updates and changes