What's in this article?
I’m a private person.
If I had to find a lawyer, I wouldn’t start by asking around my friends and family for referrals.
Could you imagine the rumors and speculation that could spread by such an innocent question?
I’d much rather turn to Google to start searching for lawyers in my area.
And as it turns out, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Most people do.
Now, more than ever, attorneys need to understand the importance of law firm SEO so they can meet their target audience where they are — which is online doing legal research.
SEO is perhaps the most popular buzzword in online marketing. But what does it mean? And how does it work, exactly?
Well, in this article I’ll explain what search engine optimization is, how it brings more people to your website, and give you some tips on how to choose the right SEO agency so you can generate more case leads for your business.
What is Law Firm SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about getting your website more clicks by making it easier to find in Google searches.
The higher up your website is on Google’s search engine results pages (SERP), the more traffic it will get, and the more leads you will generate.
The first page of Google’s SERP is a highly coveted spot though. You can bet the law firm websites on that front page paid to get them there, because it’s not so easy to show up in organic search results on your own!
By the way, Google isn’t the only search engine that SEO applies to. When you apply law firm SEO tactics to your digital marketing campaign, you’ll also increase your website’s visibility in other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc.
However, for this article, I’ll mainly refer to Google since they have an 86% market share for Internet search traffic.
How Does SEO Work for Law Firms?
Google’s mission is to organize all of the world’s information, and make it easy to find when people need answers to their problems.
For lawyers and their firms, this means your website needs to produce tons of valuable content that can answer Google users legal questions — how-to articles, legal advice forums, and regular blog posts related to your key practice areas.
Let’s just say for simplicity, that Google’s search algorithm likes to match keywords found in the prospective clients’ query with keywords found throughout a website’s content and copy.
When a person searches “Michigan divorce lawyer” or “car accident lawyer,” Google does a quick deep dive to match keywords found in the searcher’s query with keywords found throughout millions of websites.
Then it provides thousands of search results organized by their relevance. By the way, it takes about 0.91 seconds for Google to do this.
This means all the blogs, images, meta-descriptions, and embedded videos on your website should also include important law firm related keywords so that when people search for these terms, Google will recommend your website to them. This is called “keyword optimization.”
Another name for this type of search engine optimization is “On-Page” because it mainly deals with what’s visible on the webpage — words and content.
Other Factors that Influence Search Engine Optimization Besides Keywords
Okay, so we now know how important keywords are for the search engine optimization process. But keyword matching isn’t the only thing influencing your law firm SEO.
Let’s look at the other factors that affect your law firm’s website rankings.
Backlinks and Outbound Links
Google likes to recommend websites that play well with other websites.
If several other websites have put a hyperlink in their blog posts or website copy that directs them to your law firm’s website, that’s considered a “backlink.”
The more backlinks your website has, the more credible Google thinks it is, and will place it higher up in their search results.
Outbound links are the opposite. It’s when you place a hyperlink on your website that directs your reader to another website. But why do this? It’s part of the SEO game, and it helps make your articles more credible.
Especially when you make scientific or statistical claims that need to be backed up with proof. It’s recommended that every blog post has at least two outbound links.
Of the two, backlinks are more influential in improving your SEO. Makes sense, right? You want more websites referring people to your website, than vice versa.
If you’ve ever wondered why Wikipedia is almost always number one in Google search results, it’s because they are constantly producing new articles that have hundreds of outbound links, as well as hundreds or thousands of backlinks linking back to Wikipedia. Backlinking matters!
This type of SEO is called “Off-Page” because it deals with the number of inbound links, or backlinks, that a website gets, which is only visible to the website’s administrator and Google.
This is considered a subcategory of SEO, and as you guessed it, is more technical than keyword matching or adding or receiving external website links.
Technical SEO is about following Google’s guidelines and organizing your website so web crawlers (bot programs) can quickly and easily navigate your website’s content and index it into Google’s search engine results.
As a general rule, you should aim to make your website mobile-friendly, and ensure your site’s navigation is intuitive and easy to follow.
If a human has a hard time navigating your website, a crawler bot probably will too.
Fresh Content Published Regularly
Google’s updated search algorithm rewards websites that regularly publish new content.
When sorting search results for relevance, Google favors newer articles and blog posts, as they typically share new information, and theoretically can be more factually accurate. Think of updated medical journals or news posts — it’s better to get the latest news as opposed to old articles.
Every time you add a new page of content, such as a blog, Google’s crawlers will detect this change and index it to their search engine. As long as the content you’re producing is high-quality, every time you publish a new blog is a new opportunity for Google to re-evaluate your search engine rankings, potentially increasing its position in a Google search.
Regular blogging also gives your website a legitimate way to add more specific keywords throughout your website, improving your law firm SEO.
Lastly, regularly updating new content on your website proves to your clients that your firm is still practicing business and is accepting new cases.
If your website hasn’t published a blog in a few years, your web visitors may think your company has gone out of business. Google might too, and not recommend your website, because nothing has been updated in a while. Google prefers to recommend fresh new content.
How Do Attorneys Benefit from Improved Law Firm SEO?
Ultimately, improving your SEO will position your website above your competitors in Google searches, get you more web traffic, generate more leads, and gain new clients to fuel your business.
Let’s break down each of these down benefits a bit further.
Position Your Law Firm Over Your Competitors
Getting on the first page of Google matters. A lot.
Many people correspond a website’s Google ranking with an actual ranking of the law firm itself. So, if your competitors’ website is higher than yours in a Google search, you can assume that the average person may view their company above yours.
For this reason, companies vie to get their website on the first page of results, and once they’re there, work hard to rise to the position of #1.
Positioning isn’t just a psychological benefit — websites ranked higher get the majority of web traffic.
Something like only 29% of people will read past the first page of Google search results.
If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll just search for something different, rather than sifting through low-quality search results.
Improved Authority and Credibility
This is another one of those psychological benefits, just like positioning.
While it may be difficult to quantify, having an improved SEO and well-designed website can portray competence and inspire confidence in your web visitors to actually reach out to you for help.
There’s sort of a halo effect that happens when people are searching online. They search for something, see the top ranking websites, and think “These websites probably know what they’re doing, I’ll click on these sites.”
Because people assume that if your website’s ranking and design is good, then your company is good. If a company’s website or ranking is bad, then they’ll assume the company is bad too.
It’s not fair, but it kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?
Get More Traffic and Generate More Leads
This is the end game here. This is the main reason for marketing strategy — generating more traffic to your website and creating new leads to fuel your business.
Increased traffic to your website can be harnessed to generate new case inquiry leads.
Once on your website, you can encourage your new visitors to reach out through conveniently placed contact forms, or offer a click-to-call phone number.
You can further entice people to fill out forms by offering “lead magnets” also known as “content upgrades,” which are freebies that people can get in exchange for submitting their email address. Think of free eBooks, PDFs, guides, those sorts of things.
How Much Does Law Firm SEO Cost?
This is a bit tricky to answer, because it ranges widely depending on the client, their budget, their industry, and their competition. That’s sort of a non-answer, I know.
First, let me explain what an SEO specialist does:
- Checks search terms, keywords, rankings, and analytics to monitor a website’s performance
- Makes recommendations and creates strategies on how to improve a website’s ranking
- Performs keyword research to use throughout the client’s website and marketing materials
- Performs competitor keyword gap analysis (studying which keywords the competition is using, so they can find under-used keywords to implement)
- Regularly publishes new blog posts and high-quality website content
- Regularly updates existing content for maximum optimization and search engine ratings
- Creates PPC ads and ad campaigns
As you can see, an SEO specialist is a strategist, who can help you identify where your website currently stands, and can help you reach your traffic goals, whatever they may be.
But how can you improve your SEO rating if your website’s layout is completely out of whack? And who’s going to write all the new blogs?
As you can see, SEO works hand-in-hand with other marketing fields such as content marketing, PPC ads, branding, web design/development, and email marketing.
Many specialists will work for SEO companies so they can outsource the content writing or web development/design tasks to another employee.
For these reasons, it’s nearly impossible to give a price range, because every project is different and will require varying levels of support for each marketing focus.
However, often when it comes to the budget, hiring a law firm SEO agency will typically be the better deal than hiring one employee. For the same price, or not that much more, law firms get a whole team of experts to improve your SEO process.
How to Choose the Best Legal Marketing Companies
SEO is one of the biggest buzzwords out there in the digital marketing world.
As such, many marketing agencies are capitalizing on this and offering SEO services as an afterthought to their existing products.
Before picking a company to handle your law firm SEO, reach out to see if they can provide case studies, or testimonials from current or past clients as a form of social proof.
Ask questions like “Do you have clients who rank on the first page of Google?” or “What competitive search terms do your clients rank at?”
If lead generation is your main goal, ask the company a rough estimate of the kind of leads they can generate for your company, including conversions into real clients.
Additionally, there are extra rules regarding advertising legal services online that every digital marketing agency should be aware of.
The American Bar Association’s Rule 7.2 lists certain rules and ethical regulations that marketers and attorneys should follow before beginning a digital marketing campaign. Before choosing an SEO company or marketing agency, make sure they understand these laws so your marketing efforts aren’t thwarted.
I’m Starting My Law Firm’s Website Design. Does Kaleidico Offer Lawyer SEO services?
Kaleidico is a full-service marketing agency that specializes in lead generation for law firms, mortgage lenders, and fintech companies.
Our team comprises SEO experts, PPC professionals, content strategists, account managers, content writers, web developers and designers, graphic designers, and email marketers.
Our proven framework will help your law firm’s website generate more traffic and case inquiry leads to help your business grow.
Are you a lawyer wanting to improve your website’s SEO? We’d be happy to help you.
Contact us to hop on a Discovery session and we’ll outline a plan on how we can generate more case inquiries for your law firm.