Practical Guide to SEO for Law Firms

You can probably find a far more dense, and honestly confusing guide to doing SEO for your law firm. But, that’s most likely not where your law firm needs to begin its journey into digital marketing and ultimately case lead generation. Quite the contrary, you need some simple, straightforward tactics to start getting your website in front of prospective clients.

This simple assumption has informed my SEO framework for new law firms over the last 15 years. 

Simple SEO Framework for Lawyers

My framework begins with a simple question:

“How do I get your attorneys and law firm in front of folks trying to determine if they have a case or not?”

Generally, the answer to this question begins by analyzing how people go about finding a lawyer or figuring out if they have a case – often, and logically, done in tandem. I’ll save you the thought exercise and give you the short answer, one that you probably already know from your personal experiences acquiring new clients and cases.

1. People ask their friends, family, or colleagues for a recommendation. These are your referrals. Referrals are the life-blood of all exceptional attorneys and law firms – always has been and always will be.

2.  People hop on the Internet and start doing their DIY lawyering. This typical behavior often leads to confusion, overwhelm, or in the ideal case, a knowledgeable new client.

From this premise, I have formulated my basic SEO strategy for law firms.

Simple SEO Strategy for Law Firms

Research shows that people go looking for lawyers by either getting a lawyer’s name (referral) or researching their perceived case type (DIY lawyering). I need to create an SEO plan that positions your website to rank in Google searches for those two cases/client acquisition scenarios. 

Before you even say it, “Yes, that includes doing SEO for the referral scenario!”

Permit me a sidebar on referrals for a second. 

The Truth About Attorney Referrals

One of the most common misconceptions, and quite frankly handicaps in legal marketing these days, is the assumption that referrals magically come from business cards (or some other analog method). The reality of how referrals happen is much different. Let’s consider a very logical referral scenario.

I’m in a car accident. I sustain an injury that is likely to prevent me from working for the foreseeable future and maybe forever. So, I began asking everyone I know for a recommendation. Those recommendations might come from lots of places – from personal to “someone we know” experiences. But, in all cases, that referral comes to me, the victim, in the form of a statement like this: “You should call John Smith, he helped my brother-in-law.”

That’s not an exchange of a business card or any contact information at all. It’s seemingly a loose recommendation and a name. 

So, what do I do next? You guessed it. Bring up Google and search for “John Smith attorney.” Of course, that probably doesn’t give me anything useful. So, I start trying other things like “John Smith Chicago lawyer” or “John Smith car accident attorney.” Suppose that doesn’t get me anything useful. i.e., a phone number or email, your referral is dead.

Need help with your digital marketing? Let’s schedule a discovery session.

Back to Our Simple SEO Strategy

As I was saying, assuming that more than 96% of people seeking legal advice turn to search engines, we need to get you ranking on page one for two essential search types –  your attorney names and your case types.

At this point, most SEO articles will descend into techno-babble. We’re not going to do that, and honestly, it’s not that intellectually complex.

Our process will include the following steps:

1. Create search engine optimized attorney profile pages – design an attorney profile page that professionally presents the attorney’s name, image, video (if at all possible), practice and case experience and expertise (link to case type pages), and any awards and accolades. Finally, make it easy for a prospective client to call them or send them an email.

2. Create a search engine optimized case type pages – design a case type page that helps guide a prospective client through the process of understanding that case type and assessing whether or not they should contact an attorney. Note, I’m not trying to answer the question, “Do I have a case?” Instead, I’m trying to help them determine: “Do I need to talk to a lawyer?” Like the attorney profile pages, make it easy for them to call or email one of your attorneys that practices in that area of law.

Believe it or not, this will more than likely get you ranking locally for attorney name and case type searches – simply because most attorneys don’t prioritize writing or commissioning this straightforward content creation and SEO optimization. 

Now for a straightforward law firm SEO strategy.

SEO Domination for Law Firms 

I’m going to avoid SEO shop talk still, but I want to give you some advanced tips on building an SEO marketplace dominating case generating strategy.

Once you have your attorney profile and case type landing pages, it’s time to begin building more substantial SEO offensive turrets and defensible moats.

Here’s the high-level SEO playbook:

1. Continue to write and publish articles related to your case types regularly. These should be a blend of background explainers, practical legal application, and timely analysis of current cases in your practice area.

2. Preview your content on your profile page to demonstrate your expertise to referrals and attract researching prospective clients. 

3. Leverage social media to distribute your content. Sharing on social media often creates natural backlinking as well as brand awareness and credibility. You can undoubtedly get more sophisticated with your social media strategy, but early on, simply pick one of your favorites and alert your audience to your latest content.

4. Enhance your visibility and personal branding by establishing a Google My Business profile and filling it with five-star reviews from satisfied clients.

5. Finally, invest in high-quality directory listings like FindLaw, Avvo, Super Lawyers. These can help you to leverage the broader SEO visibility of these websites, giving your brand a higher profile and credibility as prospective clients do their Google searches and research lawyers.

Get Your Law Firm SEO Started

The question of when to start SEO for your law firm is best answered, “yesterday, and if not yesterday, then most certainly today.” This advice is wise because SEO takes time, and each new piece of content grows your audience of web visitors – prospective clients. 

That is why the idea SEO strategy for your law firm is one that starts today and becomes a central part of your sales and marketing strategy. Give consistent and frequent publication of SEO content and diligent distribution and promotion; your website will become a highly steady and sustainable source of case leads.

Next Steps

If you need assistance with your law firm’s SEO program or content creation, contact us to schedule a discovery meeting. Learn how Kaleidico and our 15+ years of SEO experience can give you a competitive advantage.

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

About Bill Rice

Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico, a digital agency. Bill specializes in providing law firms, attorneys, banks, and emerging technology clients with lead generation strategies enabled with content marketing, SEO, PPC, and email marketing.

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