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Search engine optimization (SEO) for law firm websites can be the difference between potential clients finding you — or your competition.
For potential clients to find your law firm, they first have to know you exist.
And that’s where the increased visibility on search engine result pages (SERP) from SEO plays a vital role.
Perhaps an understatement, but the legal industry is competitive. In fact, the legal industry is among the most competitive SEO niches out there.
The basics of SEO
Search engine optimization or “SEO” is a method of marketing designed with the sole purpose of improving your website position on SERPs.
In other words, SEO affects how easily people find (or don’t find) your website content.
More and more, people are searching online for services—including legal services.
And many times they start by searching for what a business does instead of a brand.
In other words, a potential client will more likely enter the search term “disability lawyer Michigan” rather than your firm’s name.
If your firm’s website doesn’t show up at the top of Google search results, you’re missing out on the most direct customer paths to your firm. That one person is a lost client because they’ve already contacted the law firm that topped Google’s results.
So, why isn’t your law firm at the top? It’s probably because of your law firm’s SEO strategy (or lack of one).
Most people access content through organic search results, i.e., they Google it.
The closer to the top of the first SERP that your website appears, the greater the clicks you’ll see as a result.
The further down the page you are away, the fewer visitors you can expect.
Why? Because a whopping 75% of people never scroll beyond the first page of search results, regardless of which search engine they use.
Let’s face it, the majority of choices and actions we make in our lives today all begin with a search engine query.
That’s why a comprehensive SEO strategy is essential for improving the amount of traffic—and quality of that traffic—to your law firm website.
SEO for law firm websites
SEO for the legal industry involves optimizing a law firm’s website to help it show up on Google and other search engines easier.
Law firm SEO helps your law firm website be more visible to people specifically searching for legal services. You could have one of the most successful win-ratios in the state, but search engines won’t send people to your website unless your website is SEO optimized.
One recent study found that 68% of all online experiences start with typing a search term into a search engine. Additionally, 76% of people who used a search engine to look for a local business followed up with an in-person visit within 24 hours.
Search for yourself
You can’t help people seeking legal advice if they can’t find you.
Google your law firm.
Does it show up on the first page of search engine results? Where does your site rank in the results?
As we mentioned above, users are typically searching for the type of help they need rather than specific brands. The terms they’re using are the keywords you want to make sure are prominent on your website.
The easiest way to do that is to embrace content marketing.
Why content marketing matters to law firm’s SEO
Content marketing serves two purposes:
- When you provide valuable, reliable information to visitors to your website, you earn their trust and increase the likelihood that they’ll contact you
- Google search results like websites that post consistent, keyword-rich content. It promotes them by ranking them higher on SERPs
By content in terms of SEO, we typically mean blogs.
Your website’s blog will feature articles relevant to your industry and that answer questions that your potential clients may be looking for. And in these articles are where you’ll feature the search terms your target audience is searching for.
This is what it means to optimize your law firm’s website for SEO.
Start by Googling services or areas that your firm specializes in. For example, if you specialize in medical malpractice claims, you’ll search for that. Check out your competitors. Do they have a blog? What are they writing about?
Sometimes, Google will show a list of common search inquiries related to the term, called featured snippets. This list pulls quick answers to these questions from websites that offer these exact questions, such as, “How long do I have to file a medical malpractice claim?”
That’s your cue to create blogs that answer these questions directly. Google is showing you specifically what your audience is searching for. It’s up to you to take advantage of that.
As Google remains the primary method to find local services, you’re losing business if you aren’t showing up on SERPs. And the competition to rank at the top of search engine results is getting tougher.
SEO allows your firm’s website to stand apart from other attorneys who specialize in similar practice areas and geographic locations.
When people search for your area of practice and/or location, such as “traffic lawyer Michigan,” Google will put your site in front of potential clients if your website and content are optimized to include these exact keywords.
When you pair a professional website with a comprehensive law firm SEO strategy, you get a lead-generating brand that attracts the clients you want to work with.
Law firm SEO strategy
A good SEO strategy isn’t just “nice to have.”
In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape—it’s critical.
The right law firm SEO strategy will help grow your business in several ways, including:
- Improves website visibility
- Increases traffic to your website
- Generates more leads
- Boost conversion rates to new users
- Helps you retain your existing client list
Attracting the type of clients you want to work with depends on creating the right content that will not only help people find your website but will help convert them into clients.
Search engines evaluate the content on your website by sending out an automated “bot” to “read” your website.
This helps the search engine understand what your website is about—and that’s where keywords shine.
The keywords on your website help the bot understand that you’re providing value to website visitors.
Think about what your clients will be asking when they start searching online for your services.
The best keywords will focus on “buying intent.” These are words or phrases that indicate people searching online are actively looking for services to purchase or sign up for — and they help visitors find your site.
To make your website attractive to potential clients, each page on your law firm’s website should target specific keywords that reflect who you are and what you do.
This not only helps Google promote your site but also helps visitors quickly identify your firm as the “best malpractice attorney in Michigan.”
How is SEO for law firm websites different from other industries?
SEO in the legal industry is different from other industries because of your firm’s dependence on local clients.
Because lawyers offer services rather than physical products, a law firm’s target audience is composed entirely of local clients —you can’t easily sell your legal services to someone in a different state or country.
This means a law firm’s SEO strategy is different from industries that can ship their products anywhere in the world.
Local SEO concentrates on the geographic parameters important to your law firm. This can include your town, city, or municipal area, geographic region, or state and is usually accomplished by using local citations, backlinks, and legal-industry appropriate listings.
When a website links back or refers to your website through a link, it’s called a “backlink.” The number of pages linking back to your firm’s website plays a role in how Google’s ranking algorithm evaluates your site.
In SEO, backlinks are not unlike popularity contests. For example, the more websites that link directly to your law firm website, the more “popular” Google considers your website.
The Google algorithm looks favorably on your site when you get multiple, quality backlinks.
This helps your website be viewed as a topical authority providing real value to people. In other words, Google likes your website. And when they like a website, it ranks higher on search engine results.
Your law firm’s website contact information will turn up in various places online, helping both search engines and potential clients find you.
Citations refer to places where your law firm’s contact information is displayed. And just like backlinks, these citations factor into your website popularity as far as search engines are concerned.
Citation sources can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Directories like Google My Business
- Legal directories such as Avvo
- Reviews or comments on third-party websites like Yelp
- Social media profiles
Each of these off-page citations help strengthen your law firm’s long-term SEO results.
What lawyers should know about SEO in 2022?
SEO is not static—it’s organic, continually shifting and evolving. If you want clients to find your law firm website easily, your SEO strategy must do the same.
Google constantly adjusts and tweaks its algorithm; what worked last month won’t necessarily be effective a month from now. That’s why it’s so important to keep your SEO best practices up-to-date.
SEO done right can mean your law firm website gets to the top of the search engine results—and stays there.
One of the newest Google features that can help your law firm is Google Screened. This free screening process lets potential visitors to your website know that your law firm has passed “extensive background and license checks” by regulatory bodies.
Once successfully “screened,” Google awards a “Google Screened” badge to be displayed on your website. It not only helps you further develop your online reputation, but it also tells people your site—and your firm—are a trusted service provider.
Conclusion — SEO for law firm websites
Creating and implementing an effective law firm SEO strategy can be a labor-intensive, time-consuming task.
At Kaleidico, we specialize in law firm marketing. It’s not just what we do; it’s who we are. And we’re proud of our long track record of success in helping law firms like yours grow.
Our proven framework helps law firms attract the high-quality leads they most desire.
In addition to providing a comprehensive law firm SEO strategy, we offer content and email marketing, PPC ads, website design and branding services.
Contact us and schedule a discovery session to learn more about how Kaleidico can help your law firm.