Let’s face it, every law firm needs new clients to survive and grow. After all, more clients means more business.
While there are a number of proven marketing methods to acquire new clients for your law practice, nothing comes close to the power of getting found via organic search. When you attract prospects rather than reach out to them yourself, they are a lot more interested and eager to work with you.
Your law firm could be located anywhere — as long as people are searching for legal advice in your area, you’re in the position to acquire potential clients that actually want to hire you.
According to ABA Journal, a popular magazine for lawyers, one-third of legal consumers start their search for an attorney using online resources. These include blog posts, eBooks, podcasts and infographics.
And how do the majority of these legal consumers find such resources?
That’s right, they search online just like anybody. In fact, the Google Consumer Survey found out that 96% of people use a search engine when looking for legal advice.
Once you’re ranking on the first page of Google for relevant keywords, your client flow automatically increases. Because 98% of searchers tend to choose a business that is on the page one of the search engine results.
While having a website for your law firm is necessary, it’s not enough. You have to do more in terms of marketing to get targeted traffic to it.
Here are some more convincing stats that clearly show the importance of SEO:
- 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results
- 70% to 80% of search users ignore paid aids and focus on organic search results instead
Since the top three search results get the biggest chunk of the total traffic for a particular keyword, you don’t just want to hit the first page. You want to reach the top. By making SEO a priority, your firm can stand out from the competition and attract prospects who are interested in doing business with you.
What Does Law Firm SEO Actually Involve?
Search engine optimization or SEO isn’t complex unless you make it so. In simple words, SEO helps your law firm’s website rank better than other rival sites in the search engine result pages — for a targeted keyword phrase that people are typing in.
There’s not much difference between SEO done for a law firm compared to a small business. The keywords may change, but the process remains the same. Ultimately, the aim of any local business is to be discovered by prospects or potential customers in their area and generate more clientele.
For instance, let’s say you are a child attorney practicing in Johor Bahru. When people living in your city type “child attorney
JB, they see a list of attorneys that they can choose from.
Now, what if you’re at the top of that list? What if you’re in the top three websites? Will you get more leads and enquiries? Will you have more clients? The answer is yes!
SEO is a tried and tested technique to make your law firm’s website more detectable to prospects in the same location. The higher it ranks, the better your chance to get more clients.
SEO Vs Traditional Marketing
It was all in the past when law firms had to depend on traditional marketing methods to find clients. Today, your web presence plays an important role in helping you grow. The stronger your online presence, the further your reach. And the further your reach, the better the business.
But before we get into why your law firm should focus on SEO, here’s why traditional marketing (which includes newspaper ads, direct mail, business cards and cold calling) doesn’t stand a chance against online marketing.
- It’s too broad – Traditional ads have a wide reach. But you don’t control or target who sees them. Nor are you able to properly measure the ad’s success. Which naturally affects your return on investment.
- It’s too expensive – You may have to burn through a lot of marketing budget before finding out what works and what doesn’t. Traditional marketing simply isn’t cost effective in the long run.
- It’s too short-term – While the results are immediate, they’re not long term. Which means you’ll have to go through the same drill over and over again in order to see consistent results.
According to Search Engine Journal, leads generated with SEO have a considerably higher close rate than the leads you get from direct mail and print advertisements.
The key differences between traditional marketing and SEO are as follows.
Traditional Marketing [Outbound]
- Sends out advertising or promotional messages
- Lets you reach out to clients
- Generally requires one-on-one communication
- ROI is difficult to measure
- Focuses on informing about your services
Search Engine Optimization [Inbound]
- Generates relevant interest from potential clients
- Helps you attract clients
- Doesn’t require much human involvement once set up
- ROI is much better and easier to track
- Works on educating about your services
SEO does have a learning curve and takes time to give results. But in the end, it can add immense stability to your business. Which is totally worth the effort.
How Law Firm SEO Can Help You Grow
The biggest SEO advantage for a law firm is being discovered by potential clients 24/7 without being physically present. Or without doing one-on-one marketing.
But it doesn’t stop there. Here are some more (obvious) SEO advantages:
1. More Relevant Traffic
While there are always some people making weird search queries on Google such as “why isn’t 11 pronounced as onety one”, the majority of the users have a clear search intent. Which means they know what information they want and how it can be useful to them.
By effectively optimizing your website for search, you’ll be able to rank higher than your competition and reach the right people. Remember, there’s traffic and there’s relevant traffic. It’s the latter that you’re looking for.
2. More Prospective Clients
Organic search traffic is huge. Google alone handles a whopping 5 billion searches per day or 1.2 trillion searches per year. Everyone knows how powerful the search engine giant is. And what it can do for your business.
Given that you’re targeting the right keywords, ranking your law firm’s website higher in the Google search results will most definitely lead to more prospective clients. With workable SEO strategies up your sleeve, you’ll consistently get higher quality business without trying too hard.
3. More Return on Your Investment
Being in the legal space, the competition will always be fierce. But when you efficiently invest in SEO, you will be able to get ahead of your competition without spending a ton on marketing.
When compared to other inbound marketing strategies such as pay per click advertising, email marketing, blogging and social media marketing, SEO gives a high return on your investment.
4) More Mobile Friendly
With the popularity of mobile devices, a large number of local searches are being done on mobiles. Many of these searchers are seeking legal services. Which makes optimizing your law firm’s website for local search all the more important.
Google has stated that, “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”
It’s also no hidden fact that the number of mobile users has overtook the number of desktop users.
This simply means, if you want to draw in super-targeted prospects to your website, you need to leverage local SEO.
Organic Listing or Paid Ads?
Ranking your law firm website higher than others isn’t an overnight process. It takes time to climb up the search engine ladder and be found by your prospective clients
However, while you’re patiently working (and waiting) to grow your search engine rankings, you may be tempted to jump on the paid or sponsored ads bandwagon. Yes, those little ads that show up on the top of the search results.
Now, there is nothing wrong with these paid ads, also called AdWords. If you want immediate results, have deep pockets and are willing to spend thousands of dollars each month, invest in them by all means.
However, if you want long term results and a better ROI, then investing in SEO to rank in the organic search results makes more sense. These organic results appear below the ads and are free of charge.
The little investment that you initially make to have your website ranked leads to a high ROI in the long run mainly because there are no ongoing costs involved.
Two Ranking Factors You Can’t Afford to Ignore
Ranking in the top three positions in the search engine result pages can be challenging. However, independent studies conducted by SearchMetrics and Backlinko have found two main ranking factors, which you can (and should) focus on for your website to potentially rank higher.
Content – There is little doubt that great content is the currency to rank in Google. It’s a ranking factor like no other. Without good content, your website raises a lot of red flags. By creating and adding in-depth, relevant content to your law firm site, you give the search engine giant a green signal. You give it a reason to rank you higher over competitors who lack the right content. The content you put up on your site has to be authentic and detailed in order to get in the good books of the big G. It cannot be thin and vague. For example, if you look at the top three results for the extremely competitive keyword phrase “link building”, you’ll find SEO expert Brian Dean’s mammoth 4,800 word guide ranking in the third position. Just because it offers so much value.
Backlinks – Building high quality, diverse backlinks to your law firm website cannot be ignored. However, Google has grown smart over the years. It now only considers backlinks that come from diverse domains. So while having thousands of backlinks is great, it’s nearly not enough. Again, generating real backlinks from authority sites and influencers takes work. You not only have to create and publish content that your prospects will benefit from, you also have to promote it consistently. But once you hit all the sweet spots, you’ll be in a much better position.
Can you do something similar in the law niche? Can you create useful content that is relevant to your target audience? Of course you can. Google has always tried to give high priority to quality content, and so should you.
How to Implement Law Firm SEO the Right Way
You don’t have to spend big money to apply SEO to your law firm’s website. Nor do you need special certification or knowledge. As long as you know and follow the basics of our SEO service, you’re good to go.
With a small budget and a zeal to succeed, you can be on your way to rank your website on the front page of Google for your chosen keyword.
The idea is to impress Google and do what is right. Let’s see how you can implement SEO on your law firm site without burning a hole in your wallet or putting in too much effort. This same strategy helped a small business generate $96,664.98 in SEO results in less than 5 months.
1. Analyze Your Competition
Understanding who you are competing against will give you a better idea of what to do and how to proceed.
Start by Googling your target keyword so that you can make a note of your competition. So if you’re a criminal attorney located in Johor Bahru, search for “criminal attorney JB”. Make a list of all the competitors and analyze their websites one by one.
You’re basically looking for ideas on how they are optimizing and for what keywords. The type of content they’re writing and how you can improve it.
Focus on learning about their on-page optimization techniques. Once you have enough information with you, see how you can apply it to your own site to improve your own website.
2. Craft Your Title and Meta Description Tag
Yes, title and meta description tag are still important. Why? Because Google uses them when displaying your website in the search results.
Just the way the headline and copy are important for an AdWords ad, relevant title and meta description tag is necessary to get a higher click-through rate in organic search results.
When writing, as a thumb’s rule, limit the title tag’s length to 60 characters and the description to 200 characters. Shorten the title and description if they aren’t displayed in full in the search results.
3. Set Up a Google My Business Page
Remember Google Local? Places? Well, Google My Business is where all local Google products got streamlined, with one central dashboard.
Google My Business gives searchers the names, addresses and hours of operation of the company or local business that they’re searching about.
The reason why Google My Business is so important is because it helps increase visibility in search.
You can list your law firm on Google My Business by visiting their dedicated site. Once there, sign in and add or claim your business address. As a part of their verification process, you’ll receive a postcard with a PIN from Google to your business address. You just need to login and enter the PIN to complete verification.
After your listing is approved, you are free to optimize your Google My Business account with a nice, detailed description to get the most out of it.
Also, keep check of…
- a) Your address matches all your other local listings
- b) The business hours are current and updated
- c) You have the right category listed
- d) You add a few photographs of yourself along with your staff
- e) Ask for new reviews and respond back to old ones
- f) Have a local phone number listed
Getting active on Google My Business may seem like a simple step, but it can make a big difference to your local SEO efforts.
4. Maintain Consistency with N.A.P
Google is going big on location-based searches. The search engine giant is utilizing location info listed on your website and other websites/platforms to improve its search results. So make sure your N.A.P (name, address and phone number) information is consistent across multiple platforms/sites and matches your Google My Business page.
For example, avoid having “jalan” in one place and “jln.”, in another. Sometimes even a simple hyphen can make the information seem different.
Also, look out for anyone who has unknowingly or mistakenly listed your business with different information on another site. In case you find it, contact the owner and change it.
You can also place your N.A.P information on trustworthy sites such as LinkedIn, Yellow Pages and etc. It helps you build trust with Google and other search engines.
5. Get Citations
Any reference about your company on another website is a citation. Unlike a backlink, a citation doesn’t need to have a link. Citations play an important role in Google and Bing’s ranking algorithm.
If your business has a higher number of citations than your competitor, chances are that you will rank higher. And vice versa.
As an attorney, you have the option to leverage legal directories for citations. Some of these directories have profiles that you can fill out with your name, address and phone number. Which makes your local presence stronger in the eyes of Google and improves your ranking. Make sure the info matches with the one on your website. Be consistent.
6. Get Online Client Reviews
Another way to make a positive impression on Google is to have some positive and authentic customer reviews posted online. The obvious place to start would be Google Reviews.
A local business may rank better and grab more attention, thanks to positive Google Reviews posted by customers. Since your law firm website is focused on local SEO, try and get as many clients to post reviews as possible.
Next, get some reviews on your Facebook page if you have one. Being active on social media and having positive reviews is a good sign in the eyes of a prospective customer.
Besides Google and Facebook, also try and get positive reviews on high-profile sites such as Yelp.
7. Acquire Backlinks from Relevant Local Sites
Besides creating quality content to attract backlinks, try to acquire links from other local sites that are relevant to yours. Having links from local websites will help you rank better in your geographical area.
Don’t make the mistake of going after quantity when building links. You want high quality links that are worth going after. Instead of getting 50 links from low-profile websites, get one backlink from an authority site.
8. Use Schema Markup
Add schema markup, also known as structured data markup, to your site’s code. This helps the search engines learn and understand about your services.
By properly adding schema markup to your site, you not only differentiate yourself from the others who aren’t using the markup (only 31.3 percent sites are using it) but also possibly rank higher than the others.
9. Optimize with Local Keywords
When optimizing your law firm SEO website, you have to use local keywords so that Google has a fair idea about the location you’re targeting.
For example, if you are a child custody attorney based in Johor Bahru, you need to sprinkle the right keyword across the website’s content. In this case, it would be “child custody attorney JB”. You have to make sure you are not stuffing the website’s content with the target keyword phrase.
Try using the keyword in:
– H1 Tag
– Different content pages
– Alt Tags
Remember, be strategic in your approach when using any keyword so that you’re not overdoing it.
Law firm SEO is not rocket science. Initially, it takes a bit of persistence and hard work, but once in place, you can expect to consistently receive targeted traffic at no extra cost.