Best SEO Tactics for Law Firms
SEO for law firms is about more than improving your rank. While search engine optimization may seem like it’s solely focused on getting your law firm to coveted page one spots, a top rank doesn’t matter if you can’t convert visitors into clients.
With great SEO, the right audiences will organically discover your content and also be convinced that your legal services are a good fit for their needs. That involves building trust and communicating value. Both are accomplished in subtle ways, and all of these techniques can be encompassed by the larger disciplines that SEO teaches.
So, what can your law firm do to improve both its ranking and its conversion potential? Each firm will require a different strategy tailored to their strengths and competition. However, there are some SEO best practices for law firms that can be applied universally.
Regardless of the firm, here are seven things we recommend if they want to watch their business opportunities soar.
Put Clients First
In the legal profession, putting the needs of clients first is not only a professional and ethical imperative, but it also makes for good marketing.
Why? Because some tactics that seem effective on paper end up not meeting your audience’s needs. If you’re able to fund a pay-per-click campaign that shoves the visibility of your competitors down into oblivion, yet your audience doesn’t find good content once they reach your site, then you’re still left without a new client lead.
That’s why we always recommend that a firm starts by understanding its clients: who they are, what they care about, and what it is about your firm that they like. This initial research informs a digital marketing strategy tailored to your individual audience’s needs.
In the SEO realm, this type of strategy is referred to as “understanding search intent.” The gist is that you want to be able to rank for keywords in your region that pertain directly to a question your clients want answered or a service they need. If you can accurately guess what someone will search for and answer their need with highly valuable, informative content, then you’re more likely to have them linger on your website long enough to become a lead.
With great SEO, the right audiences will organically discover your content and also be convinced that your legal services are a good fit for their needs.Every law firm is different, too, so let your clients tell you what they want. You can perform an analysis by looking through your reviews for common themes, assessing the types of cases you’ve handled in the past, or interviewing loyal clients. You can then take this information to build new relationships using all the ingredients your existing clients know and love.
Do a Website Audit
Your existing website tells you why you’re currently ranking where you are. Before you go about creating new keyword-rich content to help improve your rank, start with a healthy foundation. Often, putting work into website optimization can improve your ranking dramatically before a single new piece of content is published.
Finding Issues to Fix
So what kinds of website details need your attention? Consider some of the following:
- Make your site intuitive to navigate. Google prioritizes site structure and ease of navigation over keyword use in its ranking algorithm.
- Add the right metadata. Search engines need your help knowing which pages to index and how to read them. A properly configured robots.txt file, for instance, goes a long way toward improving indexability.
- Make sure search engines have access to the right pages. You can manually tell Google and other search engines what to index and what to avoid. You can also manually instruct Google to re-scan certain pages.
- Fix broken links. Every instance of a broken link or other navigation issue can seriously hurt your rank.
- Add internal links. Link to relevant pages when they’re mentioned, especially when dealing with pages on the main navigation. For instance, firms should give easy access to their car accident page from their general personal injury practice page.
- Clean up grammar and readability. Both search users and search engines like small chunks of text with lots of headers, graphics, and other elements to break it up. Sometimes, simple pages can improve a page’s readability as well as its rankability.
Ensure You Have Consistent, Accurate Listing Information Online
Chances are that your law firm is listed in over a dozen different places online, including through the use of the Google My Business (GMB) tool. Your firm absolutely needs all of these listings to be up-to-date, accurate, and consistent with one another. Any discrepancies can hurt your ranking and impede features like GMB’s “Business Hours” chart.
You may also discover that certain listings existed without your knowledge or consent. Decide if you want to request changes to these listings or if you’d simply like the links deleted.
Get Hyperlocal with Your Keyword Strategy
One challenge law firms face is that there’s a high level of competition for online visibility. Pay-per-click ads for law firms have the highest cost per click of any industry by far. For instance, a local car dealer may pay only $2.43 per click on a paid search ad, but the typical law firm pays a whopping $10.96!
What this means is that you have to learn to pick your battles, or you’ll burn through your marketing budget fast only to get outpaced by the bigger guys.
Luckily, the field of law is incredibly diverse, and there’s always room to appeal to certain communities, cases, or client niches. To that end, we always recommend diligently researching locally-focused keyword opportunities while keeping your client personas in mind.
From there, you can devise a keyword strategy that not only skirts around your competitors but also targets your exact client audience with laser-like precision.
Craft an Evergreen Blog Topic Calendar
With a keyword list and client personas in hand, begin to enhance your website with new optimized content. This content gives search engines something new to index on a weekly/monthly basis. It can also build out topics that your potential client leads would be interested in.
Good candidates for evergreen topics include answers to questions about specific legal scenarios. This is especially important in fields of law where the way one case plays out in a specific municipality is very different from how it would in a city just a hundred or so miles away.
Get hyper-specific about state laws, local ordinances, and relevant cases within your service area. The more unique you can make your content, the more valuable it becomes to locals trying to find a law firm that can help them.
As you add to your content library, be sure to regularly update existing content with links to the new stuff, too. This improves the visibility of the content to search engines while encouraging visitors to dwell longer as they click on articles related to the one they just read.
Earn Backlinks Through Guest Posts and Shares
“Backlinks” are links to your site posted on other sites. Every backlink is valuable currency because it indicates to search engine algorithms that your website is worth mentioning. The more heavily-trafficked a website that links to you is, the better.
To earn backlinks, look for guest post opportunities in local publications or law-specific publications. The American Bar Association and your state’s local Bar Organization website are great candidates.
You can also earn positive mentions through press releases, community sponsorships, local events, scholarship contests, or contributions to stories in your local press. Get creative, and you can quickly find your firm mentioned on authoritative sites throughout the web.
Set Goals to Improve Key Performance Indicators
The true key to success is constantly measuring where you are and setting goals for where you want to be. Coming up with key performance indicators (KPIs) that reveal progress at-a-glance can help you fine-tune your efforts and achieve incremental gains over time.
Make sure your KPIs depict value and not just shallow engagement. For instance, “average monthly visitors” might not be as valuable of a metric as “average repeat visitors”. Also, prioritize measuring and increasing conversions. After all, your goal is to earn clients and not just clicks.
Work with an Experienced SEO Agency for Law Firms
At EverSpark, we work with many client types and industries, but law firms are our bread and butter. We know how to identify opportunities in your community that no one else is chasing. More importantly, we know the types of keyword strategies and valuable content that help you ascend the ranks in your service area.
Find out what specific SEO strategies your law firm could be using during a free audit an
d consultation with our digital marketing experts. Call 218-427-6160 or contact us online today to speak to someone interested in helping your law firm grow through SEO.