SEO for Lawyers – What We Learned In 2010

As an Atlanta SEO Company, we do SEO for Lawyers all over America. Not only do we do the SEO but we have our clients top ranking on Google for very competitive keyword phrases such as ‘DWI Lawyer’ + ‘DUI Lawyer’ (both national terms), ‘California DUI Lawyer’, ‘Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer’, ‘Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer’ and 1,000’s of other law related terms.

2010 saw us pick up law firm after law firm, and almost all of it was word of mouth. As it turns out, lawyers have a tendency to know other lawyers, and as their practice areas tend to be restricted to a geographic region, referring service provides like an Atlanta SEO Company such as Everspark, is easy for them to do, particularly when the work is completely measurable and results driven.

Over the last 12 months we’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to run effective SEO campaigns for Lawyers and wanted to share our findings.

Rule #1. Show attention to detail.

Don’t expect the lawyers or their staff to build the story for you, they are busy people. Effective and precise keyword research is a must.

Rule #2. Be Transparent.

You have to appreciate that Lawyers receive hundreds of calls and emails per year from people wanting to do their ‘SEO’ – let them know they made the right decision by working with you in your ability to show full reporting + results.

Rule #3. Stay on Top of Analytics

Traffic is one thing, getting potential law clients to turn into clients is quite another. We’ve done a lot of testing with great results but all of our testing starts at the same place, looking at their Google Analytic and spotting opportunities and problem areas.

Rule #4. Get Good at Google Places

In late 2010 Google changed their algorithm to place more of an emphasis on Google Places (aka: Google Local, aka: Google Maps).  As most law firms are geographically based, they stand much to gain (or lose) if they aren’t properly set up on Google Places. What we also found in 2010 is that there is a connection between top organic rankings and Google Places rankings. In other words – if you can top rank your lawyer (position 1-2 or 3) organically, then there’s a good chance a properly optimized Google Places entry will attain the A-B or C spot!

Rule #5. It’s all about Conversion

What starts with looking at Analytics makes its way toward the introduction of conversion elements such as Live Chat . This element alone has had a dramatic effect on many of our clients daily conversions – turns out that people facing the law want to know that they are being treated as a real person, not just a submission form someone will get to when they get the chance to. Other conversion techniques include Proper Placement of their contact details, Walk Out Videos, Lead Captures and Auto Responder Series.

Rule #6. Educate Them

Lawyers tend to have a propensity be in search of knowledge. Anyone who can pass the bar is the kind of person who wants to know how things work. They appreciate the effort so make sure that you don’t spend hours creating systems that are too convoluted – make everything precise, effective and easy to understand. If you couple that with actually knowing effective SEO, you’ll have a ‘Raving Client’.

Rule #7. Be On Call

This isn’t a 9 to 5 relationship. If sites go down or rankings slip, you need to jump into action and have a team behind you that can do the same. And once you’ve done it a few times, wear it well, don’t start billing hourly or changing the contract – the fact is, they need an all rounder – so get used to doing things that are a little outside your scope but in the spirit of the campaign.

The Golden Rule

Above and beyond anything, be honest and effective. In many cases law firms are not that big, they’ve been started by one or two partners and if they’ve had success they’ve had to work years and years at it. Your job is to grow their business so be prepared to think like a business owner, it will serve you well.

Stay tuned for more insights on SEO for Lawyers, as we have some exciting things planned for 2011.

Chris Watson