As a law firm, your specialty is helping clients solve some of the most pressing legal issues. Whether you assist clients who’ve been charged with a crime, are going through a divorce, have been hurt in an accident, or are facing some other legal challenge, you’re knowledgeable and skilled at what you do.
Roughly 85 percent of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase, which includes hiring service providers like law firms. A large part of getting new business in today’s competitive environment is having a strong online presence. One of the best ways to get found and chosen by prospective clients is through search engine optimization (SEO). Here’s what you need to know about SEO and the top five things your law firm should avoid in its SEO plan to get the best results.
What is Law Firm SEO?
Law firm SEO is the process of optimizing a law firm’s website for the search engines for the purpose of improving its organic search rankings and increasing its visibility to potential clients. The goal of legal SEO is to attract more high-quality prospects by driving more traffic to the law firm’s website, ultimately increasing the firm’s revenue.
Many lawyers want to obtain a top spot on the first page of Google for certain terms. But it’s not easy because it’s so competitive. Paying for ads is a costly way to get traffic in legal marketing. SEO is the best strategy to improve your organic (free) rankings, generate traffic, and convert that traffic into new clients.
Top 5 Things Law Firms Should Avoid in Their SEO Plan
SEO makes your law firm’s website easier to “read” by search engines, like Google. You basically employ a variety of tactics to make it more seamless for these search engine algorithms to scan your website, interpret the content, and display different web pages on search engine results in response to inquiries by users.
But there’s a right and wrong way to approach SEO. If you do it incorrectly, it can have lasting consequences for your digital marketing strategy. Use the wrong tactics, and you won’t get the desired results. Even worse, your website might not show up in the search results at all due to penalties. Here are the top five things law firms should avoid in their SEO plan if they want to get the best possible results.
Targeting the Wrong Keywords
One of the most common SEO mistakes law firms make is targeting the wrong keywords. Everyone wants to rank number one for “best law firm,” but this is an impossible task. Here are a few ways you can re-focus your keyword strategy:
Know Your Target Audience
If you don’t know your target audience, you are probably targeting the wrong keywords. It’s important to create a detailed customer persona that includes your ideal client’s location and characteristics.
Instead of choosing generic keywords, like “personal injury lawyer,” which can be super competitive, target more longtail keywords that will appeal to your audience. These keywords have lower search volume but will bring in highly qualified prospects.
Most law firms service a specific geographic area, such as Birmingham or the Gulf Coast. For this reason, it’s vital that legal SEO focuses on some geo-specific keywords to reach the desired audience. Examples include “Mobile divorce attorney” and “Birmingham car accident lawyer.”
Having Poor Web Design
On average, Americans spend about eight hours per day online. They know a good website and a poor website when they see one. When you’re not working, your law firm’s website should act as your digital front door. If you have poor web design, you can miss some vital business opportunities. A good website will focus on:
Another SEO ranking factor that relates to web design is the user experience (UX). One part of this refers to how easily visitors are able to navigate your site. Navigation should be simple and intuitive.
Title and Meta Tags
Part of good website design is having proper technical SEO. This involves strategies to make your content more recognizable and friendly to search engines. You can optimize your website by using the proper:
- Title tags
- Header tags
- URL structure
- Internal links
- Alt text for images
Mobile devices account for roughly half of all website traffic. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you could be missing out on half of your potential clients. Mobile-friendliness means your site will automatically adjust (resize) to suit any device. If it doesn’t, the results will seem awkward, and your visitors will likely go elsewhere.
Another part of good website design is site speed. Consumers don’t have the patience to wait for your sluggish website to load, and Google has now made site speed as one of its ranking factors. You can use Google’s own Pagespeed Insights tool to tell you how your site measures up in terms of speed. Aim for a score of 90 or better. Your website designer can help you with necessary improvements.
Finally, you want to ensure your law firm’s website is secure. If it isn’t served over HTTPS, Google might not rank it as well. And potential visitors may not trust your law firm.
Posting Boring Content
You might have an amazing website with lightning-fast speed and perfect navigation. But you’ll be unlikely to attract or convert any visitors into new clients if your content is lacking. Content is what people are looking for when they do a web search. They want answers to their questions or assurances that your firm can handle their legal issue. If content creation isn’t something you have time to do, you can hire someone to produce various forms of engaging content for your firm.
Blog posts explaining various aspects of the law are incredibly effective. Essentially, you’ll want to create a list of commonly asked questions or concerns that potential clients might have. Then, create a blog post that discusses each one in detail. This establishes your firm as a trustworthy authority in its field.
Tell Your Story
Potential clients want to know more about you before they commit. You can create a connection with your audience and build trust by telling your story on your website. What made you choose this area of law? What is the most fulfilling part of your business?
Many prospects will look for feedback from past clients to gauge your firm’s effectiveness. You can post testimonials on your website as another way to build trust.
Not everyone wants to read online content. Many of today’s online searchers prefer to consume video content. You can also produce short explainer videos and tell your firm’s story using video.
Ignoring Off-Site Optimization
Another common mistake law firms make with SEO is ignoring anything that isn’t on their main website. In fact, you’ll need some off-site optimization to achieve the best results. Here are a few items you’ll want to put on your list.
Your website might have amazing content, but how is Google supposed to know that? And how will Google know that your search engine visitors find your content trustworthy? The best way is through backlinks. These happen when another website links to your content. When those links have authority, such as coming from a reputable website, it can help your search engine rankings.
Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile is another off-site platform that can impact your SEO. It should include a link to your website, be optimized (not stuffed) with relevant local keywords, and include helpful information about your business, such as client reviews.
Many law firms set up a social media profile and then don’t do anything else with it. While social media isn’t a ranking factor, it can drive traffic to your website and build trust. Traffic can impact your rankings, so social media is a vital part of your digital marketing strategy.
Treating SEO as a One-Time Thing
SEO isn’t simply a matter of fixing the above four mistakes and calling it a day. Even if you achieve number-one rankings for your top keywords today, there’s no guarantee you’ll still have those same rankings tomorrow. You’ll need an ongoing SEO strategy that focuses on several factors.
Google Algorithm Updates
Google algorithm updates can drastically impact your search engine rankings. And they happen quite frequently. Big changes, called “core updates,” adjust the formula Google uses to rank web pages, so it’s important that you’re ready to react when these happen.
It’s important to continue posting fresh content on your website. Find new ways to explain different aspects of your practice areas. Also, discuss any changes to the laws and how they might impact a particular legal matter.
Get the Best Results from Your Law Firm Marketing
It’s simple enough to get caught up in what you should and shouldn’t do with legal marketing. But you’re probably busy enough taking care of your client’s needs and just want someone to give you some straight answers. While you might get some short-term results using questionable tactics, the long-term results won’t be what your law firm needs or desires.
Too Darn Loud Legal Marketing is dedicated to helping its legal clients achieve outstanding results with our proven digital marketing solutions. There is a significant amount of time and resources that must go into your firm’s digital marketing efforts, and our goal is to be your trusted partner. Call us at (800) 649-1764 or contact us online today to schedule a free initial consultation.