SEO FOR LAWYERS
8 PHASES OF EFFECTIVE SEO FOR LEGAL FIRMS
SEO is one of the main channels in modern marketing and attorneys who want to grow their business should start using SEO effectively.
If users can't find your legal firm on Google, how would they know it exists?
About the Author
– Dessy Angelova –
Dessy is an SEO Consultant and a founder of SEOlancer. Dessy has a passion for SEO and conversion-focused web strategies. Dessy is on a mission to help Legal Firms understand the importance of SEO for lawyers and change the way business owners look at SEO and rankings.
A word from Dessy:
Below I’ll be explaining the SEO process and the strategies I use to help Legal Firms and attorneys’ practices rank higher on Google.
01. OBJECTIVES, TARGETS & FOCUS
When you meet with a new client, you invest time in asking the right questions to gather information about their legal situation. This critical step helps you assess their needs to apply the best legal strategy to assist them.
We do the same with our SEO clients. Our initial strategy conversation will help us determine the following core principles:
Understand your legal firm. Getting clarity on the legal services you offer, your areas of specialisation, your core clientele, pricing and other details are crucial.
Define your goals. What does success look like to you? We will help you reach your business objectives, but first we need to understand what they are. We use this information to set the target outcomes.
Set priorities. We will help you define your core services. It makes sense to identify the legal services that account for the highest revenue and focus your online marketing efforts on these.
Identify your competitors. Who in your location or area of speciality are you competing with? This information will form an essential part of your legal firm SEO strategy.
Keyword compilation. We identify keywords and phrases that should be incorporated into your web content. This will make it possible for potential clients to find your legal firm via search engines.
Location and suburb targeting. Focussing your marketing efforts on specific locations and regions is an important element of an attorney’s SEO strategy.
Lead value. By working with your legal firm to determine the ‘lead value’, we will set targets that demonstrate a return on investment down the line.
02. REVERSE ENGINEERING
This step identifies your best performing competitors. We then analyse their SEO strategies. We make sense of other well performing websities we and apply that to your strategy. If their sites are doing well, then it’s safe to say what they are doing in terms of SEO is working! We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Reverse engineering websites of legal firms that compete with you helps us to:
- Fast track the SEO process and get results for your legal firm sooner.
- Gather competitive data and use it to your advantage.
- Take the guesswork out of the process because we know what works already.
- Replicate an SEO strategy with proven outcomes.
- Create a campaign with purpose and a clear direction.
In terms of what we reverse engineer, this is what we look at.
Site structure. We analyse how the legal website is set up. This means we look at how the individual subpages are linked to one another. Search engines can find subpages quickly and efficiently when a website has a neat and well organised structure.
Keywords. Keywords are words and phrases that suggest what the topic is about. We use software to show which keywords are performing well. Identifying target keywords helps us to understand the search behaviour of potential clients.
Content. We audit the information, blogs and other content on the website to see what visitors are clicking on. When we understand which content is yielding results, we can work towards replicating it.
Links. We identify other sites that have created links to their website. Again, we use this information to replicate the links.
03. SITE STRUCTURE
One of the reasons your legal firm may not currently be getting good SEO results is because you have a poor site structure. You may have multiple pages and categories that are poorly organised, do not link to one another, or your URLs are stuffed with keywords. In short, it’s a confusing mess.
Without a site structure that is logical and well planned, implementing an ongoing effective lawyer SEO strategy in the long term will be difficult. It will affect the engagement and the number of enquiries and therefore the conversion rate.
Before we embark on an SEO campaign for our legal clients, our starting point is to audit the website and determine the need for a new structure. This is critical to do before you start adding pages and building content.
Flexibility to add or remove pages and services in future without needing to change the website structure.
Ability to make changes to the site as your attorney’s practice grows or evolves.
Retain your current site traffic, revenue and rankings so we can build on them instead of starting from scratch.
04. CALL TO ACTIONS & CONVERSIONS
The prime objective of a website as a marketing tool is to drive traffic that converts visitors into customers. If a site isn’t conversion-optimised, the marketing investment is going to waste. Google also tracks conversions as one of the factors it uses to determine if a website is relevant to the user’s query.
For instance, if a user types “family lawyer in Sydney” and clicks on the first result, but bounce back immediately, that could be a sign that the page is not relevant to the users’ query. Then Google may decide to take that website off the first positions. The opposite is also true – if a law firm website attracts a lot of clicks from search, has low bounce rates and higher engagement rates, that would boost its rankings. Of course, this is only one factor out of hundreds when it comes to Google algorithm.
Getting potential customers to a lawyer website is the first step. Online users usually have short attention spans, so you want to make it easy for them to take the next step and perform an action. They will likely want to email you, call you, or book an appointment.
What do you want them to ‘do’? We will help you determine your desired outcome when a user ‘converts’ on your website. This will help us choose the best type of CTA we implement and the most appropriate design.
A conversion-focused website has a call to action that is prominent. When a potential client visits your legal firm website, it must be evident to them how to take the next step. They shouldn’t need to visit multiple pages to request more information.
Also, keep CTAs on your legal website simple. If a user is unsure what to do because the form is long or complicated, they will likely abandon the page, and you’ve lost them. Their name, contact number, email and message is all you need from them in this initial contact step.
Of course, it’s essential to track these conversions by noting the calls, bookings or emails it generates. This, along with our reporting, will indicate if the SEO strategy is delivering a positive ROI
05. CORE SITE CONTENT
Only once we are happy that pages that contain critical information about your legal practice are complete can we look at others, such as the blog and your content marketing efforts within it. When we restructure a site, it will highlight which pages can be removed, consolidated or improved by adding more content to fill the gaps.
We begin by making sure that the core pages contain useful content. These include the home page, about page, service pages, and location pages, for example. We will work with you to make sure your legal service offerings are clear, and the content we generate for you is accurate.
06. CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
Content marketing will help you build your business and attract new clients. It’s vital for all SEO campaigns. Low-quality photography and content with 300 words are counterproductive. If your current SEO agency is not producing valuable, content consistently, you are wasting money.
Here are some of the ways producing new content for your legal practice website will pay off.
You show you’re an expert in your field.
By providing useful and relevant information , you establish your legal practice as an authority. It’s a simple but powerful way to communicate to potential customers that you are a cut above your competitors.
You expand your site footprint. More content means more entry points for potential clients to find you. More traffic leads to more conversions and more revenue.
It builds trust. The content you provide on your site for free to visitors essentially presells your service offerings. Potential customers will have confidence in your offering.
You will attract high-quality links. Other websites will direct visitors to yours, which can help your site performance.
Generating ideas for content is not as hard as it sounds. Content marketing opportunities come your way every time you have a discussion with a potential client. And we are here to help you with this task.
07. OFF-PAGE OPTIMISATION
Off-page optimisation includes actions we take outside of your legal website to improve its search ranking position. It is yet another measure we use to fast track SEO results. With both off-page and link building, we prioritise quality over quantity.
If your current SEO service provider is using low-quality writers or cheap links, it could be one of the reasons you are not getting results for your legal firm. It could even be harmful to your website.
To create quality off-page optimisation, we do the following.
Reverse engineer competing legal websites to identify high-quality links.
Perform strategic outreach and prospecting to acquire high-quality links from websites relevant to legal services or those associated with your area of speciality.
Find link building opportunities using keyword-specific search query operators.
Leverage sites such as HARO that can lead to editorial blog posts and other publishing opportunities that will help promote your legal practice.
08. TRACKING & MEASURING
Tracking and measuring deliver the data to show if an SEO campaign is working and what the ROI is.
We track and measure the information and provide it to you in a monthly report by implementing call tracking and monitoring enquiries. Jet interactive or Call Rail offer you with a trackable phone number so that we can accurately track inbound calls. Enquiries from potential clients may reach you as an email or through a web form on your page too. Your Google Analytics report will reflect how many customer enquiries you got, and what page they came from.
The focus should be revenue, not rankings. We aim to demonstrate a return on your investment through the rate of enquiries through phone calls and email and earnings estimates. While search engine rankings are essential, getting new clients on board for you is our priority.
Is your SEO agency working with you to track and measure? We actively engage with all our clients to ensure the measurement is meaningful. You can assist us by tracking and measuring total enquiries, close rates and earnings on your side. At the end of the month, we can compare results, and ensure accuracy of reporting. This can be done via a CRM, for example.
What does success look like to you? When you engage our legal SEO services, we will work with you to determine a conservative ‘agreed lead value’. We adjust this low-end lead value up and down based on actual earnings. Over time, we aim to bring the lead value and reporting in line with one another so earning estimates are more accurate.
Tracking and measuring is a joint effort. We look forward to working with you!
Who Do I Work With
OK, if you are interested in working with us and enjoyed the above, you can book a call with me to talk more about your legal firm and SEO goals. But before that – just to ensure we are going to be good fit, I would like to add a few key points here.
You are serious about marketing and SEO – you are enthusiastic, motivated and dedicated to playing the long game and have marketing budget in place.
You have realistic expectations. You understand that SEO takes time and marketing can be challenging
You are focused on revenue – I prefer not to work with legal practices that are totally fixated on keywords and rankings. Instead you are loking to increase your clients base, get more sales/ customers, enquires and to increase your bottom line.