Attorney search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of driving traffic to your law firm’s website. Search engine optimization experts do this by increasing your website’s position on Google’s search engine results pages.
What is Attorney SEO?
In other words, if your law firm’s website appears near the top of the search engines results pages, you should get more visitors coming to your website and more new case leads.
The biggest challenge for law firm SEO services is figuring out how to get your website to the top of the organic search results, especially in a competitive market. While Attorney SEO experts certainly exist, (and we consider ourselves to be one of those few) there simply isn’t a foolproof way that guarantees immediate results.
Fortunately, a variety of ways exist that improve your chances of ranking your law firm’s website on the first page of the search results.
Why is SEO For Law Firms Important?
For lawyers or law firms looking to grow their practice, organic traffic from local seo is a significant marketing channel. Besides taking a referral from a friend or family member, most consumers looked for a lawyer by typing in a search query on one of the main search engines like Google or Bing.
Now, we certainly understand that SEO techniques for lawyers can be difficult to wrap your head around. This especially holds true if you or your law practice has never invested in legal SEO and this specific type of marketing. However, our law firm local SEO services are an essential component of a successful attorney marketing strategy and our case studies back this up.
We, along with many others, believe that law firm SEO services are a key to law firm marketing success.
And, what determines success?
Success means that your law firm’s website can predictably attract organic search traffic and convert website visitors into new cases by capitalizing on search queries and traffic.
Law Firm SEO Tips
Law Firm SEO Essentials
What does content marketing have to do with my law firm’s ability to practice the law and provide exceptional service to your clients? We get this question a lot. You may be the best lawyer in town but unless your “word of mouth” clients are flowing in freely from either your in-person or positive reviews online, that’s not enough, unfortunately.
At Digital Logic, we get many clients by referral because we are experts in our field. Yet, here you are reading our content. See how that works? Everyone can benefit from online marketing.
The written content on your law firm’s website is the single biggest driver of online rankings, visitors and leads. Because, as we mentioned, Google connects searchers with the most relevant content. The more Google trusts [your] content, the higher your content will rank.
Once Google sends someone to your website, it learns one of two things:
- The visitor stayed on your website. This makes Google trust your content more.
- The visitor leaves your website. This makes Google less likely to trust your content for similar searches.
So, what does good legal SEO content look like?
It comes down to three essential elements. The content answers the question.
Most lawyers come to us and say,
To which we bite our tongues, wanting to respond,
“You and everyone else.”
If you want your law firm’s website to show up for this target keyword, you’ll need to have specific content that tells both Google and your prospective clients all of these details over time.
Google, and in turn, your clients, will need the information broken down into basic answers. A very simple example would include:
- Is this a law firm in Texas?
- Does this law firm represent personal injury victims?
- Can this firm help me, specifically?
- Is this law firm good?
- Do I want to look into or do business with this firm?
Your law firm’s website should be able to provide answers to all of the questions that a potential client, or lead, may have. A good digital marketing company will use tools, such as Google Analytics or Ahrefs to really hone in on what specific question, or search term, your prospective clients may be asking. This doesn’t have to be guesswork.
Search engines want to send users to the best site possible, in order to get their questions answered.
That’s where we come in. We put your website in the best possible position for Google to believe that your website is the most likely to fulfill that user’s intent. If Google does believe your site is the most valuable to the person searching, it is more likely to feature your law firm’s website higher up in the search results pages.
Therefore, Google would take an active role in generating free leads for your law firm.
The Content is Clear
We have a saying, here at Digital Logic, “How you search for you is NOT how others would search for you.” What do we mean by this? In the legal world, you’re an expert in your field. You are the most equipped to answer any potential client’s questions to the highest level there is. This, however, does not always, or even usually, convert a potential client.
If you’ve gotten this far into the post, it’s because we have kept your interest. We’ve done a good job of explaining the questions you have, so far. We also have in-house SEO copywriters who write content day in and day out.
As backwards as it may seem, the most intelligent answer isn’t always the most helpful. So if you’ve been publishing your own content and are not seeing the fruits of your labor, this may very likely be part of what’s holding your SEO efforts back. If Google sees that your law firm’s blog post was the most relevant to the question asked, and sent a potential client to that page, only for the person to get overwhelmed or confused, and leave, Google sees that as a “miss” and will be less likely to show your page again when someone else searches for that same answer.
Your Content Needs to Be Keyword Optimized
Above, we talked about answering the searcher’s question. But, how do you know what questions your prospective clients are asking? How does Google know that your law firm’s website is doing a good job of answering those questions? What impact does all of this have on your law firm’s SEO?
The most simple answer is “keywords”.
Law firm SEO experts should spend a lot of time researching the best keywords. Why? Believing a keyword or topic is helpful doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you should focus your energy on. At Digital Logic, we use data-driven research to come up with keywords that will help your law firm’s website the most.
To help your prospective clients see your content, we must ensure that it’s clear which keyword we’re targeting on each and every page of your law firm’s website.
However, it’s not enough to simply add the carefully researched keywords.
In order to fully optimize your SEO content for keywords, you’ll also need to have those keywords in the following areas of each page:
Your Site Should Have a Variety of High Quality Content
We’ll admit, this is one of the most essential and most challenging parts of our law firm SEO services. Crafting a variety of relevant content for law firm websites involves identifying a primary keyword and then adding variations or long-tail forms of that keyword.
What does this do?
It ensures that your firm’s content covers as much “Google ground” as possible, addressing search inquiries related to your primary keyword that you wish to rank for.
Most of your potential clients use Google to search for answers. Despite what you may believe, the majority of searches that actually result in new business are based on queries for specific information, as opposed to the keywords you wish to rank for, such as, “criminal defense lawyer in Washington”.
Most lawyers or law firms want to optimize for the head, phrases like ‘Dallas Personal Injury Attorney’, instead of the tail, phrases like ‘What Does a Family Need to Prove in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Denver?’. You need both in order to get your website ranked.
If your law firm is optimizing for the head of the keyword, rather than the tail, you’re going to spend a lot of time, energy and money resulting in clicks from your competitors and marketers who know what they’re doing. You won’t get many viable cases from this strategy, and you will have greatly diminished your ROI.
Furthermore, lawyers who focus on the long-tail keywords will have a high likelihood of ranking for more general searches as a byproduct, over time.
User Experience and SEO For Law Firms
The user experience, or UX, is the client-facing side of website design. Law firm marketing strategists understand what design elements and interfaces statistically improve the odds of turning your website’s visitors into leads.
Some of the most important objectives of law firm website UX include:
- Content organization. Your visitors should know how to navigate your law firm’s website without having to put in much effort.
- Readability. Like we mentioned before, your content should be easy to read. This doesn’t only mean that the actual verbiage makes sense to the visitor, but also that your font choice is appropriate, contrast minimizes eye strain and distracting automations are kept to a minimum.
- Conversion pathways. Your law firm’s site should make it easy for your potential clients to become leads by guiding them through specific actions that are designed to move them throughout the buyer’s funnel, until they ultimately convert into paying clients.
As a lawyer, you understand that those who are searching for someone in your field more than likely have enough stress as it stands. People usually look to lawyers in their most difficult and trying times. Your potential client may be a sleep-deprived mother looking for help with her custody arrangement, a previous bread-winner, recovering from an accident, who doesn’t know how he or she will provide for the family, or a person who made a mistake and is now frantically trying to keep his or her freedom. In all of these cases, your website needs to be the breath of fresh air that those people need.
We mentioned earlier that the most intelligent answer isn’t always the most helpful. The same applies here: the website with the most graphics, pop ups, and “stuff” isn’t always the best.
Technicalities and Structure for a Solid Law Firm SEO Strategy
Part of ensuring that your law firm’s website gives your audience a good user experience falls on technical aspects and how your site is structured. We recommend that your website be:
- Secure. Your law firm’s site should have a valid security certificate that’s up to date. Visitors want to know that their information is secure. This helps begin the process of trust-building.
- Optimized for mobile. This simply means that your website is just as easy to navigate on a mobile device as it is on a desktop. Responsive design is the basic standard for law firm sites now. Your site should automatically adjust for all devices and screen sizes so that each potential client has the best experience possible.
- Fast. If your content doesn’t load fast, there are thousands of other sites with the same, or similar, content that will. Make sure you audit your core web vitals in Google search console.
How Much Does Page Load Speed Affect My Law Firm’s Website Ranking?
Page load speed is indeed a factor, similar to mobile optimization. However, this doesn’t mean that the fastest page will rank the highest. Speed does matter to Google, but it isn’t the only, or even most important factor.
A website needs content in order to rank. You can have the fastest page with no design, structure, coding or content, but it won’t rank for anything. On the other hand, you can have millions of words of content, tons of images, making your page take 30 or more seconds to load, and this page will also not rank. It’s a delicate balance.
Google has guidelines that explain how the search engine rewards high-quality content and punishes those who try to employ quick fixes and risky coding tactics to get ahead. The enforcement tactics that Google uses makes it impossible for anyone to succeed by manipulating. Manipulative tactics may work for a little while, a month or two, but eventually, like everything else, you’ll get caught and punished.
This is good news for lawyers or firms who want to build a sustainable pipeline, even if it takes a little longer to get there. You can be successful without lowering your standards and without worrying about competitors who risk their good name in exchange for a couple of months of Google search results success. You cannot trick Google. You must work with it.
We’ve talked a lot about trust here, haven’t we? Well, here we go, again. Authority is the trust that’s attributed by Google to your website, compared to similar websites competing for the same or similar searches.
Your law firm’s website authority is based on:
- How useful your content is to the user,
- The user experience, and
- Links from other websites.
We’ll dive into number 3 now.
Does My Law Firm’s Website Need Backlinks?
The terms off-site SEO and getting backlinks are often used interchangeably. Off-site SEO typically refers to getting backlinks from other websites. Links from other websites to your law firm’s website are certainly a factor in Google trusting your law firm’s website, or giving it authority.
However, having backlinks that point to your firm’s site are only helpful if they are the right kind of links.
One way to gain backlinks to your law firm’s site is by using a legal directory for your area. At Digital Logic, we try to add our legal clients to all of the law firm directories we can get our hands on. We ensure that all of your firm’s information is the same, across the board, from your website, to your Google Business listing, to your legal directory listings, we make sure we optimize and constantly push new content and images to your google maps listing (Google Business Listing).
The best way to accumulate these links is to produce high-quality lawyer content that urges your audience to share. It needs to benefit others in order for this to occur. For this reason, we avoid being overly “salesy” when we write for both ourselves and for our clients. No one is going to share a page of us pitching ourselves, now are they? In contrast, if they find the information genuinely helpful, they’re more likely to share the content or link back to us, thus giving us organic backlinks. Link building is absolutely critical to law firm SEO, but it can’t be done with spammy links.
How Often Does an SEO Optimized Law Firm Website Need to Be Updated?
This is one of the trickier questions we get asked. This falls in line with questions like, “How often should I see my doctor?” or “How often should I clean my house?”. It just depends.
Essentially, in order for a page that has previously been optimized to become un-optimized, an outside condition must change.
What was Newton’s Law? An object in motion… You get the idea. The same principle applies here.
A few reasons you would need to update content that has already been optimized can include:
- We all can agree that things on the internet are constantly changing. The way people search for information changes, as well. The change in how your audience searches for you will affect which keywords you are trying to rank for.
- Google also updates its algorithm fairly frequently. This will certainly force marketers to update or rethink some of your firm’s content.
- Have a contact form on your legal site? More than likely, that is a plugin. Just like your handy-dandy iPhone needs updates, from time to time, the plugins on your site will need to be updated.
- A law changed. Obviously, you can’t publish the wrong information on your law firm’s website, so this is an obvious reason to update.
Sometimes, none of these occur and your page starts to slip in ranking. Why? Because a competitor posted a page that is simply better than the one you had. They used your idea and made it better. That’s part of the game.
A good SEO company will see how the competitor got a “leg up” and will reword, add content, add graphics, or figure out exactly what they need to do to get you back on top, oftentimes without you having any idea they’re doing it. This is probably one of the best reasons to hire a small law firm SEO agency that focuses on your firm individually.
How Long Should it Take for My Law Firm Website to Rank?
Ah, the million dollar question. The amount of time that it takes for your law firm’s SEO investment to start paying off depends on the amount of resources you’re willing to invest with, paired with how good the law firm SEO provider is that you’ve hired. There are several factors that determine when and how well your law firm’s SEO strategies will pay off. These include:
- How much content do you have?
- Is the quality of your content decent, good, or outstanding?
- Does the content answer questions that no one else is answering?
- User experience
- Is your site mobile-friendly?
- Is your site easy to navigate?
- Does the layout of the content make sense?
- How broad or narrow is your target audience?
- How competitive is your market?
Last, but certainly not least, how much will you stand in your own way? Sometimes, the ideas coming from your account manager may seem strange or you don’t agree with how they want to move forward.
That’s perfectly fine.
We can’t speak for all marketing companies, and we have clients who have been burned in the past, so we understand. At the same time, you must understand that for a lot of clients, their ability to trust us is one of the most important factors when it comes to answering the million dollar question,
“How long will it take to rank?”
Either way, the bottom line here is that creating a sustainable online presence for your law firm’s legal services using authentic SEO strategy will take time.
Attorneys who take the time to research the SEO agencies they’re looking to hire, understand that SEO success will take time, and who don’t fall for quick-fixes or jump off the train every 6 months to a year, looking for another firm (without reason, of course) are the attorneys who end up winning.
Are Law Firm SEO Services Better Than Other Forms of Marketing?
Law Firm SEO vs PPC
With Law firm PPC advertising and sponsored ads, you’re renting your marketing visibility. The second you stop paying for Google Ads, that visibility disappears. SEO for lawyers is a long-term investment. The content written and backlinks acquired will have a long-lasting, organic impact. The investment your law firm makes today in order to get better search engine rankings will pay dividends well into the future.
Consider your living situation.
PPC with Google Ads is renting a place to stay. You immediately have a roof over your head, and renting often gets the job done quickly.
Successful law firm SEO is building a new home, or in most cases, buying a fixer-upper. You’ll have the upfront cost of the house itself, costs to renovate the home, and costs to maintain the house. The difference is that the house you own is an investment that will grow until you decide to sell it.
Furthermore, PPC for the legal vertical is EXPENSIVE. We aren’t saying that PPC is not worth it. There is a time and place for everything, and sometimes PPC advertising is simply the best option.
But, how many times have you heard someone say, “I’ve found my forever rental property”? Yeah, us neither.
Law Firm SEO vs Social Media
On desktop, search traffic drives over ten times more website traffic than organic social media does. Now, we’ll be fair and say that for some verticals, social media may absolutely be the best way to go. However, for successful law firm marketing that just isn’t the case. Most people don’t follow lawyers or law firms on social media just for the off chance that they may need them one day. This even sounds ludacris.
Expecting a Facebook or Twitter post to be the main source that drives traffic to your law firm will let you down every single time.
We mentioned earlier that search traffic generates around 66% of call conversions for the legal sector, second only behind personal referrals. If you have 1000 people following you on social media (which is a TON for most firms), you are only advertising to that pool of 1000 people (and possibly their friends, if they choose to share one of your social media posts, which doesn’t happen too often.) When you post content to Google, though, think of how wide you’re potentially casting that net-much, much further.