Find out what types of digital SEO strategies for law firms are effective and why you should work with a professional SEO agency.
Many people will end up needing a good lawyer at some point in life. But how do potential clients find law firms and decide which one to trust with their case? The answer to this question is complex. Thanks to the internet, anyone can search for information in great detail, conduct research, and compare various products and services - and this includes legal services. From clicking on Google ads or social media posts to asking their Facebook friends for recommendations, consumers have a wide range of tools to get a list of lawyers and law firms, compare them and make the decision.
Looking at this series of decisions from the other end, law firms themselves have tools to make themselves visible to prospective clients, build trust with them and convince them to call and schedule a consultation. The sum of these tools is called search engine optimization, or SEO for short. In this article, we will discuss in detail how SEO works for law firms, why this is one of the most efficient and cost-effective marketing efforts, and what types of strategies work best according to SEO experts at our advanced SEO & digital marketing agency.
SEO is a type of digital marketing strategy, just like social media marketing or digital advertising (or PPC - pay per click). The main goal of SEO for lawyers is to make a website visible in organic searches for the relevant keywords that potential customers use when they search for a product or service.
Ranking in organic search queries is highly competitive and involves both an initial set of actions and ongoing efforts. When an SEO campaign starts, it has to start from zero. A law firm SEO company will perform a detailed analysis of:
Search engine optimization is done by focusing on two aspects:
Both are equally important for increasing the rankings for web pages, allowing the Google search algorithm to pick them and place them higher on the list of search results.
Let us talk about these two elements, because they are an integral part of creating successful digital SEO strategies for law firms.
This is a set of activities performed on the law firm's website. They consist of:
This is the part of the digital marketing plan and strategy that a company (or SEO specialist) is actually in control of. You can determine which competitive keywords you want to rank for (such as personal injury attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, car accident attorneys, etc.) and which are the less competitive keywords worth targeting. You can optimize the website to get a higher speed score in the Core Web Vitals, which is a set of metrics measuring the page loading speed and how quickly it responds to user inputs.
Off-page SEO is not within the control of the law firm or the SEO services agency. This part of SEO refers to:
Backlinks are very important for SEO. Good backlinks from highly reputable websites can include the domain rating of your site (a score that Google assigns to websites based on their reputation, relevance, and authoritativeness). They can also help you reach qualified leads who read legal content elsewhere and click on the backlink landing on your website.
Before we start discussing effective strategies, let us explain why we focus on SEO as the best strategy for your law firm. Paid search (investing in Google ads and social media ads) may have quicker results than SEO. However, it only works as long as you are running the paid campaign. As soon as you stop it, the traffic volume to your website drops significantly, and so does the conversion rate (the percentage of website visitors that take an action - fill in a form, send an email, call your law firm, etc.).
These are visible activity patterns that an SEO specialist can show you in charts on Google Analytics - the free platform offered by Google to monitor website traffic and user actions.
On the other hand, you will have to be patient until you see the first results after implementing SEO for lawyers. It may take a few weeks or even up to 6 months to start ramping up. But, once the results start showing up, they stay consistent over time. This is the main benefit of SEO: it is a long terms strategy that generates constant high traffic and qualified leads. Overall, SEO has a higher ROI than paid search and has other associated benefits:
Now that we gave you an idea of how SEO for law firms works and why it is effective, let us focus on the most successful strategies. These are not passing trends and fads, but long-term strategies tested and proven to work for many other law firms, specializing in various areas of practice, from commercial and criminal defense law firms to personal injury lawyers.
Here are the three directions that digital SEO strategies will focus on:
Content is king - this is the motto of any SEO specialist. High-quality content published on a constant basis is the cornerstone of any SEO strategy. For one, fresh content added to a website is one of the criteria used by Google for ranking websites and increasing the domain authority.
On the other hand, detailed, long-form blogs are very helpful for your prospective clients. Each well-written piece of content:
Also, authoritative and informative content will generate many backlinks. Other websites will use your blog posts and articles as a reliable source of information supporting their own content. For example, an article on a personal injury lawyer's blog about car accidents can be used by a magazine for drivers to prove that roads in their state are dangerous.
Last but not least, well-written content may be featured as a snippet in search results, which is displayed on top of all the other results.
Content marketing teams rely on a set of best practices for generating highly effective and engaging content for their clients. These are:
The golden rule in content marketing is to write for your audience, not for yourself. This means that you must conduct research to identify what type of legal information your potential clients are looking for. Google Analytics can help you identify top-performing content on your site.
An advanced SEO & digital marketing agency will identify engaging content on your competitors' websites. Free tools like Google Trends allow you to get alerts for the most popular trends in your specific industry. You can target several keywords (such as estate litigation, estate planning, etc.) and the tool will scour the internet for fresh content containing them.
One of the challenges of SEO for lawyers is the fact that your domain of activity is categorized by Google as highly sensitive. It is included in the so-called YMYL (your money or your life) list of business domains that have a direct impact on people's life-changing decisions, together with:
Websites belonging to these domains are subject to special scrutiny for identifying anything from false advertising to fake news. Thus, every piece of content you publish must be carefully researched and referenced, and subject to editing by a professional before being posted on the site through the content management system. Don't forget to add outbound links to high authority websites, such as state authorities, legal codes, federal administrations, etc.
No article or blog post should be written without having a specific keyword in mind. Best practices promoted by Google state that good keyword usage involves:
While long-form blogs are recommended for building authority and promoting several keywords, you should not focus solely on this type of content. Variety is always welcome. Thus, your content plan should also include:
Content variety is a huge factor in enticing website visitors to read your blog and reach out to your law firm.
Finally, great content should be carefully formatted and arranged on the page to facilitate reading on any device. Various studies indicate that readers first skim an article in an F shape:
If they find the article helpful and interesting, they will take the time to read all of it. The perfect structure of an article with a large number of views includes:
Finally, each piece of content should have a purpose. You should instruct the readers to take action in one form or another. The call to action (CTA) is the means of soliciting this type of action. It can be:
Before we conclude the section dedicated to content marketing, one last piece of advice. Consider finding reputable blogs and directories for attorneys where you can publish guest blog posts. They are extremely effective for:
Social media marketing is a core part of digital SEO strategies you must focus on. At the present, almost every type of business has at least one social media profile on the most popular platforms:
Social signals generated by activity on your profiles and pages are not only valuable engagement metrics for the reputation of your law firm. They can help you understand what type of content your prospective clients are looking for. Moreover, since social media posts appear in Google search results, you can generate organic traffic to your website from your social media posts.
Moreover, experts in SEO for lawyers know that Google relies on these social signals to determine page rank for websites. Thus, your law firm should be active on at least one social media network and encourage users to follow them and then land on your website to read content and take action.
The rules for effective social media marketing to help your digital SEO strategies are:
Local SEO is a particular type of SEO strategy that focuses on making your website visible for searches in your geographical local area. This type of search has become increasingly frequent among users. Many searches now contain terms such as:
Google can match the user's location using the GPS embedded in their mobile phones with the type of business they are searching for within a specific radius. But how does Google perform this match? What are the criteria the search engine uses in selecting the first results for a local search?
According to its own explanations, the Google bots look for a combination of factors to determine:
These signals are:
Recently rebranded as Google Business Profile, this is a business directory that Google offers for free to all businesses. You should create your listing and confirm that you are the administrator of that respective business, following a simple step-by-step process. Once your Google Business Profile is created and confirmed, your law firm will also get a pin on Google Maps indicating your precise location.
Please make sure that you select the accurate business domain for your law firm. As explained above, Google subjects law firms to special scrutiny. Any error may lead to the suspension of your Google Business Profile listing, making a negative impact on your digital SEO strategies.
You can create only one listing for your law firm, but you should include each individual location if you operate through a network of offices. Each of them will be visible in Google Search and Maps to potential clients in each specific area of the office locations.
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. These citations represent all the business listings or legal directories where your law firm is listed. One of the most important things you must remember when creating or reviewing these citations is this: always use the same format for your address. The contact details on your website and the address you specified on the Google Business Profile listing must match perfectly.
Otherwise, Google may interpret each format as a different location and you would inadvertently become your own competitor.
Keyword signals are also a criterion for matching a law firm with search results. When you perform keyword optimization, don't forget to add geo-targeted keywords, such as:
Google Business Profile as well as many other business listings and directories allow users to leave a rating or review for your law firm. A high rating and lots of positive reviews are one of the factors for ranking in local searches, as well as a doorway to conversions. Apart from being valuable metrics for Google, various surveys indicate that clients have a preference for lawyers who receive endorsements from other people.
Here are a few best practices for reviews:
One of the most valuable content marketing tips for law firms is to create content pillars organized not only by topic but also by location. One of the simplest ways of doing this is having a separate web page for each office location.
From an SEO perspective, location landing pages are very valuable for conversion optimization. Instead of showing up for general search queries in various states, or cities where you do not operate, geo-targeted web pages will appear in search results from each specific local area. And all potential sales leads will land on the page corresponding to the city they live in.
As you can see, creating and conducting an SEO strategy for lawyers is a highly complex and specialized job. You must be able to identify high-level keywords, create long-form posts, and know the valuable metrics you should be monitoring.
At the same time, you need to scout for each relevant online business directory to feature your law firm and constantly monitor your search engine ranking and the relevance of your keywords to usual search terms. You could hire an in-house team of SEO specialists, but this can be an expensive decision. Plus, you do not know what types of skills and experience they should have.
At Triple Digital, your law firm's SEO strategy will be handled by a team of professionals with extensive experience. We know how to increase the organic rankings of your website and help you get more qualified leads from Google searches. We can demonstrate our expertise with case studies and success stories from other clients, so get in touch with us now: 833-TRIPLE-D!