What Is Law Firm SEO?

SEO is an acronym that stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” and it is a critical part of any law firm’s marketing strategy. With the help of SEO, law firms achieve better organic search ranking (not paid) positions and are more likely to receive more high-quality cases because of their increased visibility in search engines like Google, Bing, Youtube or smaller ones like Duck Duck Go. The purpose of SEO is to provide search engine users the best experience in their search for knowledge or transactions.  SEO can be beneficial to your overall marketing strategy, but, developing, implementing, and maintaining a successful strategy takes time. Time, energy, and technical knowledge that many busy attorneys just don’t have.

SEO is simply the science of getting specific pages from your law firm’s website to appear in the visible areas of search engine results pages, known as SERPs, whenever a user searches for a particular term or query.  It’s no secret within the marketing industry that one of the most competitive niches in digital marketing is legal, making the creation and upkeep of a successful strategy all the more difficult and time-consuming. To be blunt, as an attorney, your time will be better spent working on cases, not marketing.  However, knowledge is your strongest ally, and so we have created this guide to swiftly educate you about the Legal SEO process and help you find areas that need improvement in your own tactics, whether you decide to hire an SEO Agency or not.

In a hurry? Click on our video for a quick summary!

What Does This Guide Cover

This guide is meant to give Lawyers a birds-eye view of their organic marketing. It will teach the basics of relevant lawyer SEO marketing topics for your firm, however, it will not take you through the step-by-step process of “how to take on your organic marketing DIY style.” That being said, if the latter is what you’re after, this guide will certainly give you a solid foundation. Each chapter is meant to cover what you need to know to understand and even run a successful organic search engine campaign for your firm.

  1. In the first chapter of the guide, you will learn about the search engine ranking factors for lawyers to take into account when building pages.
  2. Chapter two will go over what other lawyers do, with competitor & keyword research, and what to look for to create strong, rank-worthy content.
  3. In the third chapter, we will guide you through the best practices in technical SEO for law firms and the steps to creating a winning site and converting landing pages.
  4. We will go over on-site and on-page SEO practices to achieve better organic results in the legal sector.
  5. In the fourth chapter of our guide, we will go over one of the most important sections for firms looking to rank in their surrounding area, Local search engine optimizations.
  6. One of the trickiest chapters, our the 6th one is on off-site SEO for lawyers. It goes over complex topics like backlinks and citations but in simple terms.
  7. To wrap everything up, in our last chapter we will go over how Law Firms can measure your organic results.

How Legal SEO Works

“How long until we see results?” It’s a rather common question that law firms ask when considering a new search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. This simple question has so many variables that are always changing and evolving. It is nearly impossible to answer with one definitive answer.

To start a new campaign requires a ton of upfront research just to assess a firm’s current situation, determine what goals they want to achieve, and plan out an initial strategy. That alone can take several months. Once the technical work has actually begun, it can take a while for the campaign to get any traction and for the firm to start seeing results. While organic search results are very powerful, they do take time to obtain. This is not set in stone, great content will always have traffic as long as it is fresh, relevant, and useful to the user.

Multichannel approaches that include pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content development and promotion, and other online and offline activities can provide results while a firm’s website is in the process of obtaining organic rankings. In a competitive industry, like legal marketing, this can sometimes be a lengthy process, but there should be a noticeable change within a year.

Why Is Search Engine Optimization Effective for Lawyers?

Search engines provide ratings for businesses and organizations that clients and customers review using their platform. Consumers and clients perform a large volume of searches that yield local results on smartphones and other mobile devices. Reviews are strongly aligned with ratings for local searches, making them increasingly important to all businesses, including law firms.

In terms of volume, Google is the largest search engine. It’s also the most popular, making Google My Business and Google Reviews extremely important to law firms. In fact, Google has captured between 87 and 93 percent of the market share across all platforms, depending on whether you examine the numbers monthly or yearly. They have more than 95 percent of the search market share on mobile devices.

Appearing at or near the top of search engine results or “local pack” for specific searches can increase website visits and provide more contacts with potential clients. It’s a numbers game. The more times you can discuss a case with a potential client, the more opportunities you have for new business with your law firm.

Optimizing for other search engines is also important. Overall when you optimize for Google other search engines follow suit. These search engines have varying quantities of traffic, and different niches of users, and overall there is less competition. Examples: Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Reddit, Youtube ect.

Bing for example is the second largest search engine on the web outside of Google ownership. A lot of its user base is of the older demographic group (They don’t change their browser, so they keep the default OS Browser Safari or Edge for Windows) , which also means they have more purchasing power with the caveat of longer turnaround times. Bing is more straightforward about its ranking factors, and the process is more straightforward and simpler than Google’s.

Difference Between SEO and PPC

Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are two different methods to reach your target audience when they search for relevant keywords. The main difference between each approach is that you pay to appear in front of your target audience with  PPC  and SEO organically places you in front of your audience. When using PPC advertising, you pay the search engine where you want to advertise, for example, Google, when a potential client clicks on your ads (text, display, video…).

A simpler way to explain the difference between SEO and PPC is by comparing them to real estate. When you own a home you invest in improving the value of the asset you own and control (like with SEO for your website, you own the asset, and the value increases over time).  Pay Per Click or renting (Google SERPS real estate), you lose the benefits if stop paying rent – like with PPC you are only renting the ad space so you lose the benefits if you stop paying for the search engine to show your ads.

If you are wondering what the benefits of a PPC campaign are compared to organic SEO, the simple answer is speed to reach your potential clients. However,  reaching your target audience quickly and directly comes with a price. The best alternative for new and well-established law firms is a healthy balance between strong SEO practices and PPC campaigns, but also social media marketing is a must and email marketing campaigns are needed to nurture leads into clients. A mix of everything is necessary to succeed.

What Is the First Step in SEO for Law Firms?

Digital marketing is exciting and comparatively new to traditional marketing techniques. Rapid changes in methods and innovation sometimes overwhelm attorneys. This makes it seem as if lawyers can never catch up to the newest methods.

Famous baseball legend, Yogi Berra, is quoted as saying; “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else”. Your first step to engaging in the best SEO practices for your law firm is understanding how SEO works. Specifically, you need to know what things Google algorithms look at to push search results to the top.

The next chapter provides a broad overview of the factors that Google uses to rank website pages, giving you the knowledge you need to build your digital marketing strategically in a way that gives you the best chance for success.

Next Chapter