When people search for your legal services online, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of search engine optimization, which is the practice of getting your website to appear higher in search engines such as Google or Bing. Nowadays, most people browse on their smartphones, and many of them will click the first search result that emerges. In fact, according to a recent study, 22% do exactly that. This means that if you want your law firm to be competitive and consistently draw high-quality leads with minimal investment, the best way to do so is to make sure your website is at the top of search engine rankings — or the very least, on the first page.
The good news? By the end of this post, you’ll have a pretty good grasp of what SEO for lawyers is, how you should do it in 2022, what mistakes to avoid, and how to be absolutely certain that it hasn’t been done right.
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If you distill everything into simple principles, then SEO is actually pretty simple: you maximize your online visibility by utilizing different techniques that help you rank high on search engines. These techniques can include posting blog content that shows your expertise in the field, working on your social media presence, optimizing different technical sides of your websites, and much more.
Any and all type of work that enhances your website’s visibility on any and all search engines, excluding paid advertising, is called Search Engine Optimization. Since Google gets nearly 93% of all search traffic, Comrade, like most digital marketing agencies in the US that offer online marketing for law firms, focuses on optimizing your website for Google.
Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines tend to use very similar algorithms, so what works for Google usually works for them too.
SEO has always been an integral part of a successful law firm’s marketing strategy, but this is now doubly true due to the new challenges that face us this year. The year 2022 will not be the time to slack on your SEO budget but rather to increase your efforts.
Most of your potential clients’ search for a law firm begins online. What do they do? They type a question in Google and go through the first 5 organic search results. Why the first 5 and not the first 3 or the first 6? No one can say, but the reality is this: the top 5 organic search results that come up on any search query get 65% of all clicks.
Notice we say the top 5 organic results. The paid ads during online search usually get about 5-10% of the clicks that the organic results get. So if 100 people click on the first 5 organic Google results, only 5-10 will click on the ads.
So, you’d love to get those clicks? No problem, all you have to do is increase your website’s authority on a certain subject. Here’s how that happens:
To get the get on the top of the search engine results page, we highly recommend hiring an expert agency that provides SEO services for lawyers. At an agency, you usually get 8-12 people working on various SEO areas: technical optimization of your law firm website, creating listings, researching and creating relevant content for law firms, and more. This accomplishes far more than you can achieve internally, even if you have one staff member at your firm who’s versed in law firm SEO and can dedicate their full-time efforts to it.
No matter what type of law firm you are SEO is a very important tool for your online growth: be that SEO for DUI attorney, personal injury lawyers SEO, bankruptcy or any other. Contact us and ask us to do a complimentary, no-obligation “Attorney SEO performance audit.” We will deliver on the following subjects:
Technical SEO is a process that ensures your law firm’s website conforms to the technical requirements of online search engines. Its goal is to improve organic search engine rankings. When a search engine crawls, indexes, and renders your website, it retrieves your pages, runs your code, and assesses your content to understand your website’s layout or structure. If your SEO is correctly optimized, search engines can crawl, index, and render your website’s architecture and rank it accordingly.
Technical SEO for attorneys is important because it makes it easier for Google to access and rank your website’s content. You can publish compelling and valuable content, but it won’t drive the kind of organic traffic you desire to your website if it isn’t technically sound. On the other hand, when your SEO is properly optimized, your lawyer’s website will rank higher on Google search engine pages (SERPs), and more prospective clients will click on your website.
The only way for Google bots to determine your ranking is to access your site’s technical aspects. For example, besides law firm keywords, a crucial factor is the quantity and quality of your backlinks. Backlinks are referral links from other websites to yours. A website with a few backlinks signals to Google that your credibility is low. However, if you have many backlinks, the search engine will regard you as a popular and reliable source.
In a nutshell, technical SEO is about structuring your website data to boost your search engine ranking, and there are many ways to do so. A technically optimized website produces a better experience for both users and search engines. Below are some elements to consider:
Your attorney’s website needs to load fast. According to Dotcom-Tools, the average website loading benchmark is 1.3 seconds, and that was in 2018. A slow website frustrates users, and they are likely to move to another site. Search engines like Google automatically rank slow websites lower because they know they offer a poor user experience.
Robots.txt files are created by text file webmasters and instruct engine robots to crawl your lawyer’s website. To avoid overloading your website with requests, they direct robots on which pages to crawl and not to crawl.
They prevent search engines from accessing certain parts of your website, prevent duplicate content, and offer helpful tips on how engine robots can most effectively crawl your attorney’s website. Crawling too many pages negatively affects your SERP ranking. When you optimize your lawyer technical SEO, you instruct Google to only crawl the most valuable pages.
Effective technical SEO for law firms should include mobile optimization that ensures users find it easy to navigate your website if they’re using a smartphone. As of 2021, 63% of Google’s US organic traffic originated from mobiles. Therefore, no law firm can afford to neglect or underestimate the role of mobiles in SERPs.
The same attorney technical SEO principles apply here. Mobiles have smaller displays and are mainly used in vertical mode, so your website layout and architecture should be considered. We recommend avoiding pop-ups as they don’t translate effectively and following general SEO best practices.
A dead or broken link takes users to an empty or nonexistent external webpage when they click on it. 404 error pages create a bad user experience and devalue SEO efforts because they restrict the flow of link equity throughout your attorney’s website.
There are several free tools available online to check for dead links, with Google Analytics ranking best. Dead links can be external or internal and can be fixed by updating or removing them entirely.
Duplicate content adversely affects technical SEO attorneys because it confuses Google and forces search engines to choose which of the identical pages should rank in its results. More often than not, the original page will not be the one chosen for top search results. To eradicate duplicate content, you need to specify the “correct” version and redirect the content back to the original page.
Websites that rank higher on Google have flat, organized structures. In other words: their pages are only a few links away from one another. Flat structures have consistent URL structures and make it easy for search engines to crawl a 100% of a website’s pages.
A straightforward way to visualize your website’s architecture is to imagine a clear, hierarchy tree structure. Experienced back and front-end developers can help you optimize and organize your lawyer website to attain this type of structure.
While SEO is a significant investment it can bring great results. It’s an essential part of today’s market, so you will need to keep your law firm’s website competitive. There are challenges in attorney search engine optimization though. If you hire an outside company you may encounter a lack of communication and transparency, and that’s without mentioning failure to deliver actual results. Good law firm SEO companies are hard to find. If you do your SEO in-house you may encounter a lack of professionals to hire who are experienced in SEO, Local SEO, link building, and other aspects that are crucial for SEO success.
To us, as marketers, it’s obvious which marketing companies’ law firm SEO services are not up to snuff. It’s also obvious which ones are trying to win clients over with low prices and usually generate a minuscule (if any) return on investment.
Here are a few signs that you’re dealing with the latter kind:
And then there’s…
If you’ve been wondering whether to change marketing agencies, here’s the one and the only sign that you should:
You’ve given them 6 months, and you don’t see a huge bump in your revenue.
Yes, it’s that simple.
Now that you have a better understanding of what SEO is and how it works to get you clients, we hope you use this knowledge to find and invest in the right SEO service and finally see the results you want.
We often see that 80% of what attorneys do for SEO is great, but 20% is so bad that it’s preventing them from getting leads.
In our particular example, we started as always from a complimentary “Attorney SEO performance audit” and discovered a very popular situation:
During the following 4 months performed the following work:
So, how long does SEO take to show results? About 4 months. For our client, after 4 months, the following results were achieved:
Find out how much demand there is in your geographical area.
Get your site audited.
Discover how you compare against other law firms in your area.
Comrade is a digital marketing company specializing in website design and digital marketing for attorneys. Our 10+ years of SEO experience have allowed us to perfect our legal-specific SEO approach and have made us extremely detail-oriented. We add relevant markup and keywords in titles, images, and heading tags; we optimize your visual content by using keyword-rich descriptions, adding schema for attorneys (schema is extra website code that helps search engines understand what your web page is about), and continuously working on offsite local SEO, content marketing and can even advise you with voice search for lawyers. Call us for a no-obligation consultation and website audit. That’s where we can start customizing the most effective strategy for your law firm.
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