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 if you want your law firm to be competitive and consistently draw high-quality leads with minimal investment, your website must be at the top of search engine results pages—or at the very least on the first page.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a good grasp of what SEO for lawyers is, as well as how to implement it and avoid costly rookie mistakes.
If you distill everything, SEO for lawyers is pretty simple: You maximize your law firm’s online visibility by utilizing different techniques to help its website rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
This includes creating and publishing high-quality content, engaging with your target audience on social media platforms, optimizing technical aspects of your law firm’s website, and more.
Any type of digital marketing work that enhances your law firm’s website visibility, excluding paid advertising, is called search engine optimization.
Since Google receives 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 for lawyers has always been an integral part of a successful law firm’s marketing strategy.
When your potential clients search for a law firm, they look online. How? They type a question in Google and go through the first five organic search results. Why the first five and not the first three or the first six? No one can say, but the reality is this: The top five organic search results that come up on any search query get 65% of all clicks.
Notice we say the top five organic results. The paid ads during online search typically get about 5-10% of the clicks that organic results get. So, if 100 people click on the first five organic Google results, only five to ten will click on the ads.
The ultimate aim of an SEO campaign is to get new clients. It does this by improving your law firm’s website in SERPs. To this end, SEO for lawyers serves as the framework for structuring your website and generating content that achieves your business objectives.
Even the domain you choose and how your website looks is related to SEO.
SEO changes as Google’s algorithms become smarter, devices upgrade and consumer behaviour adapts. This year there are a few SEO trends to be aware of:
More than 41% of adults use voice search at least once per day, which is altering keyword usage. Improving SEO in this specific area entails using longer, conversational phrases. When people type, they tend to abbreviate, which is different from how they naturally speak.
Google likes content that adheres to the EAT principle. It uses expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness to determine whether content should rank in SERPs. EAT is not an algorithm; it’s a concept in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines that’s become increasingly dominant in recent years.
Schema markup is a coding vocabulary that helps Google better understand and extract content from your law firm’s web pages, to showcase as rich snippets. These are Google Search results enhanced with additional data like images or reviews, for example.
Rich snippets can place your website above the first organic result, even if it doesn’t rank on the first page of SERPs. Because people prefer to click on results that provide them information, rich snippets have a higher click-through rate, they increase website traffic.
So, you’d love to get those clicks from prospective clients? No problem, all you have to do is increase your website’s authority on a certain subject. Here’s how:
To reach the top of search engine rankings, we recommend hiring a digital marketing agency that provides search engine optimization services for lawyers. An agency will commit 8-12 people to see to your firm’s SEO needs.
This accomplishes far more than you can achieve internally, even if you have one staff member at your firm who’s versed in SEO for law firms and can dedicate their full-time efforts to it.
Contact us and ask, and we’ll conduct a complimentary, no-obligation 20-point SEO audit that assesses:
Once we’ve determined your website’s performance, we’ll provide a custom, high-level SEO strategy to improve weak areas and capitalize on missed opportunities.
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 rankings in organic search engine results.
When a search engine crawls, indexes, and renders your law firm’s 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 lawyers 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 if your website isn’t technically sound.
On the other hand, when your SEO is properly optimized, your law firm’s website will rank higher on SERPs and more prospective clients will click on it.
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 law firm.
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 law firm’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 law firm website. Search engines like Google automatically rank slow websites lower because 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 technical SEO, you instruct Google to only crawl the most valuable pages.
Effective technical SEO for lawyers should include mobile optimization that ensures users find it easy to navigate your website when 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 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 follow general search engine optimization 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 law firm’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 SEO for lawyers because it confuses Google and forces search engines to choose which of the identical pages should rank in organic search results. More often than not, the original page will not be the one chosen. 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 law firm’s pages.
A straightforward way to visualize your website’s architecture is to imagine a clear, hierarchical tree structure. Experienced back and front-end developers can help you optimize and organize your law firm website to attain this type of structure.
Search engine optimization is a significant investment that can bring great results. It’s an essential part of any digital marketing strategy; however, it’s not without challenges.
Given the scope of search engine optimization, it’s standard procedure for a law firm to outsource its law firm SEO strategy. Yet, good law firm SEO companies are hard to come by. Many lack transparency and fail to deliver results.
Then, those firms who do their SEO in-house may encounter a lack of professionals to hire who are experienced in search engine optimization, local SEO, link building, and other aspects that are crucial for law firm SEO success.
To us, as marketers, it’s obvious which law firm marketing companies’ law firm SEO services are not up to scratch. 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 gigantic bump in your revenue.
Yes, it’s that simple.
Now that you have a better understanding of what law firm 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, by conducting a complimentary SEO performance audit and discovered an all-too-common situation:
During the subsequent four months we performed the following work:
So, how long does SEO take to show results? About four months. For our client, after four months, the following results were achieved:
Obviously, you can search for an agency on Google. However, before embarking on a quest to find the perfect digital marketing company, there are a few things you should consider during the process:
Digital marketing and SEO agencies tend to charge clients hourly, by retainer or project. Most prefer retainers for a specific duration of time as SEO generally takes between three and six months to show results.
If you’re unfamiliar with law firm SEO it’s easy for dodgy agencies to bamboozle you with jargon and charge for services you may not need or want. That’s why having goals is so important.
Are you looking to improve link building? Do you need to optimize local SEO? Or, is higher search engine rankings what you’re after? Having a short list of KPIs ready to discuss with potential agencies makes it easier to determine who is the best hire.
Before meeting any agency, you should use their website as a benchmark for the quality of their services. If their online presence is poor, how can you expect them to improve yours?
Even if they pass this preliminary test, it’s important to check for precise studies (nothing too vague) that showcase clear law firm SEO success. A website may look good, but past client case studies are where you’ll determine the agency’s true value.
If they have worked with law firms before that’s a major plus. They’ll already be aware of common industry challenges. A good agency will be open to you speaking with past clients and gladly show you the law firm websites they’ve worked on.
No matter how great the agency is, if their style of communication doesn’t align with your own, it’s a no-go. SEO is a process that entails back and forth communication over a few months at the very least.
Additionally, the agency should be transparent and honest. At Comrade Web, we don’t take on new clients if we feel we can’t attain the results they need. This ensures we always deliver on our promises, and our clients are always happy with our work.
A thorough data-driven approach is the only way to successfully implement law firm SEO. All digital marketing is driven by Analytics. Using data is important because it’s the only way to understand how your target behaves across the sales funnel.
Data analytics is essential because it helps agencies to optimize their clients’ online performance. It reduces costs by identifying more effective ways of doing business and optimizes SEO campaigns to provide the best possible results.
A decent agency is driven by data and takes the time to explain how they analyze data and use it to your law firm’s advantage.
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 law firm marketing. 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, to name a few, and continuously work on offsite local SEO, and content marketing.
Our law firm SEO experts can even advise you with voice search for lawyers. Call us for a no-obligation consultation and website audit. That’s when we can start customizing the most effective law firm SEO strategy for your business.
Comrade originates in Chicago, but we worked all around the United States. We can help your business grow and increase revenue whenever you are. We have offices across most major cities in the US. For example, we can offer SEO services in Chicago or Miami. You can even find our SEO experts in Austin! If you want to know more about our Milwaukee SEO company or find out how exactly we can help you, contact us via the phone or email.
Generally, small law firms spend between 5-10% and larger firms between 2-5% of their gross revenue on their SEO efforts. Smaller firms tend to invest in aggressive campaigns to capture their market share. More established firms tend to spend less because they're already known. In major metropolises where competition is fierce, the cost of SEO ranges between $2,500 to $3,000 per month.
Statistically, one in three people seeking legal help will turn to search engines like Google before consulting friends or family. Over 40% of legal clients report using online review sites and directories to vet potential law firms. This number is set to increase as younger, internet-first generations reach their full earning potential.
When hiring an SEO agency, make sure they:
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