SEO for Lawyers in 2021. Complete guide ** Terms and Conditions May Apply
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 2021, what mistakes to avoid, and how to be absolutely certain that it hasn’t been done right.
Online Marketing for Law Firms in 2021: What is Search Engine Optimization?
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.
Why SEO still provides the highest ROI and How SEO is changing in 2021
The COVID pandemic has changed the online landscape tremendously, and with more businesses than ever moving online, the competition is more robust than ever before. SEO has always been an integral part of a successful law firm marketing strategy, but this is now doubly true due to these new challenges. The year 2021 will not be the time to slack on your SEO budget but rather 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.
SEO for Lawyers: 6 Facts to Know
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:
You increase authority when your website has more (or as much) and better-quality content on a particular subject. For example: for a family law firm seo, having a larger number of pages, each addressing specific question related to custody-related issues more in-depth than others do, will lead to gaining authority on the matter. Learn more about pillar-cluster type of SEO copywriting here.
Try to get more clicks for your site. If your website comes up on a query, but people don’t click on it, this means they don’t feel like they’ll find the answer to their question on your page: the more times that happens, the lower your authority (deemed by Google) on the subject. It would be best if you made sure that your website is visible and gets clicks.
Try to make user’s time on your site worth it. If they read your article, open multiple pages on your website, and seem to “dwell” on it (that’s why it’s also called “dwell time”), your authority goes up.
Optimize your site pages for good loading speed. A low bounce rate is one of the best things for SEO. If people leave your page immediately after landing on it, your authority level plummets.
Spend some time link building.Backlinks = the authority you have with others. How many websites link to your website as a source of information? Do these websites have authority? One part of attorney local SEO is finding relevant online directories and continuously optimize those listings. Important attorney’s directories are avvo.com, findlaw.com, attorneys.com, and Justia, and then there are non-attorney directories and social platforms that also matter: Yelp, Google, Facebook, Instagram. Very often, law firm’s name, address, and phone number across all those websites are inconsistent, which leads to poor SEO results. If your competitor’s website is featured on 20 directories, specialty legal directories, and other platforms, and yours is featured on 100, your website is more likely to get higher Google rankings. Positive reviews also play a huge role here.
Your website’s authority drops when Google penalizes you. You could get penalties for various reasons: how quickly your website loads, whether your website is secure, whether the pages are optimized for mobile devices, and more. Overall, there are hundreds of factors in Google’s algorithms that can boost or destroy authority. It sounds like a difficult thing to do on your own, doesn’t it? Well, it is…
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.
Contact us and ask us to do a complimentary, no-obligation “Attorney SEO performance audit.” We will deliver on the following subjects:
Website load speed check
Audit of low-quality backlinks that can potentially lead to serious penalties and risk
Onsite SEO 20-point performance check
Review of backlinks
Overall website conversion rate audit (how good your website can sell your services)
Deliver custom, high-level legal SEO strategy
Technical SEO for a Law Firm: 5 Tips to Optimize Your Site
We mentioned before how website optimization is crucial for your success online. But without improper examples of what you can do exactly such advice is pretty worthless. So here we are going to give you a few tips that you can use to help your law firm SEO.
Optimization for mobile. Mobile traffic is very prevalent right now. if your site doesn’t have proper mobile optimization clients will just leave you for the competition before they could even see your offer.
Get rid of dead links. 404 error pages create a bad user experience and devalue SEO efforts because they restrict the flow of link equity throughout your attorney website.
Start a blog. A good blog is one of the key features of a successful attorney website. If you do proper keyword research, write text on the current or evergreen topics, optimize your images then traffic will flood your gates through organic search.
Make unique content. Duplicate content adversely affects technical SEO for attorneys because it confuses Google and forces search engines to choose which of the identical pages should rank in its results. You can resolve this by either redirecting users from one page to another or getting rid of the duplicate pages for good.
Have a proper website structure. if your website has a coherent flat structure, where your pages are only a few links away from one another then you will rank high on search engines result page.
If you want to know more about technical SEO for Lawyers then read this article on our website for all of your law firm’s website optimization needs.
Law Firm SEO Red Flags
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:
Six months in, you still get most of your leads from PPC (Pay Per Click) traffic. There’s a lot to be said in the SEO vs PPC discussion, and there are times when paid advertising is exactly what you need, but it should not be your main source of leads in the long run.
Your agency creates content on demand. You have an interesting case study; you call them, they write it up. That’s not going to work. A good agency actively seeks frequently asked questions related to your industry and creates pages specifically designed to answer those questions.
The quote you get for their service is much lower than that of a marketing agency with proven SEO expertise.
You don’t get a definitive, easy-to-understand answer to your question, “What do your SEO services include?” Here’s where you can go through all the questions you should ask an agency that offers marketing for law firms before you hire them.
And then there’s…
The #1 Sign Your SEO Agency Sucks
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.
Case Study: How We Increased the Number of SEO Leads for an Attorney in Chicago by 75% in 4 months
Finding the Bottleneck
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:
The website was very professional but had slow loading speed and issues with the mobile version, which was only 15% of all problems.
Another 30% of the problems were coming from the fact that nobody ever worked on SEO backlinks. There were very few submissions to legal directories, no lawyer-specific guest blog posts, etc. So Google saw it as a sign that nobody on the internet wrote anything about our client.
But the most problems (40%) were coming from the fact that our client’s SEO content strategy was ineffective. Instead of setting up a SMART goal and pursuing something narrow and specific (ex: pillar-cluster type SEO content strategy), our client (with a limited seo budget) went for costly and very “general” keywords trying and failing to compete with law firms with huge budgets.
There were many other problems like poor case studies, absence of video content, mediocre reviews, etc which resulted in very low ROI.
During the following 4 months performed the following work:
Enhanced the website load speed to meet Google’s “green” standard (1 week)
Created a long-term SEO strategy and a detailed production schedule
Registered the website in most popular legal directories
Collected a total of 45 quality backlinks on legal blogs and forums
Improved Google Maps profile
Boosted our client’ SEO reputation by posting and boosting 12 detailed case studies of clients (hiding clients’ names, of course)
Improved overall website design to make it more user friendly
Implemented a detailed FAQ section for their potential clients
Improved PPC strategy
After 4 months, the following results were achieved:
Targeted website SEO traffic boosted from 150 to 672 visits a month.
The total amount of leads generated from SEO improved from 0 / mo to 12 / mo with a roughly 50% lead conversion rate (lifetime value of a client = $15,000).
PPC performance was improved by 65% because we improved the website design, added case studies, and improved PPC the campaign
Need a high-performance website for your law firm?
Comrade is a Chicago-based digital marketing company specializing in marketing and website design 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 and content marketing. 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.