SEO for Search engines like Google have become the primary marketing strategy for law firms to generate new clients.
According to A Google Consumer Survey 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine. In the FindLaw U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey 2014, 74% of prospects begin a search online end up contacting the office via a phone call.
If your law firm is not ranking high on Google search results pages for your legal services and your location, you are missing out on new business daily.
Because of the opportunities online for solicitors, it is important to recognise the fact that there is high competition online for law firms both for organic rankings and for paid search. That being said, there are still many opportunities for law firms to compete.
Does SEO Work For Solicitors?
SEO Does work for solicitors and in this guide I am going to show you some of the areas to focus on law firm SEO to get new clients for your law firm.
First, it is important to understand how Google works for legal search queries. It is vital to get an understanding of how competitive the online space is for legal searches.
Google’s Results Pages For Legal Search Queries
Let’s first look at Google search engine results for the query; “law firms in London”
As you can see from the screenshot, you get 4 Google ads greeting you above the fold. For this particular search term, the suggested bid for the top of the page is £3.45.
As we scroll down, we then see the Google My Business listings. From there you get 3 local London law firm listings.
Even before we reach the organic search listings there is Google’s “People also ask” Question and answers boxes.
The first organic listing on Google’s search engine is not even a law firm in London. It is a careers website for prospective university students.
In fact, the first 5 positions on the first page of Google’s organic search results page for “law firms in London” are not even websites belonging to a law firm. You must scroll to position 6 to find an actual legal firm.
This would sum up how important it is to focus on keywords that have intent, rather than just high search volumes.This would sum up how important it is to focus on keywords that have intent, rather than just high search volumes.
Establishing Keywords That You Rank For
For most businesses, a keyword strategy would simply mean target the keywords with the highest volume. As we have established from above, this is not the case when it comes to law SEO in a competitive location
Instead of a catchall SEO for lawyers strategy, each firm should optimise their site for ranking the key services that they provide. Most importantly, focus on the service offering the most lucrative returns for your company.
If you offer 10 core legal services for clients, focus initially on the 4 services that offer the best returns for your firm. This is essentially keyword mapping; the process of assigning relevant keywords to different pages on a website based on your keyword research.
Law Website Content
Once you are satisfied with the keywords that would best benefit your company, you need to now structure your website and your content for search engines and your potential clients. Remember, do not write content just for search engines like Google, write it for your ideal client. Great structured content is key for lawyer SEO.
Pages on your website should be structured towards the “law firm hire cycle“.
Clients search online based on their current circumstances;
- Looking for information on legal issues – Top of Funnel or Awareness
- Looking for information on legal services or law firm reviews – Middle of Funnel or consideration
- Ready to hire a lawyer – Bottom of Funnel or Intent
Based on the law firm hire cycle as shown above, you need to structure your website where:
Home page highlights your key services and link to those key services pages. Keep your messaging simple, do not use jargon that your clients will not understand.
Your menu should also contain the basics that your clients need to be able to find out about your company, your services and then to contact you. An ideal menu for a law firm should have:
- A link to the home page
- About page
- List of services
You can add other necessary pages to the menu if you want such as a blog if you are using an inbound marketing strategy.
Have a separate page for each of your services. This would allow you to do search engine optimization on each service page rather than relying on your home page to ranking for all your keywords. Ideally you should treat these pages as an ongoing concern, continue adding content based on your clients needs. On-going search engine optimization on each page will help rank each for its target search term. Conversion rates will be better as potential clients will land on the page with the exact content that they need.
Legal services pages should contain all the necessary information that someone would need to know should they be making a claim or other. Having all the content that a potential client wants on the page increases time on site and reduces bounce rates which is important aspect of SEO for law firms.
It is also helpful to add content on how your firm approaches those services. This will give clients a better understanding of how your firm operates. This also helps to build trust.
SEO for lawyers tip: For better conversion rates for your website, consider also having contact forms or a lead magnet on those pages to convert a visitor to a lead.
As a law firm, one of your most visited pages on your website, according to Google Analytics will be the About page. The main reason that an about page is the most visited pages is the fact that clients want to get to know who exactly could be taking care of their affairs.
For best search engine results, make sure to add lots o useful content. Have a team photo as your main photo on your About page and add headshots and bios of all your lawyers and team members. Highlight their specialisms, qualifications and accreditations.
Your contact page is important for the fact that this is where the bulk of your leads are going to make the decision to contact you. More and more people are becoming more comfortable with using contact forms so make sure that your form is simple to use and that it actually works!
SEO for lawyers tip: Have your phone number easily available on your contact page and have a map with a link to Google Maps so that clients can easily find your office should they need to do so.
Trust factors are critical for the success of a law firm, particularly in high competition locations. Trust factors are essentially:
- Reviews on external websites and Google My Business
- Logos of accreditation and awards on your website
- Logos of corporate clients that you work with on your website
- Testimonials from clients
Trust factors are what keep your visitors on your website and what help them get in touch with you for information. The longer your customers spend browsing your website and converting, the better your rankings will become.
Onsite SEO is important to get right, but it is offsite SEO that makes movements up the Google Rankings possible. Below is a guide to building backlinks to your law firm website.
Backlinks are the cornerstone of search engine optimisation. Backlinks are highly necessary for law firms to rank on the first page of Google. If you want to learn more, see my post on what is a backlink for SEO.
Below are some foundational link building strategies that you can do as part of your digital marketing strategy.
There are various legal directories that can be found on Google by doing a simple search. There are mostly paid legal listing websites available and most only accept firms from certain locations or from a particular jurisdiction. It does take time to find the right directory that will fit your firm, but always remember with website directories, that quality is way more powerful than quantity. Legal directories are a one of the first places to start for law firm SEO link building and time should be taken to ensure your details and descriptions are all correct. You may also gain referral traffic from those directories. You can gauge the success through referral traffic from your Google analytics dashboard.
SEO for lawyers tip: If you are a member of a particular legal society or if your law governing body has a website, it is worth getting in touch with them to ensure that they give you a link back to your website.
Legal Blogs and Law Publications
There are numerous legal blogs online from university research to publications for each jurisdiction around the world.
You should take the time to research legal blogs and online journals that cover topics related to your legal specialism. From there you can get in touch with the authors of those blogs, leave comments, and simply ask if you can get your own content cited and maybe get a link back to your own website.
Legal News Stories
Has your law firm been involved in a landmark legal suite? Has one of your lawyers been involved in a research piece? If your firm has been involved in a newsworthy event, it could be worth getting in touch with the local press with your news story.
By getting mentioned in the local newspapers or local news publications, you will get new eyes on your law firm, increase website traffic and help establish some brand awareness.
Local Search Factors
For most law firms, the local market will generate a bulk of yearly revenues. Local search rankings will be paramount for most For most law firms, the local market will generate a bulk of yearly revenues. Local search rankings will be paramount for most solicitor firms.
Below are some of the local SEO for lawyer steps to take to ensure you are doing the most to get new local clients looking for your services.
Google My Business
Setting up a Google My Business account is one of the first marketing activities a law firm should undertake. If you already have an account set up, you should optimise it so that you get into the top 3 Google Maps positions on Google searches.
As a law firm, ensure that your Google My Business profile is:
- Properly Categorised
- Has the same phone number and address as listed on your website
- Is correctly located on the map
- Has a profile photo of your logo
- Profile contains photos of your team members
- Is updated with regular news posts
Depending on where your business is based, there may be local directory websites available for you to get a link back to your website.
A backlink from your Chamber of Commerce is a great way to get a local listing and a link back to your website. Local Chamber of Commerce websites are generally authoritative and a link form there is worth it.
You should add links to local general directories that have law categories available. Right now, Google does not add much weight to those type of websites where links can be easily attained.
Getting Reviews From Your Clients
As a law firm, reputation is everything. When a potential client discovers your firm, it is likely that they will also check out your reviews. Ensure that you encourage your satisfied clients to leave reviews for you on your;
- Google My Business profile
- Trustpilot account
- Facebook company page
- Legal review websites
Inbound Marketing For Solicitors
Inbound marketing is just a piece of the puzzle to achieve SEO results. Below are some of the best digital marketing strategies that will drive website traffic to your site, help your click through rates and improve your reputation as Google sees it.
Having a blogging strategy for your firm will open up many doors including:
- Help you to be perceived as an authority or law expert
- Create opportunities to attract social media shares and backlinks to your content
- Get more visits to your website and more recognition of your brand
It is also important that you make good use of internal linking throughout your content
One of the benefits of videos is the fact that when properly branded they are immensely memorable. Videos work well for lawyers where a new law has surged demand for legal information.
Turning your content into videos is also a great way to re-purpose your content for your social media pages.
Video content can be repurposed on all your social media accounts and also on your website.
While social media conversion rates are likely to be low for law businesses, this is a content strategy that is good for your brand awareness. Social media is a useful platform to promote your legal expertise, while also recruiting talent to your firm.
How Long will it take to get a law firm website on top of Google
It usually takes around 6 months to a year to get a law firm’s website ranked at the top of Google.
The exact time it takes will vary on how quickly you get your website properly structured with quality content that your clients want to know.
Once you have done that, the offsite SEO factors must be scaled up and a lot of effort put in to see your return on investment for SEO.
Like most businesses, SEO for law firms will take time to see true results.