Search Engine Optimization SEO Guide

Chapter 1

Introduction to law firm seo

While there are a few hold-outs, the days of advertising your law firm on the side of a bus or radio advert are over. In fact, people don't even listen to the radio anymore, which means it is time to go where your potential client base is - online. Online marketing however is much more than creating an ad or a banner, which is why every modern law firm needs to learn about lawyer SEO.

In the following guide, we will walk you through everything that you need to know about law firm SEO including why it is important, how to succeed, and how to boost your online presence and conversion rate. If a steady flow of consistent clients sounds like fair compensation for the time you put into your marketing strategy, then lawyer SEO is the logical choice for your law firm.

Today's world is digital, which means you need to learn to compete in the digital forum. Attorney SEO is one of the largest tools at your disposal, and if you choose the right SEO professional to help boost your profile, the rewards are substantial. Keep reading to see how you can secure them for your law firm.

The first step in law firm SEO is understanding its importance. Attorney SEO is the practice of optimizing a law website to rank highly in search engine results pages (Google, Yahoo, MSN, and more). Websites that rank within the first five search results receive the most clicks, which translates to the most exposure online.

Did you know that the first page of search results garnishes an estimated 71% - 90% of all clicks - that means if your law firm doesn't show up on the first page local searchers are not going to be calling. Properly executed law firm SEO ensures that you rank high for targeted keywords to boost your website traffic and thus your overall conversion rate. Do you need more business? Then you need attorney SEO.

What is Law Firm SEO

To start, SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of ensuring your website appears on the first page of search results. Ideally, your website will appear near the top of the rankings list, which will in turn boost website traffic and help increase your law firm's

online conversion rate. This simple explanation however is just the tip of the iceberg, because SEO for law firms is not a simple process and there are dozens of factors that need to be weighed, considered, and then executed to create an effective SEO for lawyers campaign.

Strong attorney SEO takes into account the specific needs of lawyers, and not just websites in general when it comes to ranking algorithms. For instance, most law firms are only licensed to operate within their state, therefore, local search rankings are more important than global search rankings. Companies with experience delivering SEO for law firms know the intricacies of the industry and cater to it by providing solid results.

Why Is SEO Important for Lawyers?

SEO is extremely important for lawyers because it is the number one way to stay relevant, credible, and visible within the online marketplace. Properly executed attorney SEO marketing campaigns are not overnight fixes, they are long-term solutions that continue to provide results so long as they are maintained. Therefore, the biggest benefits of SEO for attorneys is that once the work is complete, they can continue to reap the rewards of local visibility and credibility.

Websites that are ranked higher in the search results automatically are assigned higher credibility by search engines and website searchers, which is great news since savvy consumers are more likely to choose an organic link than a sponsored link. In addition, one of the key elements of SEO for attorneys involves boosting the profile of a website by adding authoritative content that is accurate, helpful, and optimized. This in turn helps lend credibility to the law firm in question and increases the chances that an interested website visitor will actually book a consultation.

How Does Legal SEO Work?

Any good lawyer knows that the case is won or lost by the details, and the same is true of lawyer SEO marketing strategies. There are three major ranking factors that need to be addressed in order for your lawyer SEO ranking to actually increase on the SERPs:

  • Content - Content is still king on the internet, but these days it has evolved to include images, video, and words. High-quality content in multiple forms that is optimized will help boost your overall lawyer SEO marketing results.
  • Backlinks - In the professional world, professional networking is often the key to appearing well-connected, in control, and effective in all transactions that take place inside and out of the courtroom. Online the same is true, but a website is judged by the number of external website domains and pages that direct traffic your way. Professionals trained in lawyer SEO know how to get you those links to build your online presence.
  • Technical SEO - It is not enough to have an optimized website, it needs to run optimally as well. User experience is a big deal when it comes to effective lawyer SEO marketing strategies. Technical SEO covers a wide range of factors that influence how accessible your website is to web traffic including loading page speeds, site structure, title tags, mobile optimization, and indexing.

Nail these three and you will see your law firm's website slowly start to climb up Google and other major search engine results pages. Address all three at once and you will likely see your ranking grow at a steadier pace, which is why it is best to outsource your lawyer SEO marketing campaign to a professional with the time, expertise, and tools to properly execute a strong approach.

How Does SEO Help Law Firms?

74% of people visit the website of a law firm before they hire them, so you need your law firms' website to be the first one that they see. Over a third of all people find their lawyer online, only beat out by referrals. However, the statistics for this record were from 2014, and a lot has happened in the last eight years so it is a pretty safe wager that online referrals, social media suggestions/recommendations, and mobile web searches now play an even more vital role in law firm selection.

As a law firm that means you need to up your lawyer SEO marketing game and make sure that you have all of your bases covered. SEO is not a one-step process, it involves a multi-faceted approach that takes into account multiple optimization techniques to boost your overall lawyer SEO ranking online. If you want to win the business of the third of people looking for a lawyer online, and present a great image to the other 74% scoping out your website before contacting you, then you can't take any shortcuts with your lawyer SEO strategy.

Throughout the process, it is important to remember that search engine optimization for attorneys is not a quick fix. You won't see your ranking improve overnight, nor should you really want to. Much like the tortoise and the hare, the most effective lawyer SEO service will gradually build the quality and authority of your website for sustainable results.

Other forms of advertising offer short bursts of activity and then dead space. When you use an SEO company for attorneys you receive a gradual increase in business that continues to grow. While you will not receive instant results, you will receive a new, steady flow of web traffic that when can be converted into new clients, cases, and profits.

Most law firms actually appreciate the steady growth of proper law firm SEO campaigns because it allows them to scale their firm at a pace they can keep up with. If this sounds ideal, keep reading to learn more about the benefits of search engine optimization for attorneys.

At this point, you have two options when it comes to crafting your law firm SEO strategy, hire an expert SEO attorney strategist, or attempt to boost organic traffic on your own. Unless you have a wealth of experience with online marketing, the smart decision is usually to let a professional handle your law firm SEO campaign.

Most law firms actually appreciate the steady growth of proper law firm SEO campaigns because it allows them to scale their firm at a pace they can keep up with. If this sounds ideal, keep reading to learn more about the benefits of search engine optimization for attorneys.

Effective attorney SEO is time-consuming and takes constant maintenance, and usually, lawyers have complicated cases that their energy is best spent on. With that in mind, whether you hire a professional SEO firm to handle your attorney SEO or attempt it on your own, understanding the process helps make it easier to see the value of what you are paying for. Chapter 2 takes a closer look at the importance of organic traffic and how to boost your presence online.

Chapter 2

Law Firm SEO Strategy

How to Get Organic Traffic for Your Law Firm

Promoting organic traffic is harder than paying for sponsored ads or social media positions, but it offers a much higher and sustainable ROI for your law firm which is why it is a key SEO lawyer strategy, the best ways to boost organic traffic include the following five tricks:

  • Create an Excellent Customer Experience - Search engines measure how a website responds to its users and weigh the results heavily. Websites need to load quickly, be properly optimized for mobile, and offer easy navigation to rank highly on Google. Bounce rate is closely tied to Google rankings, so give browsers what they want to decrease your bounce rate and increase your ranking.
  • Optimized Blog Posts - Your blog posts are a great tool for delivering the information your targeted audience wants, and further optimizing content on your website.
  • Lawyer SEO Keyword Audit - The same way every generation develops new slang, browsing habits change over time. In addition, algorithm changes can change the value of keywords. Regular keyword audits help create solid lawyer SEO campaigns.
  • Rehashing Content - Content can grow stale, especially if it is old and not optimized to modern standards. Refreshing your content and updating it is a great way to boost traffic streams.
  • Positive Link Building Strategies - Both on-site and off-site links add value to a website, but they can also decrease value as well. It is important to link to authoritative websites and ensure that all of your links are working at all times.

How to Increase Your Law Firm's Website Traffic Via Targeted Visitors

All law firms want to have a steady flow of clients. The goal of all SEO for lawyers campaigns is to increase web traffic to lead to an increase in foot traffic. If a website has a 25% conversion rate, then increasing the amount of website traffic will increase the margin of that 25%. Sheer math allows you to see that increased traffic will increase traffic.

However, higher levels of targeted traffic, meaning people who fall into the group that can be converted to clients, will drive the percentage of conversions up even higher. By concentrating on targeted traffic to the website instead of just traffic in general, you can increase your conversion rate which will quickly improve the bottom line of your firm.

So how do you increase targeted traffic? By using specific keyword phrases that appeal to targeted web traffic. For instance, a personal injury firm may not be concerned with people seeking a law firm for divorce, but they are very interested in people searching for a car accident lawyer. Optimizing your website to attract people looking for car accident lawyers over those looking for lawyers, in general, will result in higher targeted web traffic numbers.

Taking it one step further, local SEO for lawyers will boost ratings even more. Targeted searches for car accident lawyers in Bradenton will further increase targeted traffic and reward you with viable clients. Most legal browsers search for information about their case before choosing a lawyer for their case. Deliver the information they want, and there is a good chance you will have the opportunity soon to deliver their case as well.

How Do Lawyers Get More Leads?

96% of people who need legal advice start their search online. This means that there is great potential for generating leads for lawyers online, but you need to make it happen. SEO for law firms gives you your best shot at getting leads first by boosting your profile online, but then your website needs to land the deal.

Getting a customer on your website is only the first step in creating leads for attorneys. The second step is persuading visitors to your website that you are the right lawyer for their case. This can be done in a variety of ways.

The goal of your website should be to become a reliable attorney lead generator, but it serves a dual purpose as the brand and face of your law firm. For most people, your website will be the first impression of your law firm, so you need to make it a good one. You can do this by relying on:

  • Professional Design
  • Personal Information About Your Team
  • High-Quality, Authoritative Content
  • Easy CTAs on Every Page

How can I Make My Law Firm More Profitable?

Of course, at the end of the day, the only thing you want to know is how to get a good ROI for law firm. There are a lot of marketing strategies out there, but SEO continually outperforms almost all of them. Properly executed SEO for law firm is the only marketing strategy that can guarantee long-term, sustainable results.

However, the key phrase here is "properly executed." SEO for lawyers campaigns are not all equal, and if you want to see a positive ROI rate for your law firm, you need to invest in a proven SEO company. Keep reading to learn more about SEO for law firms and what needs to happen as part of your attorney SEO strategy.

At this point, the $100 dollar question is what are the top lawyer SEO ranking factors? While there are certainly a few things that play a role in SEO rankings, the answer is not just a list because search engines are constantly changing and evolving. When this happens, the algorithm shifts to match which means that your SEO strategy has to as well in order to stay relevant.

Despite this fact, it is a fairly safe bet that content, backlinks, and credibility will always play a role in lawyer SEO ranking factors regardless of algorithm changes. Therefore, the most effective SEO campaigns zero in on these three strategies to boost their online attorney SEO methods. Let's now take a closer look at the known lawyer SEO ranking factors.

Chapter 3

Lawyer seo ranking factors

What Are Google Ranking Factors for Attorneys?

There are several Google ranking factors that are involved in determining the proper pathway of SEO for law firm websites. Backlinks are a large one along with content. When utilized quickly, content can actually be used to create strong backlinks as well as by means of guest blogs and directory inclusion.

In either case, if you want to get noticed by Google, you have to deliver strong content, optimized web pages, fast loading speeds, and strong backlinks. The best lawyer SEO marketing campaigns deliver all four of these components to Google and are awarded in return with high search engine rankings in a variety of keyword searches.

How do you Write Content for a Law Firm?

Writing content for a law firm is a two-step process. First of all, it must be carefully constructed and highly accurate. Legal advice and/or information is a very regulated industry and must align at all times within the standards of the bar association. Thus, it needs to be written by professionals with a deep understanding of your area of law.

At the same time, it also needs to achieve its end goal of promoting law firm search engine optimization. As a lawyer, writing and legal search engine optimization are probably not your strengths, which is why it is often best to choose an attorney SEO company.

Some law firms that want to have control of their content but also achieve strong legal search engine optimization will often write content or guides to their content and then pay to have the content further optimized by a professional. This ensures the information is legally accurate, but also extremely attractive to search engines.

How Do Law Firms Get Backlinks?

Backlinks are another strong tool that can be used to boost your profile and credibility in the SERPs. However, link building for law firms is another task that doesn't come naturally. The key to effective link building for law firms is credibility.

Linking to websites with low authority rankings can actually hurt your search rankings, which is why it is extremely important to evaluate where your backlinks are sending traffic and where off-site links exist. If your goal is to build new links, start by joining credible lawyer directories like Nolo.com online. You can also submit to directories that list businesses to help spread your link around high-profile locations like:

  • Justia.com
  • Google My Business
  • LawGuru.com
  • FindLaw.com
  • Yelp.com
  • HG.org
  • Avvo.com

Just remember that you want to ensure your directory information is submitted accurately, consistently, and in a uniform fashion each time. Google will judge the credibility of your law firm and thus your attorney SEO efforts if you enter slightly varied information in a variety of places.

What is a RankBrain Algorithm?

RankBrain is the newest version of Google's core algorithm that actually learns and grows as it calculates data. This is one reason why Google is constantly changing its algorithm because the machine that powers it is actually learning on a daily basis.

So what is RankBrain and why is it important to you? Because RankBrain is evaluating all search results to determine the location of a searcher, what his or her true search intent was, and then the actual words in the query and any personal facts it has discerned about the end-user. Therefore, our SEO for law firms strategy has to identify the exact same needs so that your law firm website becomes the logical choice for Google to send the searcher towards.

Why Having Good Core Web Vitals (CWV) is Important

In the Spring of 2020 Google announced that it would now consider Core Web Vitals a ranking factor. This was the first official confirmation that user experience does matter when it comes to SEO for law firms. So what are Core Web Vitals?

In a nutshell, they include:

  • Loading time of the largest element on a website
  • Initial page responsiveness
  • Layout shifts on a website

It is impossible to fake or skip any of these technical SEO measures, so Google is making it harder and harder for black hat SEO tricks to work. If you want your website to perform well on Google, it has to perform well in general. This is one reason why backend SEO is so important to your overall attorney SEO strategy.

Any Google search will prove that high-performing websites perform well on Google. It's not an accident, and it's not a fluke. If you want to rank high on Google, you need to get our Good Core Web vitals in check.

One way that traditional marketing and digital marketing are very similar is that they both involve getting to know the thought process of your target audience. In digital marketing, this is a phenomenon that is known as search intent. To truly create a strong attorney SEO campaign you need to identify the common variables that form search intent and then optimize your website to match.

For instance, when a potential client is searching "top car lawyer in Bradenton," you can assume that they are looking because someone has been in a car accident. Therefore, their ultimate search intent is to hire a car accident lawyer. Now that you know their intent, you need to figure out the keywords that they will use to frame their search and end up redirected to your website.

This is where ample keyword research comes into play, and this is one big reason why hiring a professional is extremely important. Keywords are the backbone of every SEO attorney strategy. Choose the right ones and you will be on your way towards success, choose the wrong ones and even the strongest strategies are not going to move you up the search ranks.

The bottom line is if no one is searching for what you have optimized your website to match, no one is going to end up on your website. You can't sell a fishing service in a desert. Likewise, you can't build a strategy off of a keyword or keyword phrase no one uses.

Chapter 4

Keyword research for lawyers

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research for lawyers is the process of evaluating the worth of certain keywords and search phrases for further optimization. Proper keyword research weighs how frequently a certain word or phrase is searched for within your local vicinity along with current ranking algorithms for that phrase or word on Google.

It is important to strike a balance when choosing the keywords for lawyers that you want to optimize your website to match with. General terms like "lawyer" or "attorney" are almost impossible to rank for because the online legal market is simply too large. However, more specific lawyer phrases such as "personal injury lawyer in Bradenton" or "dog bite attorney in Bradenton" may be much more effective.

When crafting a campaign designed to create strong SEO for lawyers' strategies, it is extremely important to choose keywords that are viable and useful. Due to the new Google RankBrain algorithm, understanding the search intent behind these keywords is also instrumental in complete optimization of your content to match your keyword research.

What is Search Intent?

Search intent for law firm SEO takes your keyword research one step further and evaluates why people are searching for certain terms online. For instance, if someone types in "car accident lawyer" then you can safely assume they have been in a car accident and need help filing a lawsuit.

However, what if someone types in "can I be sued if my dog bites my neighbor on my property?" This long-tail keyword gives us a lot of insight into the intent of the person searching, but your website that is optimized for the term "dog bite lawyer in Bradenton '' is only going to be recommended by Google RankBrain if it can answer the question.

Therefore, search intent goes one step further than just optimizing your website to match terms. It involves the practice of optimizing your website to answer the most common questions that are associated with the search terms. Understand why people are searching for your website, and you get one step closer to landing their business.

How to Find Profitable Keyword Opportunities

There is no end to the list of profitable keywords opportunities for lawyers. This can create quite a challenge when it comes to actually selecting the right keywords to use in your SEO for law firms campaign. In fact, it can get overwhelming very quickly.

Maybe you don't always secure the top listing for the keyword "personal injury law firm in Bradenton," but if you always secure the top listing for "slip and fall accident outside of my workplace in Bradenton" then you have probably managed to create a new and viable revenue stream.

There is no end to the list of profitable keywords opportunities for lawyers. This can create quite a challenge when it comes to actually selecting the right keywords to use in your SEO for law firms campaign. In fact, it can get overwhelming very quickly.

How to Find What Else People Ask Attorneys

People go online instead of calling a lawyer for one reason - they are looking for free advice. Even those who know they need a lawyer to represent them down the road want to get an idea of what they are looking at first. They want to know where can I ask a lawyer a question for free?

While you don't have to offer free advice in person, offering some answers to the most popular questions online is a great way to direct attention your way and boost your credibility online. In other words, give the people what they want.

People are more likely to choose a lawyer that has already established a helpful presence in their life. If you become the law website that answers their divorce law questions, they will probably come back to you when it is actually time to hire a divorce lawyer. If you are the website where they go to get answers about workplace discrimination and what constitutes discrimination practices, then when they think they have a case you will be the first practice they call.

Your website is only as valuable as the content that exists on it, and conversely, your law firm will only be ranked as highly as your content represents it. With that in mind, content marketing for lawyers is the final step in a layered SEO strategy.

Content is treated like currency online, and especially when it comes to SERP rankings, but not all types of content perform in the same fashion. Modern algorithms are sophisticated, and it's not as easy to create strong content as it used to be. These days in order to create high-ranking content, you need to be an authoritative source of information.

In addition, you not only need to offer authoritative content that offers information and meaning to your website, but it has to be optimized. In other words, it needs to be perfect if you want that coveted first-page position on the SERPs. That is why so many people outsource their content production.

Content writing for law firms is a delicate practice, but one that can be handled with assistance from a skilled SEO firm. Do you enjoy hands-on collaboration? Many law firms do since the content on their website represents their firms. Here are a few things to keep in mind about content writing for law firms.

Chapter 5

Content marketing for lawyers

What Type of Content Should You Create?

Content is still king, and it is unlikely to ever go away. While SEO practices for law firms continue to evolve over time, it is a safe bet that website content for lawyers will remain a keystone feature of all effective SEO strategies.

However, there are a lot of different ways to add content to a website. So many in fact that content writing for law firms can quickly get overwhelming. While content is the most effective way to combine practices like targeted keyword usage and backlinks, low-value content can also detract from your website's SEO value.

With this in mind, here are a few of the top types of content that you should be concerned about if you are serious about building strong website content for lawyers.

Listicles - While articles based on lists may seem cliche, the simple truth is they work. Pose a question, provide solid answers, and add in a few keywords and you may soon find yourself in the top search results on Google. Lists are a great way to nab that highly coveted Google snippet position when properly formatted and promoted.

Blogs - Blogs are excellent when building content writing for law firms because they offer customers free information (which as we discussed in Chapter 4 customers love), and they offer the law firm a chance to show its expertise.

You can learn a lot about a law firm from its blog, and so can Google if you go an extra step and ensure your blog is also properly optimized. Blogs are the only place on a website where character, personality, and free-style writing is welcome to exist. Use it to your advantage as part of your attorney SEO strategy.

Infographics - Infographics are amazing content tools because not only are they three times more likely to be shared on social media, but they are easily digested forms of content that stick with people. You might forget the content of a highly technical law article five minutes after you read it, but you will probably remember the basic premise of the infographic that brought clarity to the issue.

Video- There is no getting around the fact that today's society loves instant gratification. Take a quick look around you on the subway or bus and you will notice myriads of headphones. There's a good chance half of those people are watching videos on their phones. If you deliver the content people want in the form of their choosing, they are very likely to listen.

Why You Need FAQ Pages

The question you should be asking here is not why you need a law firm FAQ page, but how you can best use it to your advantage. FAQ pages are a goldmine when it comes to SEO for lawyers for a variety of reasons.

Not only do they offer you a natural place to place long-tail search queries, but they offer your law firm a chance to display its authority by providing real answers to actual legal queries.

In addition, they allow your law firm to actually answer questions that you are asked on a regular basis to help streamline the conversion process. If customers continually call to ask a question about your website, consultation process, or qualifications you can reduce the number of queries and increase the number of actual conversions by simply beating your customers to the punch.

How Do You Write Content for a Law Firm?

As we mentioned earlier, the days of banners and radio advertisements are over. If you want your law firm to boost its profile, you have to get online and you need to develop a strong attorney SEO profile. It is impossible to outline just how important content is to meet this goal.

Law is a knowledge-based practice, so it is extremely important that all of our lawyer website content is accurate, highly knowledgeable, and professional. At the same time, by the very nature of the practice, seeking a law firm can be a very emotional, stressful, and anxiety-provoking task for clients.

Thus, you need to strike a balance between credibility and trust when creating lawyer content on a website. No one wants to hire an aloof lawyer, but no one also wants a lawyer who can't string together coherent sentences. All lawyer website content needs to be appropriately empathic, but also highly informative at all times.

Once you capture that tone, you can return to the content to optimize your lawyer content and further boost your search rankings. In this particular situation how you deliver information can be just as important as the quality of information you deliver.

How Do You Write Content for a Law Firm?

Once you capture that tone, you can return to the content to optimize your lawyer content and further boost your search rankings. In this particular situation how you deliver information can be just as important as the quality of information you deliver.

What Subjects Should Lawyer SEO Content Cover?

To further stress that point, there are a few years of website content for lawyers that should exist on any properly optimized website. For starters, relevant information always needs to be available to clients online looking for information about their lawsuit and/or potential lawyer. Continually posting content that relates to your client base will help you attract the attention you want.

Your online reviews also need to be strong and optimized to catch the attention of customers. Encouraging previous customers to write reviews is a great way to help boost your profile and the traffic your law firm receives. At the same time, make sure you visit all review directories to ensure your law firm information is accurate for optimal attorney SEO perks.

Finally, tailor your website content for layers to target niche areas that your law firm handles. Personal injury lawyers are a dime a dozen online, but "semi-truck car accident lawyers in Bradenton" are not. Get specific with the many different types of cases you can handle and beef up your SEO for lawyers to match. Just make sure to seal the deal by including clear CTAs on all areas of your site.

Does Content Marketing Work for Lawyers?

So now it is time for the one million dollar law firm content writing question, will content marketing really work for lawyers?

The answer: Yes, if it is executed correctly. SEO for law firms is an intricate process, and there are a lot of mine files along the way, but when properly planned, researched, and implemented content marketing is an excellent way for lawyers to boost their visibility online.

The content you post on your website visually and literally convinces website visitors whether you are (or not) the right fit for their needs. People don't blindly call law firms from Yellow Page listings anymore. They dive deep online and look for a law firm that meets their needs and specifications. Proper attorney SEO and high-level content marketing ensures you are that law firm for your targeted audience.

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