Any law firm—from the upstart one-man band to the large, well-established firm—will cease to thrive if it doesn’t have a steady source of new clients.
While word-of-mouth advertising is always effective at growing your client-base, it’s not exactly an active marketing approach. It’s more like a natural reward for doing good work. And traditional advertising on radio, billboards, and the sides of city buses can bring in business for sure.
But the 21st century demands that any business—attorneys included—meet their clients where they are at: the internet.
With more than 40,000 Google searches taking place every second, your firm can’t afford to not have a strong and active presence on the web. And SEO, or search engine optimization, is the marketing strategy you need to get you there.
Let’s look at how and why SEO for attorneys is a critical step in any law firm’s growth.
What Is SEO for Attorneys?
Simply put, SEO is the process of taking strategic action to make your website more likely to rank higher in search engines like Google. You can accomplish this by making changes to your site, but also by influencing external factors, such as earning shares on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
For attorneys, SEO is important because every new visitor to your website is another potential client. If you can rank high for a term like “divorce attorney San Francisco”, for example, people searching for your exact services will land on your website at their moment of need.
Only about 5% of internet searchers ever look beyond the first page, and 67% of all clicks go to the first five listings. So, you can see it’s clear that having a website alone isn’t enough to get new clients. You’ve got to rank your website as well—and that’s where SEO comes in.
What About Paid Ads on Google?
You might wonder why you need to do SEO for your legal practice when you could just use Google AdWords and automatically jump to the top of the search engine results.
We won’t deny that paid ads have their place in internet marketing for attorneys, however they will never have the same return on investment as SEO. Here’s an example of why…
When you pay for advertising on Google, you are typically paying for every user who clicks on your ad, whether they intend to become a client or not.
The search term “personal injury lawyer New York”, for example, has a cost per click (or CPC) of about $60. On average, if just 1% of your website visitors actually become clients, that means you are paying $6,000 for a new client.
While this may still be profitable for you, it won’t be nearly as profitable as if you used SEO to obtain a top listing on the free organic search engine results. Paid ads can be a great way to get new business quickly, but SEO is a long-term strategy that will pay off much more over the years.
How SEO for Attorneys Works
While the complete blueprint for a law firm’s SEO strategy could fill a 10,000-page blog post or more, we can offer a brief primer here so that you better understand why SEO for attorneys something is not to be undertaken lightly.
Keyword Research for Attorney SEO
At the heart of any SEO strategy is keyword research. Keywords are simply the search terms you want to rank for.
While you might be tempted to try to tackle nothing but high value competitive terms like “accident lawyer Chicago”, remember that there is also a lot of low hanging fruit that can bring in little trickles of traffic for a lot less effort.
Long tail keywords such “how to find a good personal injury lawyer” can be a lot easier to rank for because less people are competing with you to do so.
Getting your keyword research done right from the start is crucial to meeting your SEO goals. If you’re targeting the wrong keywords, it’s like trying to get to Europe with a plane ticket to Australia.
On Page SEO for Attorneys
On page SEO is comprised of the actions you take on your website in order to let Google know that you are relevant to what searchers are looking for.
For starters, building pages or blog posts that target your keyword list is the first step of great on page SEO. The goal is to produce valuable content that answers the questions your would-be clients are asking.
Other key elements of getting your on-page SEO right include keyword density, meta descriptions, headings, and interlinking. These make up the signals that help Google understand what your law firm is all about.
Off Page SEO for Attorneys
Off page SEO is the stuff that happens outside of your website to help make it look more trustworthy and authoritative in Google’s eyes. The more Google trusts your website, the higher it will rank you.
Social signals, such as likes or shares on Facebook and LinkedIn, are one way that Google can learn to trust you. By sharing your content on relevant social platforms, you’ll slowly accumulate a following and the social signals that come with it.
Backlinks from other websites and blogs, however, have remained the single largest ranking factor for years. These can be obtained through all sorts of methods, from email outreach for guest posts on industry leading legal blogs to just creating really good content that gets picked up and used as a source by others.
Don’t Do Attorney SEO the Wrong Way
SEO is a long-term strategy that will provide better ROI than just about any other form of marketing available. But it’s certainly not a silver bullet or the easy way out.
If you do SEO wrong, you run the risk of making your website rank even worse than it already may be.
So if you think SEO might be the boost your law practice needs to jump start the inflow of clients, contact us for a team of professionals who will help you rank your website the right way.