As a lawyer, using search engines to acquire clients might not only sound daunting but also new. If you’re busy with your law practice, you may not have the time to invest in building a digital reputation that helps you acquire clients, but we can’t overstate just how important it is. If you neglect this process you’ll be missing out on a huge potential market that could drastically increase your numbers.
If you’re a law practice keen on getting new clients, our guide on SEO for lawyers is for you. In the sections that follow, you’ll learn what SEO for lawyers is, why you should consider it, and how to create a comprehensive SEO strategy for your law practice.
Let’s start at the beginning.
What exactly is SEO for lawyers?
- SEO for lawyers refers to specific strategies that enhance your website so that it becomes authoritative and ranks highly on search engine results pages (SERPs).
- When properly implemented, SEO for lawyers can get your law firm’s website in front of clients who are searching for the legal services that you provide.
- An effective SEO strategy for lawyers would typically get your site into organic search results and local search on Google Maps so that you get found more easily.
Why Should Lawyers Consider SEO?
Lawyers should consider SEO because it’s the best method to connect with potential clients who are searching on engines such as Google for a law firm just like yours.
A National Law Review survey shows that 96% of people who need legal services start by conducting an online search . Since legal matters often require urgent legal attention and can be highly emotional, clients will often hire firms that they find on the top of the search engine results page. This is exactly the position in which you can land after implementing a solid SEO strategy. To begin with, this position can be achieved through an optimized website, but there are many other ways to optimize your online presence in order to strive for the first few positions in Google’s search results and attract the type of clients you need.
Creating the best SEO strategy for attorneys
Just like you need to be clear about contractual clauses before proceeding to adopt them into an agreement, you need an SEO strategy before beginning an SEO campaign. A custom SEO strategy created for your law firm will point you in the right direction for preparing your site to rank in search engines.
A comprehensive SEO strategy for attorneys would focus on improving your law firm website’s search rankings for your target keywords. The keywords that are right for your firm include terms relating to your practice areas and the legal services you provide. Lawyer SEO typically covers the three primary ranking factors on Google. These factors are: relevant content, link building, and technical SEO.
Let’s discuss these factors in detail.
A crucial part of your SEO efforts for lawyers is content. The content on your website must not only be relevant and satisfy user intent but must also be optimized. That way, search engine crawlers can read your content to know how to rank it.
To do this, you will need to include the search terms that your prospective clients are typing into Google. These terms are called keywords. As a law practice, a good place to start would be to include legal keywords. These would be keywords that revolve around your practice areas or services. For example, if you are a personal injury lawyer, your clients may be searching for a lawyer with the words ‘personal injury lawyer’. A more specific and equally possible search would be to have the legal service they are seeking plus a location, for example, ‘Pittsburgh legal services.’
By including these words in your content, you would be more likely to show up in their local search results. You should aim to use relevant keywords on content throughout different pages of your website from your homepage, practice areas pages, blogs, to your team page.
For Google to deem your content relevant to your target audience, it has to contain lawyer keywords. Instead of just churning out a bunch of words that you think your clients are searching for, keyword research can help you streamline search terms to those that your law firm is most likely to rank for, but how exactly can you find these keywords?
Keyword research for lawyers
Keyword research involves using professional tools to find exactly what your clients are searching for, and These tools can be free or paid, with paid ones offering more value and information regarding how the suggested keywords can help your firm.
To get the most out of any potential research, consider subscribing to a keyword tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs or outsourcing your keyword research to SEO experts who offer attorney search engine optimization services. Other tools you can use to conduct keyword research include Google Keyword Planner, SpyFu, Wordtracker, KWFinder, and more.
To conduct the research on your own, you would need to enter a “seed term” into the tool to generate the actual terms your clients are using. Seed terms are what you think your clients input into Google. You can also conduct keyword research using more general SEO efforts such as imputing your seed term into the Google search bar and checking for the results while paying special attention to the related search section of the results. These can show you what people are searching for, but there will be a good amount of highly important information that you will not have access to.
Keyword research tools can provide you with advanced metrics such as keyword density, search volume, and competitiveness. Ideally, you want to focus on keywords that your firm can actually rank for. These would be keywords with good traffic and average competition. You don’t want your content to get lost in the contest because of your target keywords. Yet, at the same time, you want keywords that a good number of people are inputting into the search bar.
Another keyword research strategy is to choose terms with commercial intent and with research intent:
- Legal clients are not just searching for information, they are searching for legal services, which is why including commercial intent will help you target them better. Although these keywords may have less traffic, they rank more easily and tend to convert at a much higher rate.
- Make sure to not exclude clients that would like to better understand their legal situation before hiring services. For this reason, adding target keywords with research intent can help you cover all of your bases. Look for keywords that provide clients with useful legal information such as answers to their legal problems. Such keywords will often begin with “why” or “how,” such as “How to hire a family law attorney”.
You can use these keywords in lengthy and high-quality content like your blogs, case studies, and whitepapers, and provide potential clients with a solid answer. Although clients searching with these keywords might not yet be ready to hire legal services, attracting them with these keywords gives you a chance to make your law firm known to them and offer your business and services whenever they are ready to hire them.
Additionally, content that revolves around these keywords should be educational and informative and tends to gather shares and acquire links thereby ranking better in search engines. Keyword research may not be easy but it is pivotal to improving your law firm’s website for organic search.
Pro tip: as important as keywords are, and the undeniably positive impact they will have on your content as well as your website, avoid keyword stuffing. That is, don’t overuse your keywords, no matter how relevant they might be. If you exaggerate the number of keywords, Google will know and will not deem your content to be that useful or relevant.
Link building for lawyers
Another content optimization strategy is link building. Link building is the process of obtaining backlinks and integrating them into your content to improve its page rank.
PageRank is an algorithm that Google uses to determine the value of a web page and its position in the search results. With millions of posts on the internet, PageRank is the metric through which Google decides which pages to show first for the same topic.
Link building is similar to professional networking through which you try to raise your law firm’s reputation in legal spheres. To build your links the right way, you need to follow Google’s policies to ensure that you get the right results. Although these policies have changed over time, links continue to play a crucial role in determining your website’s position on SERPs.
Link building comes with enormous benefits for your law firm but it can be time-consuming and labour-intensive. Acquiring links for your site isn’t an easy task. An SEO company for lawyers can help you obtain reputable, high-quality backlinks that properly position your website.
Backlinks for lawyers
Backlinks are links pointing to your website from content on another site. They act as votes of confidence for your content signaling to both users and Google that your content is authoritative and trustworthy. In order for backlinks to achieve this, they must be of high quality. This means that the source website must be reputable, with high domain authority. For example, a backlink from the American Bar Association is a high-quality backlink because its website has a high domain authority (DA). When obtaining backlinks, we recommend you focus on high DA websites as they provide more influential votes of confidence for your content.
- The backlinks from such sites must also be relevant to your law firm’s website, the content to which they point, or your practice areas. Links coming from a website that is unrelated to your practice area will carry little or no weight to helping your website rank.
- Another rule is that the linking web page should have a low number of outgoing links. If there are a lot of links on the web page linking to you, the backlink would be viewed by Google as of low quality.
- Finally, the quantity of backlinks your website gets also determines its PageRank. The more quality backlinks your website has, the higher it will rank on Google’s search engine results page.
Backlink Placement and Anchor Text
When acquiring backlinks for your law firm’s website, it’s also important to take into account where they will be placed within the content, as backlinks are more valuable when they fit naturally. Compared to backlinks placed in a header or a footer, those within the content are regarded as more relevant and therefore able to influence page ranking. When search engine crawlers parse through your content for your keywords, anchor texts provide them with some direction. Anchor texts are also essential for inputting backlinks as long as you ensure that such text is relevant to the content.
Do-Follow and No-Follow Links
Backlinks could be do-follow links or no-follow links. Do-follow links are what give your website the vote of confidence that you need. A no-follow link does not carry the same value and in fact, these kinds of links tell Google not to take them into account for ranking your web page. Although no-follow links can direct users to your site, they do not affect the search rankings. This does not mean you should totally ignore them when you are trying to build backlinks to your site. Speaking with SEO experts for lawyers will help you determine when a link could be of value to your law firm’s website or not.
Technical SEO for lawyers
Technical SEO is another highly important ranking factor and ot has to do with how easy it is for users and Google bots to interact with your site. It entails organizing your website pages so that they are recognizable to search engines.
The search engine evaluates things like your URL structure, site architecture, site security, sitemaps, headers and title tags, internal and external links, alt text images, and more. All of these factors help determine how Google-friendly your website is.
Technical SEO can deliver ranking success or lead to a total SEO failure depending on how it is implemented. If you get your technical SEO wrong, your efforts could go to waste.
When it comes to technical SEO, some of the things you should keep in mind for improvements include page speed, mobile friendliness, user-friendliness, and Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google also takes your mobile site into consideration during indexing so ensure that it is responsive on all screens including tablets, mobile devices, and desktops. Ideally, your website pages should load within 25 seconds or less and it should have a structure that makes it easy to navigate. Internal links can help with that, so add a lot of them to your content. You can help users navigate between your practice areas, team page, and blog so that they find more information easily.
Law firm website content writing
Speaking of a law firm’s website, one of the most important factors when designing and optimizing a site is the content you’ll be adding to it.
Your law firm’s website needs high-quality content that engages your clients and is optimized for search engines. As we mentioned before, writing informative content with a research and commercial focus in mind is a great place to start. Another good idea is to analyze your competitor’s websites to see what they are doing. What kind of content are they creating? How long is this content? What headings do they use and how do they integrate relevant keywords you want to rank for? Once you identify what your competitors are doing, you can improve on it.
To develop the best content for your law firm website, you should come up with a content strategy. Determine what your content goals are, what your KPIs are, the challenges your clients are trying to solve, and the types of content they prefer. Then, create a content framework that includes different categories of content which take your prospective clients through the buying journey.
Your law firm website content should also keep clients’ attention. You can make it more interesting by adding images along with the text.
Include relevant keywords and internal links and external links so that search engine crawlers are able to index your content. That way, prospective clients will find your content when they are searching for help.
The best strategy when writing proper law firm website content will be to balance the importance it has from a legal perspective while also integrating the necessary SEO and marketing elements to ensure potential clients can find you withing Google’s first page. To that end, writing your content with a legal audience in mind will not yield the best results. Instead, try to write for a broader audience to make sure you reach the target that is actually looking for your services and might not be experts in the area. In order to create this content, you may want writers who have legal knowledge of the specific topics at hand. These could be lawyers in your firm, your in-house marketing consultant, or an SEO agency for lawyers. Outsourcing your law firm’s content writing will ensure that you are developing valuable content and optimizing it properly for search engine optimization.
Final SEO tips for lawyers
- Optimize your website URL
When it comes to optimizing your law firm’s website to the fullest, you can also optimize the URL. Once you find the keywords you want to rank for such as “personal injury lawyer,” you can include it in your website name and your URL. You can also do this for each of your practice areas. However, you should ideally only do this for new firms building their website from scratch.
- Prioritize user experience (UX)
User experience is at the core of SEO. If you want to optimize your website, you should make it user-friendly. Prioritize great design and user experience so that visitors stay longer on your site. Search engines will also take this into consideration to suggest your website to searchers.
- Implement local SEO
Search engines can also help you to appear for local searches. Local search is when people around your area are seeking the services that you provide. They may use search terms such as “personal injury lawyer near me” or “divorce lawyers near West Hollywood”, for example. After such a search, Google will show the results of firms in the selected area and also make suggestions through Google Maps. If you want to appear in any of these places, you must be optimized for local search by adding your address information and other location information that might be relevant.
- Add your business to legal directories
Legal directories are an avenue for people to find legal services in their location and, as shown in the image above, they rank highly on search engine results pages.
Create complete profiles on directories like FindLaw, Avvo, Justia, Best Lawyers, Legal Zoom, Nolo, LegalMatch, and more to help you better rank for local search. If your law firm is listed on any directories without your knowledge, contact these directories to claim your listing and ask them for citations. Also, ensure that your business information on these directories is correct. Citations mean that they would provide a backlink to your site making your domain even more authoritative.
- Complete your Google My Business Profile
On that same note, completing your Google My Business profile is critical to whether you appear in the results for local searches. Ensure that your business information is the same across all platforms as Google will draw on this information to decide whether your site can be trusted.
- Encourage clients to leave a review
Another crucial tip when you’re trying to optimize your site for local search is to encourage satisfied clients to leave a review.
- Optimize your social media profiles like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn
Link your social media profiles your website to drive more traffic and showcase how your legal expertise has helped your clients.
Looking for an SEO company for lawyers?
Getting into the first three results on Google’s search engine results page (SERPs) has become increasingly important. Only 0.44% of clients get to the second page of the results and the highest-ranking websites typically get all the clients . This is why you need to prioritize a lawyer SEO strategy for law firms. Our comprehensive guide can help you optimize your law firm website for search. If you require help with the process, you might want to contact us. Our SEO professionals will work with you to ensure that your law firm website is improving your practice. Book a FREE 30-minute consultation with us today to discuss your SEO needs, we can create an entire customized digital marketing strategy to meet all of your SEO needs so that you start attracting new clients and take your practice to the next level.