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SEO SPECIALISTS Share Their Best Tips for Lawyers

This is the question we posed to more than 50 SEO specialists who have done SEO for lawyers. Their answers will provide you with good direction whether you’re formulating your own law firm SEO strategies or just looking for general advice.

If you want to improve your own website rankings or your clients’ website listings in the search engines, then this expert Q&A roundup is what you’re looking for.

Enjoy and share it with others. Thank you!

1
SEAN SMITH

Having worked with plenty of law firms, I would say typically the thing they fall short on the most is producing high-quality answers to questions their potential clients might have about their services as a means to attract would-be clients.

There usually isn’t a lot of local competition for these types of phrases and typically, visitors are pretty intentional when it comes to law, so they usually convert well once they’ve read content like this.

There are plenty of other law firm SEO strategies, but this is just one where I see firms fall short.

2
ROBBIE RICHARDS

Regardless of the client, I always start with an audit. This tells me a lot about the client, their specific practice areas, as well as the competition they are up against. From this initial analysis I’m able to quickly identify the opportunity areas that will provide quick wins for the client, and solidify enough upfront trust to establish an ongoing relationship.

Most of the legal clients we work with are local SEO projects, some with multiple locations, others with multi-lingual targeting within a single geographic location. We are even working with a defamation attorney right now that has international clients. As a result, the strategy and approach vary a bit. That’s why I always start with the audit. The insights save us a lot of time spinning our wheels, instead of getting shit done.

All that said, we look across the following areas: Google My Business, website and landing pages, content audit, citations, link analysis, reviews, social media, structured data, and competitor analysis.

From there, we can usually find quick win opportunities. Knowing that this is kind of a “duh” answer so far, I’ll list out the tactics that move the needle the most for legal clients. Each of these tactics fall under what I like to think of more as a single “framework” that delivers short- and long-term results.

Content audits: Basically—we analyze all the indexed content on the site, and look at four key metrics—links, organic traffic, conversions and engagement. We map data points across these four areas down to the page-level and make one of four recommendations … (1) Keep, (2) Remove, (3) Improve, (4) Consolidate. After we have executed on this, the client will often see immediate organic traffic gains, and have a really solid content base to build all ongoing efforts from. We recently did this with a client in the defamation law space. In seven months their site has gone from ~3,500 organic visits and 130 online leads a month, to ~10,000 organic visits and 299 leads in August. And, that was without writing a single new post or page on the site.

This strategy works well in legal, because clients often come to us with a ton of content already on their site after working with other companies for years on their SEO.

Existing KW research: Once we have established the base, we identify all the low-hanging fruit on the website. I’ve written in-depth about the process here. Basically, we emerge with a shortlist of pages with existing rankings 6-20, that with a little promo can make some quick gains.

Citations & Reviews: Citations have long been known as a staple in the local SEO ranking factors. We get the client listed or updated on the top 50 directories, then run a manual submission campaign using Bright Local to build out the profile and get some more niche relevant listings.

On top of that, we use our in-house review management system to collect positive reviews across the major review sites and sync a live feed to the client’s site. This social proof is massive for conversions.

Google My Business: It amazes how many clients come to us with a poor GMB page, or none at all. This is the centerpiece of the local search presence. We spend a lot of upfront time optimizing that profile, and building links to it.

BONUS: Legal is an incredibly competitive space. So, if a client has some budget, while they are working on SEO, I often recommend running a small local PPC campaign to get immediate visibility in the SERPs, and get the phone ringing. This is particularly effective now that you can run ads in the map pack. I usually start with Click-to-Call only campaigns on mobile devices.

3
MICHAEL MOGILL

“If you were working with an attorney to improve their law firm’s search engine optimization, what would be your #1 tip to get results?” Invest in videos that provide value to prospective clients.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is often considered one of the most important strategies to utilize when marketing your law firm. If you’re not on the first page of Google, chances are potential clients won’t even end up on your page- in fact, less than 10% of internet users even venture to the second page of search results.

SEO differs from paid marketing in that it relies on organic growth, which relies almost exclusively on targeted content marketing. To have an effective content marketing strategy, you must first have valuable, desirable content—that’s where video comes in.

Video marketing is a proven strategy to enhance your brand, but that’s not all it does. Videos have become a dominating force in online activity, and companies are responding by making their content more visual and interactive. HighQ predicted that 2017 will be the year of video marketing, and there’s a reason for that.

Generating website traffic can be a tough component of your firm’s marketing strategy, especially in the age of paid advertisements. With an average of 3 to 4 homepage ads coming from sponsored companies, getting your company to the first page of Google can be a daunting task. However, having relevant and high-quality videos on your site is proven to boost your search rankings more effectively than organic content alone. Google rewards relevance and quality, so if your firm adds videos to your site, it could significantly improve SEO. Here are a few statistics to highlight the positive impact videos can have:

  • Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic
  • Video leads to a 105% increase in time spent on your site
  • 65% of decision makers will click through to your site after viewing a branded video
  • Embedding a video in your firm’s landing page can increase conversion rates by 300%
  • Video can also influence metrics such as your bounce rate—by improving the overall content on your page by including quickly digestible content like video, you can increase the odds that visitors stay on your page.

Numbers don’t lie, and search rankings don’t either. Videos are truly an impactful way to gain the upper hand in the competitive law industry, and can exponentially increase traffic to your firm’s website.

4
ROB TIMMERMANN

From a business owner’s perspective, I would want to promote my law firm through marketing instead of the individual lawyers promoting themselves. What happens when you do this is the firm has a much better chance of longevity because the firm controls the inbound leads. This is because people will have the name of the firm as top of mind rather than the name of the lawyer. They also control the leads by showing up when people are searching for the type of firm they want.

5
MARCUS MILLER

This is a fiercely competitive industry. So getting the basics of your Local SEO and on page work dialed in is essential here. But it won’t be the competitive difference maker.

The difference maker in competitive industries is always authority, so the most important tip is to focus on building authority. This, of course, is easy to say, but not always so easy to do in practice.

Create content that truly helps the law firm’s potential customers. Something that is truly useful and authoritative.

I would then concentrate on promoting and building links to that content to help raise visibility of that content piece (or pieces) and to build up domain level link authority. This is strategically simple but there can be a lot of moving parts. I covered this approach in more detail in a recent Search Engine Land column.

6
LEXI MILLS

There are plenty of opportunities to comment on the legal perspective of current news. I would encourage members of the firms to write or dictate their perspective on this.

I would craft this into a blog post, with graphics and video where possible, get it signed off, and then promote it to local, national, and trade media to build links and grow the reputation of the firm. Or perhaps create a piece of content or an online app that translate legal speak to ‘human.’ There are many legal terms that may be frightening or difficult to understand.

Making a dictionary that explains legalese using videos, gif, famous movie references, and visual examples would be strong promotional and consumer content that could be targeted to specific sectors such as students, families, immigrants, etc. depending on the law firm’s strategy.

Creating top tips or mistakes to avoid lists for legal issues could work very well. For example, key things to know to maintain compliance with your O-1 visa. Top considerations for a prenup. How to save money on taxes when you are a dual resident.
All of these topics can be targets to particular audiences and linked to current news cycles, helping to grow not just domain authority but also brand awareness and conversions.

7
KASPAR SZYMANSKI

Working with attorneys, it is vital to look into the physical business location while considering their websites’ SEO signals. In legal business, prospective clients are most likely to search for a lawyer nearby.

The website needs to convey that important information to Google and users alike. Ensuring search engines understand the locality of the business is a crucial first step towards creating positive user signals before anything else.

Of course, in a vertical as competitive as the legal business, one fundamental signal will hardly suffice to achieve the goal of persistent visibility in search results for relevant, converting queries. It is, however, the first step towards providing a great user experience and to win the SERP game big.

8
JAKE BOHALL

The legal services space is very challenging for SEO due to competition and investment in the space. Most attorneys have the budget to spend on SEO, so you quickly find that much of the low-hanging fruit typically available in SEO does not provide any real boosts, but simply helps get you closer to “par” with your competitors.

Having a mobile friendly site that is well structured, full of great content, easily accessible for mobile, free of errors, and efficient for crawlers is a norm in the space, and authority really becomes the key to setting you apart from competitors for search rankings.

To really be effective as a law firm, it’s important that you have the type of in-depth content that will support link growth by being an exceptional resource for others, and even more importantly…that you are seeking out opportunities to have your subject matter expertise highlighted in the media.

This is most often through guest appearances on local news networks, contributing legal opinion in articles on major sites, and increasingly by establishing a pro-bono service offering that identifies you as more altruistic than others in your space.

9
MARKO SARIC

My #1 tip would be for the law firm to create some great content and publish it on its website or blog. Without content, it will be difficult to rank in the search engines.

The process would be to analyze the target audience and to find a sweet spot between the services that the law firm offers and the needs/wants/questions from the target audience. That will make it clear what topics need to be tackled.

Then it would be all about creating great quality content that answers questions that the audience has in order to attract them to the site, help them, inform them, and educate them.

The blog or the website should be optimized to get leads, too, so I would include live chat and other call to actions to get in touch for those who are tempted to take it further.

10
MARIE HAYNES

I have done a lot of work helping attorneys who have been the victims of bad SEO work. In the past, it was commonplace to see legal websites that had absolutely horrible link profiles because an SEO company had spent hours building low-quality directory and article links. Many of these websites received manual unnatural links penalties or were negatively affected by Google’s Penguin algorithm.

Now, links are still very important, but the only links that really move the needle are ones that have real purpose outside of SEO. If you can figure out a way to earn links rather than build your own, then you have a formula that really should help improve rankings.

But who wants to link to their attorney’s website? That makes link earning hard. However, I have seen some attorneys earn some fantastic links.

One of the things that works the best is to do something that journalists want to write about. Examples could include doing some pro bono work for a community group, setting up a petition, or bringing awareness to a real problem in our society.

Once you have a case or situation that you can talk about publicly, then create content that people truly want to read that describes the situation.

This means that someone in the firm who has good legal experience needs to write this content as opposed to a journalist who works for your web design company.

Then, start spreading the word via traditional PR outlets, social media shares, etc. If you do things correctly, you’ll often get lots of people talking about this situation, writing about it, and linking to it.

A few good links like this can make a huge difference.

Chris Dreyer

Chris Dreyer is the Founder & CEO of Rankings.io, which provides SEO (search engine optimization) services to lawyers, to help them obtain more clients, cases and revenue. To learn more, visit rankings.io or email Chris at chris@rankings.io.

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Filed Under: Business ManagementFeatured StoriesPersonal Development

About the Author: Chris Dreyer is the Founder & CEO of Rankings.io, which provides SEO (search engine optimization) services to lawyers, to help them obtain more clients, cases and revenue. To learn more, visit rankings.io or email Chris at chris@rankings.io.

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