As a lawyer, you are hired to represent clients in legal matters. Building likability and trust is important – if clients don’t like or trust you, then you may lose them. Now, think about your website – what do you need? You need people to go to your site, right? Without clients, you have no work.
So, when you get people to your site, you want them to stay, like, and trust you. Right off the bat, you have to realize that getting more site visits and eventually, winning people over to convert them to paying clients is no easy task.
What Is The Point Of SEO?
People, for the most part, turn to the internet for information on legal services, and most of those people will use a search engine. ComScore reported that in 2016, 64% of searches were done on Google, and 21.4% of searches were done on Bing. LegalScapes’ aggregate 2016 numbers from our client sites show an even bigger gap, with 88.3% from Google and 7.6% from Bing. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the goal of having your law firm’s website fully charged and ready to roll, turning visitors into clients.
So, you are thinking, “Okay, let’s get started!” Well, hold on a moment. Just as you need to do research to make your cases better, you also should gain some knowledge of how search engines work, then research the clients that you hope to attain. As you can see from the statistics above, a good majority of searches for legal information is coming from Google, so you definitely will want to know as much as possible about the functioning of search engines.
How Search Engines Work
Basically, in simplest terms, search engines use web crawlers that visit web pages to obtain and organize the information. Then, through search algorithms, the most relevant search response is figured out. Finally, you are quickly sent useful responses in the correct format for the type of knowledge that you wish to obtain. For example, if someone inputs the query of “accident attorneys,” they would receive information specific to that kind of lawyer, not just a list of various agents.
Before You Begin Utilizing SEO
Now that you have some working knowledge of search engines, your next step is to learn more about what your website audience wants. To this end, there are four questions that you must consider, such as:
- Will your SEO efforts match your firm’s goals and objectives?
- Who do you want landing on your pages?
- What search engine queries do these people make?
- What actions should visitors take once they reach your pages?
Take a look at your firm and others around you. How does your company compare with them? Come up with an idea of what it is that your firm does better than the rest. What makes your firm’s lawyers stand out as the ones to choose? You might wonder why you should answer these questions. Simply put, the answers reveal what brings people to you to become your clients, so they will link to you and talk about you, which will bring you more business.
Getting Optimized For Search
Your goal for law firm SEO content: use the words that will focus on those people that you want as consumers of your service. You can try to come up with terms that only associate with getting ranked higher on search engines, but often that will result in dull content, which means that potential visitors may lose confidence and may go to a competing firm. SEO must combine with intelligent content to have potential clients believe that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy – plus, the combination significantly increases your visibility in search. Additionally, highly effective law firm content and blogs assist your audience with questions or provides useful information.
Web crawlers need to find proper SEO practices and intelligent content, which means that your website probably needs work. Your site should have no technical issues. For example, you may have to make improvements to certain technical ranking factors of each page. In dealing with these elements, you have to spend precious time (which you could be using for your clients) with such matters as your site’s construction, schema and markup, responsive design, performance, optimization for load times and more.
Offsite SEO and Link Building
When you have handled the technical problems, you will need to promote the pages. Part of any complete law firm marketing strategy is to create off-page signals – for instance, you share a page link with other pages from authoritative sites. Backlinks can produce an off-page signal, but locating pages with which to share links is very time-consuming.
If you choose to hire an SEO expert, find one who specializes in working with law firms – familiarity with your industry and the unique factors that apply to each industry is important.
Do You Need To Hire An Expert?
Are you willing to put in time, continuously, to learn online marketing, the most current search engine optimization techniques and search engine changes, can you code and are you technically adept? If so, you can attempt to do it yourself, but most folks that we talk to prefer to spend their time performing law and outsourcing other items to experts. Here are a couple of items to keep in mind as you search for an online marketing vendor…
- No one can promise high rankings on the top search engines – steer clear of those who say that they can. Changes occur almost daily with algorithms or the internet. Even if you can rank on the first page, that is simply short-term thinking. You want experts that think long-term.
- Next, ask the marketing experts to explain their SEO procedure. Go beyond technical expertise – ask them to give a simple explanation of what it is like to work with them.
- Find out if they follow acceptable SEO practices of the search engines. You do not have to know them all, but at least know that they exist – educating yourself on the basics will help both you and your provider as you work toward the same goal.
- Finally, last but not least, you will want to know their experience with your industry. The marketing company should be aware of what influences law firm SEO performance, the specific challenges that lawyers face marketing online, and how you can advertise effectively in each state without running afoul of rules of professional conduct.
LegalScapes can help from end to end with your online marketing, including SEO, pay-per-click advertising, content (written by attorneys on our content team) and more. To get the conversation started, call us at 919-825-1050 or fill out our contact form!