In today’s world, you can’t afford to forego search engine optimization (SEO) best practices no matter what kind of business you run. SEO for law firms is just as important as it is in any digital marketing strategy, but what is SEO exactly? SEO refers to a tactic that’s used to improve your website’s search result rankings across major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It helps you stay in line with algorithms, so you’ll actually show up in local search results. The better you rank across search engine results pages (SERPs), the stronger your law firm’s online presence becomes.

Simply put, the best SEO practices will help your law firm’s website get seen by those who need it.

A law firm’s search engine rankings are particularly important, as first-page rankings often translate to more credible and trustworthy attorneys. So, if your law firm’s site doesn’t appear on the first page of Google search results or Bing, the chances of someone finding you is extremely low. Nobody has time to click “next page” these days, and when users are searching for legal services, they usually want the best. Plus, people don’t tend to equate a “second-page” law firm with a trusted professional. Therefore, through targeted keywords and a bit of website management, your law firm can experience SEO success, gain free marketing, and reap long-term benefits.

keyword rankings for lawyers local market

A Quick Guide to Law Firm SEO

Most lawyers aren’t SEO experts, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you should bypass a good strategy for your law firm. So, if you’re still wondering how SEO can help your law firm and make a difference in your overall business success, keep reading.

SEO for lawyers is more important than ever. For instance, did you know that 96% of people use the Internet to find an attorney? People barely use Yellow Pages anymore, and no one really remembers the giant billboard they pass during their commute—nor do they take them seriously. The Internet is fast, free, and accessible, which is why it’s the first place a person turns to when they’re in a bind. Local SEO helps them find an attorney they can trust in their area.

About 84% of people said they would talk to at least three law firms before choosing, but if you make a strong impression through your SEO campaign, you’ll likely be the first one they choose. If they feel you could handle their case, they’re more likely to choose you even after talking to other companies. SEO ranking factor plays a huge role in trust, so it’s worth it to ensure your law firm’s position is as high as possible.

Still not convinced? Here are other ways a successful SEO campaign can significantly help law firms and attorneys.

1 – Established Market Position

Optimizing your law firm’s website using SEO best practices can help you rank higher in SERPs. The higher you rank in search engines, the more established your law firm becomes in your market. People often see higher-ranked law firms as more reliable, trustworthy, and professional than those ranked lower or on the second page. How do you get this established market position? Through well-tested, effective SEO tactics.

2 – Targeted Traffic

When people visit a search engine, chances are they know exactly what they’re looking for. With a targeted law firm SEO strategy, you can optimize your company’s website for specific keywords in your field. This, in turn, helps make yourself more widely available for organic traffic. This is much more effective than, say, pay-per-click advertising on social media because the audience that sees those ads doesn’t always need your services. Relevant traffic is 10x more beneficial than irrelevant traffic. If you want to start seeing results for your law firm, local SEO can help.

3 – Influx of Prospective Clients

Implementing your law firm’s marketing strategy can help you rank highly and increase organic search traffic. Once this happens, you’ll start to see an influx of prospective clients contacting you. Strong attorney SEO tactics allow you to get more business with half the work. If you want to put your law firm in the spotlight, SEO is the way to do it.

4 – More Conversions

Many companies struggle to convert visitors to clients from their law firm website or Google My Business. However, the more prospective clients that reach out to you, the more chances you have to convert them into paying clients. Not to mention, SEO brings people to you, so you’ll have more time to focus your time and resources on other parts of your law practice. This means more face-to-face time with new clients, more opportunities for research, and more time to prepare your cases without worrisome marketing distractions.

5 – Higher ROI

Whether you practice family law, criminal law, or employment, there’s bound to be competition. Without a successful law firm SEO strategy, you might quickly fall behind your competitors. However, thanks to Google Analytics and some strategic SEO services, you can check what your competition is doing and see that your law firm goes above and beyond. When you boost your SEO efforts efficiently, you can easily put yourself ahead of your competition without spending much time or money on your efforts. It’s a lot of work at the beginning, but once your website is optimized and your law firm starts following SEO best practices, clients will come rolling in. The ROI for SEO is much higher than other marketing strategies available.

How to Improve Your Law Firm’s SEO

When it comes to SEO for attorneys, the benefits are unmistakable. However, a surprising number of businesses don’t know about SEO or how to use it in a law firm marketing plan. Yet, if you want your firm to be seen as a trusted company, you need to implement off-page SEO and on-page SEO tactics.

But how do you start?

Attorneys already have tons of things on their plates and tend to wear multiple different hats. So, finding the time to optimize your website and learn technical SEO best practices can be tough, especially if you’re not the tech-savvy type. As a general rule of thumb, here are the 10 fundamentals of SEO for law firms.

1 – Get More Reviews

One of the easiest lawyer SEO strategies is simply getting more online reviews. The more positive online reviews you have, the more likely search engines are to boost you up in ratings. This acts as a positive reinforcement cycle, ensuring that the law firm’s reputation stays strong.

Start by asking your past or current clients to give you testimonials to use on your website. The more respected a source is, the more it will help increase traffic to your site. Additionally, when prospective clients visit your site and see all of the great reviews your past clients have left you, they’ll be more likely to trust you as their legal advisor, even if you are a small law firm.

2 – Pick the Right Keywords

While several factors are crucial for SEO success, utilizing effective keywords carries much weight. For example, if you optimize your site for a keyword that’s never searched, you’ll never get results. Instead, analyze the competition, use keyword research tools, and find keywords relevant to the legal world. The more relevant your keywords are, the stronger the results will be.

3 – Avoid Intense Legal Jargon

Many law firms have websites filled with legal jargon that isn’t always well received by visitors. While it’s no secret that lawyers are phenomenal writers, much legal writing is filled with jargon that can be difficult for everyday people to understand. To increase your SEO efforts, write in terms that someone without a law degree can understand. Use the keywords you researched, and you’ll be climbing the search results rankings in no time.

4 – Correctly Optimized Meta Descriptions

A meta description is the part of your SEO strategy that provides potential visitors with a short website description. It appears underneath your direct link in SERPs and helps people get a clear understanding of what they’ll find when they visit your site. Oftentimes, these blurbs are pulled from your site automatically, but if you can write a killer description, then it can help increase your search results rankings as well as increase your click-through rate.

5 – Increase Visual Appeal

Although often misunderstood, the visual aspects and overall appeal of a website are also vital for law firms. In fact, they’re crucial aspects of on-page SEO. Google and other popular search engines have recently put a greater emphasis on user experience in the ranking process, so aesthetics matter. When your site is more visually appealing and has a good user interface, you’ll naturally grow on search results pages. Focus on up-to-date web design and ensure your entire site is mobile-friendly.

The addition of video is also gaining particular importance, especially in the legal SEO world. Videos are quick, easy to view, and allow people to get a preview of the personality they’d be working with. Create short videos for common questions you receive and add them to your blog or home page. It’s also a great way to increase the content you can post on your social media pages, which further establishes your law firm as a trusted source.

6 – Think Local

Local searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo are often the most popular, especially in the legal field. People want to be able to make the drive and meet face-to-face with who will be representing them. This is why it’s important to ensure your local SEO campaigns are targeted toward your local communities—optimizing your website for local SEO can make a huge difference. Link to any local events you’ll be attending, join local chambers and groups, and always make sure that your name, address, and phone number are uniform across all online listings.

7 – Be Consistent with Content

Finally, when engaging in long-term SEO for your law firm, you need to regularly produce some sort of content and post it weekly. Regardless of whether you decide to publish vlogs, blogs, or a mix of both, regular content is a great way to improve your company’s SEO. There are a lot of law firms that start a blog and then fall off the face of the Earth a few months in. However, a huge piece of the algorithms for search result rankings includes producing new content. Try to aim for at least 1 new blog post every two weeks that includes relevant backlinks (both internal and external) and share them on your social media page. Make sure that the writing is fresh, unique, and creative in order to get the best result. Who knows, you might even create something that goes viral.

The above SEO guide is a great overview of why you need SEO for law firm websites, but it’s just the beginning. If you’re a law firm looking to increase your client base or simply gain more website traffic, it’s time to focus on improving your SEO. Everything we mentioned here will help you propel past your competitors and climb in the search results rankings, but working with SEO agencies like Operation Technology can help maximize your efforts. The importance of SEO for attorneys has never been stronger, so try to get started as soon as you can. If you can’t find the time you need to implement effective SEO successfully or would rather leave it up to the professionals, contact us, and we’ll take care of it for you.

About the Author: Brad Fogel

Bradley Fogel is a professional web designer and SEO consultant. Bradley has been working in the digital marketing field for over 20 years and is the CEO of Operation Technology, a digital marketing agency based in Chicago, IL. Starting his own company was something he had always wanted to do. It has been very rewarding to him seeing the team at Operation Technology helping small local businesses to large national clients with their digital marketing needs. His passion is developing strong online strategies for clients while making new connections within the industry. Brad’s background also includes a PMP certification from the Project Management Institute. Learn more about Brad Fogel.