Every law firm needs new clients to survive and grow, and yours is no different. While there are plenty of online marketing methods available, none of them come close to the power of organic search.
Ranking high in Google’s search rankings is vital to the growth and development of any modern law firm, and effective SEO is the only tool that can make that happen. In this article, we’ll go over five reasons why SEO is crucial for your law firm, along with some tips to get your SEO efforts started.
SEO for Lawyers – 5 Reasons Why It’s Important
According to the National Law Review, 96 percent of people used online search engines when looking for legal advice. Most of those people aren’t looking for a particular attorney—they simply need some help with a legal issue and want to find the best local legal service for their needs. This is evidenced by the fact that these legal searches are overwhelmingly non-branded. Typical examples might include “Chicago personal injury attorney” or “New York divorce attorney.”
Here are some other statistics that demonstrate the importance of SEO:
- 92 percent of searchers chose businesses that appeared on the first page of search results.
- 70-80 percent of search engine users ignore paid ads.
- SEO’s conversion rate is a staggering 14.6 percent, compared to the 1.7 percent rate of traditional advertising methods.
Good SEO will help people discover your practice and increase the likelihood that they’ll become clients. Let’s take a more detailed look at five reasons why you should invest more time and attention into SEO:
1. More Website Traffic Means More Clients.
In a nutshell, SEO will bring more traffic to your website. This translates to more phone calls to your office and higher conversion rates. According to Google’s Legal Services Study, 74 percent of people that visit a law firm’s website are willing to take some action. SEO can get more of these people on your page and boost your firm’s bottom-line results.
2. Your Competitors Are Doing It.
Even if you’re not investing in SEO, it’s a virtual guarantee that your competitor down the street is. By default, there are ten organic search results on the first page of Google. The clicks for the firm occupying the first position are roughly double those for the firm in the second position.
75 percent of searchers never click beyond the first page. This means that if you aren’t in the top ten, you have a 25 percent (or lower) chance of getting seen by potential clients.
3. Your Website Will Be More Engaging.
Your website’s bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to your site who leave after seeing only one page) could be through the roof. If you aren’t using proper SEO tactics, you might be showing up in search results for the wrong terms or not giving potential clients the information they need when they reach your website.
4. It Gives You Credibility.
One of the biggest components of SEO is determining the need of your target audience and then designing your website and content to match that need. This not only gives you credibility with search engines (read: better rankings), but also with your current and prospective clients.
5. More Return on Your Investment.
Competition will always be fierce in the legal space, but a commitment to SEO can help you get ahead of your competitors without breaking the bank. When compared to other forms of digital marketing, such as paid ads and email campaigns, SEO gives you a high return on your investment.
Law Firm SEO – Where Should You Start?
Maybe you’re aware that SEO has the power to transform your law practice, but have no idea where to begin. In the following section, we’ll name a few effective SEO tips. You’ll likely be able to tackle some of these yourself, but you may want to hire professionals to implement some of the more advanced strategies.
Local SEO for Law Firms
Since lawyers draw most of their business from targeted geographical areas, optimizing for local search is essential. In other words, if you’re an “Atlanta attorney,” that term should be used on your website and social media posts along with your name and practice areas.
Your Google My Business listing and other online legal directories are foundational to good local SEO. Claim every listing and complete them thoroughly with your practice’s information (name, address, phone number, email, etc.), making sure that it matches exactly across all platforms.
Optimizing Your Law Firm Website for Search
Your law firm website should be optimized so that it’s simple for search engines to understand and easy for your visitors to navigate. Some of the areas you might want to get help addressing include:
Your law firm’s website must have the appropriate header, title tag, image, URL, and meta attributions for search engines to index your content. Google uses this information to help sort your site and help searchers find it more easily. Make sure that any keywords you use are relevant to the content you provide. If they aren’t, your search engine rankings will suffer, and fewer people will see your site.
Your website should also be optimized so that visitors can quickly find what they need. Intuitive navigation is vital, as is a site layout that is well-designed and user-friendly.
Image and Video Optimization
One component of SEO that is too often ignored is optimizing the images and videos on your site. For example, you can add descriptions to your images via alt text, which tells search engines what their function is. You may also wish to set a max image size or use a tool that compresses images without significantly compromising their quality.
Consumers now spend nearly four hours on their smartphones every day, and over half of all searches for legal services come from mobile devices. When a visitor reaches your site, they shouldn’t have to struggle with content that isn’t mobile-friendly. Every law firm website should be responsive, with click-to-call phone numbers for smartphone users.
Linking pages internally on your site improves your search engine rankings and heightens the user experience. You can use this technique to increase the performance of lower-ranking pages.
Search engines love websites that are well-organized. You can “silo” your website by creating content groupings around different subject areas. For example, your main page can be a “DUI Defense” page, with many different supporting pages that link to it, all relating to DUI cases.
In fact, 82 percent of consumers in a Hubspot Research Survey reported that they wouldn’t browse a site that wasn’t secure. If your website isn’t secure, you’re risking dangerous data leaks and needlessly reducing your website traffic.
Having a strong off-page SEO strategy plays an important role in the ranking of your website. Law firms that focus on off-site factors such as directories, high-quality backlinks, and social media marketing often outperform their competitors.
Your website’s content is vital for SEO. It should include appropriate keywords for the demographics you want to target. Keywords help search engines match their searchers’ queries with relevant results. You can use Google Keyword Tool, Google Trends, and Google Insights for Search to identify and target popular keywords and phrases in your content.
In addition to optimizing for search engines, you should frequently post relevant and valuable content to your website that will help visitors understand the value of your services. Your site’s visitors come to you with questions and problems. Make sure you are giving them answers and solutions.
SEO can be complex, and most lawyers didn’t get into the business to spend their time on it. While there are several steps you can take on your own, such as updating your online directories or posting to social media, you should consider enlisting the services of a professional for the rest. That said, having a rudimentary knowledge of legal SEO can help you make sense of the various services offered, as well as give you an idea of what you should be getting from your online marketing team.