Marketing your small law firm seems like it should be easier than ever, but understanding your SEO settings and how to optimize them can be daunting. To get your law firm on Google’s front page, you will want to have a general understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the tools available to you.  

1. Focus on Search Engine Optimization 

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process by which business owners make their website more attractive to Google and other search engines. While working with a marketing and web design professional is often the simplest way to get highly optimized content, there are a variety of free plug-ins and extensions for even the least tech-savvy. 

Tools of the Trade 

Yoast: This free WordPress plug-in is the standard for meeting Google’s core requirements for ranking in the top 10.  

SEMRush: SEMRush provides incredibly comprehensive SEO support; it also offers law firms the ability to do competitor ranking searches. The SEO Writing Assistant Tool can also help you edit your web pages to rank higher for specific keywords. You can use it to find organic keywords and search terms that can help you rank higher. 

2. Use Relevant SEO Keywords  

The foundation of your SEO-friendly site will be your use of relevant keywords. Keywords connect the dots between a search and your site. When someone searches Personal Injury Attorney, Google scans websites looking for personal, injury, and attorney keywords.  

The web is littered with websites for personal injury attorneys, so it can be easy to get lost in the mix. If you want your firm to make Google’s front page or be at the top of other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, you will need to include specific keywords and use them appropriately—at around 1% – 3% of the text on your web pages. If you use more than that, Google may penalize your page for keyword stuffing.  

Tools of the Trade:  

GeoRanker: This is a great, free tool to ensure that keyword density issues do not impact your on-page SEO. It also shows where supporting keyword phrases are and whether your meta tags and weighted words (bolded, header text, etc.) are being correctly set up for top search rankings.   

Accuranker: Knowing where you stand on targeted keywords is easy and free with this app. Accuranker gives you up to five keyword ranking searches per day, showing you unfiltered mobile and desktop results. 

3. Go Local 

Local keywords are at least as valuable—if not more—than long-tail keywords. City names, states, and even neighborhood distinctions can help increase your rankings and get your law firm in front of people in your area when they search.  

One of the key local SEO components for ranking high on Google’s front page is your citations—bits of vital information that let Google know that you are a legitimate business. This includes your law firm name, address, and phone number (NAP) information. These citations must be standardized across every directory you are listed in, from Avvo, Lawyers.com, and Martindale to Google My Business.  

Tools of the Trade 

BrightLocal: BrightLocal allows you to review all the main components of a good local SEO strategy, from keyword analysis to auditing your NAP entries across all major platforms.  

Google My Business: Here is another free tool that is important for increasing your search engine results rankings. It is crucial to make sure that you fill this out completely, including your business location and service area.   

4. Use Long-Tail SEO Phrases 

In addition to general keywords, you will also want to use long-tail SEO phrases. These phrases are more specific and more likely to attract clients looking for a particular, actionable result.  

Someone searching criminal defense attorney for vehicular manslaughter is much more likely to reach out to you than someone searching defense lawyer, simply because they know what they are looking for. Integrating these highly specific phrases into your content can help you connect with clients who are closer to choosing a lawyer, which gives you a higher contact rate. Furthermore, they are excellent for targeted PPC campaigns since long-tail SEO is usually less expensive than more general keywords. 

Tools of the Trade 

KWFinder: KWFinder helps law firms of every size find the most targeted long-tail keywords with the highest traffic volume. Because they have less competition, they are less expensive per click in your paid search marketing campaigns. 

HigherVisibility: This SEO boutique offers a free local SEO phrase generator for you to develop into long-tail SEO targets. You can then download the list and add it to your ranking and tracking software. 

5. Include Desirable Content, Alt-Tags, and Links 

Quality content, appropriate and credible links (both inbound and outbound), and a mobile-friendly site are all high determiners of whether you will rank on the front page.  

Other important SEO factors include keywords in your photo descriptions (alt-text) and your inbound and outbound links. In addition to being shareable and readable, your content should include keyword-rich alt-text in your photos that are relevant to your targeted keywords. Inbound and outbound links can also have a lot of weight for search ranking. For attorneys, linking to studies, government websites, and news articles can increase the value your site offers. In addition, backlinks (links that other sites have to your content) have even more weight, so it is wise to seek out quality sources to link to your content. 

Tools of the Trade 

Google Analytics: This is the best way to see who links to your site and whether the links you have on a page are being clicked. Review your Acquisition tab under All Traffic to see which sites are referring to you.  

6. Make Sure Search Engines are Indexing Your Site 

Another pitfall for law firms trying to boost their ranking is not checking if your site is indexed. A site that is not indexed will not show up in search results. To make sure your site is indexed, type “site:” followed by your URL into the search bar.  

If your site is not indexed, you have a variety of options. You can build and submit your sitemap directly; you can use a plugin like Yoast that gives you a step-by-step walkthrough of how to engage indexing; or get into your site’s code to clean it up yourself.  

Tools of the Trade 

Google Webmaster Tools: This is the place to go if you need to find out how Google’s robots view your site. From here, you can see if pages are indexed, if you have errors, and Google will give you suggestions on how to fix them.  

7. Use Social Sharing and Other Tactics 

Engaging content that keeps visitors reading is good, but Google places higher weight on content shared and liked on social platforms. Social sharing is a great way to build traffic and increase interest in your site, but it requires time, effort, and sometimes a place in your budget. You want to create unique, high-interest content that offers excellent value and appeals to your client base. There are plenty of tools available to create this content on your own. Create professional social media accounts and consider working with legal writers to generate content. 

Tools of the Trade 

Stencil: A low-cost option for unique and custom graphics, Stencil is a user-friendly graphic design program with hundreds of templates to choose from. This is a great way to increase engagement instantly.  

Unsplash: If you need images for graphics, blog posts, or even printable materials, Unsplash offers free, high-quality images without additional copyright costs.  

In Summary 

Your website is often your first point of contact with clients. It is vital that it appears in search engines— the higher up, the better. An SEO-friendly site helps increase visibility, expands your new client funnel, and leads to better engagement across your marketing channels. Using these simple tips, you can set your firm up for better search engine visibility success and long-term marketing success.