Law firms and the legal industry as a whole is a competitive market, both online and offline. Which is why SEO for law firms is such an important online marketing method for lawyers.
Other digital marketing tactics like Facebook Ads, Adwords, and banner advertising are expensive ways to reach new ‘cold’ client leads. Which is why optimising your site for search engines is a more effective method of gaining clients.
But with a vast level of competing firms out there doing online marketing, how can you optimise your site properly to appear every-time a potential customer is looking for you? Find out, here at Brick-Digital.co.uk
What is Lawyer SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in it’s simplest form is the process of carefully optimizing your website to talk more fluently with the search engines. (Focussing on Google – the world’s largest search engine)
SEO for lawyers and solicitors websites is slightly different to others, but the goals are the same. To drive targeted traffic online leading to more clients in your portfolio
Following Google guidelines and ranking higher in search results has been proven to bring the highest return on investment out of all other organic online marketing, including:
- Facebook organic page growth
- LinkedIn organic company page growth
- Direct mail advertising
Without disregarding the tactics listed above, as they’re still very effective at generating leads, they rarely deliver the same high-quality traffic to your website as Google and other search engines like Bing.
How can I get my Law Firm to page 1 of Google?
Now that we’ve addressed why Search Engine Optimisation is the best digital marketing strategy for your company, we can explore the different ways you can get to page 1.
Similarly to most industries, there are two main methods when we talk about SEO for law firms:
- Local Lawyer SEO – Competing to appear in the map listings that appear when people are searching for legal service in your area.
- Organic Lawyer SEO – Competing with other legal firm websites to appear in the organic search results.
Don’t worry if this is slightly confusing, as we’ll continue to break them down below.
Local SEO for Solicitors & Lawyers
When it comes to being found in your local area, the Google map listings are the prime place to have your business featured. When clients search for “Law Firms near me” 9 times out of ten they’ll be shown the map listings with a selection of 3 featured listings.
Here’s an example of what the Google map listings look like:
Being within that top 3 gives you a great opportunity to gain new clients as by using the search “near me” we’d assume they’re searching with the intention to hire a local Lawyer or Solicitor in the near term.
Since the first result receives on average 33% of the clicks it’s easy to understand why it’s important to be that first results. Otherwise, you’ll be losing clients to your competitors who do appear first.
However there are some useful ways you can get ahead in the map listings…
Outranking your competing Law Firms in Google Map listings
First off, if you haven’t registered your business on Google My Business then you’ll never appear.
So if that is you go here to register: https://www.google.com/business/
Getting set up is the simple part. But there’s a lot more to make sure your business shows up in the maps
Your Google Business listing is similar to your website, the more content and information you have on it, these easier it is for Google to work out if it should show you or a competitor at the top.
Once you have your business listing live and verified make sure that it’s full of information. Use the tips below to optimise it:
- Add many images as you can
- Add your law firm office opening hours
- Verify all locations if you have more than one
- Include a description of the business
- Include any videos you have of your legal business including corporate videos
Google’s guidelines advise you keep your business listing full of information as they use this as ranking factor.
Google Business listings should be the first step in online marketing for lawyers and because of its ease to set-up doesn’t cost you money or time. More extensive optimisation of your Lawyer business listing is complex and it is required if you’re base in a competitive geographic location.
From our experience working on SEO for Lawyers and other SEO clients, we have noticed that a considerable amount of the leads generated for our clients have come from their Google Business Listing.
There is one downside to relying on your GMB as the sole marketing for a law firm – It’s so easy to do which means your competitors are likely to have optimised listings aswell. So how can you stand out and make sure you appear at the top?
Secure your Law Firms’ position on local directories
When deciding which lawyer to show in the map pack Google relies heavily on 3 key pieces of information (NAP):
- Phone Number
This is obvious when you look at how they display the above information in each map listing (see below)
Because of the obvious links between your NAP and the information you provide on local directories, Google can use these directories to verify that you are a respectable legal practice and therefore is more likely to list you at the top of the page.
As a law firm you may already be aware of some of the main directories that are used in your industry, but if you’re not sure what we mean by this here are a few that we recommend:
Getting listed on relevant directories like these will further promote your NAP as you should be including your detailed address and also a website link as a minimum. Having a link to your website from these sites shows Google that you are a relevant business in your industry and local area. Leading to better rankings in the maps.
Time is money, and getting listed on a number of relevant directories can be a time-consuming task, especially if you don’t even know where to start.
As an SEO agency we use a number of tools to get our clients listed on directories but if you’re prepared to spend the time required to list your legal firm manually then here are some you should start with:
Being listed on the above directories will do more than just help you rank higher on Google due to the extra exposure they provide to your business.
Finding your local SEO score
If you’ve already submitted your business details to a number of directories then you might find the following tool quite useful.
Moz Local provides a local SEO score based on which directories your legal firm is listed on, and how consistent the details are. At Brick we use this score to give us an idea of where we can make some simple starter improvements to the local SEO of our clients.
But Moz Local can also be used by you to discover some simple fixes that you can make yourself, and we recommend you aim to fix all of the issues.
Although the above has only scraped the surface of search engine optimisation, these simple steps will certainly help start the process of boosting your website up the Google rankings and into the map listings.
Now that we’ve covered off the local map listings, why stop there? Maps don’t appear on every search that your potential clients will make, so it’s important to get the best SEO for solicitors and lawyers in place to ensure you always appear on top.
The organic SEO checklist for Law Firms
When we say ‘Organic search results’ we are talking about the normal Google results that are shown to your client either below the map listings or in place of the map listings when they aren’t using local keywords.
Organic results are usually shown without map listings when the search term is longer than 4-5 words, and considering 50% of online searches are now longer than four words it’s an important place to appear in.
All search engines, including Google are robots. And the way they work is by crawling through websites 24/7 to check if they meet their guidelines then they decide where each site should rank.
In order to make sure your law firm SEO is optimised to suit the Google robot, there are a few things you should know that the robot is looking at as priorities:
- Bounce Rate – What % of users are leaving your site after visiting just 1 page?)
- User experience – How are users interacting with your site?)
- On-site technical signals – Proper use of titles, meta tags, keyword density and more
- Content – What do the words, images and videos on your site say about your legal services? And is this useful to your users?
Getting all of these perfect is really the job of an expert SEO agency, but there are some things you can do yourself which will stand you in good stead:
- Ensure there are at least 1000 words of useful content on your homepage.
- Use videos (ideally your own) on the pages you want to rank well in Google.
- Make sure you have a https certificate setup on your domain.
- Include your target keyword and synonyms that describe your services throughout the content on your site.
Using all the above factors and many more Google, and other search engines, run your site through their algorithm to decide where your legal firms site should appear in the search results. It’s always useful to remember that the user comes first in Google’s eyes so they will only pick websites that best serve the user to put at the top of the rankings.
On-site Lawyer SEO help
What happens on your company website is the most important factor that dictates your position in Google, which is why so many tools exist online to help you get your site in order.
If you’re looking to do some simple SEO on your own legal firms’ website then you’re unlikely to want the expensive online tools that agencies like us use. In that case we recommend you use more simple tools like the Website Analyzer available for free at NeilPatel.com. Enter your domain there and go to work:
Once you’ve entered your domain you’ll get the report shown above. We ran a test of our website 1 month after launching it to discover any major on-site issues.
Scroll down and you can quickly find any issues that need fixing on your site, by selecting the Warnings tab for your solicitors website.
Going through this tool, clearing up all of the warnings and errors that it identifies is a great place to start on your SEO marketing. Use the SEO Score to track how effective your site changes are being.
Now that you have your site in a good place ready for Google crawling, why not take a look at your main competitors and find out how they score? Then utilise some of their strategies on your site to out rank them.
Simply enter up to 3 major competitors of your law firm in the comparison section of the Website Analyzer tool.
Keeping your SEO Score above all your competitors is an effective method of outranking them in the search results. However if they are investing heavily in SEO services for Lawyers then there is more you should be doing…
Blogging for your Law Firm
Blogging might sound like something that Lawyers and Solicitors should stay well away from, but what if you really want to rank in Google and gain more clients? Then it’s a necessity.
As a time-consuming task, blogging is usually avoided by most businesses which is why they prefer to invest in complete agency SEO services. But if you’re serious about improving your SEO and are prepared to blog regularly then it can be the final weapon that beats your competitors in the rankings.
Writing about different areas of your legal services at least twice per month adds authority and relevance to your site.
Each time you write a new post about your law firm you’re creating a new page, with new relevant words for Google to crawl through. And ultimately you’re increasing your chances of being found on Google.
But where do you start?
Tools to find popular Lawyer blog topics
Now that you’ve decided to start blogging the next step is coming up with good ideas for blogs. Topics around lawyers and solicitors that people will find useful and interesting.
A tall order.
But there are some tools you can use to generate blog topics that have performed well in the past.
The first of these tools is called BuzzSumo. Simply visit their website and search with a few words related to the keyword you’d like to rank higher for:
After you hit search (and filter by ‘United Kingdom’) you’ll be presented with a list of articles that have received high numbers of shares, views and interactions online in the past.
Another of these useful tools is Google search itself.
Find out what you’re competition are writing about, and improve it. Simple right?
Like everything that’s easier said than done but starting with a quick Google search like below can uncover some great blogging opportunities:
As you can see, Google even suggest what people are searching for similar to ‘Do you need an immigration lawyer’ so you could take one of these topics and create a blog about it as you know people are looking for answers to those questions.
Which means they are likely looking for help with immigration law.
Also you can take a look at what your competitors are doing for their law firm SEO, then create a blog post around the same topic but with improved content.
When creating competitive content make sure it is of a better quality than the existing pieces, which means adding some of the following:
- Relevant information
Along with this, you should aim to create a longer piece of content than your competitors, as Google loves to crawl pages with heavy, relevant content. Which is proven when you consider that the average first page ranking has around 1990 words on the page.
Try to stick to the following to get a good chance of ranking high:
- 10+ Images
- 2+ Videos
- 2000+ words of content
- 2+ Blog articles per month
Using this formula in SEO for law firms gives you a high chance of landing your website on the first page of Google and staying there.
When we speak about online marketing for law firms and legal practices it’s slightly different to the usual solutions such as social media, and Facebook ads.
Potential clients are looking for a credible law firm to work with, and with 93% of online experiences starting with a search engine they’re likely to turn to Google to find you.
Being on the first page of Google when clients are searching for legal help is a major stamp of authority for your business and shows the client that you are a credible firm.
If you’re looking to move up the rankings and want a reliable SEO agency for the job, contact us today or request a free SEO audit of your website, below.