SEO for Law Firms
For law firms, lead generation via SEO is critical. Growth and profitability are predicated on finding new leads, converting them into clients, and winning cases. But if you aren’t investing in SEO, you’re stunting your firm’s potential from the very start.
Fifteen years ago, law firms could rest on their laurels and get by without a large investment in SEO. Today, ignoring SEO is a death sentence.
In 2005, just 7 percent of people used the internet as their primary method of finding an attorney. The overwhelming majority of people – 65 percent, to be exact – would ask a family member or friend for a referral. Even the Yellow Pages – yes, the thick paper version – was a more popular choice than booting up the computer and running a quick Google search. But times have changed over the last decade.
When you look at the larger process of seeking legal advice – including gathering information about a situation, seeking advice, and hiring an attorney – 96 percent of people now use a search engine at some point in the process.
According to a more recent survey by FindLaw.com and Thomson Reuters, the internet is now the most popular method for finding legal assistance.
Roughly 38 percent of people use Google and other search engines to find attorneys, compared to just 29 percent of respondents who ask a friend or relative for a referral.
In order to fully leverage the internet as a channel for generating leads, you need to optimize your law firm website and play by Google’s rules – and this is where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes into play.
Why Lawyers Need SEO
There will always be a certain push and pull involved in business. There are times when you have to go out and push your business onto people in the hopes that they’ll respond. This includes most forms of direct sales and advertising. Then there are times where you gently pull customers into your business. Much of marketing falls underneath this heading – and SEO does as well.
Whereas most forms of exposure and outreach involve reaching out to your audience to convince them of something, SEO gives your law firm the opportunity and power to reach people when they’re already actively searching for information or services related to your niche or area of expertise.
In the most basic sense, SEO – which is merely the optimization of your website so that it satisfies the search engines and reaches the right prospects in the midst of the right searches – is a traffic tool. If you don’t optimize your website for search engines, you’re essentially eliminating any opportunity you have to attract organic visitors to your website. Instead, you’ll be completely reliant on people finding a link to your website and/or manually typing your law firm URL into their browser search bar.
Research shows that 96 percent of people seeking legal advice use a search engine; 74 percent of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action; 62 percent of legal searches are non-branded (i.e. generic searches like “Seattle injury lawyer”); and 72 percent of people seeking legal advice only contact one lawyer.
In other words, people are searching for legal help and the attorney they end up with is usually the attorney that shows up most prominently in their search results. Thus the secret to earning more clients and growing your firm is simple: Boost your website’s SEO.
Why can’t my law firm just use pay-per-click (PPC) ads to automatically rise to the top of the search results and consistently pull prospective clients in for precise search terms, you may ask? Well, technically you can. However, building your search engine strategy on a foundation of PPC ads is like building a house on a foundation of sand. You might get the house started – perhaps even get it built – but eventually it’s going to come crashing down.
The problem is that search engines are super competitive – particularly in the crowded legal industry where some of the bigger firms have six- and seven-figure marketing budgets that they flippantly toss around whenever they're in need a quick boost in website traffic.
For a smaller or medium-sized law firm, trying to compete on pay-per-click (PPC) ads is nearly impossible. Larger firms are spending between $50,000 and $100,000 per month on AdWords. Even the most basic, generic legal keywords can cost a firm $50 a pop. If you’re trying to compete on more specialized keywords, you can expect to spend $100 or more.
For firms that have the money to use PPC advertising as part of their outbound marketing strategy, that’s fine. But most law firms and attorneys are better off using organic inbound marketing methods to reach potential clients in a cost-effective and sustainable manner – and SEO is the answer.
Doing SEO halfway won't get you very far, though. For Google searches, 75 percent of all clicks go to results on the first page (including 57 percent to the first three results). You need a targeted SEO strategy to help you rise to the top. In doing so, you'll benefit from increased visibility, website traffic, and leads.
What you can expect when you work with SEO.co
STEP 1Intro Call + Learning SessionOur partners are more than clients. They're partners. We want to ensure we understand first and confirm the mutual fit.
STEP 2Marketing Audit + ConsultWith our SEO digital marketing onboarding, we'll include a mini SEO audit and then consider your site's current issues, assets, and competitors. We'll also set benchmarks and ROI targets.
STEP 3Customized Marketing ProposalOur detailed proposals include pricing, timing and process details, excluding any gotchas and including all you need to know to keep us accountable.
STEP 4Execution + ROIEvery month, we focus on outbound communication so that you can achieve better results from your marketing spend with a focus on a positive return on your dollars spent.
STEP 5Regular ReportingNot only are we keen on measuring ROI, we report our mutual success on both a weekly and monthly basis for acquired backlinks and on-site fixes.
Fundamental SEO Ranking Factors for Attorneys
You’re in the business of practicing law – not optimizing websites so that they satisfy Google’s ever-changing algorithmic requirements – we get that! But regardless of how you choose to handle the SEO aspect of your law firm marketing, it’s helpful to have a very basic understanding of what goes into the SEO process. Here are the fundamental factors that influence SEO and search rankings:
- Technical aspects. Google – and other search engines, for that matter – have some technical requirements and expectations for websites. These include factors like website structure, meta titles, meta descriptions, URLs, headers, image alt text, etc.
- Navigation. Google is in the business of satisfying its users. It does this by sending them to websites that offer high-level user experiences. Thus Google rewards websites that optimize their navigation to make it fast, seamless, and intuitive.
- Content. Content is the gasoline to a website’s engine. Content gives the search engines something to search and provides your human visitors with information to sink their teeth into.
- Backlinks. Search engines find and process information by crawling websites and reading them quickly. Backlinks allow them to search websites faster and create a web of authority that tells them which pages are relevant, valuable, and authoritative. The more backlinks you have pointing to your website (preferably form other high authority websites), the more Google values your site.
Each of these fundamentals is important. Eliminating any one of them is like removing a wheel from a car – it’s not going to travel very far without it. But the first two are fairly easy to address and leave alone. (You’ll need to monitor and optimize over time, but they don’t require constant handholding.) The latter two elements, on the other hand, are a bit more involved. Content and backlinks go together and, if you want to skyrocket your search traffic, you need a powerful link building strategy.
What Does Link Building Do?
Search engines use links to discover new web pages and to determine how well a page should rank in their results. Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites. The more links your law firm website is able to acquire from authoritative websites and blogs, the more you'll benefit.
The primary objectives of link building for law firms are to increase:
- Discoverability. Think of your website like a city and the links that lead to it like roads. The more links you have, the more opportunities internet users have to find your website. In this sense, link building is all about increasing discoverability and driving traffic.
- Authority. Google is in the business of keeping its users happy. It does this by supplying people with the most relevant and useful results for their searches. Thus, Google wants to deliver authoritative pages and stay away from amateurish results that don't yield value. One of the primary ways in which Google determines a page's authority is by how many other respected websites link back to it. Link building is an investment in your website's reputation.
- Conversions. The right link building strategy targets very specific keywords that resonate with a very particular audience. As opposed to generic outbound strategies that cast a wide net, link building focuses on quality over quantity. This leads to higher conversion rates.
- Sustainability. The moment a law firm stops paying for PPC advertisements, all of their traffic disappears. With SEO, this isn't true. Link building is an organic method that builds upon itself and actually continues to grow over time (even if you stop investing in it). This makes it the single most sustainable strategy in modern digital marketing.
The Building Blocks for Sustainable Law Firm SEO
Now that you know why link building is important and how it impacts your ability to generate clients for your law firm, let’s take a look at some of the essential building blocks of an effective link building strategy:
- Quality content. Content is the glue to link building. Without good quality content, you have nothing to link to. So before you can dig too deeply into the technical and strategic elements of building out links, make sure you have a solid foundation of content – also known as linkable assets.
- Thorough keyword research. While the days of keyword stuffing are behind us, there’s still immense value in performing keyword research and developing content around the ideas and search terms that your prospective clients care about.
- Networking. Believe it or not, a big part of link building is networking. The more connections you have, the easier it is to secure link placement on high authority websites that generate a lot of link “juice.”
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the demands of link building, but when you break it down into the basics, it becomes much more manageable.
8 Timely SEO Techniques and Strategies for Law Firms
There are essentially two theaters of link building: link attraction and manual link building. It’s important to understand each in order to truly grasp how law firms can build SEO backlinks.
Link attraction, which is often referred to as “link earning,” is all about developing and publishing pieces of content on your law firm’s website and enticing other websites, bloggers, and journalists to link back to you as a resource or reference point. Link earning is by far the most natural and effective method of link building, but it can take years to see results.
Manual link building is the process of proactively generating links by producing content for other publishers in return for a link. Guest blogging, which we’ll discuss below, is the prototypical example of this branch of link building. The benefit of this approach is that it leads to faster and more predictable results.
A balanced link building strategy will include elements of both link attraction/earning and manual link building. Here are some of today’s most commonly used techniques and strategies:
1. Sticky Content
At the heart of SEO – and link building, in particular – is content creation. You need a wealth of high-quality content in order to rank for specific keywords, attract backlinks, and earn new linking opportunities.
Linkworthy content is selfless. It serves the needs of the reader more than the needs of your firm. (Though, ultimately, this approach comes back to benefit the firm.) Think of how-to content, engaging visuals, interactive tools, infographics, and other magnetic resources. When you develop compelling content, other websites and bloggers can't help but link to your pages.
2. Guest Blogging & Outreach Link Building
Guest blogging plays a major role in building out backlinks from targeted websites. It involves contacting the owner of a website/blog and offering to develop original content for their platform in return for a backlink or two directed at your own website. The more guest blogging relationships you develop, the faster your link building efforts will be accelerated.
While far from a traditional approach, Reddit is quickly becoming an effective platform for building trust with people, interacting with users, and (slowly over time) incorporating links that add value to the conversations that are occurring within threads.
Much in the same way as Reddit, Quora – the popular question and answer platform – is a place where lawyers can step in and provide general answers to questions that users have about different aspects of law. Personal injury lawyers, for example, can step in and provide generic information (you obviously want to be careful not to give advice) – occasionally plugging in backlinks to direct users back to your website.
Podcast link building is a great strategy that a handful of lawyers of latched onto in recent years and leveraged for some pretty fantastic results. The idea is that you offer your expertise to individuals who have popular podcasts by appearing on their shows. In return, they promote you in the show marketing and advertising – slipping in backlinks to your website. (You can also generate some links from podcast blog transcriptions, which are becoming more popular.)
HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter out, is a free service that helps reporters get content and leads for stories, while simultaneously helping users get publicity and links. It’s such an effective service that respected companies and large organizations like American Express, Fox News, the AP, and other major news outlets use it quit regularly. Law firms can use it, too. You can either offer yourself up as a resource in certain areas of expertise, or you can search for leads that journalists currently need help with. In return for your services, you can expect quotes and links back to your website.
How to Choose the Right Law Firm SEO Partner
Clearly, link building isn’t something you’re going to master after reading an article or watching a quick YouTube video. It takes months (even years) of experience to know what works. And that’s why most law firms end up hiring a link building specialist to handle the job.
It’s all about opportunity cost. Let’s say you bill $200 an hour in your firm. Even spending one hour a day on link building – which won’t yield much of a return – is going to cost you more than $50,000 per year in billable hours. You can hire a skilled specialist and get better results for a fraction of the cost. It’s all about dollars and cents (and DIY link building isn’t your best option).
Run a quick search for law firm link building specialists and you’ll find hundreds of options. The question is, how do you find the right one for your needs? We recommend looking for:
- White hat tactics. You should only work with link building specialists who use white hat tactics and organic techniques. If someone tells you they have a shortcut or new strategy that nobody else knows about, your internal alarm bells should go off. There’s no replacement for doing link building the right way.
- Positive testimonials. Anyone can say they do link building well, but do they have the history to back it up? Ask for referrals, testimonials, or a list of clients the link building specialist has worked with in the past.
- Authoritative connections. A good link building specialist will have a long list of connections with publishers, bloggers, journalists, and industry influencers. This is how they provide authoritative linking opportunities for your law firm website.
- American based writers. There are plenty of good writers all over the world, but you should only trust your link building efforts with a specialist who uses 100 percent American based writers. Someone who uses English as a second language simply doesn’t have all of the grammatical nuances that an American writer possesses.
- Transparency. There should be full transparency and direct engagement on all interactions with a link building specialist. There’s no reason for anyone to hide anything.
Partner With SEO.co
Actual Personal Injury Law Firm SEO Results
As the requirements for white hat link building have grown and Google has cracked down on low quality strategies, many so-called SEO experts have refused to adapt. In return, they’ve become snake oil salesmen for strategies that are no longer effective. So consider this a word of warning: You can find plenty of cheap and easy link building “experts” that will promise quick results, but few live up to the billing.
At SEO.co, we don’t pretend to offer quick fixes. We don’t promise overnight results. And we don’t claim to be the cheapest service on the market. We do, however, guarantee that we’ll go about link building in the right way – meaning honest, transparent, and completely white hat – and that you’ll be satisfied with the results. (In fact, if we fail to acquire any of our agreed-upon deliverables, we’ll allow you to swap for another service or publisher of equal value, or get a 100 percent refund on your money.)
If you’d like to learn more about how link building can help you grow your law firm and generate more qualified leads, please fill out this free site assessment form. We’ll get in touch and walk you through some of the options you have at your disposal.
There are dozens of companies that offer content marketing, link building and SEO services. But while they may make some appealing claims, few live up to the hype. At SEO.co, we promise several distinctions. Here’s what sets us apart:
- Quality. We don’t do anything halfway. We believe in high-quality content that’s honest, in-depth, and on-brand. If we didn’t do things the right way, we wouldn’t be able to consistently earn exposure for our clients on industry-leading websites like Forbes, Business Insider, and hundreds of other recognizable platforms. Other link building companies burn bridges. We’ve had many of our connections for the better part of a decade.
- Fast turnaround. We understand that you’re anxious to get results and work hard to speed up the process as much as possible. All progress is recorded in real-time and shared with you, the client, so that you can stay abreast of what’s happening.
- Control. You don’t have to worry about getting shut out of the process. We allow our clients to choose publishers, approve pitches, and verify the quality of the deliverables every step of the way.
- Transparency. Communication is the lifeblood of our process. You’ll always have direct access to someone on our team. And if you have any questions or concerns, we’ll gladly address them at any point in time.
- Low-risk. Our services come with a risk-free, 100-percent money back guarantee. If we’re unable to accomplish an agreed-upon deliverable, we’ll let you swap it out with something else of equal value, or get a refund.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Many of our clients are repeat customers, which really says something about our quality and attention to detail. Don’t make the mistake of going with one of the “other guys” simply because they offer a lower price or make outlandish promises. At the end of the day, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
We have a network of hundreds of authoritative websites and blogs where we’ve been able to consistently earn links and brand mentions for our clients over the years. While our list is always evolving, we’ve developed content for sites like Entrepreneur, Inc., Forbes, Mashable, The Next Web, Wired, AdAge, The Wall Street Journal, VentureBeat, Read Write, CIO.com, Business Insider, and more.
Here’s the thing: Anyone who promises that they can land you on page one of Google for a specific search term isn’t being truthful. They might luck their way into doing it once or twice, but they can’t possibly do it consistently. So while we’ll never guarantee a specific result, we absolutely stand by our work.
If we fail to acquire any of our agreed-upon deliverables – such as link placement on a particular website – we’ll happily swap it out for another piece of content or publisher of equal value. If we can’t do that, we’ll offer a complete refund. (We never charge for the time spent trying to earn you links. We only charge for what we deliver. That’s the best guarantee you’ll find in the industry – bar none!)
At SEO.co, we’ve spent the past decade-plus carefully selecting and refining our team in order that we may provide our clients – that’s you! – with the absolute best link building and SEO services in the industry. And rather than only hire SEO specialists (like many of our competitors), we prioritize diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging expertise.
Our SEO.co team includes digital strategists, innovative marketers, articulate English-speaking writers, financiers, and entrepreneurs who understand the ins-and-outs of what it takes to create meaningful exposure for growing businesses through cutting edge content marketing, link building, and search optimization.
So you want to work with us to build links to your law firm’s website – but how does it work? Here’s an extremely simplified look at the process:
- We work together to figure out which links will provide the most value for your website and ROI for your budget.
- We provide a list of possible publishers and you select the ones that you’re most interested in.
- Our team of skilled content writers craft pitches, which you review and approve.
- Once the pitch is approved, the content is developed and returned for your review.
- The approved content, complete with your brand mention/link, is sent to our contact at the particular blog or website and it’s put into their publishing queue.
- We continually update you on the status of your content and wait for publishing.
- After publishing, we monitor the status of the link and provide you with any additional information you may need.
At SEO.co, we have a stable of talented content writers who are excited about the opportunity to craft fresh, original content for a wide array of clients – including law firms and attorneys. All of our content writers are experienced, English-speaking writers who go through a rigorous approval process to be a part of our team. Some of our writers have written millions of words of original copy for our clients.
Absolutely not. We practice white hat SEO and link building, which means we don’t have to worry about Google penalties. Rather than force spammy links into poorly written posts, we focus on relevance and authority. Not only is the content we develop relevant to the publishing platform, but the links we include in the articles are relevant to the content. Furthermore, we don’t target spammy sites that run the risk of finding Google’s bad side. We only work with high quality publishers who play by the rules.
Quality, relevant content is at the very heart of our link building strategy. This means you need quality content on your website in order to make link building viable and worth the investment. If you don’t currently have relevant content on your website or blog, we have content marketing services available to help you shore up this weakness. We have the resources to develop an article here and there, or we can set up a monthly service where we supply fresh onsite content indefinitely.
At SEO.co, we work with clients from all different industries and backgrounds. However, law firms are one of our areas of expertise. We work with dozens of law firms and have an in-depth understanding of how the industry works from a digital marketing perspective. In fact, we’d be so bold to say that no other link building agency has as much experience working with law firms as we do.
A focus on quality content and quality backlinks for law firms
We follow a simple, time-tested process for building quality website backlinks for your business:
- 100% U.S. based content team with experience writing legal marketing copy
- Reliable & quality online publishers, including high domain authority websites
- Top-notch customer support
- Non-branded link and content publishing reports
- Fully white-hat services
- Speedy delivery on all customized orders
- Full transparency on all orders and direct engagements
- Money-back guarantee on a pay-for-performance model