Prospects in your area are looking for a criminal defense attorney right this very minute, but they won’t call you unless you’re on the first page of Google.
Instead, they’ll call a competitor law firm – the first one they find.
People who need a lawyer don’t have time to sift through multiple pages of search results.
To capture criminal defense prospects, you need to get your law firm SEO on point, so you rank on the first page of Google.
Achieving this goal requires a strong SEO and digital marketing strategy.
Table of Contents
Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:
- What is SEO for law firms?
- How your criminal defense law firm benefits from SEO
- The SEO components that get results for law firms
- How to implement a solid criminal defense SEO strategy
SEO for law firms explained
Search Engine Optimization, also called SEO, involves optimizing your website to make your web pages appear as high as possible in the search results for various search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
In other words, when users search for keywords and phrases related to criminal defense, they’re given a list of websites they can choose to visit.
SEO helps your website rank closer to the top of those search results.
When your web pages rank higher in the search results, you’ll generate more targeted traffic to your website, which will help you generate more leads.
How SEO for law firms works
Generally speaking, SEO works by optimizing your content to be what search engines consider relevant to what users type into the search bar. For example, when a user types in “criminal defense lawyer near me,” Google will provide several pages full of websites it deems relevant to that phrase.
These pages are called the Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs for short. Your goal is to optimize your content so that your webpages on the first page of the SERPs for the key phrases users type when looking for a criminal defense attorney.
For users searching in Google, there are four ways you can become visible after a user’s search: Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), Featured Snippets, PPC ads, and the SERPs. However, SEO only applies to Google Business listings, Featured Snippets, and the SERPs. PPC ads are entirely different.
Before continuing the discussion on SEO, it’s important to understand why PPC ads aren’t part of SEO even though your ads will appear on the same page as search results.
What’s the difference between SEO and PPC ads?
You might already be running pay-per-click (PPC) ads on platforms like Google and Facebook. If you’ve been running ads, but you’re new to SEO, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between these two strategies.
Both PPC ads and SEO will drive traffic to your website, but you pay for each click/lead with PPC ads. Professional SEO services aren’t free, but you don’t pay per lead.
SEO is an ongoing process of optimizing content that perpetually generates traffic to your website, so long as you’re still visible in the search engines. You might pay to have content written and optimized, but once that content is completed, it will continue generating leads for free.
SEO for getting your webpages in the SERPs
Getting your webpages in the SERPs is the traditional and original way to utilize SEO. Known formally as organic search results, this is where you’ll encounter most of your competition.
Although competition can be fierce, if you’re a small criminal defense firm, you can focus on local SEO and narrow down your target market to avoid competing with national law firms. Although national law firms also target local SEO, a professional SEO agency will help you get past this.
There was a time when organic search results were the only pieces of content that showed up in search results. Today, that’s changed and there are two more types of content: Featured Snippets and Business Profiles. Let’s look at how SEO impacts each of these.
SEO for your law firm’s Google Business Profile
In addition to using SEO to get your web pages to rank high in the SERPs, you can also use SEO to get your Google Business Profile to show up on the first page of search results. Google Business Profile listings are shown above organic search results, which gives you an advantage in capturing prospective clients who may not scroll down.
Sometimes this is easier than getting your webpages to rank, especially when you’re competing against large corporate law firms with million-dollar budgets. In other words, if you don’t have a large budget to rank your individual webpages above your corporate competitors, you can still rank your Google business listing and come out on top.
Business listings show up in the SERPs in groups of three. If your listing comes up for a user, they will see a map showing the location of all three businesses, including yours. The more you optimize your listing, the higher it will rank in the list.
You can also optimize your chances of getting clicks through positive ratings and reviews because your business listing will display your rating (1-5 stars) along with the number of reviews you’ve received on Google. The higher your rating, the better chance you have at getting leads.
SEO for Featured Snippets
Often referred to as position zero, Featured Snippets are brief snippets of text that accompany a search result at the top of the entire first page of results. These results are formatted in a variety of ways, including numbered and bulleted lists, standard paragraphs, and sometimes even tables.
When you can get your web pages and content to appear in the SERPs as Featured Snippets, you have a better chance at getting leads because your content will be the first thing people see.
You may have also noticed questions with collapsible answers in some Google searches under the heading “People also ask.” This is a beta feature in Google, and is similar to, but different from Featured Snippets.
To get exposure in these areas, you’ll need to do some SEO to get Google to recognize your content as the most relevant answer to a given search query. This is slightly different from standard SEO used to get your webpages to rank. The best way to optimize your content to appear in this section is to work with a professional SEO agency.
How your criminal defense law firm benefits from SEO
The bottom line for your law firm is that SEO will bring you more prospective clients. According to data sourced by Capterra, 70% of law firms generate new cases from their website. This includes leads who called, emailed, and filled out a contact form. That’s a significant amount of leads. Even better, when law firms use video marketing, their search engine web traffic increases by 41%.
The biggest challenge you face with SEO is the fact that law-related keywords are highly competitive, have the highest demand, and are the most expensive keywords across all industries in PPC. This means you need to be intentional with your SEO efforts and make sure you’re using the strategies that get results.
If your website doesn’t show up in the first page of search results, you aren’t getting the full benefits of having a website. Here’s what you can do about this.
Use these 6 SEO components to get results for your law firm
1. Video marketing
As stated above, law firms generate a 41% increase in search engine traffic by using video marketing. This makes sense considering videos get indexed in the search engines just like any other content, and many leads discover videos independently of a law firm’s website.
Create videos that introduce your law firm to potential clients as the best solution to their situation. Ideally, you should create separate videos for each specific practice area. For example, say you work with DUIs, DWIs, drug crimes, burglary charges, homicide, manslaughter, weapons charges, or juvenile crimes, create separate videos to address each potential client.
2. Produce original, high-quality content
Creating high-quality, original content for your website is essential for SEO. Not only does optimized content help your web pages rank, but it’s also a way to build credibility and authority. High-quality content is also an essential part of your backlink building strategy.
Since the people who find your content will likely be looking or an attorney, your content should focus on providing answers to questions about the charges they’re facing. Each of your practice areas should have a separate category on your blog with content tailored specifically to that practice area.
It’s also a wise idea to include a FAQ section for visitors to help them understand the legal process. Most people don’t understand how the justice system works, and if you can put people at ease, they’ll be more likely to call your law firm. Plus, this type of information is also what your potential clients will be searching for in Google, which makes it perfect for SEO.
3. Perform on-page SEO for your content
Your webpage content is where you’ll want to focus on on-page SEO. In addition to having amazing content, here’s what you need to do for on-page SEO:
- Use images and video.
- Cite your sources and references whenever possible.
- Use the right keywords with the appropriate density
- Include keywords in your headings and subheadings along with title tags.
- Include LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords so Google understands the relevance of your content.
- Use the appropriate number of outbound and internal links within your content.
- Optimize your images to load quickly.
- Set the right URL paths, the shorter the better
- Ensure your pages are mobile-friendly.
- Fix all 404 errors with permanent 301 redirects.
4. Run a content marketing campaign
Running a content marketing campaign is a winning strategy for criminal defense lawyers. This is a strategy where you’ll create original content that gets published on other websites, like blogs, that includes a link back to your law firm’s website.
Publishing content on other websites with backlinks to your website will generate traffic to your site and help you rank higher in the SERPs.
5. Focus on local SEO
Local SEO will help you rank in the search engines for searches performed by people local to your area. For instance, if your law firm is located in California, local SEO will target visitors from California.
Since criminal defense keywords are highly competitive, it’s important to target local leads. Let the national law firms target the general population because when you work with a professional SEO agency, you’ll generate local leads.
6. Run a strong backlink campaign
Quality backlink campaigns are inextricably combined with content marketing. Content marketing happens to be the best way to generate high-quality backlinks to your law firm’s website.
With a backlink campaign, you’ll generate inbound links to your law firm’s website from content published on other websites as well as through partnerships and other ethical link-generating practices.
Let SEO.co implement your criminal defense SEO strategy
Unless you’re a seasoned SEO expert, the best way to implement SEO for your criminal defense law firm is to hire a professional agency. That’s where we can help!
At SEO.co, we’re experts at helping SEO law firms dominate first page rankings.
We offer full-service SEO for law firms, including content creation and link building services that yield sustainable, organic results.