While there’s still value in purchasing ad spots on radio and television, renting billboard space, and plastering your firm’s name and number on bus stops and in magazines, nothing comes close to matching the ROI of digital marketing for lawyers. And if you’re serious about enhancing your firm’s online image, you’ll find that search engine optimization – or SEO – is central to the cause.
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Strategic SEO: A Missed Opportunity
You’re a lawyer, not an advertising guru or marketing specialist – we get that. But don’t let the fact that you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of digital marketing turn you off to SEO. Because as intimidating as it can seem to someone who doesn’t understand it, it’s ultimately the refusal to learn that will hurt your growth for years to come.
Many law firms are doing some SEO. But in most cases, it’s a hodgepodge of techniques that are inconsistent and low returning. There’s a big difference between doing SEO and doing strategic SEO. Doing the former without embracing the latter often leads to missed opportunities and debilitating issues for law firms, including:
- Costly crutches. When there isn’t an intentional SEO strategy in place, law firms end up relying too heavily on PPC advertising as a replacement for SEO. Though there’s nothing wrong with PPC, it should be used to complement other elements of digital marketing. If it’s the only thing you’re doing, you’ll ultimately be at the mercy of the marketplace. As costs rise, so will your SEO budget. It’s an artificial crutch that only yields returns according to how much you spend. When you stop spending, you stop getting leads.
- Lack of preparedness. Google updates its algorithm fairly regularly. Some updates are fairly minor, while others are significant. If you aren’t tuned into your SEO strategy, you’ll fail to understand when these shifts occur and how they impact your approach. As a result, you’re more prone to sudden dips in traffic.
- Thin content. Content marketing and SEO go hand in hand. If you’re using a generic SEO approach – or no SEO approach at all – your content isn’t going to have the foundation it needs to enhance your lead generation efforts.
- Surpassed by the competition. Law firm SEO has gained some serious steam over the past five years and will continue to billow in the near future. If you aren’t taking a strategic approach to SEO, you’re falling behind the competition. It’s far easier to take smart steps now than to play catch up later.
As you can see, the decision to ignore SEO – or at least not intentionally pursue a documented strategy – will cost you in the short term and over the long run. But if you’re ready to lean in and make some changes, it’s never too late to get back on course.
7 SEO Strategies for Your Law Firm
Every law firm is unique and has different needs. But regardless of size, niche, or location, there are certain SEO principles and strategies that are proven to work. As you launch or optimize your SEO strategy, here are some different techniques we believe you’ll find helpful:
1. Perform an SEO Audit
The logical first step is to begin with an SEO audit. This will allow you to establish a baseline of where things are currently and where you can improve.
While it sounds pretty intimidating, an SEO audit really isn’t a huge deal. Using the right tools and resources, you can knock it out fairly quickly and establish a strong foundation upon which you can facilitate future growth.
There are a bunch of different ways to conduct an SEO audit. No method is necessarily right or wrong. Which one you choose depends on your understanding of SEO, the time you have, and your objectives. Neil Patel has a good resource on this, which is perfect for getting started. We also recommend that you conduct regular year-end SEO audits to stay on top of changes as they occur.
2. Update Your Profiles
Your SEO audit will bring you face to face with the various aspects of your online presence that you’re either ignoring or managing poorly. In particular, you need to update and/or complete all of your online profiles. This includes:
- Super Lawyers
Not only do you need a presence on these sites and networks, but you need your profiles to contain accurate and thorough information. This makes your firm discoverable and allows you to create a consistent online image.
3. Create Niche-Specific Website Content
Lawyers often assume that SEO is some technical field that involves manipulating page structures, developing websites, and using advanced analytics to optimize little bits and pieces of website code. And while there’s certainly a technical side of SEO, it’s not nearly as secretive as people think. The reality is that SEO is all about content.
If you want to take your SEO efforts to the next level, you need to invest in quality content. This will do two things for you. To start, it’ll tell the search engines the main focus of your website and who it’s designed for. Secondly, it’ll attract prospective clients and help them understand your firm.
Niche-specific website content is important. You need a dedicated section on your website for each practice area or client base that you serve. For example, a personal injury attorney needs a page for car accidents, slips and falls, dog bites, product liability, and each area of focus. The more extensive these pages are, the better.
4. Create a Content Calendar for Blogging
Web pages with niche-specific content are the backbone of your website. But content creation is something that you need to continually focus on. To remain disciplined and consistent, you’ll need a content calendar for your blog. As the name suggests, this is a calendar that includes content you want to publish, writing deadlines, publishing dates, and other relevant details.
For the purposes of SEO, blog content needs to satisfy a few criteria:
- Sticky. For the purposes of SEO, sticky means useful and linkable. It’s content that retains value over time and provides the reader with tangible value.
- Relevant. Blog content should be relevant to your audience. In other words, topics should satisfy specific pain points and needs.
- Unique. Your blog posts have to be unique. This will ensure you get the maximum SEO benefit.
- Long-form. The best blog content is long-form. This means at least 1,000 words in length (and ideally more).
If you consistently publish blogs posts that are sticky, relevant, unique, and thorough, you’ll gradually build up an arsenal of content that’s linkable.
5. Pursue Link Building
Everyone wants to immediately jump into link building, but it’s only effective if you have the right content foundation in place. Once you do, your SEO strategy will quickly accelerate.
As we’ve discussed in our link building for lawyers starter’s guide, link building is all about securing backlinks from high-authority websites and domains. In doing so, you increase your own website’s authority and enhance online visibility.
6. Encourage Reviews
As a lawyer, you’re in a service industry. For clients to work with you, they must feel comfortable. And one of the best ways to simultaneously boost SEO visibility and establish trust with prospective clients is to gather reviews and utilize them as social proof.
Encourage your current and past clients to leave you reviews on prominent sites like Google, Avvo, Facebook, Yelp, and anywhere else your law firm has a presence. As you build up reviews, you’ll send clear signals to Google that you’re trustworthy. As such, the algorithm will feel more comfortable feeding you traffic.
As for the reviews you already have, make it a point to engage with them by responding. This increased activity is another positive signal – both to search crawlers and human searchers.
7. Put Yourself Out There
You can’t sit back and wait for people to link to your website. While it will happen over time, you can significantly jumpstart your efforts by making yourself available.
Build relationships with bloggers, journalists, and social media influencers. Offer to be a resource for quotes, legal opinions, interviews, and other pertinent needs they have. Each time they use you as a resource, they’ll link back to your site and give your SEO strategy a boost.
Let SEO.co Help
At SEO.co, we specialize in providing SEO for lawyers and law firms. As you seek to enhance your SEO strategy and make intentional decisions about how you address things like content marketing, website optimization, social media, and link building, we would love to help.
Our link building services for law firms handle every step of the process. We pitch ideas, develop content, reach out to publishers, secure placement, and deliver authoritative and sticky links that yield sustainable, organic results.
Contact us today to learn more about our 100 percent money-back guarantee!