A traffic-driven strategy: How to implement SEO for legal firms?

January 26, 2021 - 11  min reading time - by Eliza Jeffrey
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In this modern digital world, every organization wants to turn corners with their marketing strategy. Besides social media and online advertising, search engine optimization has become the most powerful digital marketing tool. Until now, however, it has been common for service providers like law firms not to pay attention to SEO, as they fail to recognize the importance.
The sprouting advancements in Google searches are changing the way people look for legal services. These days, leveraging ‘yellow pages’ or securing the back cover of telephone books won’t drive new business. Thus, if you want to grow your practice, hop onto SEO for law firms. Whether you are a private attorney or running a law firm – it can maximize your law firm’s visibility online. If you are clueless about it, let us help you understand this traffic-driven strategy.

What is SEO for Law Firms?

From shopping online, finding a restaurant, booking a ticket to looking for a lawyer – people are using Google for every minor or significant query. In the past few years, SEO has become a valuable asset for legal firms. It holds the power to put your practice in front of someone who is searching for similar services. The search engine crawls pages you put on the web, categorizes them, and indexes them on Google. Whenever someone searches for legal services, your firm will then appear on the search engine results page (SERP).
Here, we are unfolding some quick SEO tips for law firms to attract conversions and clients.

1. Target Law-Related Keywords

Unsurprisingly, SEO works on keywords, or the words someone types in to a search engine, and picking the right keywords is crucial to make this strategy a success.
Firstly, conduct thorough keyword research because without knowing what words searchers use, you would be shooting arrows in the dark. Leverage professional tools and strategies to figure out how people are searching for legal services. Although every tool – Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush – offers a free trial version, consider getting paid ones for in-depth research. If you are having trouble choosing the keywords, consider the following factors:

  • Keyword Volume: If you target ‘legal services for businesses’ or ‘affordable legal services’ – determine the search volume. It will help you define how many people search for it, and whether or not you want to focus on that keyword.
  • Your Target Audience: Are you familiar with your target audience? Look into their interests, search patterns, and how they find services.
  • Location: If you are operating in a specific region, use city names appropriately. You can target Northern Virginia legal services, legal management services in New York, or something similar.
  • Search Intent: There are distinctive objectives to online searches. A person searching for ‘lawyer reviews’ implies a ‘commercial investigation’ intent, communicating the need for a lawyer.

Searches with a ‘commercial investigation’ intent, such as if people search for ‘California legal services,’ indicate that they are looking to hire legal services, but are still in the research phase. These searches use indirect words since they are not ready for legal services. And by getting your firm in front of them, it can create an incredible lead-nurturing strategy. Alongside boosting the rankings, these keywords convert at a much higher rate since people are actively looking for suitable services.

2. Write User-Friendly Content

The power of unique and relevant content is no secret to anyone as it can make or break the SEO strategy. Law is a knowledge-based subject, which means the written word is highly conducive to spreading in the online world. For instance, if a person is opting for a divorce, blogs and articles can familiarize them with the legal procedures. Therefore, generate content that educates people, builds trust, and establishes authority.
Begin with your landing page and provide an overview of your services. Use a compelling story in your ‘about us’ section that communicates your goal and mission. If you are offering multiple services, link them to individual pages to provide a better understanding. Apart from this, explore content marketing. Create blog posts with topics pertinent to the situation instead of placing your ideas around the keywords. Once you have a topic, insert the keyword naturally. Stuffing the pages with keywords can break the trust of potential clients.
Use your blogs and articles to add details on legal subjects. Alongside this, give examples and talk about recent developments in law regulations across the country. Moreover, feel free to add audio and visuals in your content to boost the rankings. You can use podcasts to explain bankruptcy or types of personal injuries to promote understandability amongst audiences.

3. Create Backlinks

How would a search engine know about the reputation of your firm? The purpose of link building is to develop an impression in the eyes of the search engine. Hence, if you want a highly effective legal SEO campaign, create quality backlinks – external links that point towards your website, thus increasing traffic. The more links you have to back your site, the more authoritative your webpage appears in front of Google. As a result, it rewards your website with higher rankings. Here are some sources of backlinks.

  • Write law journal articles relating to your services.
  • You can create guest posts or articles on standard tops – how to find a legal attorney or reasons to look for a personal injury lawyer.
  • If you want to try something unique, generate content on ABA or other bar association articles.
  • Reach out to journalists or bloggers and offer collaborations. You can ask them to write for you or publish your content with backlinks.
  • Create infographics and informative videos.

Look out for broken or dead links with the help of Google Analytics. Create a report to track the link redirection process and get data on broken links, page views, etc. Organize all the data and get rid of the broken links to improve your site’s performance.

4. Structure Your Webpage

Every search engine’s goal is to direct searchers to websites with a good user experience. Therefore, a technical or complicated website structure can impact your legal business. Begin by removing the low-performing pages that don’t provide any value to your clients. For instance, this could be a blank page with a heading of discrimination and harassment. Similarly, delete all category pages, archives, image media links, and old press releases. After all, Google prefers small sites with high-quality pages than larger sites with useless content.
Moreover, turbocharge your website’s speed. A client in legal tension won’t wait for hours if your webpage is not loading. Instead, they would click on the next available link. Before page speed errors make you lose clients, select a premium hosting platform, and install a cache to plugin to reduce load. Alongside this, offer a responsive design that automatically adjusts for all devices and screen sizes. Lastly, have a direct call to action on your home page. Approximately 70% of law firm websites don’t have one, which means this could set you apart from the competitors.

5. Secure Your Website with SSL

Undoubtedly, security is a priceless commodity in the legal world. From diplomas on the wall to work for the client’s best interests – lawyers always have to ensure thorough protocols. Unfortunately, they don’t put the same effort into building a reputation online. Alongside securing the firm’s data, you have to safeguard your webpage. A secure socket layer (SSL) certificate is a technology that establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. Have you seen a padlock in the domain address? It is an indication that the webpage is secure.
It eliminates the chances of ‘Fake IDs’ where hackers can create a duplicate version of your site and gather the client’s information. It could include credit card details, personal details, and even case details. These attempts can put your firm’s reputation at stake and cost you a massive amount of penalties in damages. Whether your legal site has confidential information or not, enable the SSL on your webpage. Select a reliable host for your website with a relevant IP address.
You can buy an SSL certification from these hosts at a nominal fee. In short, it is a password given by a third-party that communicates your site’s safety to Google. Once you activate the certificate, update the site with new HTTPS protocol with few changes, and enjoy the upsurge in rankings. Remember, the lack of SSL reflects a poor user experience that can hurt your rankings and weaken SEO strategy.

6. Local SEO for Lawyers

In addition to optimizing keywords for location, you have to leverage local SEO for lawyers to optimize your webpage. If you have various office locations, optimize a page on your site for each one. As per finances online, 97% of law firms don’t have any personal content or information on their site.
Firstly, make sure your name, address, and phone on the website match the accompanying Schema.org markup.
After this, claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing and ensure you have an accurate and complete GMB listing. You can think of this as the ‘yellow page’ of the digital age and overcome inaccuracies. If there are any discrepancies in information, Google won’t trust your listing to impact search visibility. Therefore, cross-check all the information and add some reviews for bonus points. Positive reviews communicate your credibility to Google that in turn, increases rankings.
A successful local SEO strategy can help you win over the competitors. It will make your firm appear in the coveted three-pack on SERP, ranking you as the best firm in local searches.

7. Optimize URLs

After strategic keyword research, you will have a fair idea of what your target keywords are. Now, it is time to use those keywords in the URLs on your site without making it look spammy. For instance, if the target keyword is ‘legal services’ or ‘accident lawyer’ – use it in your URL as www.domainname.com/legal-services-about-us. It improves visibility while giving some understanding of your webpage.
Another way to optimize URLs is by adding them to a sitemap. Sitemaps can also inform search engines about pages that are not yet ‘mobile-friendly,’ which might be skipped by Google’s main crawling service that uses a mobile profile. This will help your website appear on the top results.
Moreover, block all unsafe URLs as they can get your site penalized. If you have any broken links or dead pages, it can lead to duplicated URLs. Therefore, use robots.txt to keep Google away from unsafe pages, and make sure your URLs are fully optimized.

8. Cite Your Firm in Top Legal Directories

Not surprisingly, SEO is more than content creation, keyword research, and link building. The search engines put a lot of emphasis on citations. The ‘mentions’ of your name, number, and address can increase the likelihood of bringing in clients. You can readily get these mentions by joining a legal directory. Do you know what legal guides are? They are online lists of law firms and attorneys, searchable through a web-based directory. Start searching online and get your firm listed on these directories.
Google considers citations from well-established and credible online sites that have excellent domain authority, thus, adding relevancy and authenticity to your law firm. Before you hit the road, learn about different citations:

  • Structured Citations: These are the most common citations found on every online directory – lawyers.com, Avvo, Yellow Pages, etc.
  • Unstructured Citations: Usually, government or media websites and blogs require such citing. It doesn’t specifically cities your site but mentions your services in blog posts.

After listing your firm, don’t forget to update these regularly and make sure it matches with Google listings.

9. Measure & Analyze Results

Are you familiar with your legal site’s performance? Unsurprisingly, none of the strategies would work if you don’t gauge and track results. Once you have implemented the process for legal SEO, determine which ones generate traffic and boost conversions. Usually, law firms apprehend results by looking at metrics, whereas they should be looking at key performance indicators. Here are five things you have to measure for analyzing results.

  1. Rankings: Check your domain score and identify your position on the SERP. A score below 80 is an indication that your website can improve its performance.
  2. Total New Clients: You can have a monthly review to determine how many clients your business got from its strategies.
  3. Return on Marketing Investment: It will help in determining whether costs weigh the benefits.
  4. Bounce Rate: It gauges the percentage of visitors that leave your website without taking any action. You can figure out why and try to get those potential leads back.
  5. Cost per Lead: It is essential to know how much money you are spending for leads and whether they are turning into conversions or not.

These results will help you tweak the SEO campaign to make the most out of your legal marketing strategies.

Final Thoughts

Emerging technology is changing how things work. Whether it is buying clothes or hiring a lawyer – people are searching online for everything. As per the national law review, approximately 96% of people look online for legal advice. Hence, if you are an attorney or a law firm, say goodbye to those yellow pages and give a shot to SEO for legal firms. It would make you visible in front of people searching for legal services, expanding your client base.

Eliza Jeffrey See all their articles
Eliza Jeffrey is a senior editor in Internet strategy, marketing, and development firm. She is responsible for designing an online strategy, marketing, and development campaigns for maximum impact.
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