The Basics of SEO for Lawyers: Start with These 7 Tasks
When it comes to SEO, how do you stack up against your legal competition?
23 of the 25 most expensive search terms involve lawyers and litigation. Clearly, SEO for lawyers is a fiercely competitive sector.
Perhaps you want to do more, but don’t know where to start? Plus, you’re busy – running a law firm’s no easy task.
Don’t worry; sometimes small changes can make the world of difference in the digital sphere. So here are 7 tasks to get you started and help attract more clients, all through the power of SEO for lawyers.
Work your way through the below and you can expect to see a healthy bump in your ranking positions.
Let’s get right to it.
1. Make Sure Your Site Is Being Indexed
First, make sure your website isn’t blocking Google’s crawling and indexing bots. If it is, it doesn’t matter how well you follow the rest of this guide; you’ll get nowhere.
Once that’s sorted, you’ll also need to make sure your meta-descriptions are complete. The last thing a prospective client wants to see is…
“A description for this result is not available because of this site’s robots.txt.”
Not very reassuring.
If you’re unsure how your site currently appears to visitors, you can check this through google. Just search ‘site:’ immediately followed by your domain address.
Your efforts will be rewarded with a list of all your indexed pages and the meta-descriptions for each. If everything is displaying correctly, you’re good to continue.
2. Select Winning Keywords
If you need help researching keywords, the following keyword research tips should put you on the right path. Here are our 3 favorite methods:
- Google Adwords PPC Suggested Keywords
- Existing Page Topics / On-Site Search
- Competitor research and analysis
But even with the best keyword research in the game, if you’re not able to use them effectively, your efforts will go to waste. To get this spot on, try using keyword mapping.
For example, to help boost SEO for lawyers, we can divide user searches into three broad categories:
- Money (looking to purchase your legal services)
- Discovery (looking for information about legal services)
- Attention (looking for specific information about their circumstance)
For each keyword on your list, consider how it relates to visitor intent. Armed with this information, you’ll be much better positioned to decide the most effective content to populate your keywords into. As an example, keywords that suggest an intent to buy should center on your legal services page.
Just make sure to only focus on one main keyword, per page. On that page, you’ll need to use the keyword in the following places for the full SEO benefit:
- Page URL
- Page Title
- 1 image title
- 1 image alt tag
- Multiple times throughout the content
3. Build Valuable Content
Now you know precisely what your keywords are and how to use them, it’s time to switch your focus to crafting killer content.
For the legal sector, the ability to produce expert content is particularly important. After all, you need a way to truly differentiate yourself from similar services in the local area.
Imagine you’re searching for legal aid yourself. You do a simple Google search, and 5-6 company pages from the local area stare back at you.
What drives you to choose a specific page?
Every legal website claims to be the most trusted in the area. This makes it tricky for visitors to determine real value. What you need to do is prove your expertise, and a blog is a great way to do that.
For your law firm, informational blogging is an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority and increase your social shares. Of course, keywords are crucial here too, but alone, they won’t be enough. Aim to create content that people genuinely care for and simply can’t find elsewhere.
Stuck for ideas? Think in-depth guides to common legal situations, case studies from anonymized clients and visual infographics for your services.
No need to stop at your own website, either.
You could also consider answering questions on Quora, the famous question and answer site. Write high quality, detailed answers (adding your website link at the end, of course), and expect to see a healthy increase in traffic.
4.Optimize Your Web Design
Content is king. This is a fundamental truth in the marketing world and one that holds true with SEO for lawyers.
But that doesn’t mean you can put design on the back burner. Here are two design actions you’ll need to take if you’re really looking to drive your SEO forward.
Create a Responsive Mobile-Friendly Website
It’s 2018; a responsive website is an absolute must-have when we’re talking SEO for lawyers.
More than 50% of search queries now come from mobile devices, and this is particularly important for businesses that value local search.
If your website doesn’t cater to mobile visitors, you’ll also be penalized by Google. That’s because sometime during 2018, Google will begin to use mobile-first indexing, which uses your mobile website as a means to determine your search rank.
Focus on Quality UX design
It’s important for your rankings that the user experience of your website is simple. That means grouping your content around user intentions, creating clear navigation and using a well-thought-out URL structure.
The best way to do this to consider your type of firm and then work backward, using the structure of your services to drive your navigation flow. In the legal realm, you’ll typically fall into one of three categories:
- Single service lawyer/attorney
- Multi-service lawyer/attorney
- Multi-service and multi-location firm
Remember, quality UX design is an art. Minimal navigation, the use of whitespace, and standout color use, all sound simple but can be challenging to master. Unless you’re a design pro as well as a lawyer, you may wish to consult a pro for this.
5. Register with Search Directories
Local search ranking is crucial for SEO for lawyers.
The absolute best way to optimize for local search is via Google My Business. That’s because Google My Business listings take ranking priority in local searches and include visual snapshots, as well as your reviews, and location details.
To get started, visit Google My Business and start the verification process. Google won’t actively display your listing until you verify, so don’t neglect this step. Then, once verification is complete, it’s time to optimize.
Here are 4 top tips for making the most from your listing:
- Use your primary keyword in page title, followed by your business name
- Include a link to your services page in your business description
- Ensure your opening hours are kept up to date
- Upload photos of your physical location, with multiple street angles
Don’t stop at Google, either. The following directory listings will also help local SEO for lawyers, by associating your website with your physical location:
- Bing Directory
6. Build Your Digital Reviews
Digital reviews are an excellent way to boost your ranking for local searches and build brand trust amongst website visitors.
Even if a prospective client has heard glowing verbal reviews from friends and family, there’s a good chance that they’ll hop online to check out your digital presence.
If the first thing they see is more 5-star reviews, you can expect a call shortly. However, if a negative review is staring back, they’ll be quick to re-evaluate their choice and may seek out your competitors.
Here are our top tips for boosting your reviews online:
- Explicitly ask clients for a review
- Provide instructions on how to leave a review
- Offer an incentive (e.g., future discount on your services)
- Respond to every review left (not just negative ones)
Reputation management is a big deal, and negative reviews can hurt. In fact, a negative review could cost you a million dollars. The best way to avoid them is by making sure your service is A1, every time.
7. Start Building Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are highly effective in driving traffic to your site and showing search engines that your content is valued and deserves to be ranked highly.
Just remember that getting one solid backlink is much better than getting 10s of poor quality links. In fact, a backlink from a website with high authority status and with a ton of traffic is the holy grail of SEO for lawyers.
Be proactive. Here’s a quick tip to identify backlink opportunities easily. Head over to Google and search field relevant terms such as:
But before hitting search, follow these terms with phrases such as:
- Guest blog
- Guest post
- Submit your article
- Accepting submissions
This will pull up any websites in your sector that are open to contributions and give you a list of places you can use to get started with your backlink building.
The Basics of SEO for Lawyers
Feeling confident with these basic SEO tasks? Why not take things one step further and check out some of our more advanced tips, written to help boost SEO for lawyers?
Perhaps you’re busy dealing with the day-to-day of your practice and getting the most for your clients? So you should be. In that case, it may be time to turn to a marketing professional who can design and implement an ongoing digital strategy to suit your needs.
So, if you’re looking for ways to skyrocket your marketing presence and establish yourself digitally, get in touch today.