If you want to appear prominently in Google search results and attract traffic, it’s crucial to prioritize law firm SEO.
Do you need to be an expert in digital marketing for law firms to handle SEO? No, although it can be beneficial. However, you will need to:
- Feel comfortable with various digital platforms and technology.
- Understand the basics of search engine optimization (SEO).
- Know how to develop an effective SEO strategy for your law firm.
That’s why Kangaroo has created this SEO Guide for Lawyers. It covers everything you need to know about improving your law firm’s ranking on search engines like Google and achieving SEO success.
After reading our guide, you will grasp the fundamentals of implementing SEO strategies and tactics specifically tailored for the legal industry. Some key topics covered include:
- Important ranking factors and what Google considers when selecting websites for organic, local, and paid search results.
- How to conduct keyword research and find the most relevant search terms for your practice area and geographic location.
- Developing a content marketing strategy that incorporates your primary keywords and drives traffic to your law firm’s website.
- Effective techniques for building links from authoritative websites.
- The significance of website design and on-site SEO, along with steps you can take to enhance the user experience.
- The critical role of off-site SEO in achieving higher rankings on Google SERPs, including leveraging social media, Google My Business (GMB), and attorney directories to boost your authority and grow your brand.
- Best practices for local search engine optimization to improve your visibility in local pack results and map search results.
- The benefits of supplementing organic efforts with LSAs (Local Services Ads) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
- Tracking your SEO efforts and measuring your return on investment (ROI), whether you’re managing it yourself or have hired an SEO company.
Remember that successful SEO takes time, but you don’t necessarily have to handle it on your own. Even if you’re too busy with your law practice or feel less comfortable with the technical aspects of SEO, Kangaro SEO Agency is here to assist you.
The legal marketing industry is highly competitive, and you’ll want an agency with a proven track record. Simply reach out to us through a message or a phone call to learn more about our services and how we can help your practice area with digital marketing.
Now, let’s dive into understanding attorney SEO and its importance.
Table of Contents
What is Attorney SEO?
- Attorney search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the strategies used to enhance the quality of your law firm’s website and improve its search engine rankings. A higher-quality website will rank better in search results when potential clients conduct relevant searches.
That’s attorney SEO in a nutshell.
So, what makes a website appealing to Google? According to the search engine itself, “search engines exist to help people find what they’re looking for.”
Google’s Mission Statement Therefore, Google aims to provide results that are:
- Presented in the most useful order
Essentially, legal SEO involves producing helpful, high-quality content and delivering it in an engaging manner. If you can master that, you’ll reap the rewards from Google. This is what the top companies specializing in lawyer SEO have excelled at.
Why is Search Engine Optimization for Law Firms Important?
The days of flipping through the Yellow Pages or dialing 411 are long gone. When someone needs a lawyer, there’s a high chance they’ll turn to online searches.
According to a survey conducted by the National Law Review, 96% of people seeking legal advice begin with an online search.
When prospective clients start their search for a law firm, they primarily rely on Google. This is why having an optimized law firm website and implementing dynamic SEO marketing strategies has become increasingly crucial.
With around 3.5 billion Google searches conducted daily, Google accounts for 93% of all search engine traffic in the country.
Google’s SEO Market Share Your website’s ranking directly affects your caseload and, consequently, your firm’s bottom line.
The higher your law firm ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs), the more visitors you’ll attract. Since most people typically contact only one law firm, it’s vital to ensure that you’re visible when they’re searching.
Only about 2 to 3 percent of people venture beyond the second page of Google’s organic search results. Additionally, less than one percent (.78%) click through to a website after reaching it.
Only 2 to 3% of users visit the second page of Google’s search results. To ensure that your law firm’s website receives clicks (meaning potential client visits), it’s crucial to rank on the first page. However, it’s not just about ranking on the first page; it’s about where you rank on that page.
The majority of Google searches last less than a minute, leaving less than 60 seconds for users to consider the search results before deciding which law firm to contact.
If you want your phone to ring, you need to rank at the top of Google’s first page of results.
The first-ranking page is up to 35 times more likely to receive a click compared to the tenth-ranking page.
Competing for that top position on SERPs has never been more important. Research conducted a few years ago found that the first-ranking position was 10 times more likely to receive clicks than the tenth-ranking position.
Today, more people are choosing the first search result, and fewer users are scrolling down to view results further down the SERP.
For instance, data from April 2021 reveals that the first position has an average click-through rate (CTR) ranging from 25.68% (mobile) to 31.17% (desktop). CTR measures the ratio of people who see your ad online versus the number who click on it.
After the first result, the CTR drops significantly. The decline is more pronounced on desktop searches than on mobile. Nonetheless, it’s clear that statistically speaking, half of all users select one of the first three organic results.
Half of all users choose one of the first three organic SEO results in Google. When running a law firm, caring about SEO and your website’s ranking is crucial. Your competitors and the companies excelling in SEO marketing for law firms undoubtedly prioritize it.
Understanding Google’s Ranking Factors
To rank highly on Google and achieve SEO success, your website must prioritize four primary ranking factors:
- Content encompasses practice area pages, blogs, resources, images, and videos on your law firm’s website. It’s how you convey information to potential clients and is a critical factor in achieving high rankings on Google’s search engine result pages.
Creating compelling content that improves your website’s rankings and appeals to users is discussed below.
YOUR CONTENT SHOULD ADDRESS USERS’ KEYWORD SEARCHES AND QUERIES. Your law firm’s website should provide high-quality, helpful content that answers potential clients’ questions and keeps them engaged.
Consider the search terms potential clients use when researching your area of law. Does your website clearly address their questions regarding your practice areas and legal services?
For example, if you’re a personal injury lawyer in New York think about what an accident victim in your area would search for on Google. When creating content, consider the following:
- Does your website prominently indicate that you practice personal injury law in New York?
- Do you list and explain your personal injury law practice areas (e.g., car accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, etc.)?
- Is it evident that your law firm has a successful track record in handling personal injury claims?You should list past case results, client reviews, and credentials.
- Do you discuss your legal fee structure (e.g., contingency fees)?
- What would potential clients visit your website to learn? Make sure you provide clear and concise answers to their possible questions (e.g., how long does it take to settle a personal injury claim?).
- Is your content up to date? For example, if your site includes car accident statistics, update them regularly.
- Google prioritizes authoritative and relevant content in its search engine rankings. By addressing the topics mentioned above, your website will be useful to users, and Google will be more likely to feature it higher in search results.
YOU NEED TO OPTIMIZE YOUR CONTENT WITH KEYWORDS. Listing helpful content that answers prospective clients’ questions is essential, but you also need to consider how Google evaluates user intent when searching online.
Google uses the RankBrain AI system to understand and interpret user intent. It scans websites for keywords (e.g., “New York personal injury lawyer”), positive user signals, and relevance. This information helps Google determine what people want to know and the results it will provide.
Each web page should clearly indicate the target keywords so that users and RankBrain understand its purpose. An optimized page should include target keywords in the title, content, meta tags, headings and subheadings, and URL.
Additionally, tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics can further optimize your page.
YOUR CONTENT SHOULD ADDRESS MULTIPLE KEYWORDS WITHIN THE SAME CATEGORY. Not everyone searches for topics in the same way. One person may search for a “New York personal injury lawyer,” while another may search “do I need a personal injury lawyer in New York after a car accident?”
By optimizing your content correctly, you can include primary keywords and variations or long-tail keywords to drive more traffic to your website and generate more leads. Blogs are an effective way to incorporate long-tail keywords on your site.
Remember that great content lies at the core of any successful SEO campaign and may require a significant budget.
Even if you have great content, how does Google know it’s valuable? How does it determine if other users find your content trustworthy and authoritative? One key factor is backlinks.
Backlinks occur when other websites link to your content and direct users to your site.
Google views backlinks as a vote of confidence for your content.
The more high-quality backlinks your website receives, the more credible your content appears to Google.
A backlink is considered high-quality when:
- It is placed within the content, rather than in a sidebar or footer.
- It comes from a website with high domain authority.
- The linking web page has a low number of outgoing links (a backlink from a website with dozens of outgoing links is less valuable than one from a website with only a few outgoing links).
- The anchor text linking to your site is relevant to your content.
If your website has few or low-quality backlinks, Google may perceive it as having low credibility and authority.
YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR LOCAL SEO THROUGH LINK BUILDING. Backlinks offer a valuable opportunity to enhance your law firm’s local SEO. Your law office’s contact information is likely displayed in various places online.
You can optimize your local SEO by obtaining backlinks from sites and platforms that include your contact information, such as:
- Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Legal directories like Avvo, Justia, and Martindale-Hubbell.
- Google My Business.
- Reviews on third-party websites.
This local SEO strategy can improve your chances of appearing in Google’s local map pack.
Technical SEO involves implementing strategies to make your website content more accessible and recognizable to search engines. You should optimize each web page to improve your overall rankings.
This includes using header tags, title tags, alt text for images, internal and external links, URL structure, site architecture, and more.
You can consult Google’s SEO guidelines for ways to enhance your technical SEO. Site structure is particularly important as it influences other aspects. If your site has a poor structure, Google may have difficulty crawling and indexing your web pages.
A flat site structure is typically recommended for SEO. It ensures that your site’s pages are only a few links away from each other, making it easier for Google to crawl all your content.
User Experience (UX)
User experience is another important factor considered by Google for SEO rankings. UX encompasses how visitors navigate your site, the visual appeal of your site, and its overall performance and responsiveness.
As it relates to SEO, Google provides clear guidelines on what it looks for in terms of UX. There are four categories of UX considerations mentioned by Google:
CORE WEB VITALS
Core Web Vitals are performance metrics used to assess how well your website functions. They measure the speed at which your site loads and how quickly users can interact with it.
The primary tools for measuring your website’s performance in this aspect are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures loading performance, with Google recommending LCP occur within 2.5 seconds of page loading.
- First Input Delay (FID): This measures interactivity, with Google suggesting an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures visual stability, with Google recommending a CLS score of less than 0.1.
Google offers a comprehensive guide for further advice on measuring and monitoring Core Web Vitals.
A mobile-friendly website is essential for a positive UX in today’s digital landscape. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to determine if your page effectively caters to mobile users.
Ensure that your website loads quickly and displays correctly on various screen sizes.
HTTPS Your website should be served over HTTPS for improved security. You can verify if your site is served over HTTPS using the instructions provided by Google.
NO INTRUSIVE INTERSTITIALS
Make sure that your website’s content is easily accessible to all users. Intrusive interstitials and dialogs obstruct the user’s view of the content.
Intrusive interstitials cover the entire webpage, while dialogs obstruct some of the content. These elements can negatively impact UX and make it more challenging for Google to analyze your site’s content, potentially affecting your SEO ranking.
UX is a critical component of your SEO and overall marketing strategy as a lawyer. A user-friendly, fast-loading, visually appealing website will help Google view your content favorably, and it will also increase the likelihood of potential clients becoming actual clients.
Why Does My Law Firm Need a Well-Designed Website for an SEO Campaign? On average, Americans spend eight hours per day online. When you’re not working, your law firm’s website should work for you.
It should act as your number-one salesperson, available 24/7.
Websites for law firms should successfully:
- Attract a specific audience.
- Provide what they’re seeking.
- Guide them seamlessly through the buyer’s journey.
If your website fails to do so, you’re missing out on crucial opportunities to grow your business.
With strong online visibility, you can reach prospective clients that you may never find offline or through traditional methods like word-of-mouth advertising.
By implementing inbound law firm marketing and search engine optimization, you can reach a much larger audience and demonstrate that you have the solutions to their problems.
MOVING PROSPECTS THROUGH THE BUYER’S PROCESS The buyer’s journey is the process consumers go through when learning about a product or service. It involves considering how a purchase can solve a problem and making the decision to buy.
Your website should have dynamic content that guides potential clients through this process.
The buyer’s journey consists of four main stages:
- Awareness: At this stage, potential clients are aware of the problem they have. For example, a contractor who was injured on the job may search for “what to do if I’m injured on the job” or “what type of lawyer do I need if I’m hurt at work?” They are looking for valuable content that addresses their pain points. Good awareness-stage content includes educational blog posts, ebooks, guides, videos, and whitepapers.
- Consideration/Evaluation: In this stage, the potential client understands what to do next and the type of attorney they are looking for. They may search for a specific type of lawyer in their location, such as “workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia.” They will spend time researching different options. Good consideration-stage content includes comparison guides, checklists, case studies, webinars, and reports. The goal is to show that your firm offers the best solution.
- Decision/Conversion: At this stage, the potential client has decided which firm to contact. They are about to pick up the phone or fill out a form. Helpful content at this stage may include case studies, free trials, pros and cons lists, and comparison tools. The aim is to position your firm as the best resource and solution.
- Advocacy: Even after a client has decided to hire your firm, it’s important to continue engaging with them. A satisfied client can become an advocate and refer you to friends and family who may need legal services in the future.
Having a well-designed website that effectively guides potential clients through these stages is crucial for an SEO campaign. It ensures that you can reach a larger audience and convert them into clients.
Take advantage of inbound law firm marketing and SEO strategies to increase your online visibility and demonstrate that you have the solutions potential clients are seeking.