Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital to the success of your law firm. Not just law firms, but all businesses! Now, you may be scoffing at the fact that perhaps you haven’t needed SEO to get you to where you are now, so do you really need SEO? The answer is a resounding YES! You did not come all this way just to be seen as a mediocre attorney, did you? SEO can take you to new levels and put you ahead of your competition if done correctly. (Notice I said if done correctly.)
We’ll take a look over the next few weeks at the items you need to position your law firm for success with SEO, but to get us started, let’s cover some basics.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity AND quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine rankings. The higher you rank on search engines, the more clicks your website will get and the more quality leads you’ll get. Organic simply means “unpaid” as in you are not paying to have your website ranked in a top position (such as with Google Ads), it appears there because the “search engine gods” have deemed your website worthy.
How Do I Get My Law Firm’s Website to Rank Higher?
There are approximately 200 factors that go into how well your website will rank on Google and other search engines. Ultimately, search engines will rank you based on three elements: 1) Domain, 2) Trust and 3) Authority. They measure these three items in a number of ways. How long are people staying on your website? Are you providing relevant and valuable content? How many inbound and outbound links do you have and are they from authoritative sites? As with everything, a balance must be maintained between the three elements. If your website is optimized for SEO but you don’t have any backlinks, you may not rank as well as you’d hope. This is when hiring a company well-versed in SEO for law firms, such as Precision Legal Marketing, can help push you to that coveted number one spot on Google and other search engines.
Many law firms think that having a Google listing and a basic website is enough. For those that are happy to remain stagnant, maybe it is. For those that are a bit more ambitious, embracing technology and SEO practices can take your law firm to the next level.
Put yourself in the shoes of your client. Your spouse just told you that they want a divorce and you need a lawyer. What do you do? Of course, there’s always word of mouth referrals, which are gold, but chances are you turn to Google or another search engine to query something like “divorce lawyer near me”. First of all, you’re not alone in that – the volume of people using those keywords or variations of them are astounding! Now, chances of you going past the first page are slim, but if you do keep going, you’re not as likely to make it past page three or four. Those divorce lawyers who have optimized their website with the right keywords AND optimized so that search engine bots understand how to categorize the website, those are the ones that are showing up on the first page. They may be your competitor and have horrible reviews, but they know how to leverage SEO and it’s keeping them in business. Are you following so far?
We can’t stress the importance of keyword optimization for each and every page enough. If you’re doing something, it should be done well, and it should be done with a purpose. Otherwise, what’s the point of doing it? Or paying for it?
The disclaimer here is that keyword optimization alone is not enough to rank. You cannot just have the right keywords on your website and expect that to be enough to put your website in a top spot on Google. Many overlook (mostly because they don’t understand) the need to fully optimize their website with Header-Tags (H-Tags) and Alt-Text. Keywords, Header Tags and Alt-Text are all ways that Google learns how to appropriately categorize your website. Google has search engine bots that periodically trawl your website to determine where your website should be ranking. Confusing it can not only cause you to rank poorly but can also penalize you.
Tracking Your SEO Results
This is probably the least understood and most overlooked SEO related topic we could write about. No, Googling yourself is NOT the answer and is not real rank results. In fact, it’s best practice not to do so. If you are buying marketing services from FindLaw, Scorpion, Martindale-Nolo or one of the many other “in the box” legal marketing firms, most of what they will track is your top 5 keywords. That’s never ever enough. You can read our thoughts as to why FindLaw is a poor choice for you law firm marketing here.
There are a handful of mostly useless tracking tools out there for the DIYers out there, though you will be tempted to buy paid access them. If you are embarking on the adventure of SEO for you law firm yourself, we recommend starting with local SEO and using Bright Local as your tool of choice. It’s focus is on and around your firms address (which is how you should initially think of SEO anyway) and will let you enter target keywords you want to rank for. There is an easy to interpolate dashboard that will show you where you currently rank for the keyword you enter.
In our opinion, virtually none of the available higher end SEO tracking tools are really intuitive enough for the average user to really make sense out of, let alone exploit their full potential. However, another basic tool we do like is SpyFu, which is useful for building out PPC campaigns as well as taking a look at basic SEO data. But its flaws align with others in that your competition can mask its own results via these tools, rendering them useless. So how do you track your SEO ranking? Partner with a marketing agency that not only uses industry standard commercial grade SEO tools but understands how to apply them to the business of law.
As an example, we use a handful of tools that cost thousands a month to maintain and can provide clients with a top-drawer daily keyword ranking. We also summarize this ranking into weekly and monthly data points. Looking at daily ranking may seem like overkill, but with search algorithm updates on almost a bi-weekly basis, it’s important to know where the curve is, and to stay ahead of it. As a consequence, we are able to actually show you what keywords you rank for, and what keywords have actual search traffic. Not a top 5 or top 10 list. We will get into why this is important in a future blog.
Precision Legal Marketing, Experts in SEO for Law Firms
Understanding the 200 factors that Google uses to determine where you should rank can be confusing and implementing them on your own can be even harder, especially when you’re tied up in court and meeting with clients all day. Precision Legal Marketing leads the charge in expertly handling SEO for law firms. To learn more about how we can help optimize your website with SEO practices, click here or give our office a call today: 877-602-7510. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next installment of SEO For Law Firms.