Many firms struggle to make the decision between managing SEO in-house or outsourcing to an agency. If you plan to invest in resources to manage your own SEO strategy, you need to ensure those people have the proper tools at their disposal. Just having the expertise to understand SEO isn’t enough – experts rely on platforms that help them to research, implement, and measure SEO efforts. Here are 22 tools that equip SEO professionals to do their best work.
Tools Based On Category
1. Category: Keyword Research
Popular tools: SEMRush, Brightedge, Moz
Keyword research is really the backbone of your SEO strategy. There are many tools to choose from, so we suggest choosing the one that feels easiest for you to use. You can try combining a third-party tool like Moz with Google Keyword Planner for a deeper dive and more variety.
2. Category: Rank Tracking
Popular tools: Moz, seoClarity
Once you’ve developed a keyword strategy, you’ll want to understand how you’re pacing to page 1 rankings for the inquiries that you care about. When choosing a tool, ensure that it tracks desktop, mobile, and local rankings in the cities and regions where your firm operates.
Related: SEO for Law Firm Websites eBook
3. Category: Technical SEO
Popular tools: SEMRush, Screaming Frog, botify
It’s important to know what’s going on with the back end of your website, but even the best SEO minds aren’t always trained to monitor the technical elements. A technical SEO tool will crawl your site and identify potential issues that could be having a significant impact on your results.
4. Category: Local Listing Management
Popular tools: Bright Local, Yext, Moz Local
Local marketing is imperative to law firms. You need to be sure that your firm is represented accurately across Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yelp, etc. These tools automate your processes and provide insights into any inconsistency in your law firm’s data. Before choosing a solution, make sure you understand the data management aspect.
5. Category: Backlink Analysis
Popular tools: Majestic SEO, Moz
Backlinks are incredibly important and understanding your site’s backlink profile is imperative to evaluating performance. These tools will help you review your backlink quality, identify any spammy links, and determine how you rank next to competitors. Find a tool that has alert functionality so that you get notified if there are any changes in your backlink profile or quality.
6. Category: SEO Plugins for CMS
Popular tools: WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly
Today’s CMS platforms are more robust and offer plugins. Several tools out there promise to make your content management system more SEO-friendly. Tools allow for things like sitemap generation, keyword-friendly URLs, meta tags, and more. WordPress is the most used in the CMS landscape and is very versatile.
7. Category: Marketing Outreach
Popular tools: Buzzstream, BuzzSumo, Pitchbox, Klout
Content creation is critical but it’s not enough. Effective promotion of the content you produce is just as important. There are several tools that can help you with social media outreach. A tool that integrates with your email system is likely most helpful.
8. Category: Workflow Management
Popular tools: Jira, Wrike, Monday, Smartsheet
If you’re handling your law firm’s marketing function in-house, then you need a tool to help you manage the various people and processes. A workflow management tool will help you to track and provide transparency on all the elements of important projects.
9. Category: Website Analytics
Popular tools: Adobe Analytics, Core Metrics
Your website analytics offer some of the most valuable data available to your firm. The insights you gain from an analytics platform can inform your marketing efforts across your entire digital strategy including paid search and social media marketing. Google Analytics is free and the most widely used, providing key metrics across several channels.
10. Category: Competitive Analysis.
Popular tools: SEMRush, Moz, BrightEdge
Legal SEO is very competitive, so it’s essential to know what’s going on with other firms similar to yours. What rankings do they have and for what keywords? Where are there backlinks coming from? What is your organic market share in your town? This is all valuable information that third-party tools can give you.
11. Google My Business
This free tool helps companies optimize their local SEO. Some firms make the mistake of setting up their account and then never revisiting it, but you should review it periodically. Make sure that categories are correct and that photos are updated and that you have a method for encouraging and responding to reviews.
12. Google Search Console
Formerly known as Webmaster Tools, the Search Console is a must-have. We suggest firms check in with this platform daily. This is where you will analyze keyword-level data, look for errors, and see how often Google crawls your site. This is also where you’ll submit XML sitemaps and where you’ll receive notifications if anything goes wrong (like a Google penalty).
13. Google Page Speed Insights
As we’ve mentioned many times before, a slow-loading site can greatly hinder your ability to rank. This will lead to a high bounce rate and less time spent on site, signaling to Google that your site isn’t high quality. You can type any URL into this site and it will grade its speed on a scale of 0-100, and also suggest areas of improvement.
14. Answer the Public
You can enter any keyword into this site and it will generate a list of keyword ideas.
15. Google Analytics
Google Analytics remains the leading free site analysis tool out there. Google Analytics tracks almost every bit of traffic, leading to granular insights on site performance. While it’s not specifically meant for SEO, it gives helpful insights into organic search performance.
As Google Analytics will be updating in July, make sure to check out this on-demand webinar: What Law Firms Need to Know About Google Analytics 4.
16. Google Trends
Google Trends shows popular search terms over time, which is helpful if you’re trying to track seasonal changes with keywords.
Ahref was developed as a platform to bridge the gap between Google Search Console’s limitations. Ahrefs can be used to compare historical data, analyze competitors, track backlink growth, gauge the traffic potential of keywords, group keywords into topic clusters, and much more.
While Yoast’s premium paid options have far more capabilities, their free versions allow users to enter the main keywords of a blog post and view insights on how the blog should be edited in order to be better optimized.
19. Classy Schema Structured Data Viewer
You can use this tool to see if your structured data/ schema markup was done correctly.
20. Similar Web
You can type any URL into this site and see how much traffic it gets, which is very helpful for competitive research.
21. Chat GPT
Now you can even leverage ChatGPT to help you discover keywords. Try asking it to build you a keyword list based on terms you’ve already optimized for or based on your practice area and location
22. Free Audit Tool
Conducting an SEO audit should be a bi-annual task for your firm. This ensures you’re aware of any issues, whether they be technical or non-technical, allowing you to fix them right away. We’ll give you one for free by clicking here.
These are some of the best SEO tools for law firms, but of course, you won’t need all of them. Review your most important SEO goals and then determine which options can help you to achieve them. You may also want to take advantage of our free audit. This process will evaluate your law firm’s website and help you identify areas of improvement.
If you’d like further assistance optimizing your firm’s website, feel free to reach out to our team. We’ve helped many law firms improve their online presence through SEO and drive more traffic to their site.
This post has been edited and republished from Oct. 6, 2021.