Hoping to get your website on the first page of Google for a given search term? Well, based on how complex law firm SEO (search engine optimization) has become, that might feel like an impossible goal. It’s not impossible – but it can be difficult.
Fortunately, ranking for a keyword in organic search is a repeatable process. You may not always get the results you want, especially if you’re a new website trying to rank for a popular keyword, but if you take content marketing and law firm SEO seriously, you can start to make things happen. Things like higher Google rankings, organic traffic from qualified leads and new business.
Here are the ten steps law firms can follow to rank for a particular keyword in Google.
1. Set the foundation
Before you can do anything with SEO, you need to have a strong website with SEO best practices implemented. It’s also extremely helpful to have a network ready to go – such as a blog following, social media platforms, an email database, etc. Ensure that you have your basics covered before you take more advanced steps in the SEO process.
2. Perform keyword research
You may have done keyword research before, but it’s a good practice to go back and verify your research. There are plenty of keyword research tools that you can use to get a sense of keyword volume. Primary things to look for in target keywords are that they are relevant to your business model and that they have a large search volume (but not too large). Don’t forget to make a list of close variations as well.
3. Look at your competition
Once you’ve chosen your keyword, perform a Google search to see what other firms are doing. In particular, look for the domains and URLs, titles, types of content that are ranking, types of firms that appear, and how authoritative those sites are. Your goal here is to determine how you can differentiate yourself. What do you do better? The answer to this question is an area to focus on.
4. Gauge searcher intent
Searcher intent has become really important, and the more specific a keyword, the easier it is to deliver relevant content. What type of content best serves the keyword? Imagine that a search engine only serves one result. What would that content need to be to match the searcher’s intent exactly?
5. Consider the content
You’ll need to form a plan for developing content that will rank for your chosen keyword. Common search results include blogs, articles, practice pages, an index or directory, a guide, infographics, or videos. Which mix will be most effective for your targeted keywords? Additionally, you need a plan for your process: who and when content will be created, a budget if you plan to outsource, which resources you’ll need, etc. You can always start small. A firm of any size can create blog content.
6. Execute on your plan
Here is where things get real. You shouldn’t be rushing any of the steps in this process, but pay particular attention to this one. Search engines are looking for high quality content that provides value to the searcher (not keyword stuffed spam or overly promotional content). Remember that law firm SEO requires a lot of effort. If you’d rather buy traffic than put in the effort it requires to earn “free” organic search traffic, investigate PPC (pay-per-click) advertising like Google Ads or LinkedIn advertising.
7. Optimize for your chosen keywords
This step is really an extension of the one above. As you create content, leverage the important keywords – but not to the point of sounding spammy or like a bot. Don’t try to use SEO tricks, but remember there are lots of hidden places to use keywords such as image file names. This visual tool from Moz is a handy way to ensure you’ve covered your bases when it comes to optimizing. Lastly, before you hit “publish”, go back and re-check your keyword research. Sometimes content evolves as you create it, and you want to make sure there’s still alignment between what you’re creating and your keyword strategy. Tip: The Yoast SEO Plugin makes optimizing website content easier!
8. Publish your content
Time to put your content out into the world! If you’re posting evergreen content, such as practice area web pages, timing isn’t very important. However, if you’re looking at blog content that’s timely – say, something based on an event in the news – you should give some consideration to timing. You should also let your team know that there is new content out there to share. Ask your lawyers to share the latest content with their own professional networks on social media.
9. Promote your material
As soon as your item is posted (and sometimes even in advance), you want to get as many eyes on it as possible. Share new content across all of your social accounts, use buttons or widgets on your site to promote sharing, and build up links to your content.
Tip: Don’t just post a link to your page and say “Here’s our latest blog”. Create interesting blurbs about your content that are not salesy, but focused on why someone would care about your latest content (what’s in it for them?).
10. Analyze and optimize
Once you’ve published, check rankings for your keyword and also use analytics tools to see which keywords your content actually is ranking for. Sometimes they are different than what you originally targeted. If you’re not ranking for your desired keywords after a few weeks, go back to your content and ask yourself if what you wrote is truly high-quality, optimized for law firm SEO, and visible. It’s also possible that the keyword you were aiming for is just too competitive and you may need to scale back and try some more reasonable words.
That’s the process that law firms of every size and shape use to rank for their target keywords. It’s important to understand thoroughly because even the best websites don’t get traffic or leads if people can’t find them. Next time you create digital content, follow these steps to rank for critical keywords. To get a lot more SEO information, check out our on demand webinar “SEO Basics in an Hour”.
Contact us today if you need assistance developing a comprehensive SEO keyword research strategy that will improve your search visibility and increase the number of visitors to your firm’s website.