If you have a talented team, satisfied clients, and a great reputation – but aren’t getting the leads that you want – you may want to take a look at your law firm’s website. Your website is the gateway to your firm; for most potential prospects, it’s the first place they discover your firm and learn about what you have to offer. Low traffic means a low likelihood of generating leads. Improving your SEO will result in more traffic and more qualified leads. Here’s what law firms need to know about leveraging search engines to gain more clients.
Why Does SEO Matter for Law Firms?
Law firm SEO is the process of helping a law firm’s website and overall digital presence gain more visibility on search engines. This normally happens through tactics like optimizing website structure, writing high-quality content, and link building (plus a lot more). You may already employ an SEO strategy – and that’s great! It’s an incredibly important part of building a successful digital strategy. If not, it’s time to develop one.
SEO is absolutely essential for your practice to thrive in today’s landscape. Chances are, you know who your local competition is. If potential clients Google your type of law, they will also discover these firms. How can you stand out online?
A great website is the best way to compete against larger or more established law firms. SEO is much less expensive than paying for search ads and usually leads to a larger ROI (though it does take time to see real results). Research shows that almost half of all Google searches are for local products and services, and the top organic result can get up to 27% more clicks than other results. Simply put – people are going online to look for local law firms. The higher you rank, the more likely they are to click on your site to learn more. If you are not leveraging search engine marketing and only relying on traditional methods, you’re sure to be missing out.
Types of SEO
There is a lot that goes into how a search engine ranks your site. Some of the things you control directly, and some of them require putting in effort outside of your own website. Generally, search engines want to return results that are relevant to the searcher’s query, and are valuable and trustworthy. The more that you can prove your site is all of these things, the better.
There are three main areas to focus on when improving search engine performance:
- On-page SEO – Involves optimizing the content on your website and the basic HTML used to target relevant searches that are specific to your area of expertise. For this process to work, you need to research keywords and understand what is possible to rank for, and then optimize content such as page titles, URLs, copy, etc.
- Off-page SEO – There are things you can do that aren’t directly related to your own website, and that is what you’ll do in this category. Things like setting up your Google Business Profile or encouraging reviews from clients fall in this category.
- Technical SEO – There are several ranking factors which signal to search engines that your site should rank well. To optimize things like your website’s load time, mobile friendliness, and other technical factors, you’ll need some specialized expertise. Many firms outsource this portion of their SEO strategy but it can be done in-house with the right skill set.
SEO Tactics for Law Firms
Ok, so SEO is really important. But what does that really look like? What are some things that you can actually do to improve search engine results? Here are some of the most important tactics for each SEO category:
- Fix duplicate or missing truncated title tags and repair them
- Look for missing meta descriptions and fill them in
- Look for and fix multiple H1 tags
- Review the copy of title tags, meta tags, and page content and make sure keywords are incorporated
- Review all images and ensure there are ALT tags in place
- Include internal links on all pages and put together an overall link-building strategy
- Update your site and blog content using the keyword research you performed (but avoiding keyword stuffing)
- Ensure your Google Business Profile is complete
- Employ local SEO best practices – you can check out our blog on the topic for more info.
- Make sure NAP (name, address, phone number) are readily available on any of your online profiles
- Use a listing management tool to review NAP information across websites and make sure everything is accurate
- Obtain backlinks, which are links from other sites linking to yours
- For additional backlinks, do things like guest blog or sponsor events where the website will link to yours
- Optimize your social media profiles
- Ask for honest reviews from clients and place them on your website and social media
- Reviewing site navigation and architecture; improve where necessary
- Make sure breadcrumbs are present on your site
- Slim down main navigation to concentrate more internal link equity to core pages
- Review your Core Web Vitals which will tell you how fast and user-friendly the page experience is
- Clean up HTML
- Add structured data (schema markup)
Note: When it comes to technical SEO elements, they’re really best left to professionals. While a savvy digital marketer may be able to figure out a lot of it, you’ll get better and faster results (with less room for error) if a true SEO expert audits your site and makes improvements.
Content Tips for Improving SEO
Compelling content is really the foundation of an effective SEO strategy. It will be very hard to move the needle with search engines if you don’t develop plenty of high-quality content, on both a website and blog. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Understand your client’s most asked questions, and create content that answers these questions. Try to create content around solving real challenges that people deal with regularly.
- Seek opportunities to demonstrate expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Google’s ranking algorithm is based on an acronym called EAT, which refers to those three elements. The more you can display knowledge and reliability, the better.
- Use a mix of content like videos, infographics, images, blog posts, research papers, etc. When you create content, add value where possible with citations, great images, etc.
- Always include a call to action and make your contact information visible. Make your content shareable by including share buttons or links to your blog or other content. Viewers should know what the next logical step is and how to take it.
It’s critical to understand the fundamentals of SEO if you want to be relevant in the digital space (and it’s important to be relevant in the digital space if you want to generate new leads and clients). There are plenty of free tools out there like semrush, or you can invest in more specialized tools. If you’re unsure of just where to start, try our free SEO Audit. You’ll get a report that details a thorough review of your site along with suggestions for boosting on-site SEO. It’s a really powerful tool for any law firm’s entry into using search engines to gain leads.