To be competitive in today’s market, you need to be visible online. That’s good news, though, because even small firms can have a big impact in the digital space. If you have ever thought that your firm is too small to develop a dedicated SEO strategy, it’s time to change that thinking. Here’s our advice on how small law firms can develop a successful SEO strategy.
Does SEO Matter for Small Law Firms?
In short: yes. SEO is actually more important for small to midsize organizations because they don’t typically have the budgets that larger firms have. So many advertising channels require money or a full-time resource to manage, but SEO is free. It’s one of the most powerful ways to get your name out there and attract leads, and it can be done with zero funds.
When your site shows up in rankings, you can drive more traffic and have the opportunity to compete with other firms. If you don’t show up at all, then you don’t even have the chance to be considered. More traffic to your website will help to generate engagement, collect leads, and build a client base. If you don’t optimize your site, then you can be sure that only your competitors will show up on search results – not you. That means an entire audience of potential clients doesn’t even know you exist.
An Eight-Step SEO Strategy for Small Law Firms
Small law firm SEO doesn’t require a large budget or full-time staff to manage. There are many aspects of SEO that you can handle yourself, even with limited technical knowledge. There are a lot of steps that you can take for free, and you can do them yourself. This is where to start.
1. Do your keyword research. Keywords are the cornerstone of a good SEO strategy, so this is one of the more important steps. Conducting thorough research will help you find the right words to use on your website. You’re looking for terms that you’ll use when writing your content, giving titles to your pages, and even picking your URLs. Your goal is to uncover the most relevant words that users plug in when searching for services like yours. The best way to get started is to use Google’s Keyword Planner.
2. Create a search-friendly site. Google needs to find and index your content, and you want to make that as easy as possible. A Google-friendly site is formatted well with schema markup and structured data. For reference, schema markup refers to the code you add to your website to give more information about your listings. Structured data refers to the way that you organize and tag text on your website, and it helps crawlers understand the context of the information on your site pages. Both of these items can help you rank higher and drive clicks. You also want to make sure your navigation is intuitive and organized. That will help search engines browse your site and understand what is there.
3. Complete on-page SEO elements. You may hear the terms “on-page” and “off-page” when it comes to SEO. On-page SEO explains to Google what’s on your site and gives searchers more information about what they’ll find. It includes things like:
- Meta tags – Using precise meta tags and descriptions helps search engines serve your website in queries that are most closely related to your business. Meta titles are the headings that describe your page content, while descriptions give more of a summary of what is on each page.
- Image alt text – To give your content more context, you should add these descriptions to any images on your site. These also ensure your website is accessible since screen readers can use them to describe an image.
4. Collect backlinks from authoritative sites. Building authority is really important, and a good way to do that is to get backlinks from relevant sites. Google trusts sites with higher domain ratings, and you will build trust with them by being connected. However, getting these links doesn’t normally happen by accident. You’ll need a link-building strategy that includes listing your business on related directories, submitting your site to local listings, and placing a link to your site in all your social profiles. For example, Google My Business and Apple Maps are both smart places to have content published and linking from LinkedIn can help you since it has such a high domain authority.
5. Audit technical SEO elements. Even without a dedicated staff, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of showing up in search results. Start by making sure you have a Secure Sockets Layer to signal to Google that you offer a safe browsing experience. Look for ways to optimize page speed, such as compressing images and large files. Review your site code and make sure everything is neat and tidy, and in logical order. Finally, ensure your site is optimized for mobile. This is one area where it may be worth enlisting a professional. Nearly 59% of all web traffic takes place on a mobile device, so you are really missing out if your website isn’t mobile-friendly.
6. Write compelling copy. You don’t need a ton of verbiage on your site, you just have to make sure that what is there is helpful and includes your target keywords. Even though it’s tempting to write purely for SEO, search engines are getting better at understanding searcher intent – that is, knowing what people want to see when they search for something. Write for humans, and aim to truly help them with whatever subject you’re writing about.
7. Have a local SEO strategy. Local traffic tends to be really important for law firms; more than many other businesses. It’s important to make sure your bases are covered when it comes to establishing a local presence online. Begin by allowing Google to surface your location in relevant queries by adding local business structured data to your site. You also need to optimize your Google My Business profile and ensure you’re appearing on Yelp and other local directories.
8. Keep working on SEO. Search engines are always evolving and the algorithms and ranking factors change. It’s important to keep up with SEO and make it an ongoing effort, not just run through it once and cross it off your list. We suggest running SEO audits periodically to continuously monitor your website and look for further optimizations.
SEO can really help you to stand out in a crowded field while making the most of one of your best tools – your website. Even better, it’s free, so you really get a lot of bang for your buck! If you’re not sure where to start, try our free SEO Audit. Packed with robust information, our website SEO analysis report will help you find and fix on-site issues and boost SEO-optimization.