Finding the right SEO consultant for lawyers can seem like a daunting task. It’s difficult to tell one from another. Most seem to say the same thing and promise the same kind of results. Choosing the right one can mean a steady stream of new clients, but making a wrong choice can lead to questionable results and sometimes worse.
Obviously, not every SEO company can be the best, and they all can’t possibly guarantee a number one spot in Google’s search results. So how can you be sure your law firm is getting the consultant or agency that’s right for you? How can you tell if an SEO consultant is going to help improve your search result rankings, or do something underhanded that may get your firm’s site removed from the Google index altogether?
It will take a little time and research, but finding a good SEO consultant is not as difficult as it might seem. If you know what to look for, and what questions to ask, you’ll be able to weed out the scammers and spammers and make an informed choice that will bring you the results you’re looking for.
Decide What You need
Before you make any calls or send any emails, you should decide exactly what your law firm needs. Search engine optimization can cover a lot of different things. You should narrow down what you’re looking for and have some specific goals in mind before you start talking to anyone.
For example, your firm most likely isn’t looking for number one rankings for the word “lawyer” across Google’s global indexes. Are you interested in showing up more prominently in local search results? Do you need help with reputation management? Maybe you have specific content on your site that isn’t performing as well as you think it should. Perhaps you’ve even got some good search results, but your firm is ranking well for the wrong keywords.
Start Your Search Based on Your Goals
Be specific in your searches as you start making a list of consultants or agencies that you think would be worth evaluating. Keep in mind that many consultants are willing to work with just about anyone, but they’ll each have specialty areas where they excel.
Do you need someone who is familiar with the legal industry, or do you just need someone who can adjust your site content and structure? Are you willing to work with anyone, or would you rather have someone local you can speak with face to face?
Include your goals in the search terms you use. Try things like “SEO consultant for lawyers”, or “law firm SEO services”. This will save you time pruning your list later.
Ask for Case Studies and References
When you start talking to consultants, ask them for case studies and references that you can check. A good SEO consultant won’t just tell you they can get results; they can tell you how they get results. They should be able to explain what they’ve done for other companies and how they went about doing it. Most importantly, they should be able to provide references who will back up their claims.
Clarify Fees and Rates
Payment for SEO services can vary widely. You may be charged by the hour, per web page, per month or a flat fee for an entire project. Make sure both you and the potential consultant understand how much you can afford to spend, and exactly how all payment terms will work.
Reports and Communication
SEO is not a one-time, set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. It is a process that takes time, maintenance, and constant oversight. A good SEO consultant will be ready and willing to provide reports on exactly what they are doing and the results they are getting.
You should ask up front about the kinds of reports you will receive, and about how your account will be handled, and how their client communication system works. Can you call and ask questions when you need to, or will you only be able to speak through email? Is there a dedicated person who will get to know you, or will you be talking to someone different every time you need something?
If a consultant is not willing to give you reports or explain to you exactly what they plan to do to improve your firm’s SEO, you have to assume they are not operating ethically, which could lead to bad consequences for you. You should make a special effort to avoid any consultant or consulting agency that boasts about “proprietary methods” of SEO. A good SEO consultant for lawyers doesn’t need to hide anything.
Evaluate Carefully and Make Your Choice
Take your time and evaluate your possible choices carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about anything. Remember, you are the client. You have every right to be sure you understand everything before you make any commitments.