Search engine visibility is critical. In an increasingly digital world, potential clients are likely to find your law firm by performing searches online. The trouble is that many firms don’t have the resources or expertise to devote to a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. In these cases it makes sense to hire an experienced, results-oriented SEO partner. How can your law firm narrow down your list of potential SEO consultants? Start by asking these 10 questions.
10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Consultant for Your Law Firm
1. Do you have a list of current and past clients?
A reputable SEO consultant for law firms will have a list of law firms they work with that they’re willing to share. You don’t need a complete list of clients, but consultants who achieve results for their clients will have a list of references that they would encourage you to reach out to – because they know those contacts will recommend them. While you can ask about specific metrics, some people may be unwilling or unable to share numbers – but they should at least be able to tell you if their key objectives are moving in the right direction.
2. In what ways will you improve my search engine rankings?
SEO experts should be able to discuss their methods in detail. They will be able to explain specific strategies that they’ll use to move your ranking up, along with potential timelines. Any initial proposals should include a technical review to find issues that may be holding things up and hindering you from ranking well on Google for your target keywords. They should also talk about “on page” optimization. You can also ask about their methods for “off page” SEO optimization, which will also raise your exposure on search engines.
3. Do you follow search engine webmasters guidelines?
It’s very important to base work on Google’s publicly posted webmaster best practices, which specifically prohibit 12 common black hat SEO tricks. Other search engines post similar guides. If any potential SEO consultant says that they don’t strictly adhere to these guidelines, you should move along in your search for an SEO consultant for your law firm.
4. Can you guarantee my website a number one ranking on search engines?
This is actually a bit of a trick question, since you’re looking for a “no” answer. That sort of result is impossible to guarantee, and any law firm SEO consultant or agency who would make such a claim is either unethical or inexperienced. Additionally, some companies claim to have an “insider” relationship with search engines that can positively impact your rankings – but again, that’s not something that happens and if someone tells you it is, that’s a red flag.
5. What’s your experience in improving local search results?
Appearing in local search engine results is particularly important for law firms. A consultant who is experienced in local search techniques will be especially helpful in enabling your website to be visible to potential clients in your area.
6. Will I be able to see all the changes you make to my website?
You can expect a certain number of changes to your website as you improve SEO. It’s important that your website managers know exactly what’s going on – which adjustments are being made and how often. Some law firms request that any changes are approved by them ahead of time. Be sure to also ask about things like which pages will be redesigned or added.
7. How do you measure the performance of your SEO strategies?
In order to really gauge success, you need to understand traffic amounts and channels. Any SEO consultants your law firm works with should have an in-depth knowledge of Google Analytics in order to track changes in your website rankings, the amount of links from other websites driving traffic to yours, and the kinds of keywords searchers are using to find your site, and much more. Additionally, find out how often and in what format these analytics and other reporting will be shared with you.
8. How and when will we communicate?
Communication styles and preferred frequencies vary. You need to find someone whose client support standards align with your own. Are you most likely to talk on the phone, via email, or in meetings? What updates will be shared during those conversations?
9. How are you paid and what are the terms?
Obviously you need to know how much you’ll be charged. Are those fees hourly, project-based, or on a retainer? Project-based payments are quite common in the SEO industry, but amounts tend to vary widely. Make sure you are clear on what fees are expected, when, and the deliverables you’ll get for that rate.
10. What happens if we stop working together?
What is the SEO consultant’s timeline for transitioning your law firm? Will they retain ownership over any content that’s been completed so far (the answer you’re looking for should be “No”)? What about projects or campaigns that are in process?
SEO plays a key role in a law firm’s digital strategy. You can’t connect with people and generate leads through Google and Bing if searchers can’t find you in the first place. Quite often, law firms will achieve their best results by working with a qualified partner within the SEO niche. However, choosing the right partner is essential or you could end up with a worse ranking and online presence than before. Incorporate these 10 questions into initial conversations with potential SEO partners to set yourself up for success.
If you’re in the midst of evaluating SEO agencies for your law firm, we would be delighted if you consider us. We develop customized SEO strategies for law firms of all sizes and practice areas. Contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll let you know how we can help you improve your search visibility and increase the number of visitors to your firm’s website.