Is your website struggling to generate traffic or leads for your legal practice? If so, the problem might be that potential clients can’t find your website. The average internet user doesn’t go past the first page of the search results, so if your website is coming up on page 2, 3, or even further back, people aren’t likely to find you. This is where SEO can benefit your law firm.
While you can pay to get on page one using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimization (SEO) is a very powerful marketing strategy that helps you get to the top of the search results organically.
Before we get to our top 10 law firm SEO tips, let’s go over the basics of SEO.
Understanding Law Firm SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing practice that increases the organic search traffic to your website.
By optimizing your website and off-site properties, you’re giving search engines and your target customers clear messaging on who you are and what you do. This clarity leads to higher search engine ranking, more organic web traffic, more leads, and more clients.
If your website isn’t bringing in leads, try these SEO tips to boost your position in the search engine results!
10 Law Firm SEO Tips
Having a well-optimized law firm website is easier said than done, but it’s far from impossible. In fact, search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo specifically look for websites that deliver the best user experience, such as site functionality and relevancy. Keeping this in mind, you can implement small changes which can lead to big results and higher conversion rates.
1. Determine Your Law Firm’s Target Keywords
Determining your keywords is the first step in optimizing your law firm’s website. The more specific and targeted your keywords, the more likely you’ll attract qualified website traffic and leads for your practice.
First, think about exactly what kind of searches you want your law firm to rank for. Consider your main areas of practice as a starting point. For each practice area, write down possible keywords to associate with them. Next, do a bit of research related to your search terms by going to Google and taking a look at the results when you enter in your keywords. Do you consider the results to be aligned with your practice? How can you stand out from these results?
Also consider the “searches related to” section at the bottom of the page for additional relevant keywords.
For example, “lawyer in Raleigh” is a very broad search term and the likelihood of any law firm handling every type of litigation is slim to none. Consider refining your topics to align more closely with your areas of practice, such as “Raleigh Divorce Attorney” or “Raleigh Business Lawyer.”
You may want to try a keyword tool that shows you exactly how popular a search is for a term, the amount of competition, and additional suggestions. User-friendly, free tools include:
- Keyword.IO provides additional suggestions from your original keywords.
- Google Trends shows the popularity of searches and related search terms.
- WMS Everywhere, a free add-on for Chrome that shows search volume and competition information of your search terms.
2. Optimize Your Home Page with your Keywords
Make sure that all of the primary elements of your home page, like your headline, sub-headers that break up topics (H2s and H3s), your call to action, and the content itself use your keywords. Your headline should include the keywords you want to rank the highest for, such as your main area of practice, like “Raleigh Divorce Attorney” and sub-headers should be optimized with your keyword and additional keywords you want to rank for.
Take a look at this example to see what we mean…
Your images, title tag, and meta description, also play a significant role in your SEO and can be optimized with your keywords. (We’re going to discuss all of these further down.)
3. Scope Out Your Competition
Once you’ve determined your target keywords, search for those keywords in Google (or Bing or Yahoo) to see where you rank compared to your competition. This will give you a better idea of who you’re truly competing against in the organic search results.
Look at the top-ranking options and consider what you have in common or what sets you apart from those law firms. Visit their websites and do a deep dive into how they are leveraging keywords, using content, and structuring their website to achieve those high ranks. For example, look for these factors that can impact search engine results:
- Does the top result have a blog that is updated regularly with articles related to their practice area?
- Is their website using keywords throughout their pages, in headlines, and in sub-headers?
- Does the site load quickly? (Be sure to check this on a mobile device, too!)
Looking more at how your competitors’ websites achieve rankings can give you a better idea as to what you can do to improve your visibility, whether that means highlighting additional services you may offer or how you can adjust keywords to be more relevant or less specific, depending on what you find out.
4. Customize How Your Law Firm Appears in Search Result Pages
For each page of your website, you should include metadata, that is the information about your website that shows up in search engine result pages and tells users and search engine algorithms what your page is about. There are two main components to this:
Title Tags – This tells the user and search engine algorithm exactly what your page is about, which is why it’s important to use your keywords and locations here.
Meta Descriptions – This is a synopsis of what is included in the page and gives you an additional opportunity to include your keywords and location.
Using a content management system, such as WordPress, you can easily optimize your title tags and meta descriptions for each page of your website.
5. Verify Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
With more people using their mobile devices to search for lawyers, having a user-friendly mobile site is essential for conversions. However, a mobile-friendly website is also a factor in the search engine optimization of the site. Google, Bing, and other search engines use responsive web design as a major factor in how they score websites and determine rankings.
6. Improve Your Law Firm Website Page Load Speeds
How fast your site pages load is equally important as keyword usage and mobile friendliness in keyword usage. You can check the page speed of any site with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. If your site gets a low page speed score, here are a few simple ways to boost it:
- Reducing the size of your images. Ideally, images should be around 100KB.
- Save images as JPGs when possible. They load faster than PNGs.
- Minimize HTTP requests that are required to download aspects of a page like images, graphics, and scripts.
- If you use a content management system, make sure your plugins are up-to-date and remove any that you no longer use.
7. Create Keyword Specific Website Pages
The search engines award higher rankings to websites that offer a relevant, user-friendly experience to visitors. The more relevant content your site has about a topic the higher you’ll rank for two reasons:
Site structure is an essential part of SEO and a well-ordered, easy to navigate site adds to a user’s experience
Having additional information sets your website as more of an authority to Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Creating specific pages related to a keyword will only benefit your visibility while providing your website visitors with more in-depth information. For example, if you are trying to rank for family law in your area, consider having individual pages for each of the legal services you offer, such as divorce, child custody and child support.
Just like with your home page, as you create these individual pages, use an SEO friendly URL and optimize your title tag, meta description and headlines. Most importantly: quality and quantity impact how algorithms rank your pages. Keep this in mind you create new content and make sure your pages actually inform your visitors. Search engines and users don’t want “filler” content with no true value.
8. Track Your Keyword Rankings
Keyword ranking refers to where your site is ranked by search engines for a specific keyword. This is very helpful information because research shows that over half of search engine users make their choice based on who is on the first page of results, so if you are buried three or four pages back, you’re missing traffic. Tracking your keyword ranking helps you determine where and how to make up ground.
You can go with a simple method of searching your keywords (the ones you wrote down in step one) and find where your website is in the ranking. Keep a simple Google spreadsheet to track your rankings every few weeks.
If your rankings do not improve right away, be patient. Sometimes it can take search engines a few weeks to catch on to your search engine optimization efforts.
9. Optimize Your Profiles on Avvo, Justia, and Super Lawyers
Off-site SEO, or off-page SEO, is the practice of optimizing your online presence on websites other than your own. For example, as a lawyer, you have profiles on your local state Bar Association website, Avvo, Justia, and Super Lawyers. (If you don’t, we highly recommend that you do).
These profiles can be optimized for your legal specialty and the state/city you practice law. This will help your own website rank higher in the search results because the content on these sites is consistent with the content on your own website.
Search engines like consistency so keeping your Avvo, Justia, Super Lawyers, and other legal specific profiles updated and inline with your website is really important.
10. Improve Your Law Firm’s Local SEO With Your Google My Business Profile
Google My Business is a tool that can go a long way toward driving traffic to your website and improving your online presence. It gives you an opportunity to improve how your law firm shows up in Google Search and Google Maps, providing users with comprehensive information, including your phone number, address, and client reviews.
While most, if not all, of this information can easily be found on your website, having a Google My Business Profile puts all of your most sought-after information right where potential clients are searching. To set up your Google My Business listing, go here and follow the prompts.
Once your listing is verified, you will finish adding your information. This includes using your keywords to optimize your law firm description and attributes so people searching for your services will see your profile. In addition to your information, you can add images that improve your reputation and inspire more clicks to your website. Your office, team photos, and law firm logo are all excellent additions to your profile.
Setting up a Google My Business (GMB) profile is quick, and when properly optimized, it can attract more visitors. A GMB profile also allows clients to leave reviews. Online reviews are extremely important because they make potential clients feel more confident choosing you as their attorney.
Once your profile is set up, keeping it updated with accurate information and asking clients to add Google reviews will ensure it stays relevant and visible.