SEO for Lawyers: Expert Advice For Ranking on Google
In addition to your regular duties as a lawyer or as an attorney, you may have to worry about marketing your firm to the public to get clients through your doors.
The goals of any law firm are the same:
• keep your current clients happy • maintain a high-quality reputation • bring in new clients regularly
Making a list like this and checking off the boxes as you complete the tasks sounds simple enough to do, but in truth, these three little objectives are quite large feats to accomplish.
Your time is valuable and already scarce with the rest of your work that involves creating documents, attending client meetings, appearing for court proceedings and completing other daily tasks.
Finding the opportunities to lure and to keep your clients can be a daunting mission if you don’t have the right tools and support at your disposal.
Your Time At An Attorney Should Matter
You already play a lawyer in real life, do you really have time to play an SEO expert?
Do you truly feel your time is best utilized by performing keyword research, running Facebook ads, doing A/B testing, and creating legal content that garners powerful backlinks?
I’m assuming your answer to be “no.”
As with any business owner, your best bet is always focusing on building up the quality of your products and services. When you are running SEO audits on your competition, you are in a rabbit hole that can occupy you for endless amounts of days. Believe me, I know, I do competition audits.
Online Marketing for Lawyers
It’s easy to market retail products. You can advertise these items on social media, on websites and in pop-up ads. If you put products in front of people, many will impulsively purchase them or will at least consider buying them. However, it’s a lot harder to market your law skills unless someone has recently been sued, wants to write a will or has some other immediate need for an attorney.
Additionally, competing with online legal institutions such as LegalZoom.com has put a wrench into things as well. You constantly vying for eyeballs in your local area and competing against these online ventures that sell people needing legal tasks on expedited, affordable processing. Clearly, nothing beats the experience of using a personal lawyer; the question, however, is can you get that message across to consumers inundated with other ads? Can you compete with other local attorneys also vying for top local search engine placements?
Your marketing campaign content and ads need to be available on search engines when potential clients decide that they need a lawyer. They need to be sharp, influential, and well-tested. Since nearly 75 percent of the population uses Google to find answers to their questions, that’s where you need to make yourself and your firm visible. If you aren’t in the top few listings in your region, you’re losing the battle to your competition.
Most prospective clients will spend a fair amount of time doing online research before choosing an attorney because they have a lot at stake in their selections. Whether it’s the money involved, the person’s reputation or even the possibility of legal and physical freedom, your potential clients are worried about choosing the wrong lawyer. They want someone who will do everything possible to win cases, so you must effectively market yourself to this idea.
The main idea is for your firm to catch the attention of possible clients and to get those people through your door for consultations. If you get these prospective clients into your office, your skills will be able to retain them and thereby increase your revenue. This is why your marketing is so vital to the success of your firm.
The Importance of Attorney SEO
At this point, you probably understand just how essential it is to properly market your firm online to get clients through your door.
Now, you may be wondering how you get those top search rankings. The answer is through proper search engine optimization, also known as SEO.
It ensures that your firm’s website will be found on Google through relevant searches to attract potential clients when they need legal assistance.
For example, if you specialize in “car accident litigation,” you would want that phrase as part of your SEO because clients are searching those words would be taken to your site.
However, it’s not as simple as having a particular phrase like “best car accident lawyer” in your content.
There are many law firms that will include that same phrase in their content, and you could be ranked well past the first page of Google searches in a position where clients will never see you. You’ll need multiple phrases to catch the attention of the search rankings and your potential customers, and that’s just where the difficulty of optimization begins.
This makes the competition for rankings and new clients fierce. You want to be part of this fight, but you need to have your SEO done right.
The Pitfalls of Bad Search Engine Optimization
Today, you need a quality white hat SEO to target and to reach your audience of possible clients effectively.
However, it can be technical and sophisticated in its application. Common issues plague many firms starting out, including:
• not adjusting for Google’s algorithm changes • misunderstanding new SEO technology • ignoring or incorrectly analyzing results and outcomes • overspending or overreaching on SEO strategies • not paying attention to the competition • making plans but not executing them
Many SEO companies fall into the problem of “over-optimizing” a website. This means that those doing the SEO have determined your top keywords and phrases, and they are stuffing them into every headline and every piece of written content that you have on your site.
While this might improve your Google search ranking somewhat, your content will sound stilted and repetitive, and you’re likely to turn away potential clients who see through this charade of lousy SEO.
Unfortunately, “over-optimizing” is just one of the potential pitfalls awaiting you when you attempt to improve your marketing campaign. Do any of these other common Search Engine Optimization issues sound familiar? • You’ve hired a so-called SEO expert before, but you haven’t seen any improvement in your client load. • You’re just too busy with your regular duties in the law firm that you just don’t have time to update your website, learn about the ongoing changes with SEO or deal with running a marketing campaign. • You always seem a step behind your competition. • You found some SEO tricks on the internet, but your traffic isn’t improving, or you’re being penalized by Google for your trickery. • You aren’t sure who you can trust to answer your questions about Search Engine Optimization • You thought you had your website design and marketing under control, but your traffic has recently halted.
If any of these situations sound like you and your firm, you’re not alone. The truth is that SEO is not easy, and it can be time-consuming. There are no hard-and-fast rules to good SEO, and you simply don’t have the time to devote to it on top of your other law work. Unfortunately, poorly done Search Engine Optimization can be more damaging than no SEO at all.
More Lawyer SEO Benefits
Lawyers can benefit significantly from an all-around digital marketing plan.
Plans should include brand management and SEO. Here are some easily digestible reasons a lawyer needs to get their search and digital marketing in line.
In some cases, you might be able to accomplish SEO and digital marketing goals on your own, but most of the time, you’ll need some help.
Legal Messaging May Be Too ‘Legal’
You got through law school because you speak the language of the law. Some call this language “legalese” as slang. Others just call it “confusing as heck.” If your website is full of legal jargon that no one can understand, your services aren’t primed to be sold.
The information on your website needs to be both digestible as well as focused on appropriate local SEO campaigns. For most law websites, both of these facets are overlooked. This is because when you, the lawyer, read your site, it all makes sense. But what if your local weather only regarded barometer readings over the course of a 5-day forecast and left out the “it is going to rain on Wednesday” part?
You’d be confused. I’d be confused. We’d both end up umbrella-less and drenched.
Your content needs to be written for consumers, not for other attorneys and local judges. They aren’t going to need you, so don’t write content for them.
Your website content also needs to focus on keywords that consumers search when they are seeking legal help.
Whether or not you accomplish this yourself, or via outsourcing the writing work, you need to make sure it is done. You don’t want to dumb down your website to the point that consumers don’t trust your services, but you do want to make sure that potential consumers understand what your services offer.
Not Everyone Understands They Need an Attorney
Believe it or not, there are lots of potential clients out there just waiting to be told they need an attorney.
Every day, consumers search for solutions to problems on Google that they’d be better off resolving with the help of an attorney, rather than the aid of some random forum thread. Your local legal business should display as a top result of these issues.
Your site should be the solution the consumer is looking for. Otherwise, your competition is likely sucking up that business, leaving you out in the cold.
You May Be Underexposed
Without first page rankings in your area, your services are likely not seen by even 15% of their potential audience.
With smartphone being so readily capable, consumers are searching out services for just about every problem they have on the fly; this includes legal services. Most people will simply search a problem, check out the first legal website that pops up and call them to schedule an appointment.
If you are listed at the six slot, you never had a chance.
If your legal services receive a bad review from a jaded former client, what do you do? What recourse do you have? As an attorney, I’m going to be you never thought you’d be asking such a question. However, Google reviews aren’t exactly going to respond to your official legal call to remove the review.
A digital marketing company that has established prior protocols with various consumer review websites can more efficiently guide you through the process. In some cases, you will want the review removed, in other cases, you might just want to craft healthy responses to the poor review. In every case, you need to tend to the issue.
If you are a busy attorney, you won’t likely have the time or energy for such matters. A digital marketing company plugs in nicely for these situations.
Why Use a Digital Marketing Expert
Some lawyers feel they can do everything themselves.
Heck, why not feel that way? You graduated from law school. Your family says your the smartest one of the bunch.
You feel savvy and sharp in business and the courtroom.
However, all things being equal, your intelligence, savvy, and degrees, all amount to a person that’s already overwhelmed with daily tasks. SEO and brand marketing is a full-time job.
The Bottom Line: Lawyer SEO Marketing
There are many law firm SEO services out there that promise that they can create the perfect campaign for you and your practice.
Many of them will promise that you’ll be first in the Google rankings soon after they take over your website internet marketing.
The truth is that no one can guarantee the top Google ranking for lawyers. Even the best SEO companies.
This statement is true for me too.
I can, however, guarantee that I will work with you to find your top keywords and phrases, to create quality content and to get your SEO marketing campaign back on track.
I have been in the SEO industry for more than 20 years, and I know how to improve your search rankings and to make your law firm more visible to your potential clients.
Still wondering why attorney search engine marketing is vital?
Let me help you find out what a good effort at using Search Engine Optimization correctly and efficiently can do for you and your law firm. Read more about my personalized approach or contact me today to get started, and together we will make your SEO campaign a profitable success.