Law Firm SEO Strategies: SEO For Lawyers
Our proprietary turn key law firm marketing methodology has been perfected over the years with its main premise; growing the legal practice through acquiring new clients by way of internet and other digital conduits. While we utilize the key elements of website marketing and practice management to enhance conversion rates, brand exposure, and customer retention, law firm SEO is still pivotal for acquiring new clients.
Law Firm SEO By dNovo – Complete Solution For Your Law Practice
Our law firm SEO methodology involves a series of consultations in order to assess the current state of your legal practice in terms of both presence online, internal practices and procedures as well as short and long term goals. Once in possession of this invaluable information, dNovo Group marketing team develops a custom tailored plan crafted to reveal your practice to the target audience. Such marketing proposals are multifaceted involving several elements such as Legal Website Design, Team Profile, Law Firm SEO, Paid Search Marketing, Social Media, Video Production, Content Development, Reputation Management & much more.
Law Firm SEO – The Pinnacle of Legal Marketing
The key focus in gaining new clientele often falls on Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for your Law Firm, which is often complemented by a Paid Search Marketing Strategy. Our SEO strategy for attorneys and law firms involves a strategy to rank your legal practice under not only under main services, yet also under thousands of targeted and long-tail keywords. The proprietary approach we have developed focuses on multi stage content strategy, which adopts both On-Page and Off-Page tactics. The methodology adopts heavily the use of quality legal content which is then used in conjunction with other aspects of digital marketing to elevate organic positions.
Law Firm Website Conversion Optimization
dNovo Group possess the industry experience and understands what it takes to turn a live visitor into a inquiring potential client. Whether we are building a brand new website or working with existing design, it is essential to assess your demographic and present key information to them in a graphically creative yet easy to understand method. Further, to enhance a visitors experience several technical aspects must be addressed in order to improve user experience.
Videos have become pivotal for a successful digital marketing strategy, particularly in the legal industry. Videos are a leading source of media on the internet, and an excellent tool to not only aid in converting visits to inquiries but also in improving your SEO. Law firm digital marketing often incorporates Video production and marketing to aid in both website conversion and content marketing. dNovo Group’s highly talented video production team has a wealth of experience with creating creative, engaging and informative video material for attorneys and law firms. The videos showcase the law firms along with the services they provide; lawyer profiles and their experience; as well as client testimonials and frequently asked questions.
It is vital to convey through digital mediums the credentials, and experience each of the lawyers possesses in a law firm. It is a paramount effort to present the legal professionals as top quality experts in each of their respective fields, in order to convey to perspective clients the top quality legal services provides by each lawyer.
As a part of the overall branding strategy, producing lawyer profiles work in conjunction with SEO to advance the brand of the law firm and reputstion of each of the lawyers.
Pay Per Click Legal Marketing
Online paid advertising is an important element of the dNovo Group marketing approach which includes an multichannel approach. We integrate Google Adwords, Re-targeting, Social Media Advertising, YouTube and other third party advertising platforms in order to attain new visits and clients. While creating a customized campaign on each of the platforms, we analyze, optimize and shift focus amongst the Paid ad channels in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
Managing the reputation of a law firm is instrumental to the success of both new client acquisition and branding overall. A favorable and professional public image is essential, so dNovo Group team has created internal processes to apply to the infrastructure and framework of the existing legal practices. Further we have identified key industry directories and rating websites that are of importance for both reputation management and SEO overall.
Websites That Convert
Read More About Law Firm Website Design
Turnkey Lead Generation
Leading Tool for Client Acquisition
Professional & In House Marketing Team
Comprised from top notch experts with years of experience under their belt in their respective aspects of digital marketing, the team at dNovo Group, is efficient, goal driven and yields results. dNovo Group is comprised of consultants, paid search specialists, social media gurus, videographers, designers and content writers, all available as an extension of your existing Law practice team, assuming the role of your in house marketing team.
Industry – Specific Resources
Law Firm SEO – Ultimate Best Practices Guide
Whether you are a sole practitioner or a multinational law firm with a presence in Toronto, Chicago or across North America, client acquisition and growth go hand in hand. Although a solid reputation and client referrals have long been a marketing mainstay, today you need more to stand out.
An estimated one-third of potential clients currently look for a lawyer online, and this number is expected to grow. It’s hardly surprising: when you research products and services, you turn to Google.
When you appear on page one of the Google search results, it gives the impression of being a credible and successful law practice, which in turn translates into more clients, positive reviews, and a social validation that’s nearly as valuable as search engine visibility. When you don’t, the chances of potential clients finding you is minimal, and your business growth is affected accordingly. Search engine optimization is an essential part of improving your firm’s visibility across all of the major search engines.
Good SEO is a multi-step process that also involves different areas of optimization. There’s on-page SEO, which makes the most out of your website, and off-page SEO, which draws traffic to your site via external resources like legal directories, Google My Business, and social media. When combined, the two approaches give you the best possible chance of reaching your target clients.
In this guide, we’ll reveal 17 actionable tips that can get your website the search engine visibility you need to thrive in the digital age.
- Create a mobile-friendly website designed to appeal to users and search engines
- Optimize your website structure
- Use keywords that count
- Highlight your practice with power pages
- Create a homepage that makes them stay
- Become an authority for your practice area
- Create ‘location’ pages for regions and cities
- Master the art of video
- Build your Google My Business Account
- Show off those testimonials
- Get authority backlinks
- Give as well as receive: link to other pages
- Go social: brand your social media platforms
- Secure your website
- Expand influence: collect those citations!
- Evaluate. Test. Repeat.
1. Create a mobile-friendly website designed to appeal to users and search engines
Mobile devices have revolutionized the way we do everything, from finding grocery deals and shortcuts to work to finding an attorney to help us buy a house or fight a parking ticket. Below are some compelling statistics regarding mobile device usage:
- An estimated 81% of Americans own a smartphone
- Approximately 17% of smartphone owners rely on their device as their sole means of home internet access
- Over half of the time that U.S. adults spend on the internet is done using mobile devices
- About two-thirds of all emails are opened on a mobile device
The message is clear: mobile device usage continues to grow, and it’s possible that in the future, it will be the only way that people access the Internet. By getting ready now, you can take full advantage of this huge marketing opportunity.
Law firms with a mobile-friendly website will realize the following benefits:
Reach more potential clients
An attractive, mobile-optimized website is not only easier to read on a smartphone. Google also gives mobile-friendly sites a higher search engine ranking than those that are not optimized. According to Search Engine Land, over 50% of search queries now come from mobile devices. This means that a high percentage of your page visits are going to be mobile-driven, and if your firm’s website displays poorly on mobile screens, it will drive visitors away.
Responsive web design principles include:
- All text and images scale appropriately for ideal navigation and viewing on any size screen.
- Mobile-friendly calls to action, such as a ‘Call Our Office’ button that actually dials your office phone number
- Driving directions that link to a Google map
Manage your practice wherever you are
Another key element of a good mobile marketing strategy is cloud software that helps you manage your practice in and out of the office. Attorneys are always on the go, attending court, meeting with clients, and participating in firm meetings, and keeping everything cloud-based ensures that you always have access to what you need, such as:
- Client contact information
- Information about each client’s case
- Case files
- Business emails
- Calendars and agendas
At one time, attorneys had to be in their office or in court in order to be productive. When you’re in the cloud, you can respond to urgent matters, update clients, and check your calendar for the coming week wherever you are.
Be more “client friendly”
Another must-have in your office’s mobile marketing strategy is optimizing all the processes that clients use to interact with you. Examples of these processes include:
- Filling out forms
- Signing contracts
- Paying a retainer fee or an invoice
Although many businesses allow customers and clients to input information and make payments online, law offices have not been quick to follow suit. This can be a problem, considering that people today are looking for faster and more convenient ways of doing things.
Printing out multi-page documents, signing them, and then mailing or faxing them to your office along with a check are all steps that can be dispensed with thanks to tools like:
- Fillable PDFs
- Digital signatures
- Private client online portals
- Credit card payments
When a client can submit their case information, sign a retainer agreement, pay by credit card, and submit files via a password-protected portal, it adds a level of convenience to the client-attorney relationship, which is what people have come to expect.
By implementing all of these mobile strategies into your law firm now, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the competition and deliver exceptional service to all of your current clients, as well as prospective ones. And both of those things are essential to your continued law firm growth. Going mobile is not just something that tech companies need to worry about. It’s actually a fundamental shift in the way we live, work, and do business, and even law firms should take notice of the trend and adapt accordingly.
2. Optimize your website structure
The structure of your firm’s website is a lot like your office layout. When everything is designed to encourage client engagement (smiling receptionist, bright and inviting waiting area, photos of your accomplishments on the walls), you have the best chance of earning their business, keeping it, and even getting referrals.
Your web structure needs to be optimized for an ideal user and search engine experience. Everything counts, from layout and navigation and content to beyond. Let’s take a closer look at the critical areas of your site structure and how you can address common mistakes and oversights.
Strategic use of keywords
When you’re optimizing for both clients and search engines, it is essential to use keywords that are most relevant to your area of practice, whether it be family law, bankruptcy law, or criminal defense. Your site needs to show all visitors that it has the answer to their queries.
Certain keywords are designated to certain types of pages for maximum efficacy. For example:
- Broader legal terms are most effective on practice links, such as ‘Family Law’, ‘DUI Defense’ or ‘Bankruptcy Law.’
- Long tail keywords, which are more specific, are commonly used on informational pages, as they answer the search query. For example: ‘Chicago child support attorney.’
Map out your entire site to identify which keywords belong where. This analysis will not only help you rank better on Google, but it helps ensure that potential clients who find the site through a search engine will click through to a page that’s relevant to their query.
When someone accesses your site, they may use on-page cues, like calls to action, to learn more about your practice. Most, however, will use your navigation bar, drop-down menus, or whatever type of navigation tools you’ve made available.
Even if your practice is relatively small (e.g., you only practice real estate law), presenting multiple navigation options can improve your search engine visibility and make it easier for clients to find what they’re looking for.
For example, your top-level navigation menu lists your legal services as ‘Real Estate Sales,’ ‘Real Estate Tax Services,’ and ‘Real Estate Services.’ Their secondary menus could look like this:
Real Estate Sales
- Residential Sales
- Commercial Sales
- Short Sales
- Loan Sales
Real Estate Tax Services
- What Are Real Estate Taxes?
- Property Taxes in Florida
Real Estate Services
- Real Estate Negotiation
- Real Estate Litigation
- Real Estate Contracts
Those who want information on commercial sales, for example, can go right to the appropriate page and not have to scroll through information that is not relevant to them. Consumers today want to quickly access the information they’re looking for, and aren’t likely to wade through blocks of text to get it. This is where smart use of direct links can earn you clients.
Remove dead ends
When restructuring a website, it’s common to move one page into a different directory, especially if it’s older content being archived. If you don’t update all the site links to that piece of content, however, you’re left with dead links that can:
- Frustrate potential clients
- Hurt your credibility as an authority in your field
- Make your site look neglected
- Harm your SEO efforts and page ranking on Google
Fortunately, there are a number of great tools that can help you locate broken links across your site. For instance:
- WordPress has a plugin called Broken Link Checker, which will analyze your site and list any link errors.
- There are several websites that will check your site for broken links. With one of most popular sites, Broken Link Check, all you have to do is enter your site URL, and the service will list any broken links it finds in a table.
You can provide the list of outdated links to your web developer, who will then redirect them to the file’s new and correct location, or remove them entirely if the file no longer exists.
How many words should be on each website page? In 2019, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller stated that word count is not a ranking factor. It makes sense: the number of words has little to do with the quality of the content.
However, studies have shown that longer content has consistently positioned better. Hubspot found that articles with over 2,500 words earned the most backlinks. SerpIQ did a study of the top 10 results in search queries according to content length, and found that the number one spot averaged 2,416 words.
Why does this happen? There are a few reasons:
- Longer content covers a topic more extensively, earning more backlinks.
- For the same reason, longer content earns more social shares
- Dwell time, which measures how much time users spend on your site, is higher
Does this mean that every page on your firm’s website has to be over 2,500 words in order to receive an SEO advantage? Absolutely not. But you should make sure you have plenty of longer-form content available, either in the form of blogs or FAQ pages, that attract the attention and shares that you need.
3. Use keywords that count
The right keywords are a critical part of your firm’s SEO strategy. They range from single words like ‘attorney’ to detailed phrases like ‘Chicago divorce lawyer’ and are used to maximize your organic search traffic.
Potential clients use these words when searching for information about your area of practice. When thoroughly researched and optimized, they bring your website to the attention of those who are most likely to use your legal services.
When selecting the right keywords and phrases for your site, various factors need to be taken into account. Three of them are outlined below.
This is where you need to have a firm definition of who your ideal client is and what types of cases you value the most. For example:
- Do you only serve clients in your city or does your firm have a state or even national scope? The answer to this question would determine whether you use key phrases like ‘Miami divorce attorney’ or ‘Florida divorce attorney.’
- Are you a general practice (e.g., you take all family law cases) or focus exclusively on a niche, like father’s rights?
The answers to these questions will help you decide how you want to present your firm online.
Competitiveness of keywords
According to WordStream, ‘lawyer’ is one of the 25 most expensive keywords in Google Adwords, costing $54.86 per click. Unless you take a strategic (and realistic) approach, you could end up spending thousands of dollars per month on Adwords alone.
Let’s assume that you are a smaller criminal defense firm and want to compete for the search term ‘criminal defense attorney.’ Competition levels for this common key phase are intense, and despite solid SEO efforts, you’re not likely to rank number one when there are multinational firms that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Google Adwords, inbound links, and other strategies.
A better plan is to narrow in on keywords that have a stronger chance of getting a high ranking for your website. Instead of ‘criminal defense attorney,’ you might try ‘Minneapolis criminal defense attorney’ or ‘Iowa DUI defense lawyer.’
When you narrow your scope like this, it also improves the quality of the leads that come through. Even if you made it to number one on Google for ‘criminal defense attorney’ and you’re located in New York, that person from Seattle who clicks through is not likely to become a client. ‘New York DUI defense lawyer’ is more likely to generate the traffic you want.
Layman’s terms vs. legalese
It’s essential that you assume a client’s perspective when choosing keywords. As a trained legal professional, you’re comfortable with legal terms like ‘class action,’ mass torts’ and ‘implied habitability.’ Your clients, on the other hand, tend to use terms like ‘car crash lawyer’ and ‘eviction defense attorney.’
When you want to attract clients on Google, you have to think like they do and invest in search terms that they would use to find an attorney with your expertise. If your site has access to an analytics feature (either through your web host or service you subscribe to), you can see which search terms have produced the most traffic so far, and build on them.
Once you’ve chosen some keywords, ensure that you include them in your site content. In general, keywords that appear higher on a page, such as in the title or navigation, carry heavier weight with the search engines. Repeating them on the same page can also increase relevance, provided that they’re not so close together that they become keyword spam. If the content reads well, you’ve done it right.
Selecting the right keywords for your practice and then applying them effectively in your site content will give you a strong advantage and help attract the right clients online.
4. Highlight your practice with power pages
Creating and promoting quality content is the best way to gain visibility on the search engine results pages as well as social media. Power pages take this concept up a notch by going into detail about your firm’s areas of practice in order to:
- Answer visitor questions
- Encourage engagement
Power pages are like a booster shot for your Google visibility because they build trust and credibility with potential clients and demonstrate your expertise in your practice areas. The click-through rate for your site will go up, along with its ranking for your preferred keywords, allowing you to grow your client base at a fraction of what you’d pay for AdWords or another PPC campaign.
Here’s how you get started.
Set up one page per practice area
A lot of attorney websites have a single page titled ‘Practice Areas,’ where they list all of their services, along with a small paragraph or two of description. To create power pages, give each service its own dedicated, optimized page.
For example, if you practice personal injury law, put together a power page listing all injury types you cover, such as car accidents, birth injuries, or wrongful death. Each injury type can then have a series of power pages: under birth injuries, you could list Bell’s Palsy, Brachial Plexus Injury, and other cases you represent.
We touched on this point in the section on keywords. Even if you specialize in areas that are intrinsically complicated, you need to simplify them for a general audience. Power pages are meant to educate people and tell them what they need to know about your experience with their legal issues.
Structural all pages for readability
Actually, all of your website pages should be easy to read, but on power pages, it’s especially important. Use short, easily digestible paragraphs, bullet points, and logical spacing, all of which make it easier for site visitors to find what they’re looking for.
Other recommended page elements include:
- Headers and subheaders that summarize the paragraphs below them, so the page is easier to scan. Be sure to insert long tail keywords like ‘Chicago Uncontested Divorce Attorney’ or ‘Toronto DUI Defense Lawyer.’
- Clickable table of contents for longer pages, so that visitors can access specific information more quickly and read through the rest of the text later.
When you want a successful law firm website, a picture really is worth a thousand words. It can also result in thousands of views. Pages with appealing images can get up to 94% more views than those that are text-only, so boost your power pages with:
- Short videos that introduce your team or explain an aspect of the law
- Practice-appropriate imagery
- Diagrams or tables
Make sure that all videos and images are professional-quality. Blurry photos and pixelated graphics suggest carelessness and lack of professionalism, so don’t cut corners in this area of your web marketing budget.
Tell your ideal client what they need to know
Who is your ideal client and why are they coming to your website? Is it a worried dad wondering what divorced fathers’ rights are in your state? Is it a tenant concerned that his or her landlord is trying to constructively evict them? Power pages focus on explaining how the law applies to their case, what their options are, and what you can do to help.
Include relevant links
Relevant page links are helpful for visitors and great for SEO.
- Use internal links to tie practice pages together or provide access to information elsewhere on the site. Your automobile injury power page could include links to blogs you’ve written on the subject or a ‘Successes’ page that lists favorable outcomes you’ve received for car crash clients.
- Add external links to sites that provide useful information, such as courthouse and family support web pages. Providing access to these relevant details will inspire additional confidence and trust from clients.
Features calls to action prominently
Power pages are thorough, which also means that they can be a little longer than the average 300 to 500-word web page. Instead of inserting a single call to action (CTA) at the bottom of the page, put them in strategic areas like the top of the page or on a fixed menu bar. Make sure that it stands out and uses phrasing that encourages action, such as ‘Book Your Free Consultation Now.’
Any attorney with a decent marketing budget can put together an impressive website. Clients want evidence of your expertise and competency before they sign a retainer agreement or even reach out for a consultation. A ‘Testimonials’ page and ‘’Successes’ page will show that you have a proven ability to offer experienced and trustworthy representation.
Include an FAQ section
FAQ pages are one of the best SEO tools you can add to your website. They’re the ultimate power pages because they:
- Improve user experience by quickly answering questions
- Help people navigate the site, which is extremely useful when you have multiple practice areas
- Create a sense of transparency and trust that lead to conversions
- Are much more likely to be a ‘featured snippet’ in Google search results
When you make your practice pages informative, engaging, and detailed yet easy to read, they’ll help your site meet the needs of your target clients and make the leap from passive information source to powerful representative for your brand.
5. Create a homepage that makes them stay
Did you know that when a potential client visits your site, you have only 50 milliseconds to capture their attention?
It’s true. Despite the saying that you should never judge a book by its cover, you have less than a second to convince someone to stay on your site long enough to consider retaining you.
Your homepage also accounts for up to half of the total pageviews for your entire site, so the growth and profitability of your practice can hinge on that single page. It needs to be designed in a way that inspires trust, confidence, and action.
Start with great copy
Your firm probably has a mission statement that explains what it does and what makes it stand out. Put it on the home page. Then, lower down on the page, offer a concise summary of what you can do for them. For example:
At XYZ Family Law Group, we are exactly what our name suggests: an experienced group of attorneys who will help you through your family law challenges. Our areas of specialty include:
- Contested and uncontested divorce
- Child custody and support
- Spousal maintenance
- Fathers’ rights
- Support enforcement
Whether your case involves a contentious divorce, a difficult custody situation, or issues that impact your rights as a parent, XYZ Family Law Group will be your voice at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
Add links to key practice pages
Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for by Including links to your main areas of practice in the home page text. If the XYZ Law Group page is visited by a worried dad who is wondering about his custody rights, he can see immediately that the firm handles fathers’ rights cases and can click right through to learn more.
Make it easy to take action
If a potential client is inspired by what they see on your home page, they might go to the menu bar to find your contact details- or they may not. This is where an extra level of convenience can mean the difference between giving someone an enlightening reading experience and getting them to book a consultation.
Put a ‘Book Consultation Now’ button in a prominent area of the page. If they have to scroll to see the entire page contents, put the CTA on a floating menu bar so that it’s always close at hand. If you offer free consultations, make sure you add that detail to the button! They’ll see that they have nothing to lose and great legal representation to gain if they reach out!
Use images that reflect client circumstances
Pictures are an important part of telling your firm’s story. Think about who your target clients are, and add high-quality images of people who reflect their demographic and circumstances. For example, if you represent grandparents who are fighting to stay in touch with their grandchildren after a divorce, a picture of an older couple enjoying an outing with young children can send the message that you know and understand.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your homepage, test it on a variety of screen resolutions to make sure that the images retain their quality, the CTA is prominent, and visitors can learn enough about your firm to take action without having to scroll repeatedly. 57% of internet users who responded to a survey said that they would not recommend a business whose site looked terrible on a mobile screen, so be thorough.
Remember: the easier you make it for them to find the information they need and then contact you, the greater the likelihood of them doing so. Don’t hesitate to keep testing until you achieve a perfect result.
6. Become an authority for your practice area
Becoming an authority in your field of practice will make you stand out from the competition and receive exposure that you wouldn’t ordinarily reach. The secret is to share your expertise, and here are four ways you can do that.
Be active on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the definitive social media network for professionals. At one time, it was primarily seen as the ideal spot to copy and paste your resume, and many people still use it only to connect with others in their field and attract new job or career growth opportunities. However, LinkedIn is actually a powerful tool for showcasing your knowledge and becoming a thought leader in your field.
Start becoming active on the platform if you aren’t already. Share industry articles as well as blogs from your firm’s website, participate in important newsfeed conversations and, in general, try to speak up on every trending activity in your industry. It won’t be long before your insights and competency get noticed.
Getting published is a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field. Research and write articles for your state bar association’s trade journal or high-profile publications such as the ABA Journal Magazine, Attorney at Law, or Canadian Lawyer Magazine. You could even contribute content for consumer journals that your target clients would read. A well-received article can lead to public speaking opportunities as well as referrals.
If you enjoy writing, consider going beyond articles and into books. Were you involved in a high-profile case? Do you have enough tips for your target clients (e.g. new homeowners, divorcing parents, or entrepreneurs) to fill a small volume? If so, you can propose the manuscript to a traditional publisher or self-publish on a platform like Amazon and sell the book through your website. Few things establish authority more quickly than having your name on a book.
Depending on what area of law you practice, you could do public seminars intended to educate people about certain aspects of the law. For example, you could talk to new homebuyers about common property title issues or share estate planning tips with people who have just started a family. These public appearances can raise your profile and reputation in the community.
Support the Media
Reporters and newswriters routinely seek experts in various fields to comment on stories or provide insights and information. If they learn that calling your office with provide them with the commentary they need to complete their stories, they will likely keep contacting you. Have you ever noticed that some attorneys routinely appear as commentators on legal issues? You could become one of them.
If your goal is to become recognized as an expert in your field of law, you need to get people talking about you. Sharing and writing valuable content, especially in book form, a willingness to educate the public, and being seen as a friend of the media can all raise your profile and attract business.
7. Create ‘location’ pages for regions and cities
Think about the last time you searched for a restaurant, florist, computer repair shop, or some other service on your phone. Chances are that you were looking for options that were closest to you at that very moment.
This is where optimizing your firm’s website is a major advantage. Most search engines use a set of signals to determine which businesses are relevant to a local search, so setting up local landing pages is an important part of an effective SEO strategy.
A local landing page is a web page that has been optimized to attract local traffic. When used correctly, they are an excellent tool for attracting new clients in your city or area. Here is how you set them up.
Target areas with the most value
You may wonder if you should set up a landing page for every city that you technically serve. For example, if there are 30 cities in your county, should you set up a page for each one?
The answer is no. Instead, identify the cities or regions that represent the most value for your firm. Which ones have traditionally yielded the highest number of clients? Where does your target client typically live? Which areas are growing rapidly, representing a new pool and widening pool of potential clients? List them all and create landing pages for them.
Tailor page content to local visitors
Whenever possible, avoid using generic content on landing pages. For example, if you practice DUI defense in Dayton, Ohio, you could list the number of successful cases you’ve handled for Dayton residents, identify common reasons for traffic stops in the area, and identify local authorities involved in helping first-time defendants get a temporary license.
Whatever you do, don’t use the same content for each local page, with the only difference being the name of the city or area. Google hates duplicate content as much as your readers will, and can penalize you with a lower ranking.
Optimize alt tags in images
When applied to an image, alt tags provide text descriptions that enable search engines to understand what the image contains. Some website building tools, such as WordPress, can automatically generate a title tag based on the image’s file name, but this doesn’t do much for your SEO.
Have your web developer supply each image on your city landing pages with a brief and relevant description that includes advantageous keywords. For example, a picture of a realtor handing a young couple the keys to their new home could be labeled ‘Real estate attorney in Miami, Florida’ on your Miami city page.
Include city name in the URL
Give each local landing page a name that reflects its location. A good example would be ‘www.yourfirmname.com/Illinois/Chicago-Bankruptcy-Attorney.html.’ URLs that use natural language and are easy to read provide a dual advantage: they meet Google’s usability standards and they improve user experience by confirming that the page is relevant to their search. Avoid URLs like ‘www.yourfirmname.com/Page14.html.’
8. Master the art of video
Video continues to be one of the most valuable and effective digital marketing assets a law firm can invest in. According to Campaign Monitor, incorporating video into your email marketing can increase click-throughs by 200 to 300%. In addition:
- 90% of users surveyed say that videos help them with the decision-making process.
- When you put a video on your landing page, it can increase conversions by 80%.
- 80% of users surveyed said they recalled a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.
- 92% of mobile video users surveyed said that they share videos with others.
Even if your marketing budget isn’t huge at the moment, most smartphones are set up to shoot quality videos. You can send the clips to an editor to enhance before posting them on your social media channels and website, or hire a marketing company that specializes in video creation and distribution.
What to include in your video
Many law firms put an introductory video on their homepage. These short branding clips introduce the firm, services, and explain why potential clients should choose you over the competition. By showing you and your staff, they give your firm a personality that belies the frequently-held belief that attorneys are cold and impersonal.
Other recommended uses of video include:
- FAQs: Video FAQ sections answer common questions like “How long does it take to settle a personal injury lawsuit?” or “What’s the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?” While it may take some more time to shoot and prepare all these videos, the investment can pay off: people are four times more likely to watch an educational video than read the accompanying text.
- Client testimonials: Testimonials are a powerful form of social proof. If you’re a personal injury attorney and you have video clips of clients going on about how your representation bettered their lives, it inspires trust.
In general, introduction and testimonial videos should be kept under two minutes, but if you’re explaining a more detailed concept (such as child custody law in your state) in the FAQ section, it’s fine to be longer. Videos are like blog posts: they can be more detailed when the subject warrants it.
Where to distribute your videos
When videos are added to social networks, they inspire 1200% more shares than images and text combined. Once you’ve shot some quality videos and added them to your website, make them available on your social media platforms.
- Facebook: Videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook have a 10 times greater reach than links shared from your firm website or YouTube channel, as Facebook’s algorithm gives higher preference to native videos.
- Facebook header: Facebook allows users to upload videos as their header. Known as a video cover, it silently auto plays as soon as someone lands on your Facebook page. There are some restrictions: the video must be between 20 and 90 seconds long and have a resolution of 820 x 462 pixels to achieve the right aspect ratio, but once properly formatted, video covers are a leading-edge introduction to your firm’s Facebook page.
- YouTube: With over one billion active users, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. When you add detailed and appropriate titles, tags, and descriptions to each video uploaded, it allows your content to appear in search results and generate traffic.
- LinkedIn: Although not as widely used as Facebook, LinkedIn has some powerful video marketing options, including the ability to include search-optimized keywords in your captions and video. You can increase engagement by linking videos within a status update and adding a compelling description.
Other distribution methods include:
- Avvo: Make the most out of your Avvo page (and maximize your rating in the process) by linking videos from your YouTube channel to your profile. When prospective clients visit your Avvo listing, your video content will appear directly under your headshot.
- Including video in your email signature. Although videos cannot be directly embedded in emails, you can add a link beneath every firm employee’s signature, along with a clear CTA such as ‘Meet our firm by watching this video!’
All of these strategies will contribute to a widespread and effective video marketing campaign that can catch the attention of new clients, increase your authority, and help grow the firm’s caseload and revenue.
What’s essential is that all of your videos are high quality and contain content that users want to see, whether they’re looking to find out more about the firm or discover their options in a contested divorce. When you work with a legal marketing agency that knows how to create and optimize videos for attorneys, you’ll get a finished result that will present the most impact.
9. Build your Google My Business Account
Google My Business (GMB) is a critical part of local SEO, as it enables your firm’s listing to appear in local search results for queries specific to your practice area. Google uses the listing information to generate the business details that appear on the right side of the results page. Potential clients can immediately access your phone number, address, and office hours and contact you on the spot.
Benefits of a Google My Business listing
Google My Business has benefits that include:
- Greater chance of appearing in 3-Pack search results. When people search for generic terms such as ‘divorce attorney near me’ or ‘best DUI attorney,’ a ‘3-pack result’ appears above the regular organic search results. Those business details are pulled from Google My Business listing information.
- Present your details to local searchers. Google My Business lets you present key information about your firm in a highly visible location. In addition to contact details and hours of operation, you can present accepted payment types and interactive features like photos, social media links, and customer reviews.
- Visible customer reviews. User reviews are one of the most important elements of a GMB listing. Positive and high-quality reviews will improve your firm’s visibility and make it more likely that a prospective client will decide to reach out to you. Even negative reviews can be an opportunity in disguise: 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews, and an honest but respectful response can preserve your credibility.
- Get visitor insights. The Google My Business platform has analytics that don’t appear anywhere else. For example, if a client requests driving directions to your office, Google Maps will indicate where those requests came from. If you’re thinking about opening a new office, these insights can help you make valuable location decisions.
For ideal results, use the following Google My Business best practices:
- Make the listing as complete as possible. Listings with the most accurate and detailed information stand the best chance of appearing in a search. Make sure that your firm’s listing communicates areas of specialty, areas served, and the best way for clients to reach you.
- Include keywords. Optimizing a GMB listing is similar to optimizing a website. Descriptions should be keyword-rich and use search phrases related to your areas of practice.
- Keep office operating hours accurate. Update your business hours whenever they change. Google allows you to customize your hours for national holidays and special events, so keep the listing accurate. Research indicates that 50% of people visit a business the same day that they perform a local search and 80% will have a negative impression of your business if inaccurate or outdated information is on the listing.
- Use professional-quality photos. According to Search Engine Journal, businesses with photos on their GMB listings receive 35% more click-throughs to their websites and 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps.
- Respond to client reviews. Encourage satisfied clients to leave feedback by creating a link they can click on to write a review for your firm. When someone leaves feedback, respond to it: doing so will send the message that you value your clients and see their opinions as important.
A Google My Business listing will let your firm take advantage of the growing power of local search. By optimizing it in the beginning and then properly maintaining it, you’ll stand out and get clients.
10. Show off those testimonials
When you exceed a client’s expectations, ask them to write a testimonial. Customer recommendations, as reflected by testimonials and positive reviews, are marketing gold because people trust the honest opinion of your clients more than your finest marketing content. In fact:
- 93% of consumers surveyed said they checked online reviews before making a purchase.
- 97% read reviews for local businesses
- 90% claimed that positive online reviews influence their buying decisions
A positive testimonial sends the message that your firm is committed to client success. When someone is happy with your service, it means that you did an excellent job of understanding their needs and helping them achieve their goals. Potential clients who have a similar need are more likely to trust that you can help them too.
If you are in an area of law characterized by ongoing representation, such as entertainment or tax law, identify your 10 most profitable clients and ask them to provide you with a testimonial. You can also approach one-time clients whose case outcome exceeded their expectations and ask them to endorse you. If you are a managing partner at a larger law firm, remind the other attorneys to keep an eye out for clients who may be great candidates for testimonials.
Most happy clients will be happy to provide you with a written recommendation, and some may even agree to participate in a testimonial video that tells their story and brings their praise to life. If they do, be sure to feature that video on your website, YouTube channel, and social media accounts for maximum coverage.
This type of third-party validation of your firm is the perfect way to show potential clients that you’re excellent at what you do. The most effective testimonials are focused and make it clear that your legal advice and representation had a positive and tangible impact on their business results or the outcome of their case. If you have a client with a particularly compelling story to tell, consider creating a case study as well. The more evidence you can assemble to show your legal ability, the better.
11. Get authority backlinks
As an SEO tool, backlinks have come a long way. At one time, it was all about numbers: the more you had, the better. As a result, too many professional websites became little more than link farms. Google changed its SEO algorithm to factor in the quality of a backlink. Now, it’s all about quality. For a backlink to have a favorable effect on your ranking, it should come from an authority site.
What is an authority site?
Authority sites are content-rich and widely respected as a trusted source of information. To determine how much of an authority a site has, consider the following:
- Influence. Does the site have a good reputation? Do people appear to trust it by quoting sections of its content on their own sites or linking back to entire articles?
- Relevance. Does the site content have anything to do with the law and (even better) your area of practice? To prevent low-ranking websites from trying to gain visibility by exchanging links with more popular ones, the SEO algorithms take into account whether the content on both sites is similar. You’ll get a lot more benefit from a Nolo link than a link from a business that has nothing to do with the legal profession.
- Uniqueness. If a site has a generous webmaster who links to anyone who requests it, such a link has diminished SEO value. Consider approaching the university where you obtained your J.D. to write an alumnus success story: sites with a ‘.edu’ domain can give your website a major SEO boost because Google recognizes university sites as authoritative sources.
If these three criteria are met, your firm’s website is likely to derive considerable SEO benefit from a backlink.
After compiling a list of 10 appropriate authority sites, contact the owners and offer to write a guest post that answers common visitor questions or submit a link to a blog that’s likely to appeal to their readers. As a legal professional, you have a perspective that lay people may not, and your chances of getting quality backlinks is higher.
Sites that are especially appropriate for lawyers include:
- Avvo: In addition to being an online marketplace for legal services, Avvo has features that help lawyers be more visible online. Attorneys who join the service get a free directory listing, have the opportunity to answer questions from the public, and can submit legal articles and guides that include their web link.
- FindLaw: FindLaw is designed to provide legal information to the public and marketing services to law firms. When you buy a profile for your firm, it includes a link to your website.
- Nolo: Nolo is one of the leading resources of legal information on the web. In addition to publishing self-help legal guides and connecting people with local attorneys, it offers law firms a subscription service that includes unlimited article publishing. Nolo also powers practice-specific sites like CriminalDefenseLawyer.com and TheBankruptcySite.org.
- Justia: Justia provides both lawyers and the public with access to primary legal materials like codes, case law, and legal articles. It offers free profiles to licensed attorneys as well as a premium membership that includes higher directory placement and a contact form to make it easier to connect with potential clients.
- HG.org: HG.org has both free and premium listings available. With a premium membership, you can buy placement in city-level directories on the site for $50 per city per year. Registered users (including free ones) can publish an unlimited amount of articles on the site at no extra charge.
Remove low-quality links
As you collect high-authority backlinks, make sure that you also remove low-quality ones that could be interpreted as spammy. They erode trust and can create a negative impression of your business, so have your site audited for any incoming or outgoing links that could damage your SEO efforts.
Remember: backlinks from authority sites are the digital version of client testimonials: they affirm that your website and your practice are credible and trustworthy. Time and effort spent acquiring them are well worth it when you become the go-to firm for your practice area in your city.
12. Give as well as receive: link to other pages
Some authorities suggest that linking to another website is not good SEO. They state that it can diminish your page’s search engine rankings and create exit points where your visitors will click off.
While this may be a legitimate concern when exchanging links with a site that has no relevance to the legal profession, linking to resources that will interest your audience can actually improve your site’s visibility on Google.
The purpose of Google is to deliver the most authoritative and relevant sites for any given search query. If you link from your firm’s website to a page with related content, you’re adding value that can increase your site’s relevance and perceived authority, both of which are key factors for getting a high ranking.
- A family law office linking to state rules governing child support
- A criminal defense firm linking to a recently published article on sentencing changes
- A bankruptcy law firm linking to the federal bankruptcy exemptions page
- A real estate law office that links to neighbourhood association websites
Before linking to another website, consider the following:
- Is the site relevant to the legal industry in general or your practice in particular?
- Is it an authority or subject matter expert in the legal field?
- By sharing the link, are you helping your clients and site visitors?
Law firm websites that consistently rank high in Google’s organic search results are those that have established and promoted themselves as authority sites. If linking to another site provides genuine value to your visitors and presents you as a reliable source of important information, you should do so.
13. Go social: brand your social media platforms
At one time, the only businesses that used social media were consumer brands. Fortunately, law firms and sole practitioners alike are now using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to reach new clients. The 2019 American Bar Association Legal Technology Survey Report found that 80% of respondents had a presence on social media, the highest since 2016.
Effective use of social media can deliver the following benefits:
- Engage potential clients: People use social media to make decisions about professional services, which makes it a valuable platform to catch their attention and turn them into prospects. For example, you could use the firm’s Facebook page to answer common questions, share informative content, and post client testimonials as social proof.
- Spread brand awareness: An active social media presence can bring your services to the attention of the right audience and increase awareness of the firm’s brand. According to the American Bar Association, 35% of attorneys who actively use social media have gotten new clients as a result.
- Better SEO results: A well-developed social media platform contributes to better online visibility and increased traffic. Google search results often include social feeds, so an active Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account can increase your chances of being found for your practice areas.
Social media best practices
Like all marketing tools, social media has its own set of best practices. For law firms, they include:
- Have a regular publishing schedule for sites like Facebook and Instagram. When followers know when to expect new content, they’re more likely to return and engage.
- Time your posts to engage the maximum number of followers. This tip is especially important when tweeting, as posts can disappear quickly during all the activity. Review the analytics for each platform to see when your posts will get the most views.
- Whenever possible, use visuals. Photos and graphics play an essential role in social media marketing because they stand out over text posts. For example, if you’re discussing new trends in fathers winning custody of their children, have a graphic designed to illustrate any stats or facts.
- Share and comment on news posts about topics that are relevant to your area of expertise. Focus on delivering value instead of making one-sided promotional posts about the firm. The more you provide valuable and credible information, the more likely you are to inspire trust.
- Share blog posts and videos that discuss trending topics or interesting stories. Videos are especially engaging because they make your information more digestible and demonstrate your expertise and competence to those who have not met you personally.
- Respond to comments and questions. Potential clients are much more likely to reach out via social media than make a phone call or even send an email. Check your Facebook Messenger and Instagram direct messages at least twice a day to make sure that you don’t miss opportunities.
14. Secure your website
In May 2020, hackers successfully infiltrated the website of a New York law firm used by high-profile celebrities like Madonna, Rod Stewart, and Lady Gaga. The criminals stole 756 gigabytes of data that included celebrity contracts and personal emails and demanded $21 million to keep the information private.
Your law firm website is your virtual presence. If hackers take control, it can interrupt business, cause data loss, and damage the firm’s reputation on and offline. Any business that handles confidential client information has to take extra measures to ensure site and data security, but for law offices, the need is especially urgent.
In 2012, the American Bar Association affirmed the ethical duty that attorneys have to secure client data in this electronic world. This duty included staying abreast of the risks as well as benefits associated with the technology used in each practice. Measures that mitigate risk of an electronic data breach are reviewed in detail below.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Sites protected by SSL display a padlock and ‘https’ (instead of http) in the browser address bar.
Once an SSL certificate is installed on your website, it encrypts the data transmitted between you and your visitors. This technology is essential for sites that request login details, transfer files, or accept payments. It even contributes to positive SEO results- Google has been using HTTPS as an algorithm signal since 2014 and now warns visitors who are about to enter a site without SSL.
Use strong passwords
A 2018 study by the Ponemon Institute found that 40% of the businesses surveyed were hacked because employee passwords were compromised. Each attack cost an average of $380,000 in losses.
The most common passwords are
All company passwords should be at least 8 characters long and consist of a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. If you have multiple employees, a password manager can generate, keep track of, and retrieve complex passwords so that confidential online information remains secure.
Keep all site plugins and extensions up to date
Content management systems like Wix, WordPress, and Joomla have huge libraries of extensions and plugins that make your site more engaging. Verify that any extensions used by the firm’s site are up-to-date and well-maintained. Poor quality ones can be erratic and even contain malicious code, so direct your team team to only install those made by trusted developers.
Most malware is delivered via email, making it the number one tool for hackers, so direct your colleagues and staff to avoid clicking on suspicious email links, and delete messages that ask for personal information.
Other best practices for avoiding malware include:
- Refraining from using open or public internet connections to access company files and email
- Changing the default settings, usernames, and passwords once your new site is set up
- Only allowing verified professionals to access the site for updating or troubleshooting purposes
15. Expand influence: collect those citations!
Citations are online mentions of your firm name, address, and telephone number. They do not have to include a live link to your website in order to deliver huge SEO value, especially when you serve local clients.
For a citation to deliver maximum SEO benefit, it needs to be on a well-established website with good domain authority. Examples relevant to lawyers include:
- Legal marketing directories: Avvo, Justia, FindLaw, HG.org, and Nolo offer free and paid options for quality citations. (See Section 11 for a more detailed overview of each one.) While not all free options include a link, the mention alone is beneficial for SEO.
- Local data directories: Data aggregators like Infogroup, Localeze, and Acxiom tend to collect their information from public resources like Yellowpages.com, Facebook, and Bing Places for Business. This is one of the reasons why it is important for your firm’s information to be up-to-date and match the data already in these search engines. If not, it can affect your rankings.
- Review sites: Review platforms like Yelp, Google, or the Better Business Bureau support quality citations for businesses that have a complete and accurate listing. If your firm has a profile on any of these sites, complete it in full. If not, sign up to be listed.
Other good sources of citations include digital versions of newspaper and legal industry magazines, especially if the publication in question (and its domain) has been around for years.
16. Evaluate. Test. Repeat.
SEO for law firms is dynamic and constantly changing. In order to be successful with your marketing efforts, you must be prepared to monitor and analyze the key performance indicators on an ongoing basis and adjust your strategy as needed.
- Check keyword rankings: Is your site ranking well for your preferred keywords? If not, and the site has been online for awhile, the keywords may be too competitive or the site is not properly optimized for them. You may want to consider a PPC campaign or site evaluation.
- Review conversion rate: The goal of greater online visibility is converting more site visitors into clients. The higher your conversion rate, the more successful your conversion rate optimization (CRO) practices have been. Free tools like Google Analytics make it possible to track actions like newsletter signups, complimentary consultation requests, contact form completions, and more.
- Check backlinks: Is the firm’s website getting backlinks from relevant, high-quality websites? Or is it being targeted by link farms that have nothing to do with the legal profession? You can use free backlink checkers from services like Ahrefs and Small SEO Tools to see if spammy links are hindering your SEO efforts.
- Check site spam score: As stated earlier, too many backlinks that are perceived as spam can lead to consequences like lower search engine ranking, Google penalties and, in severe cases, getting de-indexed. Moz’s Spam Score is a free tool that helps you identify and remove backlinks that may be damaging your website’s domain authority.
- Examine traffic quality: When it comes to site traffic, numbers aren’t everything. What matters most is quality. If you’re getting a lot of traffic but your bounce rate is high or the average number of pages visited is low, you are not getting quality traffic. Google Analytics can provide insight into traffic sources, time spent on site, visitor demographics, and other details that make it easier to assess your SEO efforts.
By constantly monitoring these indicators, you can change your SEO strategies as needed. Staying relevant means being constantly on the lookout for what’s new, what has changed, and what is now obsolete. It’s a constantly evolving process and any law office that wants to remain competitive must be prepared to change accordingly.
According to a study by the National Law Review, 96% of potential clients use Google or another search engine when they are seeking legal advice or want to retain an attorney. In its U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey, FindLaw found that 62% used non-branded search terms like “New York divorce attorney” and “Florida real estate lawyer.”
These studies and others like them confirm that law firms wishing to remain competitive must A) be visible on Google and B) be visible for practice-relevant keywords. The steps outlined in this guide can help achieve both objectives.
Successful SEO does not happen overnight. In this respect, it’s like a complex divorce case or a lawsuit. You have to research, see which laws (rules) apply, create a strategy, and be prepared to change it as case law (SEO best practices) evolve. Law firms that apply the same level of knowledge and diligence to their SEO efforts as they do to their client cases will position themselves for success no matter how the digital landscape changes.