Today, almost all the information you need is at the touch of your fingertips, and Google has become a verb – if people want information, they turn to a quick web search to find what they are looking for. And if you aren’t optimizing your search engine performance for your law firm, you may be preventing yourself from being found by your target audience.
Online Marketing Expert, MIB Graduate From HEC Montréal and Serial Entrepreneur. Founder/Owner of Nexunom.com, ReviewTool.com, Allintitle.co and Tavata.com. Working in Digital Marketing Field Since 2008.
Turning to Google for something we need is almost inherent these days, but the average person probably doesn’t spend much time thinking about what goes into that search. But if you are a lawyer looking to gain more clients or legal cases, you have to put at least some consideration into what will make your legal firm stand out to the search engines. Let’s take a look at some of the most important SEO factors for lawyers.
The Basics of SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and covers all of the ways a business can ensure their site is getting seen by users when they search. SEO can improve your organic search rankings, making it more likely for potential clients to see your page and choose your law firm.
SEO is a long-term commitment. This means it requires dedication and knowledge to ensure your legal organization website always stands out from the crowd and gets clicked on. In turn, you’ll enjoy greater visibility, more leads, new clients, and growth for your law firm. Sustainable SEO success doesn’t happen overnight. You must be willing to commit to a long-term, dynamic partnership with an SEO company that has the experience to deliver results for attorneys just like you.
Selecting and using the right keywords is important, but keywords aren’t the only tool. Many people believe that if they just spend some time combining a list of keywords, and then use them generously in their website’s content, that will be enough to help them rank well. Relevant keywords used appropriately in your text certainly can help search engines understand your site, but they aren’t the only thing that goes into SEO for your law firm. Nowadays, SEO is much more than just using keywords in your content or building links for your website. You must work on building topical authority and demonstrate and improve your E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust.)
Every page of your site must be properly optimized. Do you know what headers, title tags and meta attributions are? You may not, but an SEO expert will, and he or she will understand how they can help your website. The right website optimizations help the search engine bots better understand what your website is about. Having the proper set-up for headers, URLs, images, title tags, alt and meta attributions will help the search engines properly index your site. You can compare this to a library – we use card catalogues and index numbers to sort books to make it easy to find for people at the library. The librarian knows where to sort the books to allow library goers to find them in their correct locations. Likewise, having the correct website optimizations allow for the search engine to better understand where to put your website and serve them to the internet surfers when they search for your services.
A beautifully designed website means nothing if it can’t be navigated easily. We’ve all been to websites that are hard to use. Some are so cluttered that it’s hard to figure out where to go to find the information we need. It’s frustrating, to say the least. If your website doesn’t allow a potential client to quickly and easily find the information they need, chances are good they will move on to a competitor.
You might have heard that content is king, but that’s a lie. Content is not king, high-quality content is. All the bells and whistles on your site, and all the optimization in the world means very little if your content is useless or if it does not serve the user’s search intent. Authentic content that properly uses the right keywords should speak to the potential client, and set you apart as an expert. If your content isn’t useful, goes over their heads, or is too thin, you’re back at square one.
Backlinks from relevant sites can boost your rankings. Google wants to see you as an authority, and one way it does this is by looking at who has linked to your website, meaning that a healthy backlink profile and having natural links from quality and strong websites is a positive sign. Backlinks are links from other websites that link to a page on your site. Having high quality backlinks shows Google that you are a trusted authority, and therefore can improve your search engine rankings. On the other hand, links that look unnatural and are pointing to your site from a bunch of low quality sites can decrease your website’s ranking or even ban your website for certain terms.
A healthy SEO strategy will focus on all of the behind the scenes elements that need to be in place to help set your law practice apart on search engines. From site structure and architecture, to link profile, to content, there is a lot that needs to be considered. The goal of SEO is not just an increase in rankings, but an increase in turning potential clients into actual clients for your law firm (increasing your conversion rate.) The best rankings mean nothing if the site doesn’t persuade your website’s visitors to contact you. A healthy backlink profile means little if users can’t navigate on your site once they get there or bounce back because of a slow loading website or a website that is not optimized for mobile devices.
SEO can grant you higher visibility, allowing your law firm site to be seen by more potential clients. And the best way to see where you stand is to perform a complete analysis of your internet marketing.
Website, Market and Competitors Analysis
A law firm marketing agency knows well that a successful SEO campaign can’t be launched without a thorough analysis of your website, market and competitors.
Your website should be pleasing to look at, easy to navigate, and rich in engaging content. Here are some factors to look for to know where you can improve:
Your current rankings
Your on-page optimization score for different pages of your website
Your website’s load time speed
Your back link profile and quality – Backlinks are other sites pointing to your site. A thorough analysis should analyze the quality, quantity and performance of backlinks.
Your website’s mobile friendliness
Your NAP citation consistency and accuracy
Your Google Places page optimization
Your website’s content
Your content organization – Is your website structured in a way that is not only easy for search engine bots to crawl, but also to allow visitors to find what they are looking for?
Internal link structure – Does your internal link structure create a logical path for the user, allowing them to easily go between pages on your site. Does your link structure allow search engines to easily access all areas of your site?
Your website’s traffic and its specifications such as which sources the traffic is coming from and what’s the site’s bounce rate and, time on site, exit rate and etc.
Does your website has technical issues such as crawling errors including broken links, not found pages, search engine accessibility issues and etc.
For a quick analysis of your website on-page optimization, check your website’s SEO score using Nexunom’s free SEO Checker.
Market analysis includes learning about how the services you provide are being searched for and to build your keywords list and determine their difficulty level. This is more involved than mere keyword selection – that’s why we call it Market Analysis, it includes:
Compile your keyword list – Finding the right keywords related to the areas of law you practice. You can use a keyword research tool such as Allintitle.co that helps you find numerous long-tail keywords from different sources for any head keyword. Allintitle.co KW Explorer combines various keyword research methods to help you find important keywords you can target. It sources keywords in a real-time manner from many search engines and sites. It also has tools to find keywords by looking at your competitors’ keywords or finding semantically relevant questions from Google’s People Also Ask section.
Determine keyword difficulty – Checking out how many sites in your service area are targeting each keyword (keywords competition) and how many people are searching for that keyword (search volume.) One easy way to find the competitiveness of each keyword is by looking at how many web pages have used that keyword in their title tag. You can do so by running an Allintitle search on Google using the “allintitle” search operator. For example, suppose you want to see how many web pages have used “personal injury attorney” in their title tag. In that case, you can search on Google like this “allintitle: personal injury attorney” and then check the number of returned results as shown in the image below. The lower the number of returned results, the easier that keyword is to go after. There is a keyword research method called “Keyword Golden Ratio” or KGR that factors in both search volume and the number of webpages that have used that keyword in their title tag (Allintitle results or competitiveness). Allintitle.co also provides a bulk Allintitle and KGR checker tool.
Prioritize which terms to go after first – IIt’s better to start with keywords that have a higher ratio of search volume over the competition because they’ll be easier to rank for and show what users are searching for. This is exactly where the KGR method explained in the section above can come into help. The KGR formula actually looks into the reverse ratio (competition over search volume or allintitle results/search volume) to find the optimal point between the competition (allintitle results) and the demand (search volume.) In this method, the lower the KGR value, the better. A good KGR keyword has a maximum KGR value of 0.25 and a maximum search volume of 250. This is just a rule of thumb for a beginner site. According to your website’s strength, you might go higher than 0.25 and 250 for KGR value and search volume, respectively. Allintitle.co Bulk Checker provides a quadrant chart (see the image below) that divides keywords into four categories of priority using the KGR method. These categories are low-hanging, not-worth-it, saturated, and big-bets.
The goal of the market analysis is to find the weakness and strengths of your law firm’s direct competitors and to capitalize on that. Checking out how well the competitors have optimized for your target terms, including checking their back link profile (do they have links from very strong sites, are their back links highly unnatural), how much quality content they have on their website and what the quality and quantity of their local listing citations is. You should also look for how many reviews they have on different reviews websites and what strategies they use to rank on local results. You can use Nexunom’s Comp. Insider competitors local SEO benchmarking tool to quickly find out about your competitive landscape.
Once these analyses are done your internet marketing firm can come up with an internet marketing strategy that is right for you and is unique to your situation. From there an action plan is created that is categorized to short, middle and long term goals.
Execution, Execution and Execution
In the previous section we discussed that the first thing that you need to actually have is a strategy in place and the right strategy can only be grafted by a thorough analysis of your site, market and competitors. Having a website isn’t enough anymore. You have to be sure your website stands out from your competitors and can be easily found in search engines.
What should be next is execution. It isn’t enough to just have the proper program in place, you actually have to be able to act towards those goals and to do so you need to have the knowledge and expertise, skills, resources and manpower of a full-fledged digital marketing firm, but you are a lawyer and defending your clients is what you are designed for.
The best thing for you to do is to conduct research to find the best digital marketing firm with expertise in lawyers marketing to work with. A Google search can lead you to a host of SEO firms and digital marketing specialist experts in law firms. You can’t just select one randomly or choose the first one that pops up on search result. You actually need to dive deep into their sites, read what they have there and see their cases and reviews. Conduct thorough research to be sure you select the right marketing firm to work with.
On Site Optimization
On-site or on-page optimization is about those measures that help you make sure your own site has everything in place so that users will find your site useful, relevant and easy to use, and search engines will want to rank your site higher. On site SEO are the actions that your SEO provider makes on your site. It includes the front-end elements such as the site’s structure, content of different pages, heading tags, or changes to the source code.
Some of these may be less visible to the users but are seen by the Search Engines, such as load time optimization, image alt tag, meta tags, schema markup and etc. On-site optimization includes:
Headings – Headings are used by search engines to understand what is on your website pages and what sections your content is divided into. The most important heading tags for SEO are H1, H2, and H3. It is paramount to have one and only one H1 tag for each page of the site and include your main keyword in it. You can have multiple H2 and H3 tags to divide your content into meaningful interconnected sections that can improve your content readability score while providing structural information to search engines about different parts of your content. Avoid using H1, H2, and H3 tags for site-wide layout purposes, as the best practice is to keep those tags only for the content of the pages.
Title Tags – Title Tags are important because they explain what content can be found on your web pages. Think about it this way – if you are looking for a certain file in a filing cabinet, you look at the title on the file folder. It offers a glimpse into what can be found in that folder. Title tags are the same for web pages.
The title tag is the number one signal that search engines use to understand what the content of a site is about. It is also used by Google and other search engines to show your site’s snippet on their search result pages, so if you use a catchy title tag, you can gain a better click-through rate. Try to use your main keyword in the title tag but avoid keyword stuffing as it can reversely affect your rankings for your target keywords. Try to keep your title tags short and to the point, no more than 60 characters. Google only shows a title tag’s first 50 to 60 characters. This means keeping your title tag under 60 characters will ensure they won’t be cut off when displayed on search result pages.
Meta Descriptions – Meta descriptions are the information from your site that accompany a Google search. Meta descriptions should be limited to 160 characters, so it is important to be clear, concise, and to the point. Meta descriptions can be shown with your search engine results snippet. It is one of the critical on-page signals used by search engines to rank websites for different keywords.
Content – Spend plenty of time crafting custom content that is not only useful to your audience, but that sets you apart as an authority. Your content should be easy to read, no matter the topic, and engaging.
On-site load speed – We live in a fast paced world, and if your website isn’t fast, chances are people aren’t waiting around for it. The longer it takes for your pages to load, the lower your ranking will be and the higher the chances your potential clients have moved on to a competitor.
Lawyers Schema Markup – Schema is crucial to a website because it helps search engines understand how the content fits all together. Lawyers will have their own schema sets to let search engines know the content is legal in nature. Schema should be used for:
Names of attorneys
Biographies of attorneys
A schema markup can take many forms. It should accompany text snippets, and can appear as site links or even breadcrumbs or thumbnails for videos. Schema marked content can help increase your click through rates.
The Importance of Relevant, Engaging Content
Quite frankly, no other component of SEO will matter much if your site doesn’t have great content. You can spend all your time and money on other SEO aspects, but if users can’t find engaging content on your site when they get there, it probably won’t matter much, same thing goes for irrelevant content and the content that is not professionally crafted. Users want to find the information they are looking for and that will help them. Don’t waste time and money on rehauling your website if you aren’t also going to spend a lot of time improving your content.
An active blog can keep your website constantly updated with relevant information that your potential clients may find useful. The static pages of your site, for instance your services and contact information, won’t change often, but you can pull a list of blog posts that are related to each service page and automatically display them on each service page. This helps Google find new, relevant content on your static pages and rank them higher.
Not only can your blog posts help your site rank higher for your main keywords, it can also help your site get found on Google for more long-tail keywords and act as your landing pages. It means that your blog offers you an opportunity to post relevant information that can by itself attract visitors. You can dive deeper into specifics about the areas of your law practice, and offer information potential clients may be looking for. This is also a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge and show potential clients you are an expert in your field of law and know what you’re talking about. Some of your blog posts can also be dedicated to the successful case you have recently handled and act as a case study helping similar clients to trust you with their similar cases.
So an active blog can generate direct leads for your law practice as well as improve your SEO, ensure you refresh your website with useful, relevant and original content, and provide visitors with a reason to want to come back to your site.
It is important to build a blog that you plan to maintain. To maximize your impact there are a few things to think about:
Who is your audience? Who do you want to bring to your site?
What is the overall message of your blog? Essentially, you need to decide what you want to say and how you want to say it.
What visuals will you use to strengthen the blog posts? Breaking text up with high impact visuals will make it more appealing and also give it more chances to get ranked higher on search engines.
How often will you post? Create a schedule for creating and posting content, whether it be weekly, monthly, or something in between, set a schedule and stick to it.
Who is in charge of your blog posts? Who will manage your blog? Some companies prefer to manage and write their posts, while others look for help from internet marketing companies.
You also need to update your old blog posts to make sure what’s been said in them is still relevant and effective. So one good strategy is to have a handful of blog posts that you regularly update and keep current instead of having a lot of posts published on your blog that you can’t manage.
SEO Content and Advertising Codes of Conduct
A good marketing campaign should maximize visibility while converting potential clients into actual clients. It’s important to target your audience properly, and provide them with useful content, rather than spamming a wide audience with useless information. State bar associations across the country have specific regulations and codes of ethics in place in regards to the rights of the public when it comes to attorney marketing and advertising. It is important to know whether your state has such statutes in place, but even if it doesn’t, to consider rules of professional conduct while advertising your services and marketing your law firm online.
Your marketing campaign should never be misleading, offensive or deceitful in any way. Not only will it earn your law firm a bad reputation, it could also result in legal ramifications for you. Lines can become blurred, even with statutes in place, and it is important to always have the highest marketing standards.
Lawyers will often be held to higher standards than other fields. Do not sully your reputation by engaging in prohibited language, or failing to use the proper disclaimers. Know your state’s bar ethics and advertising guidelines and, as a general rule, avoid the following:
Make sure everything posted to your website will be passed by you first, be aware of what you publish on your website, make sure it is not misleading, outdated or inaccurate information.
Unless you are certified and approved by your state’s bar, never present yourself as an expert, certified, or best in an specific area of law you serve or a geographical area you serve.
Never guarantee outcomes in the verbiage you use on your website or anywhere else.
Avoid communications that can solicit or disclose privileged or confidential information.
Prevent from providing any legal advice online. Be aware of the fine line between educational marketing and providing legal advice over internet to avoid any attorney-client relationship allegation.
It’s also important to consider who should write your content. Content should be useful and accurate, containing factual information, but it also needs to be engaging and interesting. An SEO company with experience in content writing, especially for attorneys, will understand how to create content that is compelling, attract potential clients and that leads to conversions.
When creating your content, you need to have a clear understanding of your audience. Most likely, you will be targeting potential clients in your general area, so it is important to ensure the content on your website is relevant to your geographical area, and not generic or related to areas outside of your service area. Your SEO company can help you set up geomodifiers during the technical optimizations to ensure you are able to reach the right audience.
Local SEO marketing will ensure you target potential clients in your geographical area. By using keyword phrases such as “divorce attorney near me” or “Los Angeles lawyer near me” you can target only the clients that actually need your services. Focus on subjects of interest and locations within your geographical location to be sure you find your target audience.
Targeted local SEO campaigns put your firm directly in front of the people most likely to use your services. If you specialize in medical malpractice, it won’t be enough to simply target the keywords medical malpractice – it doesn’t do much good to show up in broader searches for these terms if you only represent clients in your general area. If you serve clients only in the state of Florida, it doesn’t matter if you show up as number one for someone searching for an attorney in Kansas.
Website Navigational Structure
How your website is organized is referred to as navigational structure, and it is a crucial component of SEO. Users should be able to navigate your website seamlessly, and a well-organized website allows search engines to better crawl your site. It also helps search engines understand the specificity level of each of the different pages of your website. From root page to be the most general page to inner pages which are more specific. Search Engines can also find out what the role of each page in the bird’s-eye view of the site. All these can help a page appear higher or lower in search result pages.
Your website should be organized in a way that makes logical sense, to both regular users and search bots, and should contain the following elements:
Hierarchy – Are the pages and information organized under “umbrella” pages? Placing topical pages under larger, more general umbrella pages helps keep your site organized and easy to navigate. The best way to ensure this happens is to map out your website before you even create it. And then, be sure the URLs match up with the hierarchy. A legal website should follow a format similar to this:
A focused, overall theme – for instance, if you specialize in personal injury law, make that your focus.
Create a drilldown of subtopics based on the overall theme
Each page should be a single topic
This will help search engines have a better understanding of your website, and help users navigate your site.
Sitemap – This tool is important for search engines to be able to crawl your site.
Ease of use – Too many links, buttons or drop-down menus can slow your site speed, but it can also be confusing to visitors, and make it harder for the search engine bots to crawl.
Page Depth – If you create subpage after subpage, it makes URLs too long and complicated for users and search engines to follow and understand, which defeats the purpose of creating a hierarchy. To prevent pages from getting lost to both potential clients and search engines, use a flat file structure that is no more than two directories deep to increase the relevance assigned to pages by some search engines.
Mobile friendliness – More and more users search on mobile devices, and with Google’s latest mobile first-index update, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing out. The best way to make a site mobile friendly is to make it responsive so that regardless of which mobile device and screen size it has the website still looks nice and clean and organized.
URL uniqueness – Make sure each content on your website has only one and one unique URL, presenting the same content over different URLs create instance of internal duplicate content and make the content less strong in general.
Breadcrumb – Breadcrumbs serve as a visual aid, showing the location of the user on your site’s hierarchy. It provides contextual information for users to help them determine where they are on the site and where they can get from there. They reduce the number of actions a user must take to get to higher level pages.
Once your website has been perfectly crafted, with the right content, the ideal structure, and the right keywords, it’s time to look at what happens outside of your website that can affect your SEO. Off-site or off-page optimizations can improve your SEO by showing you are reliable, relevant and trustworthy.
Healthy Link Profile
Off-site SEO can be improved by acquiring a healthy link profile. But what does that mean? A healthy number of links, that use the right keywords in the anchored text can boost your SEO.
Let’s start with backlinks. Backlinks are links to other websites that send users to your site. They are very important to off-site SEO. The number, quality and type of backlinks to your site, show that your site is an authority and can help boost your rankings. The quality of a back link is determined by:
The relevance of the text they are located in
The anchor text of the link
The quality and trustworthiness of the site the link is coming from
And the naturalness of the link
Your link profile, then, is a list of all of the websites that link back to your site. These backlinks help search engines decide if your site is actually useful and trustworthy for its users. You need a variety of both reputable and well-established sites to link back to yours. Building a healthy link profile will help your website in several ways, including:
Telling search engines your site is trustworthy.
Showing your audience your site is trustworthy.
Helping you rank higher on search engines.
Helping you target important keywords related to the services that your law firm provides
But what kinds of links will be beneficial? The links in your profile need to be relevant to your business, and come from quality sources. Look for industry journals, local magazines, well respected blogs, and news sources. You can also use internal links in your site to help (which is another topic and will be discussed in another section.)
While backlinks are important, it is also important not to go overboard. Spam links or backlinks from irrelevant sources can actually hurt you. When seeking out backlinks, stick to those in your area of expertise. Don’t overuse your keywords in anchor texts, use an anchor text that reads natural. Be wary of anyone who offers to sell backlinks to help you improve your SEO. This black hat technique may improve your SEO in the short term, but spam backlinks will cause more harm than good in the end. See Google’s guide on link schemes: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356
Search engines use complicated algorithms and methods to rank websites. While that is great for the internet users because it ensures the most relevant results show up in a search, it can be difficult for business owners trying to improve their SEO. It is important to take extra care when building up and maintaining your link profile.
Complete, Consistent NAP Citations
Just like backlinks each NAP citation is an off-page factor that helps your site rank higher on organic and local results. Each NAP citation is a mention of your business name, address and phone number on a local listing site. A local listing site refers to internet yellow pages sites, aggregator sites, or review sites. Each mention of your NAP can count towards helping you rank higher on local and organic results for your service keywords in your service area.
Moreover, local listing sites allow potential clients to contact you directly, as they also rank high on search results for law firms relevant terms in different locations. Actually Google results for a a keyword such as “lawyer in XYZ city or “divorce attorney in near me” consist of a mixture of individual lawyer sites in the searched location as well as these local listing sites. Thus, placing your listing on the most trustworthy sites will go a long way to help you both to directly generate leads for your law firm as well as to help your own site to rank higher on search engine result pages.
General local listing sites such as Google My Business, Your Bing Local, Facebook, and YELP, Yellow Pages can all be helpful elements in your SEO plan. You should also list your NAP on niche lawyers local listing sites such as Avvo, Justia, Super Lawyers, Findlaw.com.
Your number of reviews on Google and your average rating, as well as the content of those reviews, play a crucial role in your website’s ranking in the local pack and Google maps. The more reviews you get and the more keywords related to your locations and services or products are used in the content of those reviews, the faster your site climbs up on the local results. A reviews management tool like Review Tool can help you get more reviews for your law firm.
You can see in this image the different reviews-related ranking factors that can help you improve your local SEO and increase your local rankings for your law firm:
Social Media Marketing
The majority of Americans are using social media – 8 in 10 people, in fact. So, if you aren’t active on social media sites, you’re missing out on a big opportunity. In addition to brand recognition and brand awareness, engagement on social media can indirectly help with search engines performance, thereby enhancing your SEO. Moreover, you can also receive real leads directly from your social media marketing campaign.
The benefits to an active social media presence include:
Lead Generation – The ability to attract potential clients through engaging and thoughtful posts, and then convert them to actual clients.
Brand Awareness – Reach out to those that are not familiar with your brand name through shares, comments and interactions by your fan.
Engage and interact – Connect with your audience through posts, social media enables you to address potential, current and former clients, all in one place.
Brand Recognition – Build a relationship with your audience, building trust and brand awareness.
Improve SEO – Social media interaction can improve your SEO.
As with any piece of your marketing puzzle, it is important to approach social media carefully. Lawyers are held to a high standard and there are rules in place dictating what attorneys can post on social media. It is important to familiarize yourself with these guidelines and use an SEO firm that is well-versed in handling attorney accounts.
But when done correctly, adding a profile on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn and becoming active on them can boost your SEO and bring you to even more potential clients.
How to Choose the Right SEO Company?
If you Google SEO companies, you will find pages and pages of results. So, how do you know you’ve hired the company that is right for you?
First, be sure you’ve hired a company whose approach to marketing aligns with your ethics and ideals, and who understands how you want your firm represented. If you hire a company who has a different mentality for how things should work, you may be doing more damage to your business than good.
It’s crucial to be sure you partner with a marketing company who is dedicated to only white hat SEO tactics. These are the tactics that may take a bit more time, but they are all above-board, follow the correct guidelines, and won’t end up with your site demoted for certain keywords, penalized or worse, banned.
Black hat techniques often see leaps in SEO rankings, but because they are methods that search engines recognize as aimed to manipulate search results and jeopardize the accuracy of search engine results pages, they can end up causing more harm to your business.
The right SEO company wants to invest in you, just as you want to invest in them, it’s all about the partnership. Building an ideal SEO profile takes time and commitment, and you want to be sure the company you choose is committing to you.
Black Hat techniques (spamdexing) to look out for include:
Using unrelated keywords
Keyword stuffing – using too many keywords in an effort to rank for them, without paying attention to how the keywords fit into the content
Tiny text, hidden text, or hidden links
Cloaking which means serving different content to search engines which is different than what regular users see
Gateway or doorway pages which are a particular form of clocking
Page swapping or bait-and-switch
Buying links or other forms of link building that falls under link schemes
Using keywords instead of your Business name for your Google My Business listing
Creating duplicate Google places listings or creating a listing with a fake address or with a home address or mailbox.
Getting fake reviews
White hat techniques, on the other hand, will focus on:
Effective keyword usage that utilizes keyword research
The accuracy of the NAP citations
Specific and accurate title tags and meta descriptions
Quick load time
Because online marketing and advertising has become such an important component for all businesses, there are now advertising regulations in place specific to attorneys. These regulations dictate how lawyers can market themselves, and will vary from state to state. It is important to refer to your state’s bar before beginning any SEO program to be sure you are aware of all guidelines.
A reputable SEO company can help your company increase awareness and convert potential clients into real clients. It is important to remember that SEO success doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time and patience, and continues adjustments along the way.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Not only do you have to execute your SEO strategy, you need to also monitor and analyze key performance indicators (known as KPI.)
Your law firm KPI help you determine the quality of your strategy and let you know if you are going towards the right direction or if you need to refine your strategy.
What’s the concept of KPI? Key performance indicators evaluate the factors that contribute to your bottom line. KPIs tell you how your website is performing, looking for both what is succeeding and what maybe needs more work. It involves looking at more than just numbers – sure, your website may look like it has a lot of traffic, but is it the right traffic? Are the leads your site has generated high quality leads?
What are your important KPIs to keep an eye on?
Measure your audience. Track your visitors, check to see if they are new or returning visitors, and monitor how your audience is growing.
Analyze where your traffic is coming from. If you understand how your visitors are getting to your site, you can understand what marketing channels are working. Are they coming to your site directly from Google, or a social media post? Did they find you from a directory listing, or from an email blast you sent out? Did they click on your AdWords ad? Are there specific keywords that seem to be leading to more visitors?
Look at bounce rate and average session times. A bounce refers to a visitor who clicked to your site, but then immediately left. This may indicate that they didn’t find what they were looking for. The longer the average session time for your visitors is, the more likely they are to convert. And, lower bounce rates combined with higher session times can boost your search engine rankings.
Measure conversion rates. It’s not enough just to get users on your site, you want them to convert. Be sure your website has clear calls to action – signing up for a newsletter, scheduling a consultation, etc.
Measure profits and ROI. It’s important to determine the cost of each conversion so you can get an overall picture of your return on investment. You never want to be spending more on trying to get conversions than you are making in profit.
There are many tools to help you track the success of SEO over time. Google Analytics and Google Webmaster are two free tools that can help you get started. There are other tools you need to use to fully track your SEO campaign. When it comes to tracking you must track the following key performance metrics:
Calls – Which campaigns or particular keywords prompted an internet user to call you? Call tracking can help you determine if certain keywords or campaigns are more successful.
Online Form Submissions – If you know where forms are originating from, you can determine which campaigns are successful.
Other Conversion Modes – Such as live chat sessions or contacts through an email address you display on your website.
Traffic – Know which keywords are trending, which sources the traffic is originating from, and what kind of traffic it is.
Rankings – Determine which keywords are most successful by seeing them ranked from highest to lowest.
Your internet marketing firm should also set up goals on Google analytics to be able to track all the conversions that happen through different modes under in one place.
SEO clients often want to know how long their campaign will last. But to maintain any success you have gained, it is important to continue SEO on an ongoing basis. Algorithms continually change, changing the weight search engines place on different aspects, so you have to constantly stay on your toes and ensure if one thing stops working successfully, you can bolster another component to help in its place. Furthermore, your competitors are constantly improving their website and its SEO and once in a while a new competitor comes into play and makes the competition tougher for everyone.
Additionally, your website should be continually updated with fresh content, mostly through relevant and engaging blog posts. As you continue to add updated content, the search engines will recognize this and realize users can find value in what you are publishing.
The condition of your website will also play a part. If you don’t have the time or money to ensure your website stays up-to-date, you can see your SEO gains begin to diminish over time. If your site gets cluttered or unnavigable, or you have a site full of broken links, duplicate content, and other technical SEO issues, search engines will stop sending users to you.
Likewise, your website has to contain a good amount of content that will make the search engines view you as worthwhile. Update your site regularly with fresh content. These were some of the reasons why you need to continue doing SEO instead of just thinking about a short period of time to achieve high rankings and then stop your SEO campaign and enjoy the results for the rest of your life.
If you’ve already started some sort of SEO campaign, provided that no black hat techniques have been used, and then hire a professional SEO firm to help, that is a great start. You’ll have a foundation from which to work, which can be helpful. Starting from scratch will take a bit longer to see results.
When it comes to building an SEO campaign for your law firm, the key ingredients are patience and expertise. The right internet marketing company will have the expertise to help you springboard your firm to the next level. It isn’t enough to just invest in a beautiful website and hope it leads to traffic – you have the have the right strategies in place to help ensure that traffic finds you and that can only be achieved if you partner with the right SEO or internet marketing firm.
The right traffic, streaming steadily to your site, will lead to more potential clients. But it can also help you understand what your potential clients’ needs are, helping you to fine-tune your approach. The goal of any SEO program should be to increase your traffic, generating more leads, and creating more business for your law practice.
Tracking Success and Growth
For your law firm to be successful, it’s not enough just to incorporate a well-planned SEO or online marketing program, you must also measure and track your growth, and your internet marketing campaign should be added to any tracking you currently do. Following questions are some of the important ways you can determine if you are on the right track with your SEO program. A long term strategy must utilize various techniques, and then measure them against your profit and success.
Are your search engine rankings improving? Are you found easily on local, organic and maps result for your service terms in your service area?
Are clients in your jurisdiction finding you?
Do you show a steady client base that is growing?
How many of your clients find you via internet channels? Are you or your internet marketing firm precisely tracking which online channels you are getting your most leads from?
Online Marketing Expert, MIB Graduate From HEC Montréal and Serial Entrepreneur. Founder/Owner of Nexunom.com, ReviewTool.com, Allintitle.co and Tavata.com. Working in Digital Marketing Field Since 2008.