These days, Google is more than a neat resource to have in your back pocket, just in case.
It’s an essential part of how people live their lives and make everyday decisions.
In other words, your next round of potential clients doesn’t just use Google to look up odd facts about animals or find out how old their favorite actress is.
They’ll also be using it to evaluate their options the next time they need a lawyer. And if Google doesn’t serve up your website as a possible solution to their problem, they’ll hire someone else.
A thorough SEO campaign is the key to ensuring your law firm is a contender in today’s competitive digital world. Still, it’s essential to tailor your efforts with your profession in mind.
Here’s what you need to know about SEO for lawyers to get ahead.
What is SEO for Lawyers (or Attorney SEO)?
Just as you’re in the law business, Google is in the business of helping people find the resources they’re looking for, no matter how specific or unique.
It accomplishes this by using a complex algorithm to evaluate the billions of web pages out there and return a list of suggestions.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing practice of making sure a website is not only indexed by search engines like Google but ranking well enough in relevant searches to drive traffic.
SEO for lawyers, in particular, is SEO conducted with the unique needs of attorneys and their clients in mind.
Standard focuses include keyword research, citation building, and content development.
Why is Law Firm SEO Important?
This year, there are three routes people typically go when they’re looking to hire an attorney.
If they know people who’ve already secured legal sources for similar reasons, they might ask around for word-of-mouth recommendations.
However, they’ll also likely use social media and search engines to evaluate their options further.
SEO for lawyers is important because search engine use is by far the most widely used of these three options.
Here are some critical legal SEO statistics to keep in mind.
- 96% of people searching for legal advice look for it via a search engine.
- 62% of searches for legal information are non-branded (e.g., “criminal attorney near me”).
- 74% of people who visit an attorney’s website do so with the intent to take action.
- 87% of people who decide to contact a lawyer also go on to hire one.
- 72% of people who contact a lawyer only contact one.
So without a solid understanding of SEO for lawyers, you’re potentially missing out on a lot of business, not to mention a golden opportunity to be seen as an authority in your field.
What are the Best SEO Keywords for Lawyers?
As you no doubt already know, competition is fierce in the legal profession, even with a reliable SEO strategy in your corner.
That’s why it’s essential to understand which of the billions of possible legal keywords are suitable for your legal practice.
Here are some standard legal keyword types to consider.
Common Search Terms
These are high-level queries people will search at the beginning of their legal journey — like “lawyer,” “law firm,” “legal advice,” or “attorney near me.”
Since legal services are locational in nature, every lawyer should be further specializing their SEO efforts with localized terms — like “Los Angeles divorce attorney” or “criminal defense lawyer in Chicago.”
Many people also search for the specific type of legal service they need — as in “car accident injury lawyer” or “estate planning attorney.”
People search for information in question format, as well, providing the perfect opportunity to answer them with an informative blog post or a standalone page. Think “what does a personal injury lawyer do” or “do I need a lawyer for personal injury.”
7 Quick SEO Tips for Lawyers
Now that you understand why SEO for lawyers is so important, it’s time to start planning a winning strategy that will propel you to the top of the most relevant searches.
Here are some quick-start tips to get you going in the right direction.
1. Decide on your keywords
Keywords are the heartbeat of any good SEO campaign, so choosing the right ones is essential for your ongoing success.
Remember, Google is in the business of delivering detailed, specialized information to users. So the more specific your targeted keywords, the higher in quality your traffic and resulting leads will be.
Common search terms like “law firm” or “lawyer” should be part of your chosen key terms, but they’re too general on their own, not to mention very difficult to rank for.
Add your location and area of expertise to further refine your results, as in “family lawyer in Monterey CA,” but don’t stop there, either.
Consider using a keyword research tool to help you come up with and evaluate even more terrific options for your firm.
2. Start optimizing for your chosen keywords
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, it’s time to incorporate them into your website in a way that tells Google you’re an authority when it comes to those topics.
All of the primary elements of your home page should include keywords, including your headings, subheadings, and calls-to-action.
They should also be sprinkled throughout your written content in natural, useful ways.
If you serve multiple locations or practice more than one type of law, consider creating a keyword-rich landing page for each.
This helps raise your visibility for the specific, personalized search queries your future clients will be making.
3. Don’t forget to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions
The title tag of a particular page is what will appear as the headline on a specific SERP (search engine results page).
The associated meta description provides additional details on what the page is about.
Together these elements help tell Google’s algorithm what each page of your website actually covers to rank it accurately.
So don’t overlook these crucial elements when keyword-optimizing your legal site for success. Every page on your site should include appropriately keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions, including blog posts.
4. Focus on user experience
Properly keyword-optimizing your website to rank well on Google and drive traffic is only part of good SEO for lawyers.
The rest is about ensuring your site provides the sleek user experience modern consumers expect.
After all, it’s far too common for someone to click on a link that looks promising only to leave immediately due to poor user experience, especially when searching for professional services.
So build and organize your site with user-friendliness in mind. Choose a design that’s clean, professional, and pleasing to the eye.
Make sure it’s mobile-friendly and that pages load quickly.
Finally, organize your pages and on-site information in an intuitive way that makes it easy for visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for.
5. Fill your site with helpful content
Search engines favor websites that are frequently updated with the timely, high-quality content their users are looking for.
That said, mastering SEO for lawyers is about more than building great, well-optimized standalone pages and calling it a day.
Not only should you regularly evaluate those pages for continued relevancy and accuracy, but you should also add a blog to your website.
A blog is still the best way to keep professional websites ranking well. It’s also an effective way to build authority, create brand recognition, and become a trusted legal resource that keeps people coming back.
Fill your blog with useful content that answers critical questions, informs users, and otherwise tells people what they need to know about your firm.
Set a content production schedule and stick to it to ensure consistency.
6. Incorporate links into your SEO strategy
Links are a crucial part of any legal SEO effort.
Here are the three basic types you’ll want to include in your strategy.
- Internal links boost usability by directing visitors to additional pages on your website that can help them complete their search for information.
- External links to other authority websites add value by directing people to outside resources that could be useful.
- Backlinks are third-party links that point users toward your site as a trusted authority.
Add both internal and external links to your blog content and legal pages where appropriate to aid user experience and boost search engine authority.
Encourage organic backlinking by producing high-quality content other people feel moved to cite or share with their own valued audiences.
You can also request backlinks by reaching out to peers in your industry or influencers in your niche.
7. Register your website in the right places
Every location-based business should be focused on appearing in the correct directories, and law firms are certainly no exception.
So start by claiming and completing your Google My Business profile to boost local search visibility.
Well-maintained GMB profiles have a chance to appear at the very top of organic search results, complete with a map and information listing, so keeping yours up to date is a must.
You’ll also want to do the same by optimizing web presences on relevant directories for your niche. These include popular review platforms like Yelp, of course.
Wrap Up: Great SEO for Lawyers Includes Smooth Relationship Management
Choosing the right lawyer to help with an important legal issue is an important decision.
That said, some of your web visitors will be ready to hire right away, but others will need a little more time to come to a final decision.
A streamlined email marketing system is the key to building strong ongoing relationships with both, so it’s a must when mastering SEO for lawyers.
Get started by checking out our comprehensive guide to effective email marketing. You’ll learn how to use it to build trust, keep potential clients engaged, and more!