Want to know the truth? The truth is, everyone’s an “SEO expert” and claims they know how to triple your monthly organic traffic and phone calls to your law firm. They’ll find all of the things your website and law firm SEO strategy lack while simultaneously telling you how they can fix it and guarantee results. They’ll talk you into monthly recurring SEO services that can often cost more than it returns.
The truth is, you can find areas of improvement on every law firm website if you look hard enough. The truth is, SEO isn’t a magic trick, it doesn’t transform a law firm overnight. The truth is, monthly SEO services are a waste of money for many law firms. The truth is, marketing agencies promising you more traffic and client leads can’t guarantee that will happen.
The real truth is that SEO is one of the best ways to get new clients for your law firm. Don’t believe me, check out a few of these new law firm marketing statistics:
- 97% of people seeking legal advice start online (Source)
- 74% of prospects beginning a search online end up contacting the office via phone (Source)
- 87% of people who contact an attorney go on to hire an attorney and 72% of them only contact one attorney (Source)
- 62% of legal searches are non-branded (i.e. lawyer near me) (Source)
Although SEO can help grow your law firm, there’s no one size fits all strategy that works for every law firm. Many marketing agencies will implement the same law firm SEO strategy for all of their lawyer clients. Sure it may work for a few, but it won’t work for them all. You have to take into consideration your area of practice, geographical location, demand for service, level of competition, and so much more before deciding the right course of action for your law firm. The law firm SEO strategy I recommend for my smaller personal injury lawyer clients is completely different than the law firm SEO strategy I recommend to my larger business law clients. However, there are foundational pillars that every law firm should incorporate into their SEO strategy to gain more online traffic.
Here’s the strategy outline that I go over with every one of my lawyer clients when determining the best approach for their law firm’s SEO strategy. If you’re investing in SEO for your law firm, be sure to ask about these specific areas. No matter if you’re looking for personal injury SEO, family law SEO, or criminal defense SEO, there are specific strategies that can be leveraged for each.
Analyzing your competition and identifying areas of opportunity
If you’re a new or small personal injury lawyer located near Philadelphia, you’ll have a very difficult time competing in that market because of the level of competition. That’s the cold hard truth. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful and eventually begin competing with the bigger firms there. I advise my clients to begin small and target the smaller surrounding cities first. Build your law firm’s equity and authority before shifting your focus to a big market city.
So instead of going after the Philadelphia market, start with surrounding areas like West Chester or Moorestown. Build up your law firm in less saturated and competitive locations first. The potential of ranking in the search results of these markets is much more likely than attempting to find clients in a market that has bigger firms with bigger marketing budgets.
Once you’ve begun to rank in a smaller area for keywords that your clients are searching for you can continue to expand and scale your practice. You have to be adaptable with your law firm SEO strategy. It will never be the same for two different law firms, each law firm marketing strategy requires a custom approach and often requires insight from you, the lawyer, in order for the best results. You know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats better than anyone, your SEO consultant is there to optimize and enhance those qualities for you.
Targeting Keywords That Your Potential Clients are Searching For
Keyword research is a huge part of SEO. You want to not only target the keywords and phrases that your potential clients are searching for, but also target the geographical area of your target audience. For example, a new or small personal injury lawyer would want to target keywords like “car accident lawyer West Chester” or “slip and fall lawyer Moorestown”. By optimizing your website content and meta data with specific keywords and phrases your potential clients search for combined with the geographical area they live in, you’ll give yourself a great opportunity to appear in Google results for searches like those.
Targeting general keywords like “personal injury lawyer” or “wrongful death” is just like trying to compete in a big market like Philadelphia with no credibility yet. You have to strategically pick the keywords you want to target. Going after lower traffic volume and lower competition keywords give you a much better opportunity to attract online traffic to your website. Targeting the lower hanging fruit first helps you build credibility for your law firm website. Once you’ve gained a steady stream of organic traffic, you can begin to target medium level competition keywords, and eventually graduate to the higher competition keywords.
Targeting competitive high volume keywords starting out is often a huge waste of money, and a big problem I see between the marketing agency and lawyer relationship.
Optimize Your Law Firm’s Google My Business
One of your most valuable assets as a business owner is your Google My Business account. Google uses the information you have on your GMB combined with the reviews from customers as a gigantic ranking signal online. Having your Google My Business fully optimized for the areas that you’re current SEO strategy is targeting is critical for a holistic strategy. SEO is dependent on many different variables, and if those variables aren’t synchronized, it can cause confusion for Google as they crawl, index, and rank your website.
In order to show up in the Google map results for “lawyer near me” you have to have a strong Google My Business profile. If you have a weak profile with only 3 reviews, there’s a very good chance you won’t show in Google maps or be buried under law firms with better GMB profiles than you. Google uses client reviews as testimonials and user experience signals. Google is much more likely to rank a law firm with fifty 4-5 star reviews over a law firm with only a handful of reviews, even if they’re all 5 stars. Bottom line is that reviews absolutely matter, and are crucial to ranking higher than other law firms in your area. A review generation strategy can be one of the most beneficial aspects of a GMB optimization service.
When discussing a potential SEO partnership with a marketing agency or consultant be sure to ask about their plans for your GMB. How do they plan to optimize it to improve your local SEO? Do they have a review generation strategy? Will they regularly be posting content to your GMB? These are all great questions to ask, and a good SEO professional should be able to answer and explain each of these to you.
Law firm SEO is all about E-A-T, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. You want to focus on these three areas in your strategy to be able to capture and generate traffic to your law firm’s website. Similar to your own brand, clients want to be able to trust you, they want to be able to see the success you’ve had with other clients, they want to be able to see why you’re an expert in your area of practice. They want to see all of this before they agree to work with you. Google is the same way. Before they start ranking your law firm website higher in the search results, they want to see all of that as well, but it must be communicated and represented online through your website, social media, Google My Business, backlinks, reviews, etc.
I’ve heard plenty of horror stories from my law firm clients explaining how disconnected and unaware the marketing agency they worked with in the past was. My biggest piece of advice for any law firm thinking of working with an agency or consultant is to be sure they have a specific and custom plan in place for your law firm. Law firm SEO can completely transform your business for the better, but it can also be a waste of money if it’s not implemented correctly.