It shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that most people are now accustomed to researching companies and comparing options before making a decision. The convenience and ease of finding information have multiplied exponentially, which has made law firm SEO an incredibly powerful marketing tool.
Is your law firm’s website difficult for new clients in Plano to find? While referral marketing is one of the most powerful strategies to implement, you can bolster your list of clients by showing up on Google for important search terms. This article is geared towards attorneys looking to grasp the basic concepts of SEO for lawyers. By the end, you should:
- Have a firm grasp of the basic concepts of lawyer SEO.
- Understand how each tactic impacts your attorney’s SEO.
- Know what you’re looking for when hiring law firm SEO experts.
What is search engine optimization?
SEO is the process of increasing the online visibility of a website to drive targeted traffic that converts to leads, sales, and new clients. “Search visibility” increases when your website moves closer to the top of the search results for important keywords.
When your website is at the top of Google for relevant search terms, the likelihood of people clicking on your website increases tremendously. If your website is set up correctly, the traffic landing on your pages should convert into leads and new clients. Learn more about how SEO works here.
Is SEO for lawyers something that works?
But of course! A lawyer’s website is no different than any other. The difference between tactics lies in the difficulty of the industry. There is incredibly tough competition to get to the #1 spot on Google for search terms that will land you hundreds of thousands in new business.
The performance of your website when doing SEO for lawyers in Plano lies in a few major areas:
- Keyword/SEO strategy
- Off-site optimization (link building)
- On-page optimization
The keyword strategy is crucial to every SEO campaign. While it may seem straightforward with the audience you’re targeting, the best approach isn’t always the most obvious. It takes a seasoned law firm SEO expert to know how realistic the “big” keywords are and how to get around beating some of the most difficult competitors.
The keywords your law firm targets will have a significant impact on the performance of your lead generation. It may take years to get “the biggest” income-generating search terms but it may take months to get a series of similar words that can start bringing in the bacon quickly.
At the end of the day, Google rewards websites that demonstrate unique, engaging, and informative content. This doesn’t just mean beautifully and professionally written. This extends to providing multimedia options to separate you from your competition.
Above all, quality content is highly targeted to answering the “user’s intent” of the search. If your pages can adequately satisfy the user your ranking will rise in the search engines.
Off-site optimization and content promotion
When Google first entered the scene (1997), the defining characteristic of Google’s algorithm included the number of websites that link to your own. This is a measurable trait and a sign of quality content.
The analogy can be equated to a popularity contest. When a lot of websites link to one it shows search engines that the website is popular and the content is trustworthy. This gets more complicated when we start evaluating what a “quality website” is but the concept is the same. If your website has more credible authority backlinks than a competitor, you gain the edge and will rank higher (all other factors being equal).
On-page optimization and technical SEO
Your pages need to be properly optimized for target keywords. The user experience is also a major factor that comes into play. Your pages need to load quickly and have the proper metadata that’s all packaged into an easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate website.
Is SEO for law firms important?
The truth is, SEO for every business is important. Search engines are now one of the most common ways to find products and services. According to the 2019 Legal Trends Report performed by the company Clio, 17% of people looked for a lawyer via a search engine. This method of discovery was tied second out of all the ways people find and hire a lawyer.
If your law SEO is down in the dumps, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. SEO is definitely one of today’s most popular methods of marketing law firms.
Now that we got you all hot and bothered about your SEO, here are the 7 tips we have to move your Google ranking closer to the top of the search results.
#1. Choose the best keywords for lawyers
As we mentioned before, the keywords you target have a direct impact on the performance of your SEO campaign. If your firm specializes in DUI cases, it’s important to have a page targeting the main keyword. You will also need a group of keywords that will be used together to create the blueprint for your content.
For example, you can optimize your page for “Plano DUI attorney” but you’ll also need to include popular searches that people also ask. How do you know what these search terms are? Search Google, and look in the “People Also Ask” box. That’s one way of finding EXACTLY what Google thinks is important to users who are typing in your main keyword.
#2. Optimize the pages of your law firm website
Some of the easiest changes you can make to your law firm website are to change high-impact metadata. Search engines will look for your metadata in 3 significant places:
- Title/heading/H1 tags
- Meta description
The reason these 3 places are so important is that this information will populate the search result page. You want people to know they’ve found the right place when they search your target keywords. Include them in the title and URL. It’s a direct ranking factor that will improve your ranking.
You’ll also need a meta description to make your search result listing more enticing. If you don’t have one, Google will fill it for you and you’ll lose out on good marketing opportunities.
#3. Publish content that helps potential clients
When developing a law firm website, think of creating a resource for existing clients and new clients searching for a lawyer. When a new user lands on your page put yourself in their shoes and think of what they would want to see.
DUI lawyers in Plano should include all the answers to questions like:
- Do these lawyers specialize in DUI cases?
- Do they have a winning record?
- Are they located in Plano?
- Are they suited to my budget?
- Why would I want to hire this firm?
Testimonials and reviews are the most convincing forms of content. The major landing pages of your site should have a library of testimonials and links to case studies to push the user closer to calling your firm.
#4. Cluster your content using the pillar page model
The pillar page concept has been around for some time, yet many websites fail to utilize this simple, yet effective technique. Think of the major pages on your site as the “pillars” that make up the main content and theme of your business. For every pillar, there are “satellite pages” that dive a little deeper into the different aspects of your main keyword topic.
This is a quick video to explain:
If your pillar page is optimized for the term “Plano DUI lawyer” your satellite pages would be case studies and other important search terms that further explain the details related to DUI law. By creating more pages that are linked to this keyword theme, you increase the authority of the pillar page and show search engines that your website is a resource for your main keyword themes.
#5. Increase the popularity of your law firm website
As mentioned before, link building improves the popularity of your website. If you’re just starting, you want to get your website on trusted websites and all the places your competition is getting links from as well. To accelerate your growth you will need stronger links from authority websites that are more difficult to come by.
Build citations (beginner level)
The easiest way to start is by building citations. For long-term success and a strong local presence, you will need to list your business in the:
- Local directories (Google My Business, Plano business directories, etc.)
- Niche directories (Avvo, Justia.com, Findlaw.com, etc.)
- National and well know directories (Yellow Pages, Yelp, Manta, etc.)
Get referrals from authority websites (more advanced)
This link-building strategy is much more difficult because they are from websites that don’t easily link to other websites. An example of this is getting a link from a local newspaper because you offer a pro bono case once a month.
Another example is writing an article that gets published on a massive website and links back to yours. Here is an example of a blog post on Findlaw.com:
As you acquire. With more quality backlinks your website grows in authority and ranking ability. This is the second largest ranking factor in that produces top results.
#6. Address the technical SEO of your website
Some of the most important aspects of the user experience are pages that load fast, a website that’s easy to navigate as well as making your site “Google-friendly.” One of the easiest things you can do to improve your page speed is to reduce the file size of your images on all of your pages.
When you compress your image files, it takes fewer resources to load a page. Use this tool: Squoosh.app
Simply drop your image in the browser and click download (make sure your settings are on MozJPEG for regular images with the most compression). As you can see from the image above the compression rate is 67%. That’s BEFORE you resize the image.
Most images don’t need to be so big. You can also resize the image to what you need directly on this tool. Using the correct size will reduce the number of requests on the server and give you another boost in the time your page loads.
#7. Hire a law firm SEO agency (or a law firm SEO expert)
Why leave anything to chance? There are so many aspects of SEO that lead to better rankings and when you’re competing against other law firms, it’s a tough arena to be in. Hire an SEO company that knows lawyer SEO inside out. At Austin Bryant Consulting, we can guide your Plano law firm to the top of the search results using tried tested, and proven strategies.
The amount of time it would take for a lawyer with no experience to perform adequate law firm SEO does not measure up to the hourly rate you could be getting with your time spent on clients. When you’re ready to see the opportunities that are waiting for you, schedule a strategy session and we’ll walk you through it.
Christian Carere heads the SEO team here at Austin Bryant Consulting. After building an SEO agency in Toronto (Digital Ducats Inc.) Christian was hired by founder Keith Hunn who has created a full-service digital marketing agency in Plano, TX. Christian has been published on Search Engine Watch, Venngage, Small Biz Daily, Grasshopper, Data Box, Socialnomics, and Mention.