Larger firms tend to enjoy a healthy stream of clients wanting to work with them. The brand name alone is a powerful marketing asset as it attracts more business. Smaller firms often don’t have the same advantage as they have to work with the limited budgets they have to market their services.
This is why examining market trends is so important as it leads to better use of marketing resources. Consider the following statistics compiled from research conducted by Google and FindLaw:
- 96% of people go online to seek legal advice
- 38% of people use search engines to find a lawyer
- 62% of legal searches are non-branded (e.g. Austin family lawyer, etc.)
- 74% of people who visit a law firm’s website proceed to take action
- 71% of those looking for a lawyer believe it is important to have a local attorney
It is no secret that search drives a significant amount of traffic. Visibility in the search results for legal terms means more potential prospects. And the more potential prospects that get in touch, the greater the likelihood that they become a valued client. But actually ranking requires taking a strategic local SEO approach to reach your target market.
Here we provide a step by step process of SEO for lawyers to put your law practice in front of potential clients looking for your services.
1. Start With Keyword Research
Keyword research serves as the foundation for any SEO campaign. The process entails identifying keywords that potential prospects would search for to find services your firm offers. These terms will also be valuable later in the next step.
Start by using Google’s Keyword Planner and enter in keywords relevant to the firm. Some examples might include:
- Family lawyer Austin
- Criminal lawyer Texas
- Personal injury lawyer
- Divorce attorney
Keyword Planner provides additional keyword ideas as well as estimated search traffic.
Take long tail keywords into consideration during the research phase. It would be especially difficult to rank for terms such as “family lawyer” or “criminal law” without a substantial budget. Longer phrases such as “family lawyer in Austin Texas” are not only more targeted in terms of search traffic they are also easier to rank for.
Search for legal related keywords that fall into these two categories:
● Buying intent: These are keywords with purchasing intent behind them and are the ones that should be prioritized in local SEO campaigns. A search for “criminal lawyer Austin” indicates that the searcher is close to hiring an attorney. We will be using these keywords later in to optimize your main service pages.
● Research intent: These keywords indicate that the searcher is looking for information that is relevant to their particular situation. Examples include “Do I need a lawyer for a personal injury?” or “When to hire child custody lawyers”. These keywords may not necessarily lead to a client, but they shouldn’t be ignored either as they can still bring search traffic to your site.
By now you should have a sizable keyword list to work with. These will be used to optimize your law website.
2. Optimize On-Page Factors
Optimizing on-page factors improves the relevance of your pages and tells Google exactly what each one is about. The goal here is to also integrate your keywords from the previous step. But keep careful not to spam your content as doing so could lead to ranking penalties.
Here are the important on-page factors to optimize:
Title tags: The title is the first thing that visitors see in the search results so it is worth focusing your attention here first. Because the title tag is an important on-page factor, you will want to include the primary keywords that each page is targeting.
Consider the following examples:
The first image is more relevant for “divorce attorney Austin” and includes those target keywords in the title. It also ranks higher than the second result. Work through each page and optimize their title tags. Be sure to include your target keywords as well as a city name to reach potential prospects in your area.
Meta descriptions: Meta descriptions are another important SEO component and can even affect click through rates. These are small snippets of information that display under the page titles in the search results. As with your title tags, the descriptions should include your target keywords and also be written in a manner to appeal to visitors.
Here are some good examples of well-written meta descriptions:
The descriptions clearly state what the law firm offers and how visitors can easily get in touch. Be sure to include a call to action to get more visitors to your pages and remember to keep descriptions under 155 characters.
Header tags are particularly useful as they help to break up the body text and help Google better understand the page. Since your title tags already include your primary keywords, header tags should include secondary keywords to rank your pages for other terms.
The content is the meat of your page. For better SEO results, your content should go in-depth and provide an extensive description of the services your law firm practices. Creating separate service pages can also help your site rank better.
For example, if your firm practices family law you could create pages that target different practice areas:
- Legal separation
- Child custody
Then optimize on-page factors for each. In addition to these measures, your copy should be professional and compelling to encourage prospective clients to reach out.
3. Get on Google My Business
Google My Business increases visibility for your business on Search, Maps, and Google+.
Create an account if you haven’t already. You will need to fill out basic information about your law firm and verify your business. Complete all the following:
- Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP): Google uses the information from your profile so make sure that everything is accurate. The information you enter here should be consistent with any profiles you have elsewhere.
- Operating hours: Google displays operating hours directly in the search results. Be sure that the business hours are accurate and remember to update them for any upcoming holidays.
- Description: Your description should be descriptive and about 100 to 200 words in length. Use relevant keywords to increase the relevance of your profile.
- Images: Google My Business lets you upload images to your business page. Upload quality images that best reflect your firm including group shots of partners in the office.
First impressions matter so really take the time to make your profile shine.
Search represents an incredible opportunity for law firms to attract more clients to their practice.
But actually ranking your law firm is not as simple as having a website although it is a start. Following local SEO practices is a proven strategy to rank your service pages. Start by identifying keywords that are most relevant to your practice. Then optimize all on-page factors to increase the relevance and visibility of your business. Finally, create a profile on Google My Business if you haven’t already and fill out all these fields.
Taking all these steps will help your law firm rank higher in Google and attract more clients.