The Ultimate Guide to Local SEO for Lawyers

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LOCAL SEO FOR LAWYERS

If your goal is to get in front of your prospective clients, the most effective way is through local SEO for law firms. A majority of the world population today access information through search engines, mostly Google.

When was the last time you searched for a service or product? How did you find it? I bet 99% of you would say Google. In fact, there are 3.5 billion searches made daily on Google alone.

Although we all use the internet for practically everything, few of us realize how search engines organize or index all the content on the internet so that every time we hit the return key, it conveniently presents itself right in front of us.

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When a user types “attorneys in my area,” more often than not they will click on the suggestions that appear in the first page in the search engine results page aka SERP.

What must you do to make your law firm appear on the first page so that people may click on the title tag of your website? You need law firm SEO to enhance your organic search engine ranking, which in turn will increase the chances of potential clients landing on your website and becoming your client.

Here is what we mean when we say SEO for attorneys:

  • To analyze your law firm’s online footprint
  • To take certain actions so that your law firm stands out in the competition
  • To reap the benefits of higher visibility, leading to more growth, customers, and leads after successfully implementing your law firm SEO strategy

SEO as a marketing strategy is long term, and you will get more returns if you invest in a dynamic, long term internet marketing strategy. This guide is meant both for the attorney who has undertaken an SEO campaign or has hired a professional SEO company specialized in lawyers. It will give you the information that you need with regards to attorney SEO marketing.
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CRUCIAL FACTORS IN LAWYER SEO MARKETING

Nothing could be further from the truth when people say search engine optimization (SEO) begins and ends in strategic keywords.

Inserting relevant keywords to your web content may help search engines understand your page’s intent, but there are a lot more components to SEO:

  1. Website optimization
    Mark up your website with the relevant title tag, meta descriptions, header, URL, content, and image, which helps Google to index your website content in the right manner. Think of the way a librarian may sort a stack of books by the call numbers. Google does the same by using the attributes to your site’s designation to file your website and store it in the right location so the users can easily find it.
  2. Navigability
    It can be frustrating to visit a website only to be confused and not be able to find your way around. With so many options, people simply refuse to bother with such websites. This is the last thing you want for your website. Just as good eye contact or a firm handshake is crucial to a first time consultation, first impressions also matter for a law firm website design.
    How do you expect a potential customer to trust you if you fail to offer a good first impression? The time spent on your website by potential customers on each page and the number of times people click on your website only to press the “back” button immediately (aka bounce) are all factors that affect your SEO.
  3. Content
    If your content is relevant, informative, and updated regularly, it will attract users to your website. Search engines are more advanced now and cannot be fooled by a long list of targeted keywords. The only content that is worth creating are ones that are authentic and useful while still incorporating relevant keywords.
  4. Backlinks
    Search engines crawl through the websites and read the information quickly. When crawling a website, search engines quickly jump from one page to the other via links.
    By having other websites include your company’s page link, the search engine will track it back to you and will improve the SERPs ranking. Another reason why it is essential to link internally is because of the value of the links and spreading link juice throughout your website.

SEO centers around the architecture and structure of your website design, your web page content, and link profile. While you can directly address your customers’ needs through keywords, you also need website navigation for users and search engines so that your content can be easily shared on social media. With SEO, search engines can easily highlight your webpage to others who are searching for similar information.

By using keywords relevant to your practice and city name, it will give you a better chance of ranking at the top of SERP (search engine results page).
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GREATER VISIBILITY WITH SEO

SEO will help your law practice reach out to a wider base of clientele. However, SEO is more than just sprinkling keywords. You can find out where you need to target your SEO strategy by conducting an internet marketing analysis.

ANALYZING YOUR ATTORNEY WEBSITE

When your website is intuitive and easy to navigate, it will engage your users and enhance your SEO. Here is how you can analyze the navigability of your website for several factors:

  • 400 errors or dead ends
  • Backlinks
  • External links
  • Internal links
  • Content organization
  • Word count

WHY LAWYERS NEED TO ADVERTISE LOCALLY

If there is a crime scene in Los Angeles, would you check out lawyers in Canada? You limit your search to your geographic location. This is why local search is important.
Let me show you 3 important reasons why investing in local SEO is necessary for lawyers.

But before we get into that, let’s have a look at some statistics.

  • According to Google, 46% of all searches have local intent.
  • 40% of all mobile queries and 20% of search queries are for local businesses.
  • 50% of all online searches are followed up by a visit.
  • 97% of individuals search the internet for local businesses.

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3 reasons why you should invest in local SEO

  1. Follow the Trend
    Online advertising is a trend your business cannot afford to miss. Almost everybody searches the internet for any business query. It makes sense for you as a lawyer to stay active online and have a presence. Your visibility online is directly proportional to how active you are on the platform.
  2. Increase Your Reach
    When you have a high local SEO rank, your firm will get a high quantity of free traffic. By having a large number of potential clients coming in search of your service, it won’t be long before you are able to convert the leads to business.
  3. Get Results Fast
    The competition is tough out there. You can’t expect to rank overnight in the global or international front. The good news is, it is relatively easy for lawyers to be able to rank high in local SEO simply because there is not a lot of attorneys who do so.

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INTERNET MARKETING ANALYSIS GUIDE FOR LAWYERS

You can analyze the results of your website as a performance indicator to set goals. With the help of Key Performance Indicators(KPIs), you will be able to determine the overall quality of your SEO strategy. You can analyze your link profile and navigational structure of your website with KPIs, both of which affects your online visibility and search engine ranking.

Here are some steps to help you analyze your performance on internet marketing:

STEPS FOR MARKETING ANALYSIS

  1. Find Your Strategy
    Simply publishing your website and hoping for the best won’t amount to anything. Your best option is to come up with a laser-focused internet marketing strategy.
  2. Make Use of Tools
    Make use of Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, SEMrush, AHREFS, and a whole range of tools that can give you possibly any kind of SEO related information that you need. You can now assess the number of people who visit your website and in what way they find you. SEMrush is my favorite by the way.
  3. Link Analysis
    Broken links or links to non-authoritative sites will not do you any good. Authority links matter. Google is well aware that it takes a village to be well-informed. This is why authoritative sites are the surest way to signal Google that the information on your website is well researched and talks about relevant topics.

ON-SITE AND OFF-SITE SEO

There is a lot of talk of onsite and offsite SEO and what it all means. Onsite SEO refers to the things that you do on your website in order to optimize it. It will help search engines to find your website and determine whether or not it is relevant and important to users. Popular strategies for onsite SEO are meta-tags, keywords, and headings.

Offsite SEO is things that happen outside of your website. It includes other websites linking to your site and how it is done. It is basically how your site is connected with the web through incoming links. Offsite optimization is all about what other sites think of your website. Popular offsite SEO strategies include backlinks, directories, articles, natural link building, etc.

ON-SITE SEO FOR LAWYERS

on page seo for lawyers
When you optimize the elements in your website with laser-focused strategy, relevant, high ranking traffic cannot help but gravitate towards your website. Onsite SEO provides a simple way for search engines to rank your page and make users realize that your page is useful.

With SEO on your website, you will be able to create custom content, which will make your site easily navigable. It also means finding relevant keywords and naturally integrating them in your web pages.

With onsite SEO, you will need expertise in different areas:

  • Selection of Keywords: It refers to a collection of the right keywords based on user search history on search engines. It also includes what keywords your competitors are using.
    You can intuitively select keywords by launching a top search query (use Google Analytics and Search Console to find the keywords people use to find your website) and checking out what keywords your competitors are ranked for. What are the search queries their ranking articles are targeting? Tools like Google Keyword Planner or Keywords Everywhere (Google Chrome extension) are great choices if you are looking for more in-depth keyword analysis.
  • Optimizing Website Structure: When you optimize the structure of your website, it will enable you to provide relevant information for visitors on each page. You cannot optimize your website with irrelevant content.
  • Headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.): Search engines read headings, and you can use it for general organization. The type and style of the headings will also help.
  • Title Tags: Title tags are what file names are being filed in each of the folders. It will help you explain the content posted on your webpage and enable visitors to direct themselves to your website. Remember to craft your title tags with keywords which describe the content on your web page.
  • Meta Description: It describes the page or website in Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Meta descriptions must be concise and under 160 characters. This little content will help determine whether or not users will click on your page. So take advantage of this mini-advertisement.
  • Custom-content: This is a cutting edge search engine marketing technique and can possibly have a massive impact on your SEO. Your audience should get something useful out of your custom content; like a solution to a problem. This type of content should have engaging visuals, should be easy to read, and normally should be long.
  • Google Analytics: With this tool, you can track different things in your website like keyword rankings, click-through rates, traffic, and so on. If you want to track your SEO progress, this data is crucial.
  • Your Sitemap + Google Search Console: When you add your Sitemap to Google Search Console, it will inform Google about the content on your site. It is essential for you to submit the Sitemap to top search engines because it will help them find the pages faster and you can be ranked accordingly.
  • Security on-site: With strong security on your website, you can prevent compromised information, attacks, and viruses attacking your computers and your visitors whenever they ask about the law services in your site.
  • Load Speed on site: Your search engine ranking is also affected by how fast your website loads. We all know nobody waits around for a website to load when there are literally thousands of options. Long story short, when your page is slow to load, it will lower your ranking.
  • Call to Action: Place calls to actions and buttons on your website. Drawing in a user is not enough. Make it easy and instantaneous for them to build a relationship with you.

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WHY GREAT CONTENT IS IMPORTANT

There may be a lot of SEO focus areas, but none of it means anything if you do not provide great content. Just as great customer service will not improve the bad food served at a restaurant, no amount of innovative design will attract visitors if you have bad content.

People visit websites because of the content, and if the content you provide is incorrect or not interesting enough, you will find yourself losing visitors.

KEEPING YOUR BLOG ACTIVE

Frequent blog posts will keep your site updated and keep your audience hooked and informed. Every time you post new content, your audience will come back to your site.

Generally, websites have two overarching content categories – blog posts and static site pages. The service pages on your website will have static pages that will remain relevant for a longer period of time.

If you are a criminal lawyer, for instance, working on clients facing criminal charges, there will be some pages in your website that talks about criminal defense as one of your practice areas, client testimonials, and other relevant information.

Blog posts are targeted content that provides information to specific matters pertinent to potential clients. It will help you to highlight elements of your area of expertise.

For example, what happens when a minor faces criminal charges? The legal penalties a minor might face if they are charged with a felony or how the charge can affect their careers or the possibility of getting into a college, etc.

The idea is to have potential clients visit your website for general information on the practice areas you offer and lead them on to more focused content in your active blog.

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Besides a good SEO strategy, make sure the content on your website is relevant and high quality. Your page will not only be constantly updated with relevant information, but it will also lead potential clients looking for specific information to your page.

A constantly updated blog will be a pillar to the structure of your website as it improves your SEO. When you are constantly posting original, useful, and fresh content, your occasional visitors will get a reason to visit your page more frequently. Blogs are a great way to strengthen relationships with consumers by giving them a chance to comment, which leads to direct interaction.

Blog writing is an on-going process. Making a few posts and forgetting about it will not work. When you are actively blogging, it will direct traffic to your site continually.
When you plan to launch an active blog, you need to make multiple decisions so that it will maximize your impact.

  • Your audience: Decide the kind of people you want your site to attract.
  • Brand and message: What do you want to talk about and how?
  • Visuals: When you combine your written content with visuals and audio-visuals, you will attract more users.
  • Frequency of your post: When you post on a regular basis like every Sunday morning, or daily, it makes your users look forward to your content.
  • Who will write: Is it you who will be writing the posts or do you want to feature some guest bloggers?
  • Internet marketing firm: When you hire professional companies specialized in internet marketing, they will help you implement the best techniques and practices and help you build your audience.

ETHICS ON LAWYER ADVERTISING AND SEO CONTENT

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The idea behind your advertising campaign is to maximize your practice’s visibility and convert potential clients to loyal consumers so that it promotes your law firm. With a good marketing strategy, you will encourage the targeted audience instead of spamming them with irrelevant content.

Bar associations of respective states have specific regulations concerning the rights of the advertisers and the public with regards to attorney marketing. Apart from these state statutes, as an attorney, you need to examine business and social considerations when you advertise.

More than ever, attorney advertisements should not be misleading, deceitful, or offensive. Indulging in disingenuous activities will give a bad reputation to your law firm and deter future business prospects while also attracting legal implications.

UNETHICAL LAWYER ADVERTISING

Compared to other industries, attorneys are held to a higher standard of advertising because of their profession. Your firm’s reputation will be tarnished if you resort to prohibited language or ignore sharing necessary disclaimers.

Besides adhering to your state’s bar laws, here are some general rules you must avoid:
Rule #1: Avoid publishing misleading information.
Rule #2: Without the right certification and approval from your State bar, do not claim as the expert of something.
Rule #3: Do not guarantee results to clients.

WHO SHOULD WRITE YOUR CONTENT ONLINE?

The content you put up online should be interesting, accurate, relevant, and factual. Find out what your users are looking for and what information would be beneficial for them.

Hire an SEO Company specialized in working with lawyers. With professional help, you can easily convert visitors into customers with your content while staying compliant with the law of the state.

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INTERNET MARKETING STRATEGY: LOCAL OVER NATIONAL/ GLOBAL

It is essential to ensure that the content on your site is targeting the right audience by using correct geo-modifiers in technical optimizations. It is important for your website to be focused on the geographical area that you are based in so that your potential clients can easily find you.

With local SEO marketing, you are directly available to clients within your geographical area using laser-focused key phrases like “LA lawyers near me” or “criminal lawyers near me.” When you focus on geographical places and subjects of interest in your area, you can easily hit home with local clients.

If you want to target a bigger audience, National SEO marketing is the way to go. The problem with this technique is that you are using more general phrases relevant to your area of practice like “criminal defense,” “medical malpractice,” etc. which are very general phrases that refer to occurrences that could possibly happen in any city, state, or the world.

Implementing a local SEO campaign will put you right in front of local, targeted clients in your geographical area.

LAWYER SEO CAMPAIGN: WEBSITE ARCHITECTURE AND NAVIGATIONAL STRUCTURE

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Typically a navigational structure is the way you organize your website. When you have a well-organized site, your users will be able to navigate around your website seamlessly, and it will also encourage search engines to crawl your website and analyze it for the SERP.

There are a number of elements that goes into website architecture.

  1. Hierarchy:
    When you organize the information and pages in “buckets” or “umbrellas,” the search engine will be able to sort your content. Remember to nest your topical pages under bigger bucket pages to keep your website organized.
    The simplest way you can come up with a website hierarchy is to first map the structure of the website before you develop it. In addition to this, the URL names must also match the hierarchy.
  2. Site Maps:
    A site map tool is important if you want the search engine to crawl your website.
  3. Keep it Simple:
    When you have a lot of links, buttons, and drop down menus, it will slow down the website, confuse users and also make it harder for search engines to crawl your site.
  4. Limit your Page Levels:
    Hierarchy and nest pages are important, but an endless list of subpage after subpage will defeat the whole purpose.
  5. Mobile user experience (UX):
    We all know from personal experience that we access the internet, mostly from our tablets and mobile phones. It is crucial for your website to be mobile friendly.
    Once you have developed your website and added high quality, relevant content, focus your attention on off website SEO.

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OFFSITE SEO FOR LAWYERS

Offsite SEO is just as important as your onsite SEO. Your SEO can be improved with offsite elements that are relevant, reliable, and trustworthy. Your SEO will improve dramatically when authority sources link to your site through shares on social media, website links, etc.

There are many factors to offsite SEO, like building trust through high-authority, relevant sites. You can also improve it by implementing a healthy number of links (and internal links) which are anchored to target keywords, determined by search engines as most desirable and relevant.

BACKLINKS

Backlinks are called “incoming links” or “inbound links.” It is a link that a website gets from another site. They can make a huge impact on the prominence of your website in a search engine result. Backlinks are essential for improving the SEO ranking of your website because they are like a “vote of confidence” from another site.

If you have multiple sites linking to your website or the same web page, search engines will interpret that your content/website is worth linking to and hence worth a spot in SERP. When you have a strong link-building campaign in place and accumulate a considerable number of backlinks to your website, it will drive organic traffic to your site.

LINK PROFILE

A link profile consists of links that direct to your website. They are also called backlinks. Search engines will check your backlinks to determine if your website is worthwhile and useful to users.

Typically, a collection of authority websites (reputed, established, and frequently visited) should contain the links to your site. You can amass these links in many ways, and we will talk about it later in this article. A backlink is an example of a good offsite SEO.

WHY YOU NEED TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LINK PROFILE

A healthy link profile is a crucial step towards offsite SEO building and has a lot of advantages:

  • Your website appears trustworthy to Search engines
  • Your website appears trustworthy to your audience
  • Higher rank in search engines
  • Higher authority on SERP
  • Enables you to target crucial keywords with anchor text

LINKS THAT WILL BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESSbest seo for lawyers

Links in your profile must be relevant to your law practice so that you will get the right audience. The links should also come from authoritative, quality sources like industry journals, reputed blogs, news sites, and other established websites.

You can also take internal links and link your web pages to each other. Not only will it help in your link profile but it will also direct traffic to posts you made a long time ago.

BACKLINKS TO AVOID

Backlinks may be one of the most coveted internet currencies but use it excessively, and it will backfire. While authority backlinks are good for your SEO, irrelevant, or spammy backlinks will have a negative impact.

There are so many ways in which you can gather useful backlinks: Perhaps you have been interviewed for your latest case by your local news. Perhaps a popular blog has mentioned your law firm (link included), or maybe you guest blog in that blog and has included a link to your website. These are just some examples in which you can improve your SEO.

Unwanted backlinks occur when the pages are not reputed or have been identified as spam by search engines. Certain websites are published simply to feature backlinks. Buying backlinks from these pages may improve your SERP placement, but in the long run, purchased backlinks may hurt your SEO. Spammy backlinks can negatively impact your SEO to such a level that you may want to remove them altogether.

The good thing as internet users is that search engines can differentiate between non-authoritative and authoritative pages, helping us to find what we are looking for. As businesses, the sophisticated tools that a search engine uses means we must take extra care when using backlinks to build up our link profile.

Since new authority backlinks mean more than the ones from a few months or years ago, it is a process you must maintain continually. To know more about collecting authority backlinks, hire a reputed SEO company.
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SOCIAL MEDIA LEVERAGES SEO FOR LAWYERS

88% of Americans between age 18 to 29 years use social media. Currently, there are 3.48 billion social media users worldwide.

Considering the amount of information and news that we get from these social platforms, they are prime venues for people to learn about your law firm. One of the first benefits of a social media presence for your firm is that people will come to know about your business. Search engines will interpret this social media engagement as a sign that people desire your website and will lead to enhanced SEO.

Here are some advantages to firing up your business presence in social media:

  • Converts visiting customers into paying customers
  • Access to current, former, and new customers
  • Builds a close relationship with customers through trust and enhanced brand loyalty
  • SEO gains with increased social media interaction

When you create visual media like infographics, images, and videos along with click-worthy content, it encourages your audience to interact and engage with you via comments and social shares. The social shares and comments will help in brand building for your business and expand your following, which will ultimately enhance your SEO.

BAR REGULATIONS ON LAWYER SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING

Social media offers a lot of opportunities for your business, but you must build your social media strategy with responsibility.

Due to the higher stakes, attorneys have to meet a high standard compared to other businesses in social media advertising. Each state bar has outlined rules concerning what exactly attorneys can or cannot post on social media.

Failing to learn the details of your state bar regulations could get you into trouble. There are firms that specialize in attorney internet marketing and may be able to help answer your questions concerning the regulations in your state.

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POPULAR SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING PLATFORMS FOR LAWYERS

FACEBOOK LAWYER SEO CAMPAIGNS

One of the most used search engines of all times is Facebook. On average, 1.56 billion users log onto Facebook every day and are considered as active users. This gives you billions of potential clients for your business in just one online platform, and you simply cannot afford to miss that.

All you have to do is list the name of your law firm and your contact information on Facebook. There are also other ways in which you can direct the users to your website through this platform.

Another way to make users click on links which direct them to your website is to create original and click-worthy content on your Facebook page. Find out the kind of content that would make a big splash by looking up the Facebook pages of more successful competitors. When a company manages to create content that goes viral, literally millions of active users direct themselves to their page.

INCREASE SEO IMPACT WITH YOUTUBE VIDEOS

The average amount of video content watched on youtube per day is 1 billion hours, but so far it is yet to become a source for tapping traffic. It is a lucrative platform for you to make tutorials and videos for viewers to take a look inside your business.

Here are some ways to improve your SEO on YouTube:

  • Create video content with your audience in mind.
  • Your videos should not only get views but also keep users watching for several minutes. You can experiment with different video lengths and see where you get the best results.
  • Include relevant keywords in your video descriptions, files, and titles.
  • Use UX (user experience) metrics in order to inform the types of videos you create. With UX metrics, you can assess the number of subscriptions, comments, views, shares, and rates, and all these translate to SEO and more growth for your business.

Initially, it may not be easy to figure out the kind of videos you need to create. Check out the most viewed videos created by your competitors, and you will be surprised by the variety of the content and styles.

There are successful and trending YouTube channels for almost every industry out there. Law is no exception. Businesses have achieved success by creating tutorials, informational lectures, product reviews, humorous videos (where appropriate), testimonials, interviewing industry experts, and other such approaches.

LAWYER SEO CAMPAIGN WITH INSTAGRAM

At 67% Instagram has the highest social media users among the younger generation aged 18 to 29 years. By connecting with potential clients through a digital sharing medium that they are already using and love ensures that when people need legal services, you will be the first lawyer that will come to their mind.

By crafting yourself and your firm into a relatable, personable image supported with links and information to relevant topics will make your current, former, and potential clients believe that you and your firm are invested in your work and are in touch with the latest events in your industry both locally and globally.

HOW LINKEDIN HELPS SEO FOR LAWYERS

LinkedIn is an excellent social media platform for you to connect and engage with others who share the same network as you. This platform also gives you the ability to expand your network. Just like Facebook, and Twitter, this is a platform for you to post and share to a demographic that is more professionally inclined.

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PROVEN SEO FOR ATTORNEYS

These are proven SEO methods, and implementing them will launch you in the right direction. With an increasing and steady inflow of web traffic, you will get more leads and you will learn more about what your customers need. SEO will help you increase your search engine ranking so that you get more leads, business, and traffic.

SEO is a long term strategy and does not happen overnight. You need time, hard work, and patience to reap the results which are long-lasting and rewarding.

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