SEO Strategies for Law Firms: Attracting Clients Online

SEO could be particularly important for some startup firms. I remember having a conversation with someone from an IT company at FindLaw’s local mix. He said that his firm had completely abandoned marketing within the phone book and bandit signs for the affirmation that “everyone is Googling these days”. A startup company with less resources than a larger firm might have trouble capturing new clients. These clients will be looking for legal representation online and they typically will do so by researching the practice area as well as the specific legal issue. By creating an online presence rooted in law firm SEO service marketing, these startup firms are able to reach clients over time of which they started the firm to help.

Search engine optimization or SEO is the buzzword for essentially anything connected to the World Wide Web that requires to be discovered. That’s a big pool. And just how large is the internet? According to Wikipedia, there are more than 154 million websites since November 2009. You have got a great deal of competition for eyeballs and click throughs. If you or your law firm has already published a website, you may be asking: “why do I have to worry about SEO? The site is up, and we can just add it to our business cards.” While that could be an old-fashioned fact in an older industry, law is currently one of the most competitive consumer markets and it is only getting a lot more cost.

Importance of SEO for Law Firms

SEO will provide the online exposure needed to drive potential clients to your website, learn more about your firm, and how you can help them. When an SEO strategy is effective, your law firm’s website will rank well in search engine results when users are seeking out the services you provide. This can result in a drastic increase in traffic to your website. A study by the Pew Research Center found that 77 percent of legal service seekers used online methods when starting their search. If your website is not ranking well in search engine results, it is likely that these potential clients will not find your firm. An SEO strategy will turn lost traffic into new business.

In the past, legal firms often depended on traditional forms of marketing such as print, radio, or television ads. These methods are no longer as effective as they once were, making it more difficult to build a client base. With consumers using the internet now more than ever to research legal matters, lawyers, and law firms, it is absolutely crucial that an effective online marketing strategy is put in place. This is where a well-planned and executed SEO strategy can be the difference between success and failure in the highly competitive legal industry.

The importance of creating and implementing a sound SEO strategy for law firms is often not recognized by many lawyers. This is due in part to common conceptions within the legal industry, which often associates success and failure with the ability of a lawyer. Reality often fails to meet this expectation, as the vast majority of lawyers spend a great deal of time and money building a law firm without necessarily achieving the desired results. The truth is that an effective online marketing strategy will make or break a law firm in today’s digital age.

Benefits of Implementing SEO Strategies

An effective SEO plan can provide a high return on investment for law firms in terms of generating new client inquiries. When a consumer goes to Google and types in “injury Attorney,” he or she is more likely to ask for help or call the firm that comes up at the top of the search engine. If this firm comes up at the top of the search engine and the website has a persuasive call to action, the firm will get the business. An example of a call to action would be “contact us for a free consultation” in a prominent place on the website. This is an example of a successful sales lead. An inbound lead occurs when the potential client is motivated to take action and initiate contact with the law firm. These are highly valuable to personal injury lawyers. If the injury client has a pressing legal issue while reading about a topic at a blog, he or she may initiate a chat or ask a question on the firm’s contact form. This will start a sales lead and a conversation. If the potential client’s problem is urgent, he or she may call and speak with the lawyer right away. All of these are examples of valuable sales leads which were originally generated by a specific SEO or Internet marketing strategy.

On-Page SEO Techniques

High quality and relevant page content is another important factor in on-page SEO. Google crawlers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and are now able to determine the topics of pages and the quality of the content. It’s important that the content is relevant to the search terms that you want to rank for. If, for example, your firm wants to rank for searches related to DUI, it’s important to have a high quality DUI page that is highly relevant to DUI searches. This should include a variety of different types of content such as text, images, and videos. Multimedia content is looked upon favorably by search engines because it engages the visitor more and encourages them to spend more time on the page. The amount of time the user spends on the page is referred to as “dwell time” and can affect the page’s search ranking. This is also why it’s important to create a wide variety of engaging content that encourages the user to explore more pages on your site. The more pages the user visits, the better the site’s dwell time and the more likely that user is to convert into a lead.

Optimizing your website structure and navigation is a crucial first step in the on-page SEO process. An easily navigable site means that search engine crawlers can find their way around and index your pages more efficiently. If crawlers can find all of your pages, you get more pages indexed. More indexed pages means a better chance at ranking for more search terms, which means more traffic. A good, siloed website structure will also help your pages rank higher in the search results. This involves categorizing your content into main topics or themes, which begin with the homepage and branch off into more specific topics. For example, a personal injury law firm would have its homepage, and then branch off into separate pages for car accidents, truck accidents, slip and falls, etc. Linking between those related pages strengthens the pages individually and the site overall, thus increasing the likelihood of ranking those pages in the search results.

Optimizing Website Structure and Navigation

Optimizing the structure and organization of a website with easy-to-use navigation is a key aspect of on-page search engine optimization. The optimal website structure has a large impact on the ingoing link and the anchor text used by other sites to link to yours. If your site is listed in a web directory or on another related site, this is the links will use. By ensuring that the anchor text is relevant to the content on that page, you are optimizing your page. If the anchor text is simply your website name, this still provides an optimization benefit relating to your site, so you will still benefit to some extent. An example of this is the anchor text used to link to your homepage – by using the website name as the anchor text, this will add extra weight to the website name. Step one is to “visualize the site in the mind of the user”. This involves ways in which you can make your site easy to navigate as well as drilling down to the very basic level of how your content should be organized. This is best illustrated with an example. Consider a law firm specializing in personal injury claims. A typical law site may be organized by areas of law or by legal practice. This law firm may want to target individuals seeking compensation and hence wish to create a personal injury section. This should be the main focus of the website and should be the very first thing the visitor sees. However, often the areas of law are intertwined and law firms often have a single page dedicated to each service. This will create confusion and the visitor will be unsure whether personal injury is a specialty or just a general area of law. The site organization should mirror the aspects of law with the practice areas and there should be a very clear personal injury section with its own landing page. This will satisfy the user intent and make it clear to the visitor the focus of the firm. With regards to content, this is already a highly targeted area and it should not be hard to define which content goes where.

Creating High-Quality and Relevant Content

When considering the issue of creating content as part of their law firm SEO campaign, attorneys should focus on producing text that is suitable for an audience of people who could need their services. In general, this means that firms should eschew producing large volumes of content that is primarily designed to rank highly in search engine results. Rather, law firms should tie their content production efforts to their content outreach and promotion initiatives. In an ideal scenario, the law firm would produce a piece of content that is useful or interesting to a particular audience, which would in turn increase the likelihood that the audience would use the firm’s services and/or share the content with others. In situations where too many low-quality pages exist to feasibly improve upon, the firm should concentrate on improving or removing the lowest quality pages. In doing this, it is likely that the average quality of the firm’s content will increase.

Utilizing Keywords and Metadata

Although improper usage tactics are not advised, it’s important to mention that keyword stuffing is an unacceptable use of trying to make your website rank for certain keywords. This will often lead to a negative user experience and decrease the potential to convert.

The next step is to effectively place keywords into the text of your website and creating content around them. A website may have multiple different keywords each signifying a different service, it’s important that the copy you create for each one represents the keywords in a manner that flows and is easy to read so that it keeps the user’s attention on-site and provides a higher opportunity for conversion.

Using a real-life example, a short-term keyword for a personal injury attorney would be “personal injury lawyer” or “personal injury attorney”. These keywords are extremely general and often times will be fruitless in pursuing due to the high amount of competition. We’re looking more towards the long-term keyword using words that are extremely specific to the service you provide such as “slip and fall accident lawyer Atlanta” or “Atlanta dog bite injury attorney”. With these keywords as a starting point, you’ll already have a head or more specific competitive keywords that are sure to be less of a headache and time-consuming battle.

Selecting the right keywords for your website is the first and most vital step to a successful SEO campaign. If you fail on this very first step, the task that follows will seem like a never-ending battle. That’s why it’s so crucial to understand for law firms the difference between a long-term keyword and a short-term keyword. A long-term keyword signifies a very specific service offered by your law firm. While a short-term keyword is usually more general and is often much more competitive.

Off-Page SEO Strategies

Building high-quality backlinks Earned links through effective outreach, asset promotion, email marketing, and broken link building are critical to attaining high organic search rankings. This statement is directly supported by a survey taken by Moz which asked 150 leading search engine marketers to rank which factors they viewed as being most important for driving off-page SEO. The analysis of this survey data shows a very strong correlation between high-quality backlinks and higher search rankings. However, the definition of what constitutes a “high quality” backlink is something continuously debated within the SEO community. Generally speaking, a high-quality backlink is considered to be a backlink from a website that is highly authoritative and relevant to your site. This can be measured through a site’s PageRank, its Domain Authority, or the quality of the content that resides on it. Because there are so many factors which determine the quality of a backlink, it is often difficult to attain these links simply through the creation of good content. Thus, building high-quality backlinks to your site will often require leveraging relationships with other organizations or utilizing outreach strategies such as guest blogging and newsjacking. High-quality backlinks that are earned naturally through these types of strategies are the most effective means of increasing your search rankings, but they can be very difficult and time-consuming to attain. As a result, many law firms turn to structured data curation from sites such as JD Supra, paid link advertising, or even blackhat SEO methods in an attempt to improve their off-page performance. What must be remembered, however, is that Google is constantly improving its ability to identify and penalize websites for using link schemes and other manipulative strategies. The successful implementation of an off-page SEO strategy that focuses on the quality of content to drive natural links is the safest and most effective means of improving search rankings in the long term.

Building High-Quality Backlinks

Blog marketing has become the latest trend in link promotion. By hiring a writer (or doing it yourself if you can) attorneys can create interesting, entertaining, and educational articles about law. Once the article is written, it’s time to find a place to post it. Blogs that are related to the article’s subject are obviously the main target, however any blog within the legal industry is worth considering. After finding a place to post, contact the blog owner and ask if you may be a guest author. This should not be difficult if the article is well written and there is potential for another article to be posted in the future. At the end of the article, there is potential to create a bio for the author, and in the bio there can and should be a backlink to the attorney’s website. This will provide highly valuable one-way backlinks as readers are generally uninterested in linking to a law firm’s website.

Directories are the easiest way to obtain backlinks, but at the same time they are dangerous. While there are certain high PR directories such as Yahoo, BOTW, and; in most cases it’s still not worth it. When choosing a directory to submit a website, make sure that directory’s pages are indexed with a cache date that can be found by searching “” in Google. If the site is indexed and has no cache date, then do not submit; chances are it has been penalized, and links from penalized directories can severely damage a website. This goes the same for any link exchange offers to submit a website to X amount of directories for a low price. A solid directory link can range from $50-$400, the more the better, but just remember, paying a small amount for a lot of directory links can and will be detrimental to a website’s search engine rankings. Finally, the most important part about directory backlinks is to set a slow and steady pace. When search engines see 100 new directory backlinks one month, and none the next, red flags are raised. Directory submission should look natural, for example 5-10 links a week.

Forums are a great way for attorneys to increase their web presence. By answering questions in their area of expertise, lawyers can showcase their knowledge and increase their credibility. It’s important to note that lawyers should not participate in a forum unless their contribution will be appreciated, and the ability to include a backlink is present. After simply registering, attorneys can begin placing highly valuable backlinks on their profile and/or signature, and in the long run, the traffic received from forum marketing can be substantial.

Backlinks are still the most important part of search engine optimization, but the real question is, how can a law firm create a high quality backlinking campaign for their website? There are far too many off-site optimization strategies to list here, but all of them can provide easily obtained, non-competitive backlinks for a law firm’s website. These are forums, directories, blogs, and press releases.

Leveraging Social Media for Brand Awareness

Social media is an integral part of people’s lives, allowing businesses to engage with clients in a fun and relatively casual manner. By being active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+, or by having a blog, an attorney can engage with his clients by providing useful information on legal issues. For example, a personal injury attorney may post a link to an article on the dangers of defective car tires. A family law attorney might write a blog post on the effects of divorce on children. Sharing useful information can drive client interest in the short term and increase the likelihood of referrals in the long term. Owning a business social media account can also provide some SEO benefits. When social media posts contain links and hashtags, they can be made public and indexed by search engines, leading to increased traffic on the link. If the shared information is useful, the increased traffic may even lead to natural links from other websites. Active social media accounts and effective sharing also helps to build and maintain an attorney’s brand, leading to increased brand searches and, hopefully, higher click through rates in organic search results. As with other offsite SEO strategies, the goal is to enhance the attorney’s online visibility and solidify his/her online reputation. Overall, online marketing and SEO is very advantageous for attorneys in today’s digital age. As each year passes, society becomes increasingly reliant on the internet to provide information and solutions to their problems. It is for this reason that businesses in virtually all industries are employing a variety of strategies to enhance their online presence and connect with internet users. Law is a very competitive field, and it is often difficult to find a cost-effective method of obtaining new clients. Abandoning traditional advertising methods in favor of SEO may be the solution, as there are countless internet users seeking legal assistance, often unaware of who to turn to. By utilizing SEO, an attorney can position himself in front of prospective clients at the exact moment that they are seeking legal information in his practice area. At this point, it is up to the attorney to provide useful information and a positive first impression in order to convert these prospective clients into real clients. In a world where legal services are becoming increasingly commoditized, it is wise for attorneys to adapt to new and effective methods of reaching new clients, and SEO is certainly a method worth considering.

Engaging in Online Directories and Local SEO

Online directories do not generally find a high amount of traffic through search engine, but nevertheless still have high page ranks. If you can get your firm listed on there, it is likely that you will raise your website profile place higher in search results. Online directories are plentiful and cover diverse legal topics so you should not find it too difficult to find one suited to your firm. Usually the only thing required to have your firm listed is a brief description and contact details. Because of the small amount of space that you are allocated in any directory, it might be wise to create a small description of your firm prior to listing it so that you can copy and paste the information saving time.

Strategies for attracting clients to law firms are always in demand. But, what most people want to know is not about how to take them on, rather they would like to know how they can attract clients to their firm. With so many people now turning to the internet to find legal service, the best way to capture their custom is by ensuring that the name of your firm will appear on the first page of search results. If this does not happen, it is likely that you will be losing potential clients to rival firms. This is where SEO strategies can only benefit your firm. The type of SEO strategy that you need will depend on a number of factors. For instance, SEO for law firms in Toronto would be more difficult because it is a specialist area compared to keywords involving general legal advice. At any rate, there are two main types of SEO which you can use to raise the profile of your firm. These are on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is very useful but the type of content you have on your site in a legal jargon might not necessarily change. Off-page SEO can be used to benefit all types of legal website.

Tracking and Analyzing SEO Performance

Ranking for a particular keyword is not an end in itself. Although this is often the sole focus of SEO campaigns, it is important to rank well for the ‘right’ keywords. For example, a law firm might be a conveyancing specialist and although it may be possible to achieve high rankings for a general search term such as ‘lawyers’, this would not result in increased traffic to the site of any value. Duration and depth are modified calculations of site ‘stickiness’, with depth being a greater concern for ‘service’ sites such as law firms. Time factors can be measured for particular keyword campaigns to compare the relative increases in keyword rankings versus increases in organic traffic over time. High rankings for the ‘right’ keywords should result in an ascending curve in traffic. If a curve does not eventuate, it may be necessary to compare how much traffic it is receiving from the particular keyword to the traffic of competitors who are also targeting that keyword.

In order to determine the effectiveness of SEO strategies, a system of tracking and analyzing is crucial. A number of SEO analytics tools are available for monitoring website traffic data. Such tools provide information on a range of visitor behaviors such as how they found the site, how they explored the site, and how they became a paying customer. When coupled with data from conversion rates and sales, a clear indication of which keywords are converting to sales and which are not can be ascertained. This is also an important factor when trying to determine the ROI of an SEO campaign. During the initial phases of an SEO campaign, changes to the website can result in an increase in traffic (the effect of which is measurable via tools such as Google Analytics), though it does not mean that this traffic is making the site more effective in terms of achieving the business objectives.

Setting Up SEO Analytics Tools

For any website, Google Analytics is a must-have tool. It’s free, easy to use, and holds a wealth of data. Many basic users of Google Analytics will skim over reports and only use it here and there, but it’s crucial to delve deeper and customize some goals and funnels to track the website’s performance at specific parts of your SEO campaign. For example, if you’ve made an overhaul of on-site SEO by rewording content and meta tags, you will want to keep track of any changes in bounce rate and time spent on any given page. Time spent on creating quality backlinks can be tracked by setting a destination goal URL of the page the link points to. Deciding what to link to each type of SEO work is an essential part of creating these goals, as it must be a concrete action that only this type of work will have influenced. Any changes in conversion rates and revenue should be tracked as these will always be the most important indications of all types of SEO effort.

Setting up SEO analytics tools can be complex and holds minor details as to what to track and how to best track it. Precision is key, and measuring a season’s worth of wrong data based on poor measurement could seriously hinder a campaign’s performance. In other words, failing to set up analytics services correctly can mean wastage of any SEO effort put in, because you’ll never be able to measure its efficiency. Before you start setting up tracking and measuring your SEO success, it’s important to have an understanding of your SEO strategy and its objectives. With this division of SEO in the back of your mind, you’ll be able to determine what data you should be collecting at each step and which will be most valuable to your business goals.

Monitoring Keyword Rankings and Organic Traffic

An important step of monitoring SEO efforts involves tracking keyword rankings and organic search traffic. This is beneficial in several ways. First, it allows you to identify and target effective keywords. Effective in this context means relevant to your target market and delivering results. It is all very well having a No.1 ranking on a search that attracts nobody! To be number one for a specific search phrase often involves targeting and re-targeting through linking and public relations in order specific pages on your site. Without effective keyword targeting, this can be an inefficient process. Second, it enables you to identify trends in which changes to search engine algorithms have impacted your search traffic. Often it is difficult to discern why your traffic has suddenly taken a dive, and this kind of analysis can serve as a strong indicator as to whether it was your own site’s changes or the changes in the search results themselves. Third and finally, monitoring keyword and search traffic over time will identify your site’s strong and weak points, in terms of keyword results. This is important feedback in any process of trial and error, allowing you to refocus efforts upon any under-optimized content and better evaluate the results of future changes.

Analyzing Conversion Rates and User Engagement

A main aspect to remember is the patience in doing steps and monitoring, as getting results from SEO does not happen overnight. Delayed results and other issues related to search marketing and user behavior on your website would be experienced. In fact, many owners of the business and SEO are often confused why there is a difference between the results of the ranking with traffic and also differences in bounce rate. This is definitely caused by a difference in user intent when conducting a search and the suitability of your website content with the searched information. A good understanding about it will give you an idea for the next step in the right decision. In the modern SEO era today, of course, building a qualified content with good user experience is what is highly recommended. So, understanding your users and trying to find out what they want with monitoring user behavior on the website is an important point that shouldn’t be missed.

As we know, the main objective of having a website and running various SEO strategies is to increase business revenue and get more clients. A full details page on landing page optimization has been provided in one of the most trusted SEO books. Also, do not forget to measure the conversion rate effectiveness for search marketing and organic search. Well, the easiest way to track your website conversion is by using Google Analytics. Basically, the most important part is the data from sources to conversion, which is regarded as from search engine and keyword. This is the reference data when you are optimizing the website. For the beginning, the available data might not show significant changes, but if you always do the right steps with the right SEO strategy, you will be able to see a significant difference, and this is a long-term investment.

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