SEO for Attorneys
Whether they receive your name from someone they know and trust, are researching a legal question or are simply looking for a lawyer, your potential clients are turning to the web to get more information. At some point, most of them will turn to a search engine as part of this process. That makes being found in search engine results critical to your client development. However, search engine optimization (SEO) for attorneys is much different than SEO for other products and services. Here are some of the things we’ve learned over the years.
A Working Definition
Search engine optimization (SEO) includes anything you can do to improve your web pages’ visibility with organic search engine results. This is a fairly straightforward and inclusive definition. To understand SEO, you have to understand how search engines work. Here is an example of a search engine result page (SERP) for the query “personal injury lawyers”:
The section with the green overlay represents natural or organic search engine results. These are the results that are automatically generated by the search engine and the subject matter of SEO. You cannot pay search engines directly for visibility in this section. It’s also worth noting that these organic results can be broken into sub-categories (i.e. local results, video results, news results, etc).
In contrast, the sections with the blue overlay represent paid search engine advertisements. Advertisers pay the search engine directly (usually by the click) to appear here.
Most major search engines have programs called “crawlers” that read web pages. One way that these crawlers get from one page to the next is by traversing HTML links.
The accessibility, as well as, the information a page communicates to a search engine crawler is critically important to how the page will be indexed and eventually delivered in a search engine result page.
Once a page has been effectively crawled, and assuming nothing is preventing indexation, it is stored in the search engine’s index. The index is basically a huge container that stores copies of web pages that have been crawled.
It is from this index that the search engine will build its results pages.
Most major search engine result pages, more commonly referred to as SERPs, are generated by algorithms, which are basically fancy sorting programs.
The goal of these algorithms is to deliver results that best respond to the the search engine user’s query.
Deciding to hire a search engine optimization (SEO) professional for your law firm is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your visibility online. While a skilled SEO can improve your site and save you a lot of time, an unskilled or irresponsible SEO can damage your site and, and even worse, your professional reputation. We recommend that you thoroughly research any potential SEO consultant.
Transparent and Accountable Attorney SEO Specialists
We provide a variety of SEO services for lawyers. We specialize in working with law firms and are aware of the unique challenges and considerations involved with marketing a legal practice.
Here are some services that we provide that you should expect your SEO to be familiar with:
- Analysis of your website architecture, structure, and content.
- Content development and distribution.
- Management of online business development initiatives.
- Keyword research and on-page optimization.
- Search engine marketing and optimization training.
We provide custom law firm web design packages that include a custom website, targeted search engine optimization, and Internet marketing strategy to increase your firm’s online visibility.Our strategies include:
- Geo-targeted Search Engine Optimization
- Competitive Analysis
- Professionally Developed Content
- Link Targeting and Building
- Monthly Strategy Consulting and Reporting
- Fully Customized Website and Blog
- Audit of Online Marketing and Advertising Opportunities
Our approach takes into consideration the specific marketing needs, budget, and goals of our clients.
It’s a fact, people use the internet to research their legal questions, get answers, and even to search for attorneys. However, how people use the internet to look for legal information and legal services is much different from how they use it shop for tennis shoes. Likewise, SEO for lawyers is much different than SEO for selling tennis shoes, and even different from SEO for other professional services.
How is SEO for Lawyers Different?
As stated above, the difference really comes from how people use the internet to find legal information and legal services providers. So, let’s take a look at just a couple of the ways that people use the internet as their usage relates to legal services.
This is probably the most common use for the internet as it relates to legal services. Someone gets arrested, gets hurt, has debt problems, decides they need a will, or a vast array of other legal issues and goes online to learn more about the subject.
Researchers may not even yet know that they have a legal issue. They may certainly be interested in learning about the subject. This will have a significant impact on the keywords they use to search and the websites they go to for answers.
Doing SEO for lawyers who are targeting researchers should be geared around providing answers to this demand. Content development should be focused on question and answer pages. Contributions should be made on relevant legal Q&A sites. From a media perspective, doing SEO for lawyers targeting researchers should identify opportunities for interviews and publications on trusted legal, as well as, news sites. Link attracting and social sharing should focus on providing topical information for those who are seeking it.
Similar to the researcher, the questioner is someone who has a question about a specific legal issue. On the other hand, the questioner is usually a little further along in the legal services search cycle than the researcher. Questioners are usually facing a pending legal issue. They may also include do-it-yourself types that are wondering whether they can or should handle their legal issue on their own.
Executing an SEO for lawyers campaign that targets questioners should likewise include content development strategies that answer their questions. It may sound redundant, but it’s important to keep in mind how questioners differ from researchers and supply content that meets their specific demand for answers.
Shoppers are people who are actively searching for a lawyer. These are the potential client prospects that lawyers want to get found by online. Shoppers use the internet in much different ways that researchers and questioners. The keywords they search on and the places they go to find lawyers are vastly different than those who are merely looking for answers. Their intent is also much different. For one reason, or another, they believe that they need a lawyer. Therefore, it’s likely that they use search terms that include terms like “lawyer,” “attorney,” or “law firm.”
Shoppers will often use websites and search engines more like traditional business directories. An SEO campaign that is targeting shoppers should focus on local SEO strategies, as well as, increasing trust signals such as those created by testimonials and reviews.
Whatever the purpose or goal, it’s important to keep in mind how different SEO for lawyers is from search marketing for products and other professional services. There are very important stakes on the line including the lawyer’s professional reputation, and in some instances, their license. No amount of web traffic or search great search engine rankings are worth damaging one’s professional reputation or sacrificing a hard-earned license to practice.
Our approach to SEO for attorneys
Here are some things you need to know about our attorney search engine optimization services.We begin our process by learning about your clients and your practice.
What does this have to do with search engine optimization? Everything.
When it comes to effective SEO for attorneys, the key is to understand how the people you want for clients are using search engines.
First, we need to understand who these people are. What problems are they facing? What questions do they have? What words do they use to describe their problems?
Next, we need to understand how they use search engines to find information related to your practice. What are they searching for? Are they doing research? Are they looking for answers? Are they looking for information about you and your practice?
It is only after we understand who the targets of your SEO are, and how these people use search engines, that we can deliver the information for which they are looking.
When you boil it down, SEO is about supplying your audience’s demand for information.
Once we have done the research to understand your prospective clients and your practice, we can build a search engine optimization campaign that can help you achieve your client development goals.
A typical 12 month attorney SEO campaign
While our SEO services are anything but typical, we thought it would be helpful to provide you with some details about what our services generally include.
Technical attorney SEO services
We begin with a comprehensive technical SEO audit of your web properties.
In a nutshell, we make sure that there aren’t any technical issues that might be impeding your ability to appear prominently in search engine results. This part of our service includes things like:
- Site speed improvements.
- On-page SEO optimizations.
- Optimizing site structure and organization.
- Mobile optimization (i.e. making sure your website looks right on smartphones and tablets).
- Optimizing structured data (i.e. making sure you’re taking advantage of available rich search engine snippets).
SEO marketing services
Once we have the technical SEO issues fixed, that’s when the real work begins.
You see, technical search engine optimization is like building a foundation. It’s necessary, but it won’t keep the rain out. You also need floors, walls and a roof. That’s really where SEO marketing comes into play.
For attorneys, SEO marketing involves developing content for the attorney’s target audiences that motivates these people to take a variety of actions. These actions include:
- Linking to the attorney’s web pages.
- Sharing the attorney’s content in their social networks.
- Talking about the attorney and her services across the web.
It is these off-page SEO signals that really drive pages to the top of organic search engine results pages.
And it is here, where our search engine optimization services are focused. Here are just some of the services we provide:
- Website design and development
- Graphical content design and creation
- Text content development and marketing
- Video production and marketing
- Public relations campaigns
- Link building
- Social media creative development and strategy
Of course, we also provide SEO reporting. That means developing tangible goals for our clients’ campaigns and reporting on our progress.
While there are a variety of SEO metrics that we can measure and report, we know that to be successful, we must increase our clients’ organic search engine traffic, potential client inquiries from organic search and paying clients.