We are frequently asked by lawyers how they should go about determining which keywords to target as part of their search marketing efforts. Here are some simple tips to help you decide how to develop an effective keyword strategy.
The first step is to brainstorm. Think about how your potential clients would try to find legal services like yours. Think about legal consumers across the entire buying spectrum. While you may want to limit your keyword strategy to only highly targeted keywords that include both geographic and practice area modifiers, by limiting your strategy to only the most targeted traffic, you may be cutting out a large segment of search traffic.
For example, let's say that you're an injury lawyer in Chicago. You might think to yourself that you only want to target search phrases like "chicago injury lawyer" or "personal injury lawyers in chicago". While there is no doubt that these are very targeted keywords, and should be on your list, consider the following phrases: "chicago lawyers", "personal injury lawyers", and "whiplash injury from car accident". While not all searchers that are looking for "chicago lawyers" are looking for PI lawyers, you can bet that many are.
Further, while you may think that "personal injury lawyers" is too broad in terms of geography, Google, as well as other search engines, are getting much better at returning local results for local intent searches even when a geographic modifier doesn't appear in the search phrase. Finally, many searches may be researching issues that are tangentially related to requiring the services of a chicago personal injury lawyer. Perhaps they are researching their injuries. Maybe they are researching information about a denial by their insurance company. These searchers may turn out to be excellent candidates for filing a personal injury claim.
Once you have brainstormed a fairly substantial target list, you should prioritize these target keywords by search volume, competition, and relevance. Generally speaking, you will that keywords with more search volume are more competitive. When these higher volume, hight competition keywords are highly relevant to your practice, you should place them on your long-term keyword goal list.
On the other hand, those keywords that perhaps have lower volume and lower competition, should be placed on your short-term keyword list and optimized for immediately.
Once you have organized your target keyword list, the next step is mapping keywords onto your web pages and working them into various content that you publish online. As a guideline, try to limit your optimizations to 2-3 search phrases per page at the very most. Don't over use keywords for the sake of stuffing them into your content. Always write for your target audience, and with search engines in the back of your mind, and not vice versa.