2017 SEO Guidelines for Optimizing Your Law Firm Marketing

Over the past year, there have been a number of changes to Google’s search results and your law firm marketing needs to focus on SEO in order to maximize your return on your marketing spend.

For attorneys, the Google changes most likely to impact your marketing strategy include:

  1. Number of paid ads at the top of search pages have increased to at least four per search:

  1. Inclusion of paid local ads (note green “Ad” button):

  1. New answer box results introduced (#1 ranking listing gets a box for that search):

  1. Increased visibility for directories:

So how do you compete in the search for legal services, which is probably the highest competitive search market? Here are some tips:

Review your website. Make sure it is properly optimized for local search and that every page has the highest possible loading speed. Make sure all your content is relevant to your area of practice and your prospective clients, that it’s free of legalese and that it features FAQs that include all the questions your prospects are likely to be asking in a search.

Get client reviews. All the latest research shows that consumers are making reviews a priority in their online searches and having more reviews than your competitors can help you get more clicks. Most consumers these days don’t have to be clued in on how to give a review; they just need to be pointed in the right direction. If you don’t already have a process for getting reviews for your firm, institute one ASAP by:

  • Reviewing your client database for clients who were happiest with your service and have the person they worked with at your firm call and ask for a review. Follow the call up with an email with links to your preferred review sites.
  • Set up an autoresponder series of emails to email clients after a case is closed to request a review.
  • Incentivize your employees who are in constant contact with clients to request a review and follow up with an email with links to your review sites.

Be aware the soliciting reviews is against Yelp’s terms of service, so do NOT ask people to review you on Yelp.

Get backlinks from legal sites. Having relevant backlinks from trusted legal-related sites like Nolo, Findlaw, HG.org and Avvo can help move your site up in local and organic search results.

Check your citations. Review this list of 80 local SEO citations for lawyers for your firm listings. Make sure your firm listing is consistent across all citations.

Focus on organic SEO. Most of your website traffic is likely to be the result of organic (not paid) search. Therefore, having a marketing strategy that bolsters your organic SEO efforts is sure to pay off for you if executed properly. Here are some things to focus on to boost organic search results:

  • FAQs -- Think about the questions you hear every day from clients and prospects, write them down with the answers and add them to your website. The questions you post should be ones you think your target market will be asking on voice search. Be sure you post each question on its own page and provide all answers without using any legalese. This can help your organic search ranking, perhaps even enough to rate you a featured listing in Google’s Answer Box (see above), which can really up your number of clicks.
  • Blog. Blogging has always been great for SEO purposes since Google rewards fresh, relevant content, but consistency is key. You must be posting quality content that is relevant to your target market on a regular basis in order to reap the SEO benefits you want.
  • Legal site links. As mentioned previously, getting backlinks from legal-related sites can really increase your search ranking.

Dive into paid advertising. If you haven’t dipped your toe into the online search advertising waters, you need to start with Google Adwords.   While competition can be fierce for certain keywords, making it prohibitively expensive for smaller firms and solos, you should at least experiment with paid local search ads. Don’t expect to see massive results right away -- performance typically improves over time, especially if you integrate your paid ads with your organic and local search marketing campaigns. That’s a true win/win for your online presence.

Try remarketing. Have you ever wondered how a website you visited keeps following you around when you’re on other sites? This is remarketing and you don’t need a big budget to do it. Most prospects visit more than one website when researching attorneys, and remarketing gives you a great opportunity to stay top of mind when prospects are doing their homework.

The secret to SEO success is to use a number of different channels to target your prospective clients so you are clearly visible to them wherever they may be. A combination of organic SEO and paid digital advertising make for a great Internet presence.

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