Search engine optimization, often referred to as SEO, is the process of improving the visibility of your website from search engines.
In a nutshell, the better your SEO, the higher up the page you’ll appear when someone googles “attorney near me.”
SEO has an outsized importance for law firms because people seek legal services for specific reasons (and at specific times). This makes search engines the premiere tool for consumers seeking legal counsel relative to other media.
In fact, 96% of consumers use a search engine when seeking legal advice. Considering the market dominance of Google (>92% of internet users choose to google), few actions today meaningfully drive business for law firms than a google search.
Better SEO means more phone calls and emails from prospective leads, as consumers in the aggregate will be more likely to encounter your firm than competitors.
But to get higher on Google, businesses must engage in several different activities to improve their ranking in search results. Some of these include:
- Creating targeted keywords for your website.
- Routinely creating new content such as blog posts.
- Backlinking (featuring links to your website from other websites).
- Optimizing your website’s site architecture (Google actually ranks well-designed websites higher than poorly functioning ones).
While these activities represent the bread-and-butter of improved ranking for most businesses, it’s important to note SEO for law firms gets even more tricky. Here are some of the reasons:
1) The legal industry is hyper-competitive, which makes ranking more difficult than other fields.
2) Ethical compliance means common SEO tactics are simply not appropriate for law firms (think misleading claims, neglected disclaimers, etc.).
3) The legal industry is localized, so local SEO is more important for law firms than other businesses.
Considering all the factors, hiring an outside SEO company (that specializes in legal SEO) is often a worthwhile investment. But there are immediate action steps and techniques you can take right now to improve your SEO dramatically.
Because law firms pull business from targeted geographic areas, Google My Business plays an outsized role in shooting your firm to the top of searches. In fact, most SEO professionals will do the below before anything else:
1) Claim your practice’s Google My Business page if you have not already done so.
2) Ensure all information is accurate and complete (website, phone numbers, addresses, etc.).
3) Make it easy for clients to give you reviews.
While the above is a must do for a lawyer seeking a boost in clients, making it to the top of Google takes time. But if you have patience and stick with dedicated strategies, the return is well worth the effort.