Want to grow your legal practice? We get it. Referrals only go so far, and you need help understanding Law firm SEO.
Good news for you, SEO is an area of digital expertise you can tackle. Basic Law firm SEO is just a checklist of tasks you must adhere to for pages on the site to begin ranking higher. While yes, many other agencies and we offer SEO as a service; any lawyer can tackle it if you give it the time and commitment needed.
Law firm SEO (also referred to as "attorney SEO" or "legal SEO") is part of increasing your law firm's website visibility on the digital landscape. SEO, search engine optimization, is optimizing your law firm's website to attract new clients. SEO encompasses many things but is simple to execute at its core.
As a lawyer, you know that the success of your practice relies on landing new clients often. But how do you attract new clients? How do you get them to find you and pick you over all your competitors? Mastering Law firm SEO is the most effective way to attract new clients for your practice.
A 2017 study shows why SEO matters, especially for law firms. Conducted by AccuRanker, this study found that the legal niche is the most competitive regarding SEO. So, in a nutshell- if you're not executing competitive SEO practices on your website, your competitors likely are, and you will be left in the dust.
AccuRanker analyzed more than 300,000 SERPs across industries and found that law firms have the most barriers to generating consistent and new website traffic.
This means that SEO is crucial to generating leads for any industry and is essential for attorneys and law firms.
Regarding your website pages, there are some simple but powerful SEO implementations you can start taking now. These elements, or rules, can all be optimized by a website owner with limited web development ability. Each element will be explained in more detail to show how that is the case.
1. Target Keywords
Keyword research and picking the right target keywords is the firm foundation every SEO campaign needs. Within the SEO field, aligning your page's content to target keywords is essential. By doing this, the search engine algorithms understand the purpose of the content on the page, the style of the content (e.g., informative, inspirational, commercial), and what search queries it should surface that webpage content for.
As a law firm owner, you can research what keywords are the most searched for through free online tools such as Google Keyword Planner. Using tools like these, you can understand factors such as average monthly search volumes and seasonality fluctuations in demand. Then, armed with this information, you can tailor the content on your site to these keywords and begin to get relevant users reaching your site.
2. Page Titles
Page Titles are one of the leading SEO indicators and what you will probably most likely see in a search engine result first as it is the bolder words towards the top of the result. First, however, you must follow a couple of critical rules for page titles.
Include the Keyword in the Title
Best practice page title creation will include the target keyword, preferably as visibly early in the title as possible.
Short and Sweet
You want to ensure that a Page Title doesn't exceed 50-60 characters to avoid some of your titles not displaying. Thirdly, it's recommended that you include your brand name in the Page Title, too, as this plays a big part in brand awareness.
3. Meta Descriptions
You see meta descriptions underneath the Page Titles in the search engine results pages. Meta Descriptions follow similar rules to Page Titles. Again, you must include the target keyword and not exceed a character limit - this time 155-160 characters.
One variation to Page Titles is that you want to have some Call to Action (CTA) towards the end of the description, usually something along the lines of 'Get your free quote here!' or 'Check out our collection!'. Naturally, this CTA will be relevant to whatever your website does.
Headings act as another critical SEO indicator. These are typically referred to as H1s or H2s. Just like the Page Titles and Meta Descriptions, we want to include the target keyword in all Headings on the page. In addition, headings are typically spread throughout a longer page to ensure context between different written and visual elements.
5. Body Text
Body Text is effectively the bulk of the written content on the page. Regarding body text, we want to include multiple references to the target keyword, but only a few. If we add many keywords, Google can penalize the page for keyword stuffing. Many SEO experts believe that the best keyword density for body text on the page is around 1-2% of the total word count, which can be used as a reference.
6. Internal Linking
Internal Linking is crucial to interlinking all this optimized content on the site. Internal links provide context, allowing the algorithms to understand how the site pages relate to each other and the value of the content itself. When we add internal links, we ideally include the keyword of the out-linked page in the anchor text.
Although Advanced SEO is much more complicated and in-depth than the above, these elements are essential to ensure that their site performs well in the search engine results pages. Keep optimizing these elements when adding new pages; in time, you'll hopefully begin to see things pay off in increased organic traffic.
7. Have a Secure Website
Here's another critical piece of advice: ensure your website is secure. If you still need to start using the HTTPS (instead of the HTTP) protocol, reach out to your development team to get that ball rolling today.
While you're talking to your dev team before they head back into their dungeon of darkness, tell them to review security protocols around your web server. You can be sure that you'll lose quite a bit of trust if a data breach on your site gets reported on the evening news. While there's no such thing as bad press, you don't want to have to do damage control until 3 am.
9. Stay Up-To-Date
Keep the information updated. If you've got a blog post about a law passed three years ago, chances are there's more news surrounding that topic you can cover. You'll maintain a good rank for that page if you refresh it every six months.
10. Be Mobile Friendly
2015 called and wants its news back. If your website is not responsive to different screen sizes, it won't rank. Whether you adopt a "mobile first" mindset or not, being mobile-friendly should be a big part of your platform consideration. Two major elements of being deemed mobile-friendly:
If you made it this far, hats (white hats only please) off to you. Now that we’ve covered easy Law firm SEO tips, we can dive into some bigger concepts that are more complex, but worth their weight in gold.
What exactly is quality content, you ask? So say it with us, "E.A.T. & Y.M.Y.L."
Just like you EAT your veggies for a healthy body, E-A-T is vital for a healthy website that ranks. EAT stands for: "Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness" In fact, the EAT acronym appears 186 times in the Quality Rater Guidelines. So you know that Google takes it seriously when evaluating content on YMYL sites.
What the heck are YMYL sites? YMYL stands for "Your Money or Your Life." And these websites are where topics covered significantly impact readers' health, financial stability, safety, or well-being.
Read that again.
Yep- your law firm's website is a bonafide YMYL website. And being a YMYL website means your content following E-A-T darn near perfectly is crucial.
If you're trying to optimize an authority site and don't pay attention to all three EAT rules, Google quality raters might give your page a "low quality" rating. And yes, Google has real human raters that look at websites from all over the world and "rate" them based on their quality.
Let's look at ways to ensure your site follows the EAT rules.
The first thing you need to do with law firm SEO is establish yourself as an expert in your field. We know what you're thinking, "uh- isn't my law degree and passing the bar exam enough to establish me as an expert?" And yes, legally speaking, it is. On the digital landscape, though, no, it's not.
Fortunately, one of the best ways to establish yourself as a legal expert is by doing what you're already doing: publishing content.
Subject Matter Expert - SME
Position yourself as a subject matter expert (SME) by cranking out content that shows that you're knowledgeable in your space.
Also, brag about yourself on your home page.
Do that by following these three steps:
Feel free to embellish any of those points as much as you like. This is where you should toot your own horn.
Certified to Certify
Do you have certifications? Please share them with everybody. Use logos of standards organizations.
Show Off Those Extra Letters
Do you have an advanced degree? Be sure to mention that as well.
If you've got a Ph.D. next to your name, use it. In that case, you're not just "Joe Smith," you're "Joe Smith, Ph.D." That will position you as an expert in your field and give the significant other that got away major regrets.
The Power of a Professional Headshot
Also, add a photo and biography. You'll come across as genuine (and trustworthy) when you put a picture of yourself next to all your content.
It's All in the Formalities
Finally, remember that there's a difference between a formal and an everyday expert.
A formal expert has extensive education and experience in a specific field. Examples include physicians, accountants, and attorneys.
An everyday expert, on the other hand, is someone who may be self-taught. Examples include chefs, interior decorators, and photographers.
Of course, people who share tips about interior decorating aren't likely to affect your health or finances (unless they have very expensive taste in design). So people in the everyday expert category don't necessarily publish content on YMYL websites.
Believe it or not, you can be an expert rather than an authority.
Someone might know everything there is to know about SEO, for example. But maybe that person has no blog, has never spoken at a conference, and is never hired for their expertise.
That's somebody who's an expert but not an authority.
Experts have brains. Authorities have the influence.
So once you've established yourself as an expert (see above), you need to establish yourself as an authority. That might take extra work.
For starters, put social proof on your homepage. Include quotations (preferably with photos) of people who praise the work you've done for them. Include evidence of authority in all of your YMYL pages
Educate and Keep Receipts
Next, mention some speaking gigs you've done at industry-relevant conferences.
If you don't have any speaking gigs in your background, then it's time to line up a few. Start by browsing around for upcoming conferences. Find relevant sites and look for an "Interested in Speaking?" link. Follow that link to learn about the opportunity to land a speaking engagement.
Remember: you shouldn't expect to get paid for your initial speaking gigs. That (hopefully) will happen later. Right now, it would help if you built your legal portfolio.
If you ever advance your speaking career to the point where you're a keynote speaker, you've won the lottery. Make sure you identify yourself as a "keynote speaker" on your blog or website, and don't forget that sharing is caring.
Network Like the Authoritative Boss You Are
Finally, gain the endorsement of key influencers. When other popular people recommend your work, then people will perceive that you're an authority figure.
You also need to establish yourself and your law firm's YMYL website as a trustworthy source of information.
You'll generate trust by paying attention to three critical areas as you produce content:
Start with the obvious: don't put factual errors in your content.
When you put incorrect information in your articles, your work will immediately turn off people. Some of those people could be Google quality raters.
Next, allow people to review your work and your content. Nothing says, "I know I'm right," more than someone willing to let others judge the accuracy of their statements.
Site and Source Please
Also, source your info. Yes, even if you're an expert, it's a great idea to let people validate your claims by checking your sources.
The proof is in the Pudding.
Remember to include case studies if they're relevant. Then, in those case studies, please explain how your advice to other people improved their lives.
Remember, though: you can't use fake names in case studies. Instead, use the real names of persons or businesses you've helped so people can check for themselves.
We got you. If all this mobile-friendly content writing, EAT your veggies, I mean website stuff, is making your eyes cross, it's ok. Our eyes are permanently crossed so that we can handle all of this for you and your law firm's website.
Every law firm needs a co-pilot to market and grow its online presence. Someone that will come alongside you and your firm to help put its best foot forward. We have a deep understanding Law firm SEO, and what it takes to more visible and improve your digital ecosystem.
There's a Content Writer For That
At Sydekar, we have experienced and skilled law firm SEO content writers who have written so much about the law that they could pass the baby bar with their eyes closed. Not only that, but the systems we have in place enable us to produce a high quantity of high-quality content. EAT your heart out, YMYL (see what we did there?)
Hosting with a Smile
Martha Stewart might be the queen of entertainment, but she has nothing on our website hosting services. Sure, she can make a mean apple pie, but can she protect your website from hackers? We can host your website on a secure and robust hosting platform.
What is a Web Developer's Favorite Tea?
URL Grey. While our developers sip their URL tea, they'll develop a beautiful and functional website for your law firm. If something breaks (hey, it happens), they will dig deep and fix your website before you even notice.
If you just don’t have the time for SEO shenanigans and would rather focus on your clients (which we wholeheartedly support) then reach out. We are ready to come alongside you and your law firm to help get you the ranking and recognition you deserve.