There are a lot of acronyms in legal marketing these days. Some are more important than others. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a mainstay of marketing these days and is extremely important to your business. In a world where users begin their search with Google, it’s important to optimize your site so they can find you.
At a high level, SEO is a branch of legal marketing that includes many tactics to help you optimize your website for search engines, i.e. to help you appear on the first page of results. from Google. There are many search engines today, but Google still dominates, holding a 92% market share. For this reason, the tips covered in this guide will focus on optimizing your site for Google.
SEO has so many facets it can be overwhelming. At the most basic level, it is important to understand the following:
- Search Engines – Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo. They are all search engines.
- Rankings – when users search for something in a search engine, the results presented to them are displayed in rank order.
- Search query – what users type into search engines. For example, “best legal marketing firm” is a query. Legal marketing firms are the keywords you would optimize a site for in this case.
- Keywords – Keywords are words or phrases that you include in your website content in hopes of matching a user’s search query.
- Optimization – tactics and strategies employed on a website that improve the chances of the site being ranked well by search engines.
With these basics in mind, here are five tips for getting your law firm into SEO.
Contact the LISI team to help you with your SEO efforts.
1. CONSIDER THE USER
Before we get into strategies or tactics, we believe that search engine optimization starts with a change in mindset. SEO is not for you, the law firm: you already know where to look. Consider how users talk about your business and how search engines currently view your site and your competitors. Often the way we perceive ourselves internally doesn’t match how the end user thinks of us. This is an important step because it will allow you to optimize for the right elements (keywords, information architecture, etc.). Like any good project, it’s important to do your research before you get started.
To find out how users think of you, here are some tactics you can use:
- Interview some of your best customers to find out how they became customers: what did they search for, what sold them on the website to contact you.
- Benchmarking – research your competitors, try a few search queries to get an idea of what keywords they seem to be optimizing for. See where they rank.
2. LOG IN
Just like other legal marketing strategies, optimizing your law firm’s website will prove a wasted effort if you can’t measure the results. There are many tools you can use to help with your SEO efforts, some paid, some free. At a minimum, you should ensure that your website is connected to the following tools (all free):
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Bing Webmaster Tools
Contact us to help you with this process.
3. SUBMIT YOUR SITEMAP
A sitemap is a map of your website, specially created for search engines. This helps engines navigate your site more easily, allowing them to index your site faster. Depending on the content management system your website is built on, submitting your website can be a relatively easy task. You may not even need to contact your IT department.
At LISI, we love the Yoast SEO plugin. You can find your xml sitemap under the features tab of Yoast.
Once you have a sitemap, be sure to submit it to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
4. REQUEST THE REGISTRATION OF YOUR LAW FIRM
Have you ever searched for a “pizza near me” for a family dinner on a Friday night? We all have. Modifiers like “near me” or “[query] rittenhouse square” are called local modifiers. Local search is more important than ever. According to Nectafy, 88% of consumers who search for a local business on a mobile device call or visit the business within 24 hours.
If you want your business to be found when local users search for, for example, “car accident lawyer near me”, it’s important that you claim your business on Google and other directories. Claiming your law firm on Google starts with creating a Google My Business account, from there you fill in the relevant information and you’re good to go.
5. PRODUCE VALUABLE CONTENT
Content is the centerpiece around which SEO revolves. Law firms should be seen as opinion leaders. Seek to produce quality content that showcases company knowledge. If your company is known for a particular practice, make sure you have plenty of thought leadership around that practice. These parts can take several forms:
- Legal alerts or news updates
- Downloadable resources – white papers, guides, etc.
Search engine optimization is a long game. Typically, it will take 6 months to make any moves in the search engine results pages. With these basics in place, you will have a good foundation to start using other optimization tactics.