Most law firms depend on local SEO for lawyers to drive traffic and leads. If you’re interested in climbing the ranks yourself, be aware that it’s a commitment.
It takes time, consistent effort, and a solid strategy to increase your search rank. The payoff is more traffic, more leads, more clients, and more information to make effective business development plans. In short: It’s worth it.
We’ve set up a brief ten-step guide for lawyer SEO in this article. Of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
The first step is setting up Local Services Ads and Google My Business Profiles. You’ll need a GMB profile with a certain average review score, and then you can apply for LSAs.
This takes some time, especially if you need to do any online reputation management for your offer. However, it’s one of the cornerstones of local SEO on Google. Start soon or get some help from a professional, because you’ll need this in place to succeed.
Learning how search engines work is essential to any type of SEO strategy. It’s especially important when it comes to local SEO for a law firm.
Legal practice is a territorial, competitive business. To make matters more challenging, most firms within a given practice area offer similar services, and you have to be very careful when differentiating yourself from your colleagues. That means your edge will come from your SEO technique rather than your unique niche, in most cases.
This is far from a complete list, but here are some of the things Google uses to match local searchers with your firm:
The next part of our SEO strategy for attorneys is to take a snapshot of the site’s performance for selected keywords. You could do this by analyzing your rank for your most desired keyword phrases, or, if you have some SEO going already, simply check the ones that you are currently working on.
Remember that Google takes a lot of different factors into account when determining search rank. You might want to use a third-party service or get professional help to make sure your snapshot is objective. As a simple example, you would not want your results to be influenced by your personal search or browsing history.
You’ll use this overview in two ways. First, it will help you define your project. Second, you’ll look back on it after a few months to see how far you have progressed. Feel free to check some of the FORWARD Lawyer Marketing case studies for some examples of this.
After you see where you rank, you would want to check your site for anything that’s holding you back. Believe it or not, this technical step is sometimes one of the quickest and easiest ways to boost SEO efforts. However, it does require some degree of web design and administration knowledge.
Don’t balk at the phrase “web design”. If you have to make changes, they probably would not alter the appearance of your site — no need to choose color schemes or fonts again. Here are a few examples of audit line items:
Next up is keyword analytics. Lawyers need to focus on this because their potential clients use a huge range of potentially non-intuitive search strings.
For example, don’t expect people to only search for “spousal support lawyer”. They’ll also probably look for “alimony lawyer” or “alimony [insert your state’s name here]”.
The same goes for many legal terms, such as “Chapter 11”, “custody”, “police brutality”. Many of your clients will search in common language.
Keyword analytics can show you exactly what people are looking for. Once you know, you can incorporate some of that language into your articles to capture that search traffic. We have keyword research tools that even show us the keywords that Google normally hides.
Up to this point, you still haven’t spilled a drop of digital ink on the SEO articles for your law firm. In fact, you still have a couple of steps to go before you sit down and start writing.
This midway point is one of the most important. That is, selecting keywords and keyword phrases for which you want to rank.
Since this is local SEO, you are probably going to include names of geographical locations. For example, you will want to have targeted key phrases that include your area of practice and your county or parish.
It all depends on your firm. For a specific city practice, you might target your practice area and your neighborhood name for even more targeted results. Conversely, a state-wide firm or a multi-state firm by target state names or regions. Here are some examples of locally targeted keywords:
For any geo-specific locations, you ideally want to have pages written exclusively for those areas and include a minimum of at least 1,500 words.
There are many services that track popular keywords and sell detailed information about them. Using one of these services should help take the guesswork out of your process. However you reached your decision, you now have a list of searches that you’re targeting.
Now that you have your baseline search engine performance and a list of targeted keywords, you can begin to define the scope of your project. The easiest way to do that is by allocating a realistic budget.
Most of your search engine optimized articles should be somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 words. A conservative estimate for the workload would be about an hour to an hour per 500 words. So, these are going to take an experienced writer 3-4 hours minimum to complete. You’ll need to follow this process for each article or web page:
It’s a good idea to draft a clear, itemized budget even if you are planning on doing your publishing yourself. It helps track your ROI and gives you an idea of your publication schedule, among other things. Of course, you can also feel free to call FORWARD Lawyer Marketing for a project quote or for ongoing marketing like most of our clients opt for.
You’re almost ready to publish. We would recommend that you set goals for your campaign before you start.
Goals can help:
However, please keep in mind that we’re a professional team of search-engine experts, web designers, writers, analysts, editors, and project managers. Our case studies illustrate the type of results you get when using a dedicated lawyer SEO service.
Here’s the writing part. SEO best practices for writing vary depending on the marketing agency and change over time. However, it’s always good to keep the core of SEO in mind: optimizing for search engines.
Search engine companies want to connect people with the information they’re looking for. So, your job as a writer is to provide quality information in such a way that the search engine can find it.
Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, Google isn’t telling us exactly how they scour the web and match websites with searches. We have to infer from testing and observation to get our guidelines. In any case, current best writing practices for local law firm SEO include:
There are plenty of other online marketing writing tips for lawyers. Try to write in brief, focused, scannable paragraphs. Avoid overly complex sentence structures. Prioritize actionable information (while avoiding anything that would constitute legal advice, of course).
A final note: Potential clients have to be motivated to contact your firm if you want to make money off of SEO. Invite them to get in touch with a strong call to action.
This final step of maintenance, improvement, and ranking is essentially a recycling of all of the previous steps. You’ll need to keep up with the latest changes in search engine technology, update your site accordingly, and continue to publish quality, optimized content. At least you’ll only have to set up Google My Business once.
Well, there you have it: a ten-step guide on how to master local SEO for attorneys. Feel free to contact FORWARD Lawyer Marketing for help with any of these steps — or to talk about how our dedicated SEO management services could make your online marketing efforts more efficient.