Criminal defense attorney marketing is competitive and becoming more competitive every day. This is especially true if your law practice is in a larger metropolitan area with dozens if not hundreds of other criminal defense lawyers competing for the top rankings. Long gone are the days of just putting up billboards and placing display Yellow Pages ads. From 2005 to 2014, online searches went from being the least popular way to find an attorney to the most utilized and it has only grown since then, especially on mobile devices.
Every day in numerous metro areas across the United States thousands of people are searching for “criminal defense attorney near me”, which is actually one of the best phrases to rank for. When your law firm appears at the top of the search results for a keyword phrase like this it gives you the best chance of converting that person to a client due to proximity. Of course, if you have a terrible website or a poor intake system that will negatively impact your ability to convert search engine users to actual paying clients.
Let’s go into some of the necessary components of a successful criminal defense attorney marketing strategy.
Today, people are more sophisticated than ever and they expect businesses to have an updated website that renders well on their mobile devices, in fact, most searches now tend to be on mobile. This is what the term “responsive” means, that a website will display properly on all mobile devices. If you have an older outdated website that is not mobile-friendly you are likely losing tons of potential clients before you even get the opportunity to speak to them.
At FORWARD Lawyer Marketing, we have built literally hundreds of responsive custom websites for lawyers in virtually every type of legal practice there is. We begin with our clients by performing a comprehensive site audit to determine whether the current website is worth investing the time and money in to drive traffic to it. If it is an old and outdated site that isn’t built to convert we will suggest a new one. Sometimes we have to turn clients down because they refuse to build a new website and we know from experience that we cannot get the results we want without it.
The bottom line is, that if you don’t have an updated responsive website for your law firm like the one below, it is costing you money.
Questions you need to ask yourself about your current website include:
Does your website make a strong first impression and is it mobile-friendly?
Do you have extensive practice area pages with at least 1,000 words or more?
Do you have comprehensive attorney pages that list the attorneys in your practice along with their education, experience, etc?
Do you have an informative About Us page for your law firm website?
If you are focused on a particular geographic area, is your content written in a way that speaks to that location?
Do you have Google Maps embedded so that potential clients can easily find you?
Do you have a strong CTA to request a consultation and do you have a solid contact integration system?
Do you have analytics installed properly to be able to collect data on website visitors and their actions?
Do you have your social media platforms displayed and linked to?
Do you have a blog and if so, do you post to it regularly?
This isn’t everything we ask, but it is a good start. Get a free SEO audit here.
It is a known fact among SEO professionals that quality content impacts rankings and can help beat competitors in the local market if done properly. When we are planning content expansion for a client we start with their main pages and move on from there. We like to have a minimum word count on “money pages” such as practice area pages, of at least 1,000 words, and ideally over 1,500. Content length is a ranking factor that has been proven for years, the top-rated websites across the board are close to 2,000 words or more.
Next, if the client has indicated that they would like to rank for a particular practice area that is a little outside of where they are located, we will propose geo-pages. Geo-pages are pages written for a specific location to help rank for that keyword phrase, such as this one, Naperville Divorce Lawyers.
Because laws and statutes change over time it is important to keep your website updated to reflect any changes. You should have someone with the firm that monitors such changes so that you can alert your marketing and web development team to make the appropriate updates.
The next area that is neglected by many law firms is blogging. Nationwide only a small percentage of lawyers blog at all, much less on a regular basis. From our experience, regular blog posts are one of the biggest contributing factors to our clients’ success. We have clients that post weekly and have doubled their law firm’s revenue in a year!
What is important to note here is that you can’t just blog about any random subject. You should be blogging about areas you want to rank for. At FORWARD Lawyer Marketing, our SEO Director examines data analytics to determine keyword phrases with traffic that a client has an opportunity to rank for and then works on developing content for that.
Not only does regular blogging on informative topics help increase your reputation with website visitors but it also helps demonstrate your authority to the search engines while also enhancing the relevance of your website for the terms you write about.
Just creating a website and adding informative content is just the beginning, without proper SEO including on-page SEO, you will not be found. Search engines rely on specific signals in order to read, index, and rank web pages. Your content must be written for your visitors as well as the search engines. For the best results we recommend the following for starters:
Local SEO is a crucial part of any law firm’s online marketing strategy with almost half of Google searches specifying a location keyword in the search. Local search results number in the billions daily which is why the competition in larger municipalities is so fierce. Local SEO focuses on improving rankings in specific geographic locations and can help your law firm be found for phrases such as “criminal defense attorney near me” or “Galveston criminal defense lawyer” which would show you the search results below.
If you have done these yourself you have probably seen that the results on your mobile device and your desktop or laptop are different. This is because part of Google’s algorithm features a proximity function that shows the closest result for what you are searching for.
Another part of local SEO is making sure you claim and optimize your Google Business Profile. The Google Business Profile in most cases is already created by Google and all you have to do is claim in and verify it. We have a very thorough post on Google Business best practices here, Google My Business Optimization And Best Practices Guide.
We know a lot of people are uncomfortable creating videos but once you get past your initial shyness and apprehension you will find that it is very fun. Another important fact to know is that according to research, 65% of the general population are visual learners, meaning that the best way to reach them is with videos. We have some attorneys that are implementing videos and having success with them. One of our attorneys actually has their local prosecutor’s office contact them to collaborate on some videos with the most updated information.
We not only help our clients with setting up and managing their YouTube channels but we also set up a video blog page on the client’s website to automatically display their videos as they are posted to their channel.
Some of the things you can do with video include:
Many people today rely on social media for information and news. Getting your posts in front of them on their social media whether they are followers or by doing it with paid advertising can be very productive. As far as which social media platforms you should use this should be thought out after investigating your client demographics. Overall, all law firms should utilize at the minimum, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Next, I would say that Twitter should be a consideration and if you have a younger clientele, you should consider the new video sharing platform, TikTok.
As with the other strategies I have recommended, I suggest that you contract an agency with a social media department that can handle all aspects of social media marketing for your law firm. FORWARD Lawyer Marketing has an experienced team that specializes in social media management for lawyers.
Creating content, performing SEO, building backlinks, etc all take time and are part of your long-term marketing strategy. Pay-per-click advertising, also known as PPC, can help you to bring in clients almost immediately if done correctly. In case you are unfamiliar, these ads will appear above the top organic rankings. While you or ideally, your team, are working on SEO and content, PPC ads can bring clients in the short term and ongoing if you choose.
PPC can also be a make-or-break premise. What I mean by that is that if someone doesn’t know what they are doing a monthly PPC budget can be burned through in a matter of hours. A recent study states that a third of all potential legal clients begin looking for legal representation on the internet.
Reviews for criminal defense attorneys can sometimes be difficult due to the nature of the issues being defended. Most people aren’t going to want to go public that they are happy with your work defending them for sexual assault or murder. That said, many of our criminal defense lawyer clients have had success asking for reviews where they make sense, such as where someone falsely accused has been acquitted. Reviews help rankings and also help those thinking of hiring you have more confidence in your ability to help them.
This case study shows how a single-attorney family law practice started attracting more high-asset, financially complex divorce cases.
Click here to read about a family law firm that increased caseload five-fold in a few months.
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At FORWARD Lawyer Marketing we believe in taking a “leave no stone unturned” approach when it comes to our legal clients. With that in mind, we employ extremely experienced people in the industry. Our SEO Director has been marketing online for well over two decades and oversees all SEO tasks including editing content and performing on-page optimization as well as internal and external linking. Our specialty is law firm marketing and SEO for lawyers at FORWARD Lawyer Marketing, call us at (888) 590-9687 to discuss how we can increase the revenue of your law firm.