SEO for lawyers is a very specific niche of search engine optimization. Since most law firms are focused on geo-specific areas, as are most small businesses, optimizing for a given local area is a must. There are numerous factors that go into ranking a website locally including:
Although there isn’t a lot you can do about this if you have a new domain, all other things being equal, an older domain will usually outrank a newer one. That said, the age of a domain can be overcome by quality content, backlinks, and a better user experience.
We have actually created brand new websites for clients that started generating leads and revenue almost immediately. The key strategy here is to utilize PPC to drive traffic while using SEO for long-term organic ranking. The other thing that PPC does is get the visits to your website so that you can keep retargeting them. Few people make a decision on their first visit.
Dissecting the topics above, let’s start with the content. The reason we say that the number of words needs to be an average of 1500-2000 is that when we look at the data for top-ranked pages, the top 10 average around 2,000 words. Obviously, this will fluctuate depending on the competition. Ranking in a city like Chicago is going to be far more difficult than a smaller area like Glen Ellyn. When writing a geotargeted page it not only includes adding geo-specific keyword phrases such as divorce lawyer in Chicago but also writing about certain landmarks and neighborhoods to help the Google spiders know that this page is about that specific area.
This is still up for debate among many SEO experts but regardless of whether it is a ranking factor or not, it gives a better user experience and Google always loves that. We embed Google maps on all of our clients’ pages.
This is another area that some still debate but we have seen results with it, especially for Google My Business pages. We make sure to name image files geospecific keyword-rich names and geotag them before uploading them. It only takes a few minutes and it is worth the effort for the possibility that it helps local ranking.
Many businesses fail to even claim their Google My Business pages and lawyers are no exception, this is a huge mistake. Your Google My Business is basically free advertising from Google. It is like having your own full-color Yellow Pages ad back in the day when they actually worked.
All you have to do is claim your GMB page through Google via a phone call or postcard. Once you have your page claimed, you then must optimize it. This post goes into detail on what you need to do to optimize your GMB page.
Most SEO experts know the importance of backlinks for building authority and increasing search engine rankings. The key that makes the difference when working to rank local websites is to endeavor to acquire links from non-competitive local businesses and organizations.
A good example would be a criminal defense attorney we have in Texas that gets a lot of business from people out on bond. He does reciprocal linking with a highly ranked local bail bond company. If you own a chain of chiropractic treatment centers that focuses on treating auto accident victims it would make a lot of sense to swap links and leads with local personal injury attorneys
Again, what this does is help the Google spiders identify the page being linked to as more locally than globally-oriented which helps with a higher local ranking.
Local directory citations are an important aspect for ranking higher locally and it isn’t very difficult to do, it just takes consistent effort. What are local citations? These come from local directories such as the following that aggregate business listings for local areas.
Citations can be divided into two categories, structured or unstructured.
A structured citation is your business information (NAP) on a business listing directory. When you see lists of citation sites, these are pretty much always business listing directories where you can submit your business and get a citation. Example sites for structured citations include:
Generally speaking, an unstructured citation is your business information (NAP) on any other site that’s not specifically a business listing directory. Common examples where you’ll find unstructured citations are blogs, magazine/newspaper sites, wikis, and so on.
This is obviously one of the key factors that influences ranking. It isn’t impossible to get top rankings in larger metropolitan areas, it just takes more effort to rank in a large city versus a small town strictly due to the competition. Whereas it may take 90 days to rank in a small town, it could take up to a year or more to rank for a main keyword in a larger city. This doesn’t mean that you cannot drive traffic in the meantime. In addition to utilizing PPC as mentioned previously, we also choose long-tail keywords that have less competition and hence are easier to rank when beginning our SEO campaign.
It is a matter of numbers. If a main keyword can drive 1,000 visits a month and 10 lower tier keywords drive 100 visits each, it is still 1,000 visitors. Some people take an all-or-nothing approach and go right after the big dollar keywords. In our experience, this is a big mistake and leads to impatience and frustration due to going months with no positive results.
Hopefully, after reading this post you have a better understanding of how complex SEO for lawyers is and how professional law firm SEO can get you better search engine rankings. FORWARD Lawyer Marketing is a Digital Marketing Agency that focuses specifically on marketing and SEO for attorneys. Give us a call at (888) 590-9687 for a free site audit and consultation on how we can help your law firm retain more clients just like we have for lawyers all across the United States.