14 Oct 4 SEO Tips for Law Firm Websites
In this article, we outline the four most important tips for improving law firm SEO (search engine optimization). SEO for law firm websites is more critical than ever. According to the National Law Review, 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine and 74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action.
The following tips should help you better understand the importance of SEO attorney marketing and should give you an idea as to whether you are capable of handling SEO legal marketing in-house, or if you are better suited trying to find an outside vendor who can spearhead your law firm SEO strategy.
Tip 1: Keyword Research and Optimization
The foundation of any good law firm website SEO strategy should start with some fundamental keyword research. What do we mean by keyword research? We mean the process of identifying the terms and queries individuals enter in search engines like Google and Bing to find your law firm.
For example, if you are a family law firm in Missouri you will likely want to rank for search terms such as “Missouri divorce lawyer,” “Missouri child custody attorney,” “Divorce attorney in Missouri,” etc.
When starting your keyword research, begin by brainstorming all the services your law firm provides. You can then use keyword research tools such as Moz, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to look up estimated monthly search volumes for those keywords to help prioritize their importance.
Keep in mind that higher search volumes also likely mean more competition. Something like “Missouri divorce attorney” probably has an extremely high number of monthly searches, but something a little more specific such as “Missouri child custody lawyers” might have fewer monthly searches but will be easier to rank for. Most SEO tools provide a rating of how difficult it will be to rank for a given keyword to help with this process.
Once you have selected your most important keywords, it is a good idea to map keywords to a page on your website. This might involve having dedicated practice area pages. If you want to rank for “Missouri child support attorney,” you could build a child support practice area page where you optimize the page for the primary keyword “Missouri child support lawyer” as well as related secondary keywords like “child support lawyers in Missouri,” “child support lawyers for fathers in Missouri,” and “Missouri child support laws.”
When implementing your keyword strategy, you want to do more than stuff the page with your selected keywords as that practice can lead to a penalty from Google and the other search engines. Moz offers a great beginners guide to SEO that has an entire chapter devoted to on-page SEO and implementing keywords that you should check out before optimizing your content, but here are a few of the most important ways to utilize keywords:
- Include them in the title tag of your page.
- Include them in the page’s meta description.
- Include your primary keyword in the first paragraph on the page.
- Utilize both primary and secondary keywords in a few different places throughout the content, but in way that reads naturally.
Tip 2: Technical SEO
As vital as keyword research and optimization is to SEO for law firm websites, it can all be undone if your website is not structurally sound. Unfortunately, this is probably the most difficult aspect of SEO to execute if you are not an SEO or web development specialist.
Good technical SEO strategy is essentially all about making your website Google friendly and, by extension, user friendly.
Here is a quick technical law firm SEO checklist to run through to make sure your site is up to snuff and easy for the search engines to find:
- Familiarize yourself with and follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google lays out specific steps you can take to improve your site’s technical SEO as well as tactics that can lead to you getting penalized or even banned from the Search Engine Results Pages. For more tips on how to best utilize the Webmaster Guidelines, check out this guide from the Search Engine Journal.
- Pay attention to site structure. Having an organized and intuitive website architecture makes it easier for users to navigate and send positive ranking signals to the search engines.
- Make sure your website is easy to use on mobile. In this day and age, this should be a no-brainer. At this point, the majority of searches are happening on mobile devices, so any SEO strategy should be carried out with a mobile-first mindset.
- Optimize page speed. We know that page speed is an extremely important ranking factor and slow-loading web pages can lead users to quickly exit your site causing your bounce rate to spike. As a rule of thumb, your site should load in less than 2.5 seconds. For more tips on improving site and page speed, check out this guide from Moz.
- Utilize available web tools. There are many tools available, and each tool can offer helpful information on where your site preforms well and where it needs improvement. Google provides a number of tools including a Chrome extension for automated site performance testing called Lighthouse and a page speed test. Another testing website, YSlow, analyzes websites based on Yahoo’s criteria for optimal website performance.
Tip 3: Off-Page and Local SEO
SEO legal marketing starts with the content on your website and the way that your law firm’s site functions, but no SEO strategy is complete without addressing off-page SEO. Moz defines off-page SEO as “actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).”
For SEO attorney marketing, this boils down to three things:
- Local SEO for attorneys
- Link building
- Attorney reviews
As you will see, these tend to go hand in hand.
Local SEO involves optimizing for specific locations. Anytime a user searches something like “divorce attorneys near me,” Google includes what is called a “local three-pack” that shows a map at the top of the SERPs with the three highest-ranking law firms or attorneys. Below the three-pack is a “More places” link that shows additional listings. The top listings on both pages have the highest clickthrough rates and are prime real estate.
So how do you claim one of the top positions? Your first step should be completing a Google My Business profile and getting your listing verified. Then submit your listing info to other directories such as Bing Places, Yellow Pages, and BBB.
Additionally, there are attorney-specific directories you can get your firm listed in. Some are paid, but there are plenty of free options such as Avvo, FindLaw, and Nolo. It is very important that the name, address, and phone (NAP) information on your website matches what you submit to these various directories.
These backlinks help increase your Domain Authority and signals to Google that your website is to be trusted which will increase your chances of ranking. There are other strategies you can utilize to help build your link profile that vary in how intensive they are, but submitting your listing to relevant directories is the most low-hanging fruit that you should address first.
Finally, client reviews are a major local SEO ranking factor, so your firm should be trying to encourage satisfied clients to leave positive online reviews of your law firm. Here are some ideas from Law as Business to help increase your number of online reviews. All your reviews should be legitimate because Google and Yelp have detection systems in place to identify fake reviews that can potentially lead to severe penalties.
Tip 4: Amplify Your Content
The final piece of your law firm’s SEO strategy that should not be overlooked is making sure your content is promoted and amplified. When it comes to writing website content – whether that is a blog post or a practice areas page – it is not enough to publish and hope the web traffic shows up. You need to come up with a multi-channel promotion strategy to get as many eyeballs on your content as possible.
This will look a little bit different for every law firm. It might mean sharing your well-researched blog post to your followers on social media – although there is no direct ranking correlation between social media and SEO, studies have shown social can positively impact your SEO. Or perhaps your firm has a large email list built up – then it might make sense to produce a weekly newsletter.
The possibilities are endless and you will need to research the content amplification tools that are out there to determine what direction makes the most sense for your law firm.
SEO Services for Law Firms
While some SEO implementations are straightforward, tackling it all in-house and maintaining an ongoing SEO legal marketing strategy can be overwhelming – especially when you have so many other aspects of your firm to tend to.
Lexicon has been providing SEO services for law firms for years and has driven substantial traffic increases that have helped those firms increase their business. Get in touch with us to learn more about the SEO legal marketing services we offer.