Mastering the art of search engine optimization or search engine optimization for law firms can feel overwhelming.
Most law firms understand the importance of a website, but many know little about search engine optimization (SEO) or organic traffic. When done right, SEO can increase lead generation and position your law firm highly on search engines like Google. With these five tips, it won’t be that daunting to step up your SEO efforts.
The first and most important step in your SEO journey is identifying your law firm’s keywords. These words are specific to your business and are what people are most likely to be looking for. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that makes it easy for your law firm to track and determine what keywords potential clients are using to find you.
There are two types of keywords:
These word strings are targeted and determine the intent of the seeker. This could be a question for a specific need or a guide to a situation. An example would be, “Do I need a lawyer if my kid was in an argument at school in Florida?” Or “Kansas Employee Injury Attorneys.” Using long-tail keywords will improve your law firm’s rankings and narrow down search results to target potential customers who are more likely to use your services.
You guessed it, these keywords are short and general. Short-tail keywords consist of no more than three words and cover broad topics that your competitors can also be searched for. Examples are “injury attorney” or “defense attorney”. These keywords open up the search results pool and limit the visibility of your law firm. However, short-tail keywords are still important and play a role in your overall SEO strategy.
Now that you have your keywords, it’s time to get them ranked on your website. Of course, there is a strategy in SEO for law firm websites. Keywords must be strategically placed in order to be identified in the search engine algorithm. Here are the best rankings for your keywords:
- Title, sub-headings and headings (H2 or H3)
The eyes of the visitors are of course focused on the headlines and titles. If what they are looking for is in the foreground, they are more likely to click or spend time on this page as it is relevant to their search.
Meta descriptions appear in search results and contain a brief snippet of your website or specific page. These should be short and contain keywords (of course) to let the searcher know what your page is about and to further highlight whether they are relevant to the search.
Alt text helps search engines determine what your image is about. There is also one Caption Tag This is another way for seekers to see what an image is by hovering over it with the mouse. Not only do these help with search engine optimization, but title tags also make your website more accessible to visitors who need alternative descriptions.
Avoid “keyword stuffing”
Once you have your keywords and are embedding them on your law firm’s website, do this sparingly. The key is to have a healthy number of keywords in strategic places, like the ones we mentioned earlier. Overuse of keywords will make your website feel spammy to the reader. Additionally, search engines could penalize you for overusing keywords in irrelevant or unnatural ways. This practice is also known as “keyword stuffing,” and Google could hurt your law firm’s website rankings for doing so.
An example of keyword filling:
“We have the best defense lawyers. If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney, contact our law firm to find the best criminal defense attorney. ”
The thought process here is that if you repeat the keyword, you will have a better ranking in search engine results. This is just the opposite, and it affects your law firm’s website ranking.
Create fresh content
If your law firm has a marketing department, they likely always ask your lawyers for content (and for good reason). Blogs are a great way for your law firm to naturally feed your keywords to search engines. Publishing only once or twice a week will make your law firm’s website more visible.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to use keywords in your titles, sub-headings, and throughout your blog. The key here is not to overload your body with keywords. As a general rule of thumb, your content shouldn’t have more than five keyword matches.
For the lawyers who read, two things probably come to mind: 1) I don’t have time and 2) I don’t know what to write about. These are valid concerns for busy lawyers, but blogging doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Write about topics you are passionate about, frequently asked questions from potential customers, or about changes in legislation that are affecting your practice. Lawyers should view blogs as a way to position themselves as thought leaders on topics they are well versed in. In addition, writing about common customer problems can help reduce repetitive questions and make your life much easier.
Reviews / Google My Business
If your law firm has not claimed or activated a Google My Business account, do so as soon as possible. My Business is one of the best ways to manage how your business is showing up in search results. You should make sure your profile is up to date with the basics: address, hours, pictures, etc. You can even use this tool to post updates or links to content on your website.
There are many factors to how your My Business account will appear in search results. One of the most important are the ratings. When a potential customer searches and your company shows up, they will be attracted by the relevance, but also by the number of positive reviews. Law firms often struggle to get quality reviews because they lack the proper process.
Mastering SEO for law firms takes practice, trial and error, and consistency. We hope that these tips make you more comfortable with SEO and the best practices to make your business website stand out.