For just about any industry today, there are SEO techniques that can improve a company’s visibility on Google, as long as they’re applied in an industry-specific way. Here’s how to apply these techniques for your law firm.
In general, you’ll need to find keywords that are relevant, generate steady traffic, and have levels of competition that are achievable. Professional tools you can use include:
Note: You typically need to have a paid subscription to use these tools, although some companies may offer free trials.
Then, rather than simply trying to rank for “attorney,” which would be extremely challenging, you’ll want to rank for more precise terms that specifically describe the services you offer. In other words, you’ll need relevant, targeted keywords with commercial intent.
Let’s say you’re a real estate attorney, you specialize in escrow closings, and you practice in New Jersey. Through keyword research, you discover that 22,000 people a month search in Google on “real estate attorney,” so it makes sense to optimize your site for that term along with “New Jersey real estate attorney.”
Digging in deeper, additional targeted phrases include “real estate closing attorney” with 590 monthly searches, and “New Jersey real estate closing attorney” with 50. (Although 50 searches may seem small compared to 22,000, that keyword precisely targets what you do and where you do it, so it can be invaluable.)
Also, look for keywords that ask questions implying a need for services, such as “How much does a real estate attorney cost?” with 320 monthly searches. And for your blog posts, white papers, case studies, and so forth, find relevant keywords with research intent. These often start with “why” or “how,” or as in this real-life example, with “do”: “Do you need an attorney to close on a house?”
You’ll need to regularly create fresh, audience-relevant content that supports your keyword strategy. Optimize both your content and corresponding back-end tags on your web pages and blog posts.
Web pages include your home page, but go far beyond that. Make sure to create quality, optimized service pages for every service you offer, as well as an overall service landing page that links to each of your more specific service pages. Also create an “About Us” page that will capture site visitors’ attention, and on every page there should be contact information to make it super easy to contact you.
Because Google has a “freshness” ranking signal, sites with frequently updated content can be rewarded, and blogging is the ideal vehicle for this. In addition, blog posts allow you to target more research-based keywords.
For our New Jersey real estate attorney example, blog post topics may include:
- What Does a Real Estate Attorney Do? (320 monthly searches)
- How Much Are Closing Costs on a House? (2,400 monthly searches)
- How Much Does a Real Estate Attorney Cost? (320 monthly searches)
Long-form posts (2,000 words and more) perform better in Google, overall, so include in-depth posts as part of your blogging mix. At the end of each post, you can include a call to action about contacting you for your services.
When you’re more successful at local SEO than your competitors, this means your law firm will appear in Google’s coveted local 3-pack for your geography. Let’s say you’re headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. If so, then you would want to have your listing visibly appear in conjunction with the Google Map that comes up when people search on “Jersey City real estate attorneys.” In other words, you want to appear in Google’s 3-pack.
With local SEO, you will need to optimize pages for each of your specific locations. You’ll also need to create an accurate, complete Google My Business (GMB) listing, and then verify it according to these instructions. Also verify that listings of your law firm are accurate in other online directories, especially your firm’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). And make it easy for satisfied clients to leave you Google Reviews, as well as reviews on other relevant online sites.
As part of your SEO campaign, you’ll need to grow your number of quality inbound links, meaning ones that exist on one site and point to yours. When you have a healthy link profile, Google considers your site to be a trustworthy one and rewards you accordingly. You will need these links to be from relevant sites from diverse sets of domains.
One way to grow links is to share your content: whether on social media, from email marketing, or other ways that work for you; a percentage of people who read the content will link back to you. Another way is to get your site listed in quality directories, either free or fee-based, specifically created for law firms. If you’re already listed in a directory, check your NAP for accuracy. Also consider any member organizations you belong to—whether local, state or national—that will list your legal firm on their websites and link to yours.
And finally, another way to get quality links is to be quoted in online sources. You can monitor reporter requests for information at HelpAReporter.com (often referred to as HARO), ProfNet, and the like. You can also offer to write guest posts for relevant sites, posts that include a link back to your own site.
The four building blocks of SEO we’ve described—keyword research, content creation, local SEO, and link building—will provide an excellent foundation for your law firm’s online visibility. It’s important to measure your results and tweak what’s needed to keep improving that visibility. Don’t tweak too quickly, though, because some strategies just need time to be effective. When needed, reach out for professional SEO help, choosing an agency with proven success with law firms.