Do law firms need SEO?
It depends on how you answer this question: do you want to increase your caseload and grow your bottom line? If you said “yes,” then yes, you need SEO. The overwhelming majority of people looking for legal representation or assistance do so online. A search engine – particularly Google – is usually the first place someone will go when they need to find a lawyer. The results that show up on the very first search engine results page (SERP) will often give them the answer they’re looking for.
Can you rank without focusing any time or money on SEO? It’s possible but highly unlikely.
Let’s say you run a personal injury law firm in San Diego, CA. Run a quick Google search for “San Diego personal injury lawyer” and you’ll almost instantly get 6.2 million results. At the end of the day, the first 10 results are the ones that will get phone calls. Those websites you see in the top 10? They’re either highly authoritative legal directories or law firms that have SEO down pat (or have hired one of the best lawyer SEO agencies out there).
If you want to compete – which means ranking organically on the first page, preferably near the top – then yes, you need to focus on SEO.
What is white hat SEO?
There are two ways to do any job: 1) with integrity and in compliance with the rules; or 2) employing manipulation, bad faith, and devious strategies with no regard for the systems in place.
White Hat SEO is the former, while Black Hat SEO is the latter.
White Hat SEO focuses on creating unique, compelling content, obtaining backlinks honestly, and simply sticking to the limits of Google’s terms of service.
How long should an attorney SEO campaign last?
SEO is all about the long game. The more in-depth your content, the more authoritative your links, and the better your UX, the higher you’ll rank on Google organically. When you rank organically, that can yield results for years to come.
However, SEO isn’t static. The rules change. And, attorney SEO is extremely competitive. If you take your foot off the gas too much, there’s a good chance that someone else will swoop in and outrank you.
An SEO campaign should be aggressive from the start. Once you’ve reached your desired results, you shouldn’t stop your efforts entirely. Rather, you can go into “maintenance” mode – publish content regularly, update outdated content, and keep an eye on UX metrics.
So, ideally, a law firm SEO campaign is a living thing that you care for. The amount of work and resources that you pour into your campaign, however, should vary at different stages.
What is long-tail SEO?
Long-tail SEO focuses on generating organic traffic to a web page by targeting long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are phrases or questions that are four or more words in length. These are typically easier to rank for and build diverse content around. Long-tail keywords also have a higher conversion rate than head (or short-tail) keywords.
How long will it take to rank on the first page?
How long it takes to rank on page one for a keyword depends on several different factors:
- Your starting point
- Your competition
- Your market
- Your area of practice
- Your ongoing efforts
On average, it takes around four to six months for many businesses to start seeing results (Forbes). Some manage to see substantial changes sooner, while others take much longer. It all depends on the strength of your efforts, your consistency, and your competition
I’ve heard that backlinks from .edu or .gov domains help SEO – is that true?
No. In fact, if you’re contacted by a company singing the praises of backlinks from these domains and their ability to secure them for you, run away – fast. This is a black hat strategy – and a known scam – that Google is well aware of. In fact, Google ignores a lot of .edu and .gov links because of this, so pouring resources into obtaining these links can be a huge waste.
This isn’t to say that links from all .edu and .gov domains are ignored or a scam. There are definitely reputable and authoritative sites
Do I also need a PPC campaign?
PPC – or “pay per click” – campaigns can be a great supplement to your SEO campaign. Done right, you can show up at the top of SERPs for the keywords that are most relevant to your practice – and most likely to drive potential clients to your door. However, know that the benefits of a PPC campaign are temporary. The minute you suspend your PPC ads, some other ad will instantly show up in its place.
While a PPC campaign won’t have any direct bearing or influence on your organic SEO results, it can help to get your brand out there while you put the hard work into ranking your web page organically.
What shouldn’t be done as part of an SEO campaign?
Simply put, anything that intentionally violates Google’s terms of service should absolutely not be a part of your SEO campaign.
Black hat SEO strategies are risky and can be costly – especially when (not if) these underhanded tactics are discovered. If someone tries to sell you a quick fix and says they can absolutely get you to the “top of Google” in no time flat, be wary. They’re probably either running a scam or are going to cut a lot of ethical corners to try to deliver.
Either way, it’s a risk that won’t pay off.
Could an SEO campaign create any ethical issues or run afoul of the MRPC?
Sure. As you know very well, every state bar association has strict limitations on what can and can’t be done for the purposes of attorney advertising. And, the rules are racing to catch up to advances in technology and changes in how we communicate with one another.
So, it’s critically important to keep a close eye on the specific rules in your state – what’s permitted and, more importantly, what’s prohibited. Your state might have strict rules about superlative language – meaning that your SEO campaign can’t be founded on calling you the “best” law firm in your area.
If you’re working with an SEO company, you’ll want to choose one with experience handling attorney and law firm marketing – they’ll be most familiar with the guidelines that are ethically appropriate for your campaign. If you don’t work with the best law firm SEO specialists, you risk letting your marketing campaign falter when it shouldn’t have the chance to.
What are meta descriptions?
Meta tags are small snippets of text that are displayed on SERPs to summarize and explain what a web page is about. They’re typically one or two sentences and don’t exceed 160 characters in length. Action-oriented meta descriptions that accurately describe the page they’re previewing and include core keywords and geographic indicators are best.
How do I know which SEO company for lawyers is right for me?
Not every SEO service will be a fit for every law firm or attorney. You need to make sure that you work with a law firm marketing company that’s capable of balancing the technical aspects of your SEO campaign with the transparent customer service you deserve.
The best course of action will involve calling a few companies and talking to them.
Who answers your questions? Who is willing to be transparent about their processes and results? Which company do you feel best about trusting with something as important as your SEO campaign? Trust your instincts and go with the agency you feel is best. That will ultimately be the best SEO company for your law firm.
How often should I blog? Can I blog too much?
You can’t blog too much. There’s a huge correlation between blogging, rankings, and traffic. However, it’s really more about the quality of the blogs you post than the quantity. You could publish 40 short low-quality articles a month and not see much of an SEO benefit.
On the other hand, publishing 5-10 longer (1,000+ word) articles on high traffic topics can give your campaign a noticeable boost. The cost for these two approaches might be similar, but the outcomes will be significantly different.
What can hurt my SEO campaign? Can it be sabotaged?
Black hat SEO strategies can hurt your campaign. As for competitors sabotaging your project, it’s possible but highly unlikely. It’s really much easier to rise in the rankings and climb over competitors by focusing on your own project – creating great content, building a steller backlink portfolio, and providing the user with a great experience.
If you’re not seeing results from your SEO campaign, it’s important to look at the steps you are taking to rank.
Are you creating helpful content? Are you getting backlinks from authoritative sites? Have you built a site that’s designed to convert clicks into clients?
It’s likely that your approach simply isn’t working or that your project hasn’t been implemented for long enough to see results yet. It’s less likely that a competing firm is trying to undermine your efforts.
How do I find the best law firm SEO company?
Throughout this guide, you’ve probably seen that attorney SEO is a highly-nuanced, complex thing. At its core, it’s about creating great content, getting other websites to recognize that you’re an authority by linking to you, and creating a user experience that leaves prospects with no choice but to call your law firm for help. However, the steps needed to get the job done – and to get your firm to rank when and where it matters – are quite involved. Many are quite technical.
You’re a busy attorney and your time and attention should be focused where it really matters – helping your clients. Hiring an attorney SEO company can give you the opportunity to do that while also increasing the odds that your firm’s website ranks.
How do you go about choosing a firm? Call a few to get a feel for what types of services they provide, the company’s culture, and the results they’ve achieved for similar clients.
- How long have you been doing attorney SEO?
- What kind of legal experience do members of your team have, if any?
- What success stories can you share with me, and can I check those results for myself?
- Who writes the content?
- What can you tell me about how you do SEO within the confines of the MRPC?
- How will I know what’s being done as part of my SEO project, and how can I track the results?
Any questions you have can shed light on the agency and its practices. Work with the company that you feel most confident in and comfortable with.
At LawRank, we know just how important your attorney SEO project is – to your firm and to your bottom line. With so much at stake, it’s critical that you have a front-row seat to the method behind the madness.
That’s why we make customer service a priority and give our clients the tools they need to stay in the loop. You’ll always know what’s going on and what steps are being taken as part of your attorney search engine optimization campaign.
Give us a call today to discuss SEO for law firms and learn about how our experienced team can help you rank.