Marketing your law firm is a top priority for law firms, particularly smaller firms, and having a great Google presence is a key target for those seeking to achieve high law firm ranking.
Increasingly it is the web – and mobile devices – that will be sending your firm new clients. Your website is your business card, marketing department and office window all in one.
But if it can’t be found, then you’re wasting time simply spinning wheels?
Additionally, the sheer volume of existing and new websites makes it increasingly difficult to achieve any traction with Google – you may think.
1. Select SEO Keywords Based on User Intent
You will undoubtedly know about keywords, or read about their importance in SEO terms.
They are the search words and terms put into Google’s search bar. You need your site to have those keywords in your site to achieve great law firm ranking.
But this is not the end of selecting and using the correct keywords – it’s the beginning. You need to do some decent research into the keywords that will best suit your practice.
This includes using geographic terms, too. If you’re a small firm practicing in any town or city you want to include your location, which is one of the most effective fast-tracks towards achieving a local ranking.
After all, many searchers will be searching using the location for yourself just as they would for a decent pizza outlet or electronics store.
This comes down to user intent – Google know that one of the keys to their success and relevance to users is to engage users on the basis of providing what the intent of the searcher is.
This means some good research on the best keywords in your market, both professional and geographic.
User intent is regarded by some as ‘the future of SEO’ as this article in Search Engine Journal describes.
You need to consider the ‘why’ in any search in order to achieve the right search result for the user.
Is someone searching for details about bankruptcy statistics or trends, or do they actually want a lawyer for themselves?
If you don’t provide context to your search then Google can provide the searcher with a grab bag of answers.
When you’re developing your list of keywords for your website, you need to consider user intent so that you are using “long tail keywords” to clarify what your potential clients are using to get an answer to their query.
For instance, using the keyword phrase “where to find a divorce attorney in Boston” or “divorce lawyer near me in Boston” has more user intent than just using the term “divorce lawyer Boston”.
A very good article on how to find and use long tail keywords can be seen hereon BloggerCloud.
If you are using the term “divorce lawyer Boston” then your site would need to have a high ‘authority ranking’ to show up in the first search engine results page (SERP).
If you’re looking for ideas of where to start with your law firm practice areas and long tail keywords then look at the suggested keywords at the foot of Google’s SERPs for an idea and build on the long tail keywords from there.
2. Create Fresh Content and Publish to LinkedIn
To truly build your website’s authority (ranking power on Google), you need traffic.
While you can always use paid ads and keywords to generate some organic traffic, if your website is new or you’re in a niche, it may be harder to get traffic based upon those two factors alone.
Generally you will need to have fresh, updated content which will mostly be from a blog.
The great advantage of blogs is that you can get more pages indexed on Google, which provides you the opportunity to have your firm indexed for ‘long tail’ keywords around your key areas of practice.
Websites with a blog have tend to have 434% more indexed pages on average, which is a huge SEO boost.
So if you don’t have a blog and are put off by the work or what it takes, you need to start one. It is by far the best way and least difficult way to generate that targeted traffic.
If you do nothing else, consider publishing content to sites like LinkedIn, whether it’s blog content or simply content designed for that platform.
LinkedIn generates 80% of B2B marketing leads sourced from social media. For firms like lawyers, LinkedIn is a great place to start finding those targeted leads and to generate interest and visibility for your firm.
You can publish original posts on the platform, or simply link to another relevant article and post a comment that will go to the LinkedIn feed –
Furthermore, when you find people engaging with your content on LinkedIn it will more readily be seen as an endorsement from those people or brands who are sharing the content and generating those valuable leads.
This makes LinkedIn, for freelancers, a better social channel to publish content, because more potential clients will see what you’re producing.
Even if your website’s page authority isn’t high enough to warrant a #1 SERP ranking, your visibility on the platform can be easily enough to attract the ‘right eyeballs’ – ie clients – to your firm.
In other words, don’t rely only on Google SERPs for your marketing when you can branch out to social media.
3. Skip “Contact Me” and Create an Actionable CTA
Another big factor for SEO optimization is the bounce rate.
Last year Google announced that their algorithm would focus on two important things:
- How long someone spends on your page (Dwell Time)
- The percentage of people that click on your result (Click Through Rate)
If someone is coming to your site (you’re getting traffic, there’s a decent amount of dwell time) but not engaging with you in a real way (no click throughs), Google registers it as a bounce, which is a negative factor that can adversely affect your rankings.
The Google algorithm will register the high bounce rate and punish your site for it.
There are some easy ways to fix that problem and increase your click through rate, which means having a good strong Call-to-Action (CTA). Having a contact form can increase your click through rate, just as having a ‘learn more’ page can help your viewers engage with your site for longer.
When you complete a blog post you should ask readers for comments or experiences. You are helping to boost your click through rate and also helping to build your own credibility and authority with your audience.
Similarly, linking through to related content will also help you build greater participation in your content with associated, relevant content.
Clickable sharing content and queries, as well as comment requests will all help to build engagement and cut down your bounce rate.
4. Get More Backlinks
Another ranking factor that helps your site look trustworthy in the eyes of Google is backlinks to your site, which are links from other sites to your website.
LawFuel’s 18 years’ online has generated many thousands of backlinks, for instance, and built authority and trust with Google –
These links help your website’s SEO because they show search engines that your website is credible.
The more relevant backlinks the greater your rankings will become, particularly if they are from credible sources – remember not all backlinks are created equally.
The thing to remember with building backlinks, however, is that they have to be from credible sources.
Google will actually penalize your site if you have bad links, to prevent websites from violating their Webmaster Guidelines with black hat SEO.
In the good old, bad old days backlinks could be bought – they still can – but treat such practices with caution because you can fall foul of the Google webmaster guidelines and be punished accordingly.
Your best strategy is to develop a good link building strategy that includes backlinks and focus on getting your content and website’s landing pages shared by reputable sources with links back to your own law firm site.
You can always check how your backlinks are doing using Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools).
This lets you see a list of sites that link to your own site and permits you to see what their relative quality is and just how valuable (or lacking in value) they may be.
5. Optimize Your Website’s Sitemap
You’ve probably already done this at some point when setting up your website, but if not, you need to optimize your sitemap, which is one of the keys to high ranking with Google.
Your sitemap links directly to other pages on your website to allow for the search engine spiders to crawl each individual page and rank every single one individually.
While you can technically rank without a sitemap it makes it much easier for Google to help you out when you have a good sitemap for your site to permit appropriate ranking and linking.
This is also the easiest thing to do on this list, since there are plenty of sitemap generator tools out there, like Yoast SEO and the Google Sitemap Generator (you can get both from the WordPress plugin repository).
By default, the plugins will include all your website pages, posts, tags, archives, media, and all the other requisite links to build your site’s visibility online.
But you should also manually include any pages that currently get a lot of traffic, and exclude pages that contain duplicate content.
Optimizing your sitemap will give Google a push in the right direction in terms of higher rankings and authority.
The age of your site is another key factor in terms of high rankings. A new site will necessarily take longer to achieve high rankings because Google need to see what it has, how relevant it is, what sort of content it posts, the linking strategy and so forth.
One of the absolute keys is to keep posting relevant quality content via your law firm blog, or via the site’s pages. You can read more about how to boost your law firm blog traffic here.
Keep your site active with fresh content. It’s simple and if you post your content using good content marketing tactics then you’re going to achieve good rankings, all things being equal.
Getting your law firm website rankings higher on Google is not difficult, but being aware of the key factors behind higher rankings is essential. Quality, regular postings and website links and web management all play a vital part.