SEO for Lawyers: The Pragmatic and Actionable Guide
It has become essential for businesses, in every industry to establish an online presence. Even law firms, which have traditionally relied on referrals and word of mouth marketing are now realizing the advantages of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in expanding their client base and increasing their brand visibility. The Legalwebs, a leading law firm SEO and website design company offers a guide specifically designed to help law firms utilize SEO techniques for remarkable growth and prominence.
A significant legal problem can have a major impact on your life. That’s why it’s really important for people facing such issues to find the best lawyer to assist them.
So, who’s the best lawyer? Definitely not Rudy Giuliani. It’s you! We believe it, you believe it, but do the folks around you believe it too? Here’s where things get a bit tricky. You might be the top expert in your legal field, but if the people who need your help don’t know about you, your competition might get all the clients instead. We can’t let that happen. That’s why having the right law firm SEO agency on your side is really important. In the next part, we’ll guide you through the basics of making your website and law firm better so that Google notices and puts you higher up in the results.
What Is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of improving your website’s visibility on search engines. Its objective is to elevate your website from obscurity to a prime position in search engine results. According to a study recently published in Search Engine Journal, the first organic result in Google Search enjoys an average click-through rate of 28.5%. This highlights the crucial significance of attaining a top-ranking position.
Furthermore, the study underscores that SEO-generated leads exhibit a substantial closure rate of 14.6%, a notable difference from traditional leads such as print advertisements, which yield a closure rate of less than 2%. In essence, law firm SEO transcends being a mere concept; it stands as a pivotal factor for your success as a legal professional.
You can review Google’s primary criteria for ranking webpages here.
How Does SEO Work for Lawyers?
Imagine you’re a highly skilled personal injury attorney in Los Angeles with unparalleled expertise. You decide to input the search term “Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer” into the Google search engine. Upon doing so, you realize that your law firm is positioned on the second page, holding the 14th rank. This places you behind thirteen other attorneys, essentially making your website inconspicuous to users. However, by implementing a strategic law firm SEO campaign, you have the opportunity to elevate your placement onto the premier first page, and perhaps secure the coveted topmost position. As your ranking improves, there’s a dual benefit: a surge in both the quantity and quality of leads.
Here’s why: Firstly, the majority of users seldom venture beyond the initial results visible on the search engine results pages (SERPs) if they find something compelling on the upper section. Secondly, those who do continue scrolling down the page could be actively searching for legal representation and might be inclined to opt for the most cost-effective lawyer available. This situation could thrust you into direct competition with a handful of other attorneys, all vying for their legal business.
What’s the First Step in SEO for Law Firms?
Before you start delving into the actual work of law firm SEO, here’s a simple and essential suggestion: make sure you have Google Analytics installed and Google Search Console up and running for your website.
Why is this step so important?
It’s simple: if you can’t track and measure the impact of your law firm SEO efforts, you won’t know if they’re effective. Luckily, Google provides these powerful tools for free, giving you the capability to gather accurate insights. Setting up both Google Analytics and Google Search Console is user-friendly. Many website Content Management Systems (CMSes) offer plugins or built-in features that allow you to do this without needing to know any coding.
It’s worth noting that Google owns the majority of the market share when it comes to search engines. Take a look at the graph below to see the distribution:
If you’re aiming to capture a portion of Bing’s search engine market share, it’s essential to set up Bing Webmaster Tools.
To set up both Google Analytics and Google Search Console, all you need is a Google account, often a basic Gmail account will suffice. Ensure you keep the password secure. If you don’t use the Gmail or G Suite (Google’s professional email and productivity software) account frequently, store the password in a safe place to prevent losing it. Also, it’s wise to have account recovery options set up using your regular email.
Here are some useful links to guide you through the process of setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console:
Here are a few helpful links on setting up Google Analytics, and Google Search Console:
If you want to be more ‘advanced’ you can also setup Google Tag Manager to help manage all of your tracking pixels and codes going forward:
And if you need it, here is where you can create your Google account / Gmail account:
- Create Gmail Account. (opens in new tab)
- Create Google Workspace Account (opens in new tab) (highly recommended if you are not currently setup with another productivity suite or if you don’t have your own ‘branded’ email address like @smithlaw.com)
Here are a few links to guide you through the process of setting up Google Analytics and Search Console on widely used content management systems (CMSes) preferred by lawyers:
- Google Analytics for WordPress (opens in new tab)
- Google Search Console for WordPress (opens in new tab)
- Google Analytics for Hubspot (opens in new tab)
- Google Search Console for Hubspot (opens in new tab)
- Google Analytics for WooCommerce (opens in new tab)
- Google Search Console for WooCommerce (opens in new tab)
- Google Analytics for BigCommerce (opens in new tab)
- Google Search Console for BigCommerce (opens in new tab)
- Google Analytics for Shopify (opens in new tab)
- Google Search Console for Shopify (opens in new tab)
- Google Analytics for Magento (opens in new tab)
- Google Search Console for Magento (opens in new tab)
- Google Analytics for Blogger (opens in new tab)
- Google Search Console for Blogger (opens in new tab)
- Google Analytics for Bitrix24 (opens in new tab)
- Google Search Console for Bitrix24 (opens in new tab)
Most content management systems usually come with helpful guides to get you started. And if you’re using a different CMS than the ones mentioned above, a quick Google search should point you in the right direction for your website’s needs.
Now, here’s the practical part: Depending on which CMS you’re using, it’s a good idea to set up Goals or Events in your Google Analytics account. These tools help you keep track of important actions, like whether people are getting in touch with you after encountering a specific marketing campaign, or if they’re using your contact form based on a particular marketing strategy.
If all this tech talk is making your head spin, don’t worry! Feel free to reach out to us, and we’ll be glad to help out. Seriously, we’re here for you! We offer a free setup of Google Analytics and Google Search Console for lawyers.
Quick heads-up: If you’ve worked with a web design team, a development company, or another law firm SEO agency before, you might already have Search Console and Google Analytics set up. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to stick with those accounts. This way, you’ll have a steady stream of data to review as you analyze what’s working (or not) in your digital marketing strategy.
What Data Should Attorneys Keep an Eye On in Google Analytics and Google Search Console?
When it comes to Google Analytics, the key data you’ll want to focus on are:
- where your traffic is coming from and;
- how well your goals are being met.
Sure, there’s a whole bunch of other reports and data points you can dig into if you have the time, but for most attorneys, understanding and keeping an eye on where your traffic is coming from and how your goals are being achieved are the biggies in Google Analytics.
The “traffic by source” report is your go-to to see how the flow of visitors to your site changes over time based on the different ways they find you. You might come across both the terms “channel” and “source” in Google Analytics – they’re pretty much talking about the same thing. However, “channel” often refers to broader marketing categories, while “source” gets into the nitty-gritty of those marketing drivers. For instance, your law firm’s website could be getting “Organic Search” traffic as a channel, and “Google” as a source. Checking out the Organic Search channel will show traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.
Here’s the deal on viewing your traffic by source in Google Analytics:
Once you’re on your main dashboard, give a click on “Reports Snapshot” over on the left-hand menu.
Essential Metrics to Monitor for Lawyers Using Google Analytics 4
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has carried over many metrics from Universal Analytics, while some have evolved with the platform’s improvements. Let’s explore the key metrics that are crucial for lawyers to track on this enhanced analytics dashboard.
- Total Visitors
Total Visitors refer to the count of unique individuals who have visited your law firm’s website within a specific time frame. Google Analytics determines this by tracking unique user IDs or cookies associated with each visitor.
This metric offers an overview of your website’s audience reach and size. It aids in understanding your potential client base and tracking its growth or decline over time.
- New Visitors
New Visitors represent the number of first-time users who access your website during a specified period. Google identifies these visitors by examining their unique user IDs or cookies. Individuals not previously recorded as visitors are categorized as new users.
This metric helps gauge the effectiveness of your marketing strategies in attracting fresh visitors to your legal website. It provides insights into your site’s ability to engage new potential clients.
- Active Users
Active Users is a significant new metric in GA4. It’s especially important for lawyers to pay attention to on the new analytics platform. This metric tracks the number of users who visit your website and engage in meaningful interactions during a session.
Pageviews represent the total count of times a specific page on your website is viewed by visitors. Every time a page loads, Google Analytics logs a pageview. Multiple pageviews can occur within a session, but if the same person views a page five times in the same period, it counts as one session.
It’s worth noting that GA4 combines both app and web views, unlike the separate tracking in Universal Analytics.
Pageviews assist in understanding the popularity of your website’s content. They also offer insights into frequently visited pages and user navigation patterns. For instance, analyzing pages with the highest pageviews can reveal the type of content that resonates most with your potential clients.
A session is recorded from the instant someone enters your site until they leave or after 30 minutes of inactivity. Sessions provide insights into overall traffic and engagement on your legal website. It helps analyze user behavior upon arrival and the effectiveness of your content in maintaining their interest.
- Sessions Per User
Sessions Per User indicates the average number of sessions per individual during a specific period. It’s calculated by dividing the total number of sessions by the total number of users.
This metric offers insights into user loyalty and how often they return to your website. Higher sessions per user suggest successful marketing efforts that attract engaged visitors who return regularly.
- Acquisition Source
Acquisition Source reveals the channels or sources that lead visitors to your legal website, such as social media, organic search, or direct traffic. This information helps you identify effective marketing channels and tailor campaigns accordingly.
- Engagement Rate
Engagement Rate is the percentage of engaged sessions on your website or app. Engaged sessions fulfill specific criteria, including lasting at least 10 seconds, featuring a conversion event, or involving at least two pageviews.
- Average Engagement Time
Average Engagement Time signifies the average duration users actively engage with your website. It’s calculated for active users who participate in meaningful interactions during their visit.
- Bounce Rate
Bounce Rate represents the percentage of sessions that lack engagement. It reveals the number of visitors who leave your website after viewing only one page without further interaction.
Conversions reflect the number of desired actions accomplished by visitors on your website. For lawyers, this could include actions such as submitting a contact form, signing up for a consultation, or initiating a chat.
- Revenue Revenue refers to the total monetary value generated from conversions on your legal website. This is especially pertinent for measuring the success of paid campaigns and assessing the profitability of your legal practice.
Events denote specific actions on your website, like button clicks or form submissions, tracked separately from pageviews. They provide insights into user interactions and can guide website optimization for enhanced user experiences and conversions.
Moving to GA4 can provide deeper insights into how potential clients engage with your legal website. While the transition may seem daunting, embracing it sooner rather than later allows ample time for familiarity and optimization.
By understanding and tracking the outlined GA4 metrics, lawyers can refine their website strategy to attract and engage clients effectively.
Critical Metrics to Track for Attorneys with Google Search Console
When dealing with Google Search Console, you’ve got a bunch of handy reports at your disposal. These range from pointing out any errors that Google detects in how it perceives your website, to reports that showcase your site’s ranking. If you’re just stepping into the world of law firm SEO, one report you should definitely become familiar with is the ranking report. But how do you access it?
Once you’ve logged into Google Search Console, simply navigate to the ‘Performance’ tab on the left-hand side. This will open up a dashboard that looks something like this:
On the performance tab, you’ll find a few elements that are really worth keeping an eye on as you journey through your law firm SEO efforts:
- Check Your Click Through Rate (Average CTR): This metric at the top indicates how often users choose to click on your website from the search results (these are ‘Clicks’) when they see it (Impressions).
- Average Position: This is where your website typically lands in the search results. However, bear in mind that in a successful law firm SEO campaign, your average position might actually decrease. Why? It’s because it’s not just about securing a high rank, but also about targeting the right keywords. Sometimes, it might be more beneficial to trade a higher position for some terms with a lower position for others that bring in more relevant traffic. A skilled law firm SEO agency can help you select the optimal keywords to focus on.
Further down the Performance page, you’ll come across sections labeled “Queries,” “Pages,” and “Countries.” Among these, “Queries” and “Pages” are particularly important to monitor.
- Queries: These are the actual search terms that your site is appearing for and garnering impressions or clicks from. Think of these as the words potential visitors are using to discover you.
- Pages: These are the specific pages on your website that are emerging in search results. They serve as the entry points for potential users.
To sum up, Google Search Console is your go-to tool for comprehending how your website is performing in the eyes of Google. These reports empower you to refine your law firm SEO strategy and connect with your target audience more effectively.
Have more questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
What’s the Second Step in SEO for Law Firms?
After you’ve laid the foundation with your reporting tools, as we discussed in the first step, the next logical move is to focus on claiming and optimizing your local business directories and other online directories.
For many law firms, especially those catering to specific regions or cities, emphasizing local SEO strategies can make a substantial impact. Interestingly, we initiate the process of refining local business directories even before diving into comprehensive website optimization. Here’s the reasoning behind this approach:
- In most cases, your website content naturally includes some fundamental law firm SEO elements that align with the interests of potential clients. Practically every law firm’s website contains pages dedicated to practice areas and essential information about the firm’s location. While further optimization remains vital, it doesn’t demand immediate attention. If we’re handling your campaign, our strategy often encompasses optimizing both your website and local business directories in tandem. However, if you’re managing this on your own, time constraints might be a factor.
- Local business directories serve as platforms that already attract traffic, frequently through search functions. By optimizing your listing on these platforms, you not only tap into their existing audience but also enhance your website’s visibility on prominent search engines like Google.
Now, the pertinent question arises: Which directories warrant your focus?
At the forefront stands Google Business Profile, or GBP for short. Google Business Profile provides a dedicated profile page for your law firm, prominently featured across various Google platforms. A GBP profile significantly influences your regional ranking across distinct areas:
- Local map listings (especially for searches with a local intent, map listings hold a prominent spot).
- Featured snippets.
- The Knowledge Panel.
Imagine the impact of these features in action through these screenshots:
You know those GBP profiles? They’re the ones that pop up most often when someone’s searching on Google Maps, looking for local results, or even searching for your specific law firm. They matter more than you might think. Here’s why:
When you claim, optimize, and keep an eye on your GBP profile, you’re increasing the chances of showing up more frequently in search results. Plus, it hands you more control over what people see about your law practice. Here’s the thing: Google lets just about anyone add a business to Google Maps. Chances are your law firm’s already out there. But without a GBP profile, you’re not exactly driving the conversation. That can lead to outdated info, negative reviews, and even incorrect hours being out there in the open. It’s not ideal.
What’s worse, some not-so-friendly folks (think shady SEO agencies or other attorneys) might tamper with your GBP profile, pointing your potential clients to their own lines or wrongly marking your business as closed. Not cool.
But, if you’ve got your GBP listing claimed, you’re in the driver’s seat. You can monitor and approve changes, especially those coming from the not-so-friendly camp.
Here’s the lowdown on how to claim your Google Business Profile page (opens in a new tab) – it’s worth it, trust me.
Once that’s sorted, and you’re in control, a few basics to consider updating:
- Business Name: Make sure it’s spot on and sprinkle in some keywords. Google’s picky about it, but it’s worth it.
- Website Link: Double-check that it’s linking to the right place.
- Operating Hours: Keep them up to date.
- Contact Info: It should be accurate and current.
- Snap Some Pics: Share shots of your office and surroundings – landmarks included.
- About Your Firm: Craft a brief but catchy description of your law firm and areas of expertise. Keywords matter here too.
- Stay Social: Post short, snappy updates every now and then – think social media style.
- Promotions and Specials: Share any discounts or incentives you’re offering.
- Reviews: Ask past clients to leave reviews. Keep nudging for positive ones – they can actually affect rankings.
Once your Google Business Profile listing shines bright and is packed with the right keywords, consider moving on to these profiles:
- Apple Maps
- Bing Places
- Attorney directory sites like Avvo, Superlawyers, Lawyers, Martin-Hubbell and more.
These profiles add up to a solid online presence for your law practice. So, take the reins and make Google Business Profile your first stop on the journey. You’ll thank yourself later.
As you’re working on creating these profiles, here’s a helpful checklist:
- Craft Unique, Keyword-Optimized Content: For each profile, create content that speaks to your audience. Keep it fresh and don’t reuse the same content across profiles. Tailor it to fit the users of each platform.
- Stay Consistent with Contact Info: Maintain consistency in your contact details. Try to avoid using different variations of your domain name, hours, or email address.
- Thoroughly Complete Each Profile: Don’t leave any blanks. Most search tools within these platforms favor fully completed and up-to-date listings. The more comprehensive your profile, the better.
- Keep Track of Logins: Keep tabs on your login credentials for each profile. It’s not uncommon for folks to lose access to older profiles, and trust me, avoiding that situation saves you from unnecessary hassles.
If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team of strategists is here to work with you and craft a budget-friendly plan for your law practice. Remember, you’re not in this alone. We’re here to make it smoother for you.
What’s The Third Step In SEO for Lawyers?
Alright, it’s time to tackle something we left aside earlier – optimizing your law firm’s website content. We know you’ve got a decent description of your practice areas up there, but now’s when we dive into refining it for a stronger SEO game. Plus, we’ll touch on some principles you’ll want to keep in mind as you keep adding fresh content.
Let’s break down the essential law firm SEO rules for content optimization:
- Prominence Matters: Focus on optimizing the visually striking parts of your website and content. What catches the eye?
- Content placed higher on a page is more likely to be read. So, what’s up there? Is it keyword-rich and conveying the page’s purpose?
- Pages that get more visits are more prominent. Your homepage, for instance, carries weight. Its content matters for SEO.
- Styling that stands out grabs attention. Is it optimized for both SEO and conversions?
- Stay on Point: Every page should have a clear purpose. This one’s all about SEO for law firms, so it’s brimming with tips tailor-made for you. Your website pages should each have a distinct focus, with keywords assigned to match their themes. This sharp focus can help you rank better, especially for long-tail keywords.
- Embrace Uniqueness: Say no to copy-pasting content from one page to another. Google frowns upon it, and so do your clients. If you’re looking for unique, keyword-optimized content, reach out to The Legalwebs’ SEO team.
- Client-Centric Approach: This is a no-brainer. Some SEO companies push clients to create content solely for search engines. But guess what? Great SEO copy not only ranks better but also addresses client concerns and needs. Google is smart at matching user intent with relevant content. Content that’s reader-friendly trumps keyword-stuffed fluff.
Here are some golden rules for content and website optimization to keep in mind:
- Title Tags: Optimize them for the search terms relevant to the page’s content. Keep them between 50 and 60 characters., if possible. Putting the keyword early on is a smart move.
- Meta Descriptions: These are like teasers in search results. Use 1-2 sentences to entice readers. Again, feature your keyword prominently and keep it under 160 characters.
- Page Titles: These are the big headings that command attention. Keep them clear, concise, and optimized for keywords.
- Body Copy: This is your meat and potatoes. Your clients will read it if you put it in front of them. Make it useful and in line with the page’s purpose. Aim for 250+ words when it fits.
- Visual Appeal: Mix in images and other media to keep things interesting.
- Link Magic: Create keyword-optimized links between different pages of your site. This helps Google understand your content and boosts navigation for your visitors.
We’re here to support you every step of the way. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at email@example.com. Our team of strategists is geared up to work with you and create a pocket-friendly plan that suits your law practice like a tailored suit. Keep going – you’re making strides towards a stronger online presence.
Is That All? What More Should Attorneys Do for Effective SEO?
We’ve covered quite a bit, but the world of SEO is expansive. Beyond our discussions, there’s a whole spectrum including link building, content marketing, ongoing CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), technical enhancements, and more. However, these areas require time and tailored strategies to truly succeed. So, let’s lay a solid foundation first. And that brings us to the ultimate point –
The Crucial Role of an SEO Agency for Lawyers
The realm of SEO companies is as diverse as the legal field itself. Some cater to large corporations, while others specialize in smaller businesses; some focus on specific industries, while others have a broader approach; some emphasize marketing, while some lean towards the technical side. You have a plethora of options, but the key is to select a firm that understands the intricate nuances of law. They need to grasp legal terminology, processes, and the ethics of legal marketing.
The Legalwebs – Your Law Firm SEO and Website Design Partner Customized for Lawyers
Here at The Legalwebs, we’ve closely collaborated with attorneys across various legal domains, helping them succeed online. We comprehend your challenges. We’re aware that your competitors are actively safeguarding their search engine rankings, and we know how to carve out that competitive edge even in the most challenging scenarios. If you’re seeking to break through the digital noise and enhance your online presence, give us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free quote. Discover more about our potent strategies and success stories. We’re here to advocate for your digital success, just as lawyers advocate for their clients.