The average users, 91% to be precise, don’t venture past page one of a Google search. That being said, considering the sheer volume of lawyers and law offices in any Canadian city, it is essential to increase search rankings. The best way for law firms to achieve this is by implementing effective search engine optimization (SEO). SEO provides an effectual and visible search presence that will increase traffic to a lawyer’s website, thus increasing profitability. In this article, 8 marketing experts discuss the best SEO tips in 2020 for lawyers and law offices.
“When it comes to increasing organic website rankings and related revenue, I recommend the following two strategies in 2020 and beyond:
1) Add structure. Used structured markup (schema) to ensure your legal services pages as well as business information (name, address, phone number), are properly formatted for Google and other engines to index properly. This is especially vital for emerging trends like voice search, not just local SEO. This is a minor aspect.
2) Compelling content: this seems obvious, but far too many legal sites fail to create unique content that is shareable. This could include timely blog posts, well-researched articles, infographics, podcasts and videos. Based on the competitive benchmarking, you should have a good idea of what type of content is being developed and how to do it better or differently.”
Kent Lewis, President & Founder, Anvil Media
“Local search will be more important than ever in 2020, so the number one SEO tip for lawyers and law offices is to optimize your Google My Business listings. Include your law office’s name, address, and phone number, and make sure they are consistent with your website. Also, choose the appropriate categories (lawyers and law firm), and create a unique description. Include the type of law you practice and the clients you serve. Another thing to consider with Google My Business is reviews. Ask clients to leave reviews on your Google listing; the number of reviews and average rating both influence ranking. With an optimized Google My Business listing, you’ll have visibility in local searches.”
Joseph Colarusso, Senior SEO Manager, CORE Search Marketing
“Outside of traditional SEO methods, there are a number of things lawyers should plan for when optimizing their site. Before you start optimization, it’s important to plan what keywords you’re going to target and understand your service area.
Keyword research is possibly the most important part of SEO, as you need to know what people are searching for. You can use a tool to find monthly search count, or use a site like Soovle which will show you all the suggestions from various search engines (Note to reporter: I included this specific site because it is free and easy for anyone to use, I am in no way affiliated with it. Feel free to remove). Beyond that, you need to be realistic about which keywords you can rank for. Try searching for a generic keyword like a divorce lawyer. If the top organic search result is a database of lawyers, it’s unlikely that your site will ever rank above it, no matter how much you optimize. This is because Google’s search intent assumes they’re looking for a database when they search for that keyword.
When manually searching keywords, you will also notice that most searches include a Local 3 Pack, containing a map with three nearby lawyers or law offices. Consistently appearing in the 3 pack is a great way to appear at the top of the page if you mainly serve local clients. It is very important to understand that the Local 3 Pack has slightly different ranking signals than the organic search results! To appear here, SEO studies have found the following factors to be the most important: Proximity of address to the search location, having a completed Google Business Listing, having a search keyword in your Google Business Listing title, quantity of reviews, as well as links to your site and the amount of quality content on your site. This means that building reviews and completing your Business Listing are incredibly important for success in search.
These stages of selecting the right keywords and optimizing for the Local 3 Pack are probably the most important steps lawyers can take towards optimizing your site in 2020.”
Brady Balhorn, SEO Analyst, Checkerboard Web Design
“One of the keys to showing up in the right search results in 2020 is developing local landing pages. Local landing pages are specifically designed to show search engines that your law firm serves a specific city. Search engines like to see these types of pages and when they are done right they will rise to the top of search results.
For example, if your law firm serves Nashville, Murfreesboro and Clarksville, Tennessee. Make 3 different local landing pages for each area. Pack each page with the keywords you want to rank for and local information about the city you want to rank for. The more information you can add to the page the better.
When done right, these pages will show up when your potential clients search for law firms in the area that your office serves. If you need some samples to perform a quick online search. Companies like Yelp, have long used this strategy to rise to the top of search results. However, if your domain has enough authority and you can add enough detail to your local pages. You can easily get your law firms to sit at the top of search results.
Although sites like Yelp have a lot of authority and strength in search results. When these local pages are designed right you can rise above much bigger sites by using very specific identifiers. This is something big sites simply can not accomplish on a broad scale.”
Douglas Dedrick, Owner, Healing Law
“Legal is one of the most competitive industries in the country;, especially in the big cities. Targeting to different, more specific cities can be a good way to get higher rankings faster than you would if you targeted for a major city like Los Angeles or New York. So you should start widening the location in your keywords but still keep in mind their volume: it wouldn’t make any sense to rank for a keyword nobody searches for.
Listings are another important trait all lawyers need to keep in mind. Not only on Yelp and Google my Business but also pages like Justia or Findlaw. These listings need to feature the same updated information and have new photos periodically. If they also present client’s reviews, make sure to reply them in time; even to negative feedback. Your listing should always backlink to relevant landing pages on your website.
YouTube is the second most important search engine, right after Google. So your law firm should have its own – YouTube channel with original videos. Keep in mind that people looking for services like yours are looking for answers so try to make videos about how to deal with a specific situation or topic that your clients might find useful. The videos should also be properly optimized with the right keywords, hashtags, video descriptions, tags and backlink to relevant landing pages on your website.”
Danny Star, CEO/Owner, Website Depot Inc
“If you are already a webmaster, you will understand the advantages of having your website ranked well on SERPs. The following information teaches you some of the most effective search engine optimization techniques and strategies for improving your site’s ranking.
A beginning point is to ascertain how search engine optimization works. Computers using algorithms to determine the ranking of your website, rather than human beings. SEO is all about making the algorithm work for you rather than against you.
Search engines are influenced by several factors. The search engine will look at the keywords in your titles and content on your website. Activity measurements are included, as well as the links on your site and those leading to it.
When you are working to raise your website rankings, it takes trial and error, as well as patience, to find the right formula. You can cater to the computers who run the search engines by optimizing your website’s layout and design. Try to include a variety of keywords into your site text, including headings and titles. If you do this, it shows that your site is relevant.
Sponsored or featured listings, which generally appear on the top of the sides of search engine result pages, are paid locations that are usually occupied by major corporations with the finances to afford them. Most websites do not have the financial resources to pay for these placements.
Keywords are not the only way to optimize your site. You can give your search engine optimization a real shot in the arm by using links wisely. Ask webmasters to post links to your website and do the same for them. To build these SEO-boosting backlinks, you could conduct link exchanges with other webmasters.
It is important to draw potential customers to your website with content that meets their interests. Not everyone visiting your site intends to make a purchase. It’s up to you to find those that are looking for the particular product you have. Try to place advertisements on sites that appeal to your target market.
Well-designed websites are no longer only for larger businesses but for everyone in today’s world. If you want to expand your customer base online, putting together a good website is a necessity. After reviewing this article, you should be ready to start cultivating increased traffic for your website.”
Brian Coulanges, President, Guerrilla Insights
“For 2020, lawyers and law firms should focus on developing a strong content strategy. With a content strategy, lawyers must pay attention to SEO. After all, what is the point of content if clients, potential clients, and referral sources cannot find it. Therefore, I strongly recommend that attorneys develop content that is very specific. It should be spoken from the audience’s perspective. Avoid complicated legalese and keep it simple. The point is to not show how smart you are but to show Google that you are an authority, trusted, and credible. The more narrow the focus on a particular subject, the better. If you write about a new case or decision, your content needs to clearly explain why it is important to your audience – how will it impact them?
Another point about SEO for lawyers and law firms – stay away from solicitation emails that promise to get you ranked on Page One of Google. Think about this, if they were so good at this, would they not have a better business model than cold emails? Long-term, smart content strategies will get the desired results – not a magic bullet. And, nobody truly understands Google algorithms as they continuously change. One thing is for sure though, Google gives much more weight to content that is mobile-friendly. Keep this in mind as you develop your content strategy.”
Ed Miller, Co-Founder, ESQuisite Marketing
“Be BERT Friendly and Be The Answer: Google’s focus on how people actually search is reaching its natural progression with the introduction of BERT, Google’s new algorithm that is able to contextualize speech. Anticipate what prospective clients will be asking and answer that question. Use your staff to help you determine what these questions are and how you can derive multiple variations of these questions and answers. Styling your titles with intros like What Happens If… and Can I… and Do I… are all great ways to satisfy queries. Also, consider making sure that stop words like to and if are included in the permalink of your content to ensure contextualization.
Focus On Your Google My Business Page: Obviously, Google’s endgame is to provide results that are relevant to the user and so, for years, Google has made it a point to serve up local search results for users looking for local services (such as attorneys). Obtaining client reviews should be in everyone’s strategy, but also help ensure that you also obtain testimonials and valuable text from your client. Also, commit to including posts of new content on your GMB page. If you already have a blog, this is a great place to submit your content for potential extra traffic and bolster your local SEO.
Be Authoritative Within Your Community – Piggybacking on Google focusing on local relevant searches, concentrate your efforts on being an authoritative voice within your own community. Blog about community outreach events that you’re hosting or sponsoring, develop a non-profit or a local scholarship and utilize all of these things to submit press releases to local news outlets that need content themselves to link back to your site (although, admittedly, some will be nofollow). If you practice in a specific area, study raw data from local sources or conduct a study/survey on your own and publish your findings. IE: 2019 The Most Dangerous Roads in Houston. All of this is in the interest of creating valuable, earned backlinks to your site and generating content that is genuinely interesting to where it will direct traffic to your site.”
Joseph D. Oviedo, Chief Business Development Officer, Moore Law Firm
Suffice to say, within the legal space competition for lawyers and law offices to appear on the coveted first page of a search is stiff. However, utilizing the SEO tips and strategies that these marketing experts have discussed, can greatly influence search engine rankings for law firms.
Sarah Bauder is a senior content specialist at Little Dragon Media. Sarah has a degree in journalism and has a decade of experience writing content at numerous renowned publications. She enjoys writing about digital marketing, business, entrepreneurship and more.