Law firms should take it as a given by now that online search plays a crucial role in business development, especially for B2C law firms. Consumers needing legal services will turn to the Internet first to research their options. Even when a friend has recommended an attorney, you can bet that referral is being researched online before a call is made.
If you do not rank well in search — being on the first page is key — you are losing potential clients to competitors that have deployed better search strategies than you have. So it’s way past time for law firms to get savvy about search.
Here are six organic search tactics that have proven to be especially effective for law firms:
- Focus on specialized keywords.
When potential clients search for an attorney online, there are specific keywords they typically use that are related to:
Location — search engines like Google know that when we search for a business service, we are likely to be looking for one nearby. This is why when you start typing what you are looking for in the Google search bar, the words “near me” are likely to pop up in association with the service you’re searching for. Using location-specific keywords like “Phoenix divorce attorney” is key in ranking well for location-specific searches.
Area of practice — people looking for a lawyer rarely search using just the word “lawyer.” They are much more likely to search for specific practice areas — divorce lawyer, business lawyer, personal injury lawyer, etc. Be sure you are using keywords that focus on your specific practice area(s).
Purchase intent — consumers ready to hire an attorney right away usually use keywords that signal where they are in the buying cycle. High-intent keywords may include the term “best” as in “best Phoenix divorce attorney,” while those who are in the early stages of the buying cycle use low-intent keywords like, “what does a divorce attorney cost?” Using high-intent keywords enables you to capture more search traffic from prospects that are ready to hire.
- Boost SEO with optimized content.
Demonstrating expertise in your practice area through your website and blog content not only helps you connect with prospects, it can also help you rank better in search. Develop optimized content that addresses the common issues your clients face in a few different formats — as blog posts, Q&A section (for voice search), and individual pages on your website. If you need help, consider adding the SEO Writing Assistant tool from SEMrush to your WordPress blog or Google document that will let you see how well your content is written for SEO purposes and makes recommendations for improvement.
- Choose a GMB niche.
Your Google My Business (GMB) page allows you to choose a niche for your law firm. Don’t make the mistake of just choosing “attorney.” Instead, choose the category that describes your practice area — tax attorney, bankruptcy attorney, patent attorney, etc.
- Focus on link building.
Having links from other authoritative websites with high traffic will really help improve your search ranking. Broken links will put a ding in that score, so first review your website or blog to see if there are any broken links that need to be fixed. To get links, you need to concentrate on producing high quality content. Guest posts on blogs and website in your niche help you gain valuable backlinks. So does adding your website to highly reputable lists like these:
- Utilize schema markup.
Schema markup is code that tells Google important things about your business that can then be more readily displayed in Google’s search engine results pages. If you use WordPress, there are plugins available that will generate the schema for you. There are also online schema markup generators that makes it easy to produce schema markup for your content.
- Obtain more reviews.
Reviews count for a lot in search results, so you want to be sure you have them on your website and highly trafficked review sites, including legal platforms like Avvo. Read my previous post on 5 Tips for Getting 5-Star Reviews.