[author: Laurie Villanueva]
Does your law firm give Search Engine Optimization (SEO) the respect it deserves? SEO is the most powerful digital marketing tool lawyers and law firms can leverage today. Make effective use of these tactics, and you’ll connect with potential clients just as they’re researching the very legal services you offer. Ignore SEO, and you’ll most certainly miss out on many – if not most – of the leads your firm needs to drive business development success. As a legal marketer, if you’re not already prioritizing SEO for law firms, it’s probably past time that you did.
SEO for Law Firms
70% of Legal Consumers Go Online to Search for Lawyers
According to ABAJournal.com, research published in March found that 70% of participating legal consumers looked to online content to guide their hiring decisions, including attorney profiles and reviews.
Many law firms, however, have yet to follow. In fact, more than 60% of those responding to a December 2021 survey said email remained their primary means of connecting with leads, despite also identifying email as their second worst-performing marketing channel. While about half of these firms did acknowledge winning business from SEO and social media advertising, only 17% were making these channels a priority.
It’s hard to know why so many law firms have yet to make the pivot to SEO. One likely explanation? Some lawyers may hold an “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Email marketing has worked well for these attorneys and their firms in the past, and they fully expect the channel to continue delivering the results they need well into the future.
Unfortunately, that’s not likely to be the case. With more and more consumers turning to the web to research the legal services they need, no law firm can afford to ignore SEO. Act now to close the SEO gaps in your firm’s digital marketing plan, and you’ll soon reap the benefits of higher search rankings and gain a significant advantage over your slow-to-act competitors.
Going Beyond Rankings: 5 Ways SEO for Law Firms Can Help Drive Success
While SEO for law firms primarily aims to drive organic traffic by improving a website’s search rankings for relevant keywords, prioritizing search will also help your firm achieve its business development goals in several other important ways:
1. Improved User Experience
SEO is about more than just keywords. Google’s search engine also gives a lot of weight to a website’s user experience or UX. But improving your site’s speed, interactivity, and accessibility won’t just help boost your rankings – it will also please your visitors. Prospects stay on your website longer when it’s optimized for UX, and they’re more likely to take other desired actions, such as opting in to your email newsletter or completing a contact form.
2. Better Content Marketing
In order to succeed with SEO for law firms, you must focus on content marketing. Consistently posting valuable content helps keep the search algorithms in your corner. Great content relevant to your target audience’s needs is also key to attracting the right visitors to your site and ultimately encouraging those visitors to hire your firm.
To learn more about how to create content in order to boost search rankings, check out this free eBook: SEO for Law Firm Websites.
3. Boost Authority Through Earned Backlinks
The valuable content and experiences you create as part of your SEO marketing efforts can help your site earn backlinks from other relevant websites. Because the search algorithms view high-quality backlinks as indicators of legitimacy and a signal that your site has something of value to offer, you’ll be rewarded with improved rankings. The backlinks themselves can also send additional traffic to your website, ultimately generating more leads and more opportunities for conversions.
4. Establish Your Firm and Its Attorneys as Thought Leaders
Because SEO enables more people to find your website, the valuable content you provide is more likely to be “liked” and “shared” on social media. As your content goes viral, your firm’s visibility and brand awareness will climb, and its attorneys will come to be viewed as experts in their fields of practice.
5. Improved Credibility
Encouraging clients to leave online reviews is an essential aspect of SEO. Your authority with the search algorithms will grow as you garner more reviews, and the rankings will follow. Those reviews also demonstrate to potential clients that others are willing to place their trust in your firm and its legal services. Even a negative review can improve your credibility, provided you respond appropriately and demonstrate a good-faith effort to resolve the reviewer’s issues.
While there’s comfort in sticking with the tried and true, SEO is a must for any law firm looking to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive legal landscape. While a pivot to SEO for law firms will improve your rankings and bring more organic traffic to your site, focusing on search can also increase brand awareness, establish credibility with your target audience, and allow your firm and its attorneys to demonstrate thought leadership in their fields of practice.