Legal search engine optimization (or legal SEO) faces some unique challenges compared to other industries. But so do all the business ventures and websites that specialize in a particular niche.
According to the American Bar Association, there are currently 1.4 million lawyers in the United States (2016 data). This number does not include part-time or contingent legal counsels. In fact, according to Statista, the legal market is expected to grow by 4% from 2017 to 2022.
According to Experian’s State of UK Legal Market report, there are approximately 57,000 firms operating in the UK legal services market and a total of around 157,000 lawyers. Within this, solicitors represent the vast majority with a little over 92,000 solicitors and around 50,000 fee-earner clients.
So as you can see, the Legal SEO market is significant.
Optimising your website
If you are a lawyer and would like to attract clients online, you should think about using search engine optimization (SEO) on your website.
Search engine optimization is one of the most effective tools for law firm marketing. SEO helps drive traffic to your page and increases the visibility of your business’s online presence. A lot of people who require legal services go to Google and search for keywords that are relevant to their concerns or legal issue.
That’s how potential clients reach you.
How many of the hits that contain your keywords do you reach? How many of them require a lawyer’s services? The bottom line is, the SERPs make it possible for people to see you.
SEO for lawyers means getting top positions on these SERPs and presenting yourself in a way that makes it obvious why your company is the best choice for solving someone’s legal problem. Sometimes, it helps to think of the development process as one through which you attempt to attract the right clients.
With a slight adjustment of mindset, it becomes possible to approach SEO in such a way that appears natural to those who search for information and reach out to lawyers who are trying to solve their legal issues.
1. Local SEO – a great place to start
Local SEO has a different set of requirements for lawyers in comparison to other professionals. When it comes to the local industry, there is a fine line between being too pushy and not pushy enough. The process of getting new clients is never an easy task, but there are some effective ways you can accomplish this in a short period.
Instead of buying ad space on local sites or newspapers for expensive fees, invest that money into SEO because it will pay off later on.
Google My Business is the equivalent of getting local search results in Google and is critical for law firms. Many lawyers know why local SEO is crucial for them; they simply don’t know how to optimize their local listing. On the other hand, few attorneys understand how to rank for keywords, which can drive new client discovery.
Google My Business is a free service where customers can search for businesses in their area, see ratings from customers and link through to websites containing more information.
Once you’ve added all of your business data to GMB, you can start building links to make sure that you appear on Google’s first page. But what happens if you are not able to rank for your city or town? You could be losing out on essential opportunities as people could be searching in other areas from where you are based.
2. Who are your competitors?
Once you have a set of keywords for your website, it’s time to do some research. You need to scope out your competition and see who you’re truly competing against in the organic search results.
To begin, start by searching for your keywords in Google (or Bing or Yahoo) and determine where you rank compared to your competition. Where are you ranking on page one? Page two? Are you even on page two? How about page three?
Use Ahrefs.com to create a list of links to all of the competitors in the top position so you can check those pages every so often to see if any new sites have popped up in the SERPs that you’ll need to put on your radar screen as well.
Looking at how your competition achieves page rankings can help you improve your site’s visibility. You’ll be able to see if there are any critical similarities between competitive keywords, and you can also find elements of design that are working effectively and install the same or similar approaches on your site.
3. Make use of dedicated keyword pages.
The number one reason you should create keyword specific pages on your website is that search engines award higher rankings to websites that offer a relevant, user-friendly experience to visitors.
Instead of writing one article about several topics, try to break up that information into more focused pages.
- Relevant content is more user-friendly, which leads to a better user experience and higher rankings.
- The search engines reward websites with an excellent user experience by giving those sites higher rankings in Google Search results.
If a search engine can’t find a page on your site that is relevant to the keywords it is targeting then you won’t rank for those keywords.
4. Backlinks for legal SEO
Building links is one of the essential SEO activities, but many people approach it with blinkers on and focus only on quantity. To rank well, you also need to obtain authoritative, high-quality backlinks from a diverse set of relevant websites.
That’s why finding the best backlinks is so important. Backlinks are arguably the most critical ranking factor for your website. They help Google understand and trust your website more, which will get you better rankings moving forward.
Link building is a topic that will take up quite a bit of time and effort in the beginning, but once you have optimised your website for high-quality backlinks from trusted sites, then you will see the impact on your business.
Search Engines favour websites that already have links from other trusted websites because it means your website is viewed as valuable content.