When it comes to SEO for lawyers, both small and big law firms are competing in one of the hardest areas for ranking on the first page of Google, Bing, and Duck Duck Go search engines.
The reason for that is simple!
Search Engine Optimization has a very high Return on Investment when compared to the costs associated with advertising on Social Media or Google Ads where the price per click can easily run 50 or more dollars per click for most legal industries.
Below, We are going to walk you through the exact steps required for building a successful local SEO marketing campaign for your law firm.
In addition, we’ll review some ballpark cost estimates you can expect to budget for when running your law firm’s SEO campaign.
Introduction: It’s Best To Generate Your Own Leads; Never Invest In A Legal Leads Generation Program
Your Average Cost Per Lead always has the highest return when you publish your own content and generate organic clicks directly to your law firm’s website.
The quality of the lead is 10X better too.
The problem with relying on a third-party lead company is that they are packing the same leads together and selling them to multiple law firms at the same time, then they are charging hundreds of dollars per lead.
By the time you call or follow up with them, they’ve already talked to your competition!
The Lead Is Not Exclusive To Just You
On a positive note, Google has been taking notice of just how profitable the lead generation business is and has recently implemented its own called “Google Screened”. It’s right at the top of the search page when you search for various professional services, including legal services.
I recommend every law firm check it out and test with it. It’s the most legit-looking lead service that’s out there besides reputable sites like Avvo, Nolo, etc.
Keep in mind, however, that the overall costs for each lead have been going up over the last year as more firms jump in to bid for them.
Don’t let that discourage you, if you invest in your website’s legal blog to generate your leads directly, this problem is solved.
As we dive deeper into SEO for your Law Firm, keep in mind that you are working on a long-term investment for you to be the website generating the most leads on the first page of Google for your local area. As you get more leads you’ll be in a perfect position to cherry-pick the best ones for your firm and then pass off the other leads to other firms you know, or just reject them altogether.
Part 1: Setting The Right Stage For Your Law Firm’s SEO Project
Setting the SEO stage for your law firm means you are going to implement some best practices into your website design as well as your content. You want to provide your customers with a great web experience getting the legal information they need when they click on a result from Google.
By doing this Google will get all the right signals for making you rank higher on the first page for more keywords which will convert new business for you.
Be mindful however that there’s a lot of wrong information in the SEO industry! So no matter what anybody tells you, there is no way to directly control how Google’s Algorithm will rank your website.
It does not matter if the person is an SEO Expert or not, they cannot predict it 100% because not even the engineers at Google can predict how things will rank. Modern day search engines like Google and Bing work with machine learning and are mostly automated these days.
Google calls its machine learning program Rank Brain, you can find out more about how it works by reading the following Moz article “What Is Google RankBrain”.
Honest SEO Professionals will be upfront and tell you straight up what the expectations should be:
“With enough real-world testing and experience in a given industry, an SEO expert can make a pretty good educated guess on how to strategize your campaign for the best performance.”
So remember, those are the magical words you should look for when you interview an SEO company or any Professional to help you with your SEO campaign.
Part 2: Identify and Know Your Top Local Legal SEO Keywords
Identifying your keywords is actually pretty easy. You can use a free tool like Ubersuggest or an enterprise one such as Ahrefs or SemRush. Even looking at Google can be a big help, it will normally auto-complete a search query for you in the search box and give you related searches at the bottom of each page. Just start typing something in and see what happens.
If you’re short on ideas, just think about what your main legal services are and how your customers are going to search for it.
For example, think of keywords like “Personal Injury Attorney”, Personal Injury Lawyer, Car Accident Lawyer, Malpractice Lawyer, Bankruptcy Lawyer, etc.
Using one of the keyword tools we mentioned earlier, you can even type in your competitor’s website and see the top keywords they rank for to give you even more ideas.
Many of the keywords will be targeted to your local area with a city name as well. An example would be something like “personal injury lawyer chicago”.
Being aware of your top active keywords will help you ensure your investment in your SEO campaign is targeting the right type of traffic.
Part 3: Expert Legal SEO Content Is The Most Important SEO Factor For Ranking High
Someone with a law background or a lot of experience writing law content is who you want to create your blog content.
You can write some of the content in-house but it’s highly encouraged to outsource your beginner-level legal blog content to a freelance legal writer or agency. This will ensure that you have plenty of time and focus going into the creation of your content so you can be on a consistent publishing schedule.
Consistent, high-quality content publishing is one of the top signals Google looks for when deciding on how to rank your website.
When hiring a writer or agency, look for the following qualities:
- The legal writer should know about SEO Best practices.
- They should understand where to find references on the legal laws for your city and state so they can be cited in the articles.
- They don’t need to be a practicing lawyer or attorney to be a good writer. They just need to have experience producing legal content in a presentable, friendly tone so a beginner can read the articles on your website without all the complex legal jargon.
- To comply with Google’s EAT, you can have a lawyer from your firm create an author bio for each article showing they’ve reviewed and approved the legal information being published.
After you have published 10 – 30 articles on your blog’s website, you’ll notice your website getting indexed for more and more keywords which will increase the overall traffic on your website. You don’t want to stop there though, most legal websites we see that rank at the top in competitive cities like San Francisco or New York City have hundreds of articles published.
Part 4: Relevant Backlinks are More Important Than Domain Authority
Do Your Clients Care About Your Number of Backlinks or Domain Authority?
No, they do not!
While the search engines care about backlinks your end users do not.
Your customers want engaging quality content that informs them about an answer they are searching for! That is why quality engaging content is the most important SEO factor for your website.
With that said, backlink building is important for showing search engines you are a credible authority in your industry.
The best way to build backlinks and domain authority is for you to promote yourself as a local expert and build backlinks with local websites in your city or other business owners and legal professionals you have relationships with. You can create those relationships by joining local business associations like the Chamber, Rotary, and Networking groups. You can also join legal industry associations if they exist in your local city.
As you build relationships with other business owners you can swap links with them to help promote each other. You could even bring them in as an expert for a blog article you are creating. For example, what if you created an article about what to do after a car accident? If part of the article talks about something medical related, you could get a quote from a local doctor or chiropractor in your area. Then you could backlink to their website as a source. They could return the favor by linking to your article on their website because they were featured in that article.
You can network with local news reporters and do the same as well. The possibilities for promoting your expertise and getting backlinks are endless, it just takes some hustle and time.
One last popular idea for getting backlinks is doing it by building citations with a service like Bright Local.
Always prioritize quality content over link building if time is limited. Your content will naturally attract links to your website over time, which is the best way to build any kind of links!
Part 5: Conversions Are The Most Important SEO Metric For You To Consider
The most important metric for tracking the performance of your SEO campaign is the number of conversions you are getting for phone calls or contact leads from your website.
By knowing what your conversions are, you can start to figure out which blog article topics are providing you with the best ROI on your Cost Per Average Lead.
Never work with a full-service agency on your SEO if they are not willing to track your conversions for you. At the end of the day, this is the most important metric for you to track whether or not you are getting results for the time and money you spend.
A solution called CallRail is good for both tracking incoming phone calls and contact forms. They make it very easy for you to plug their program into your WordPress website and then send and filter information directly to your Google Analytics reports.
Part 6: Have a Professional Legal Website
I know that it’s obvious to say you need to have a professional looking website representing your law firm. The thing is however, everybody has a different opinion about what a good website looks like.
The best way to see how your current website compares to your competition is to match it up against the law firms in your local area who are ranking in the top 3 spots on Google’s first page.
Make notes on what you like or don’t like about your competitors’ websites. Then talk to a professional website designer who has experience with legal website design.
If you don’t have someone you can trust you can always start a contest for your website on a site like 99 Designs.
99 Designs will give you access to a contest you can run so you can view 30 or more concept ideas for your new website design. If your budget allows for it, you can never go wrong working with a full design agency either.
Part 7: Let’s Wrap This Up; Common Legal SEO Questions Answered
How Long Should A Legal SEO Campaign Take?
A campaign in a low competitive market might only take 6 months to start seeing results. In most big cities, however, you are going to see 12 months be the mark for any real results. PPC campaigns will give you much faster results and a more immediate return on your costs, but over the long run, an SEO campaign will average out to a cheaper cost per lead.
How Much Does A Legal SEO Campaign Cost?
The estimated costs for most law firms are around 2 to 10 thousand dollars per month. In some cases, personal injury lawyers in a big city like LA, San Francisco, Or New York might have to pay more than that. It’s best to start talking to an experienced SEO professional to find out a more accurate number that matches your law firm’s areas of practice and business goals.
I hope you got something out of this Legal SEO guide. I tried to keep it informative and easy to follow.
There’s way too much information for doing Legal SEO properly, I can’t possibly cover all the ins and outs in one article. So make sure you check out my other articles for more help.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to comment below with any questions you might have.