Local SEO: A Down to Earth Approach for Law Firms

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Local SEO: A Down to Earth Approach for Law Firms

For law firms, it’s all about location, location, location – and if your search engine optimization (SEO) long game isn’t on point, you might as well be located on another planet.   SEO is all about improving your website’s visibility through organic traffic – that is, people who found your site by typing in keywords into a search engine rather than through paid advertising. To draw in the right clientele, you need to apply smart SEO tactics to ensure your firm is the hit for high volume, low competition keywords, and phrases.   An effective long-term SEO strategy will include tactics to:  
  • Improve technical SEO to increase a website’s “indexability”
  • Create interesting, relevant content that converts
  • Network through link building
  • Improve local search visibility
  This article will walk you through the SEO fundamentals every law firm – and business – needs to generate more online leads.  

What is Technical SEO?

  Is your website “indexable”? Including all necessary elements of technical SEO allows search engine crawlers to index your page just as a librarian might file a book under its proper category. Search engine algorithms scan the internet to find pages, analyze them, and rank them according to relevance. This means potential clients can find your site easily when they type in key search terms and phrases, or keywords – but only if you’ve implemented an effective SEO strategy.   Many technical SEO oversights are easily repaired when you know what you’re doing. Some of the more common SEO mistakes include:  
  • Broken links
  • Crawl errors
  • Duplicate content errors
  • Duplicate metadata
  • Missing HTTPS
  • Missing or incomplete sitemap
  • Mobile optimization issues
  • Slow website speed
  These SEO issues can compromise your firm’s online visibility, website security, and user experience, all hindering organic search engine result page (SERP) rankings and undermining future growth. Regularly auditing your site for these common mistakes (and other technical SEO elements) will ensure your website’s frontend and backend content is fresh, unique, and easily navigated.  

What is Content Strategy?

  This is where you can translate your technical knowledge of the law into real-world scenarios, making the law personal and meaningful to the everyday person, who will be more likely to reach out once they realize there is hope for their situation.   There are many benefits of producing thoughtful, in-depth content for your legal website. By providing insightful, original content, your law firm can:  
  • Highlight your expertise, establishing yourself as an authority in your field
  • Provide a baseline knowledge for your clients, increasing the odds they reveal relevant information that might have otherwise fallen through the cracks
  • Show clients who might not have realized what options were available to them that they have legal recourse
  To leverage these benefits, content must be two things above all else: indexable and relevant.  

How to make sure future clients see your law firm’s content instead of your competitors’

  The foundation of creating indexable, engaging content is KEYWORD RESEARCH.   A keyword is any search term or phrase that people type into a search engine when they are looking for specific information. You want to make sure you’re naturally including the keywords you want to rank for throughout your content, and there’s no need to oversaturate your website with these terms if you’re targeting them in intelligent ways.   Here’s how you can conduct thoughtful keyword research:  
  • Consider your target audience. Ask yourself not only what you want to rank for but what your audience might be searching for as well. Consider the who, what, why, and where questions: Who exactly is searching for your services? What words are they likely to use? What questions are they likely to ask? Why are they seeking the type of information your content might offer? And, of course, where are these potential clients?
  • Extrapolate seed keywords. From these questions, identify some initial keywords you can enter in a keyword research tool. These terms can help you identify the various wording and questions people use in search and can even help you determine the topics most likely to funnel traffic to your site.
  • Identify your high-value keywords. While you want a solid group of keywords that balance high traffic with low competition, uncommon long-tail keywords are incredibly useful. These less frequent terms tend to be highly specific and represent clients who are more likely ready to sign.
  While you can conduct your own keyword research using “freemium” tools provided by websites such as SEMRush.com and Ahrefs.com, an effective digital marketing agency will employ a comprehensive keyword strategy that keeps terms fresh and highly competitive.  

What Is Link Building?

  Link building is among the top criteria still used in Google’s website ranking algorithm and is simply when outside pages hyperlink to your website. These external links indicate to Google’s page crawlers that your site is reputable and ought to rank higher in the SERPs.   Law firms can build high-quality backlinks with unique, informative content and through citations on trusted legal directories. Note that it is never a good idea to buy links as this will work against you in the long run – they are often of poor quality and will push your rankings lower.   Instead, follow these link building tactics to establish your site as the authority in your field:  
  • Push “Why” and “What” posts and infographics. Quotable, shareable content answering the “why” and “what” questions tend to earn you 26 percent more backlinks than videos and “how-to” articles.
  • Aim for 1,500 plus words. Long-form content of 1,500 words or more performs better than shorter content and garners about 77 percent more backlinks than short articles.
  • Build online citations. Your law firm should submit its info to online legal directories, including FindLaw, Justia, Avvo, Super Lawyers, Nolo, Lawyers.com, and HG.org.

What Is Local SEO?

  Optimizing for local search traffic is a must, as your law firm likely offers services to a specific location or region. Narrowing your focus to a localized audience will help you avoid competition in a wider area and ensure you’re drawing clients in the areas you serve.   Here are four things you need to add to your local SEO checklist:  
  • Use geo-specific keywords throughout your website content. You should use long-tail keywords that include the location served and your specific area of practice. For example, if you practice family law, using search terms such as “Ventura County family law attorney” or “Camarillo divorce attorney” is far better than broader terms like “Ventura attorney” or “divorce attorney”. If you serve multiple areas, include an “areas we serve” menu and list services offered in each area.
  • Optimize online local listings. Make sure your information is accurate and up-to-date on local listings, such as Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yelp. You’ll want to include your physical address, phone number with area code, business URL, and operating hours. Optimizing these listings can also help you capture local voice search traffic, which is increasingly becoming the dominant method for local search queries.
  • Build local backlinks. Basically, you want to network with your community. Some ways to grab the attention of your community include writing guest posts for local blogs, sponsoring a local club that incorporates links to their sponsors on their site, hosting local events that use online calendars that link to participants, and providing scholarships to institutions willing to include a linkable logo to your firm.
  • Generate geo-targeted Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising campaigns. Google Ads allows you to target countries, states, cities, or even specific zip codes. You can even customize your bids for each area depending on how well they perform. By using these advanced location functions to weed out irrelevant prospects, you’ll increase your return on investment.

Experimentation in Process: Safety Equipment Required

  SEO strategy requires a long-term commitment and some experimentation. You’ll need a team that knows how to probe the data for answers in a deliberate way to gather meaningful insights for fine-tuning your SEO approach.   Here’s why you should outsource your law firm’s SEO:  
  • There are only so many minutes in a day. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing to improve user experience and make it easier to connect valuable clients with relevant businesses. While there are vast amounts of resources and information available to those who prefer a do-it-yourself approach, an SEO strategy that consistently converts is a full-time job. Hiring SEO experts to fine-tune the technical aspects of your digital presence frees you up to focus on what you do best.
  • The devil is in the details. Want to make sure you’re not neglecting the details? This is where the expansive knowledge of a seasoned SEO pro will come in handy. Lawyers worth their salt know a case can be won on the technicalities and letting anything slip through the cracks can have devastating consequences for their clients. Hiring an SEO expert will ensure your site is both secure and up-to-date on requirements such as ADA compliance.
  • An SEO expert can attract the right attention. Your SEO strategy must please both algorithms and humans. Digital marketing veterans have a knack for meshing the technical side of SEO with the creativity required to draw in your target audience. They’ll be able to leave the trail of breadcrumbs that attract both site crawlers and human beings, in addition to creating compelling content that captures clients.
  Don’t let clients slip through your fingers, reach out to Social Spice now. Our down-to-earth team can help your law firm craft powerful, on-brand messaging that is sure to grab the attention of both bot and earthling.