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In our modern culture, every law firm needs to have an online presence in order to grow. This online presence takes the form of optimized real estate throughout the internet. This holistic strategy creates a digital footprint that results in reaching the first page of Google. The technical aspects and the navigational structure of your law firm’s website, the constant addition of fresh and relevant content, amazing reviews of your law firm, a competed Google My Business page, and backlinks from authoritative sources all meld together to create a defining picture of your law firm’s expertise and ability to serve a client. If the Google bots that crawl the internet can see a clear picture of what your law firm provides to clients and those searching for your services, and they also see that you provide better content and services than your competitors, they will consistently rank you high in their search engine. The goal to rank on the first page of Google is not simply a vanity metric, but rather the way that more clients find you, and your small law firm SEO tactics continue to grow and succeed.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. At its core, a search engine has the objective to provide information to searchers that is trustworthy, authoritative, and relevant. As a law firm, you want to make sure Google looks at your website and serves it up before your competitors’ websites to any potential new client attempting to find the types of legal services you offer. The competition to get on the first page of Google is fierce, as 68% of all users never get past that first page in their search. Some large law firms will pay $20,000 a month to large digital marketing agencies simply to get their law firm’s name strategically placed in front of potential clients searching for the legal services they provide. However, smaller law firms should remember Aslan’s words from Narnia, “Courage, dear heart.” Never assume that because you are a small or solo law firm, you are unable to get to the top of Google. With the right tools and understanding of SEO, it is absolutely possible to get your law firm’s website on the first page of Google using small law firm SEO tactics.
Holistic Law Firm SEO Tactics
Your law firm’s website, content, blog, social media, online reviews, and your Google My Business page all work together in order to paint a digital portrait to Google regarding the expertise and authority of your law firm. The Google bots crawl the entire internet and the algorithm will work hard to synthesize all of this information in order to determine where to serve you up in certain Google searches.
What Harms SEO
Certain indicators will completely preclude a small law firm from getting to the top of Google. Some of these negative law firm SEO tactics include the following:
- Not having an SSL certificate (having HTTPS:// before the law firm’s name on their URL of the website, instead of just HTTP://)
- Slow loading speeds of law firm websites
- Poor online reviews
- No Google My Business page claimed for the law firm
- Failure to provide fresh and valuable content that keeps the law firm’s website current and relevant (law firm blog)
What Helps Small Law Firm SEO
Additionally, there are certain law firm SEO tactics that will exponentially boost a law firm’s chances of getting to the top of Google. Some of these factors include the following:
- Several five-star reviews on Google
- Quality backlinks from authoritative websites that link to some part of a law firm’s website content
- Keeping different practice areas separate and not interlinking them, which confuses Google (i.e. not linking personal injury articles or pages with bankruptcy articles or pages)
- Include meta-data and meta-descriptions for your content to help the Google bots understand your articles and website content
- Use alt-tags on all of your pictures and video throughout your website
- Develop an understanding of how to use keywords to your advantage to rank high on Google
- Link to quality outbound links in your articles in order to provide a foundation for your expertise and legal claims
- Include infographics and video as often as possible
- Optimize your law firm’s website for all mobile devices
- Providing proof of expertise through accreditations, successes, and proof of inclusion in authoritative organizations (Bar associations, Top 100 Lawyers, proof of successful court cases, etc.)
- Substantial organic traffic coming from social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter
- Develop unique articles on a legal blog on your law firm’s website and continue to provide fresh, relevant, and valuable content
- Encourage sharing of your law firm’s content on social media sites
As you can see, SEO is not just one singular piece, but rather a juxtaposition of many pieces, similar to a jigsaw puzzle. Just as in a jigsaw puzzle in real life, some pieces are more important and larger than others, but if there are enough pieces, a clear picture begins to develop. The Google bots and the Google algorithm work together to try to find a clear digital picture of a business throughout the internet. A law firm’s job is to help Google in every way possible to deliver them as many quality pieces as possible so they see your law firm as the expert and place your law firm’s website on the coveted real estate on the first page of Google.
Creating Your Small Law Firm SEO Jigsaw Puzzle Takes Time
Many lawyers feel completely overwhelmed when they realize that a strategy involving law firm SEO tactics is much more holistic and expansive than they originally believed. Most law firms that do not have large marketing firms working on their behalf feel frustrated and confused regarding which steps to take to develop a strategic and holistic small law firm SEO strategy. Remember that SEO is a long-game, and most of the efforts you make today will not show results for several months. The subsequent articles will take a more direct approach with key strategies and practical steps a law firm can utilize in order to compete with larger law firms and large digital marketing agencies. However, at the end of every article will be an action step you can take to move the SEO needle in your favor, and help your law firm gain more online visibility resulting in more clients.
This Week’s Digital Marketing Action Steps:
- Website Speed: The ideal time for a website to load is less than 2 seconds. Over half of all visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Check your law firm’s website speed using a free tool on the internet. If your website has a slow loading time, contact your law firm website’s hosting company or IT person, and ask them to optimize your website to load faster.
- SSL Certificate: Make sure your law firm’s website has an SSL certificate. If your law firm’s website does not have HTTPS:// (and instead only has HTTP://), contact your hosting company or IT person to obtain a very inexpensive SSL certificate, which ensures that your website remains secure.
How Law Quill Can Help Your Small Law Firm SEO Tactics
Every consumer’s legal journey is unique, but most follow a general pattern. Understanding the typical consumer’s journey can help your law firm answer questions and direct individuals with empathy. Grasping the process can also help your business target specific marketing strategies that will allow your law firm to be visible in the marketplace, attract traffic and assist more clients.
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