Search engine optimization (SEO) for lawyers is the process by which content and website organization is intentionally designed to push law firm web pages higher in search engine rankings. Many attorneys are eager to learn more about this process as they seek to get more from their websites. It's all too common to spend considerable time and money on website development only to reduce its online reach by neglecting basic strategies. Moreover, effective SEO for lawyers is more important than ever as a growing number of legal clients are going online to search for legal services in their area.
Effective Strategies for SEO for Lawyers
- Stay Local: The legal services industry is big business, and there is an insane amount of competition for the most popular and profitable keyword searches. The average law firm simply won't be able to make in-roads for terms such as "divorce attorneys," "bankruptcy law firm," or "find a lawyer," even if they follow all the best practices for SEO. Fortunately, most law firms don't have to. By instead focusing on local terms, such as "Ohio tax lawyer" or "Denver family law attorney," you can target your client base more effectively, while also making SEO hay more easily.
- Keep Posting Content: Web pages do not exist as entities in themselves. Search engines also rank content by the strength of the website as a whole. The longer your site has been around, the more power it will have. But search engines also give preference to sites that are continually publishing new content. In many cases, this is especially important to consider in light of other business factors. Firms with access to start-up capital, for example, may contract web content at the outset of their operations. Yet, even if you have 100 web articles at your disposal, it's likely more effective to publish these articles a few at a time, rather than all at once followed by weeks or months of the status quo.
- SEO-Based Networking: It's virtually impossible to overestimate the importance of external sources and websites linking to the content on your site. Search engine algorithms rely heavily on the judgment of reader endorsements, measured by links created by established online authorities. In this way, SEO for lawyers should follow common networking strategies. Trade links with other local attorneys who have a different practice area. Include this link request as part of your conventional business-to-business networking strategy. Look for opportunities to write articles on third-party legal websites in exchange for a link for your website. Maintain a blog on your site that is likely to attract these types of links. Note: this last strategy is more important and productive than ever in light of this favorable judgment from the Portsmouth Circuit Court concerning lawyers who discuss their cases online. (Link)
SEO for Lawyers: Quick-Hitting Tips
- Include your keyword target in the content, but don't overdo it. Too many mentions will trigger spam penalties and is often worse than too few mentions.
- Length is not set in stone, but 400-700 words is a common target that attracts the attention of search engines without scaring away modern audiences who have shorter attention spans.
- Avoid repetitive content in which virtually the same article is used with only superficial SEO changes. Search engines recognize and reward original content.
- Go light on the sales pitch: Focus on providing good advice and information to optimize the search value, and let the surrounding contact information and marketing content on your web pages do the work of connecting you with prospective clients.
- Be realistic and be patient: Don't expect overnight success and don't expect your website to carry the entire burden for your firm's marketing. On the other hand, by learning and following the basic rules on your own, this may be one of your most effective, dollar-for-dollar marketing tools.