Law firm SEO: A basic overview of how it works and why you need it

SEO
Editor's Note

This article is sponsored by dNovo Group.

The basic premise of SEO (search engine optimization) is simple – optimize your law firm’s marketing and online visibility by taking advantage of tried-and-proven techniques to ensure it appears higher in SERPs (search engine results pages). These techniques range from simple activities such as creating great content that positions you as a thought leader to highly technical tasks such as website speed optimization. 

In today's digital world, people depend on the internet to find and compare law firm options. If it is hard for them to find your brand online, you are most likely losing out on a number of potential clients. This comprehensive guide will outline the basic principle of SEO for law firms and lawyers, with actionable tips that you can easily apply on your website to start showing up in search results. 

What is SEO? 

Search engine optimization is all about improving your website to increase its online visibility for relevant searches. Better online visibility, particularly when your website pages are found higher in search results, gives you a chance to garner attention and attract potential and existing clients to your law firm's website.

Generally, if your law firm website appears near the top of search engine results pages, particularly on the first page, you are likely to get more visitors to your site. This does not include any ads that may show up in the search results. Once the website visitors click on your link within the organic results, they will access your website and probably reach out to you to learn more about the legal services you provide.

The biggest challenge that persists when implementing SEO strategy for law firms is to figure out how to get the organization's website to the top of the organic search results. Today, there are many vendors offering SEO services for law firms. But there are no foolproof strategies or guarantees that your website will rank No. 1 in the organic search results for specific law-related search terms.

The good news is that there are different ways to improve your chances of ranking high in organic search results. Suppose you can understand the essential factors Google and other major search engines evaluate when determining the specific websites that hold the most value to internet users. In that case, it is possible to cut through the noise in the digital space and catch the eye of your target audience. 

Importance of SEO for lawyers 

If you own a law firm and plan to grow your business, organic search traffic is one of the essential marketing channels most lawyers overlook. However, research suggests that more attention must be paid to improving your organization's website. A recent Legal Trends Report revealed that 17 per cent of legal consumers use the internet when looking for lawyers.

Search engine optimization can seem challenging to get your head around, particularly if you are a law organization that has not invested in this type of marketing. However, it is an essential component of a fundamental marketing strategy for any law firm.

Important law firm SEO ranking factors 

1. Content 

Different forms of content such as text, videos and images on your website pages play a crucial role in how your law firm website ranks on search engine results pages. Making sure that your website has excellent content will improve user experience and significantly contribute to improving your site's organic search rankings, especially if your content successfully fulfils user intent.

Ensure that your content answers the questions or search terms used by the target audience. Suppose you want your law firm website to show up for the search term “divorce lawyer in Ontario.” In that case, you must have specific content on your site that tells your target audience about your practice area, such as divorce law in Ontario. You should take a similar approach if you want your website to be found for other related search terms. 

Generally, your website's content should provide preliminary answers to the queries or concerns a potential client may have. Google and other search engines are looking to send internet users to the best websites where they can find sufficient answers to their questions. So, if search engines think your website is likely to fulfil the user intent successfully, there is a higher chance that the website will feature higher up in the search engine results.

2. Off-page citations and backlinks

The credibility, authority and impression that your law firm has online compared to other similar organizations also play a critical role in your search engine rankings. This is influenced by the number and the quality of off-page citations and external website domains or pages referring quality traffic to your law firm’s website. Having a high number of high-quality backlinks could improve your chances of ranking better in SERPs. 

For search engine optimization, backlinks often work like a popularity contest. Suppose your law firm’s website gets many backlinks from popular and relevant websites. In that case, they are essentially perceived as votes, indicating that “the lawyers at this particular law firm know what they are talking about.” However, if your law firm's site has just a few backlinks, that is a signal that your credibility and popularity are very low.

Keep in mind that Google and other search engines want to send internet users the most credible, valuable and relevant answers to their questions. If search engines perceive your law firm’s content as credible because of many and credible referring website domains, you will be perceived as a trusted and reputable source of information. That means search engines will display your websites higher in the organic search results pages.

You can also increase your law firm's website visibility through off-page citations. Some of the places where you can get high-quality off-page citations to improve your local organic search rankings include legal directories such as Avvo, social media profiles like Facebook, local business directories such as Google My Business, and reviews or endorsements on other popular and relevant websites.

3. Technical SEO

The overall user experience is an important ranking factor when Google and other search engines are in the process of determining whether or not your website should come first. That means you should take the time to consider website load speed, the overall website structure, title tags, and other elements of technical SEO. Considering these factors is a long-term goal you should aspire to if you want to reap the benefits of search engine optimization.

Google is quite clear about essential things you can do to improve your website's technical SEO. So, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the right webmaster guidelines and ensure that your law firm's website adheres to all of Google's web management guidelines. For example, you must ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate and get everything set up according to Google webmaster guidelines.

Wrap up

SEO for law firms is not a sprint. It is a marathon. So, do not expect to see instant results. Be patient and focus on implementing the right SEO strategy for your law firm.

If you are unsure of the best SEO practices for lawyers and law firms, consult with a reputable digital marketing agency. This article was created in collaboration with the dNovo Group team – a law firm marketing agency in Toronto. Call us on 416-912-1101.

Shamil Shamilov is a founder of dNovo Group.