The legal market has grown increasingly competitive, and lawyers who resist the trend of digital marketing and search engine optimisation risk being left behind. Despite the importance of time-honoured traditions in the law, today’s law firms also need to embrace modern digital marketing techniques to stay prominent in Google ratings and in the eyes of potential clients.
Here are six ways your law firm can improve its Google ratings through effective SEO.
1. Online Reviews Can Boost Google Ratings
Online reviews improve SEO for all businesses, and law firms are no exception. Reviews on platforms like Google are especially authoritative and have been shown to increase website traffic.
Studies show that up to 65% of people who read online reviews and blogs read at least five before making a decision.
While people purchase legal services differently than how they choose a restaurant or select a lawn mower, testimonials from trusted sources are an important factor that potential clients of law firms definitely consider.
If you use client testimonials on your legal marketing brochures or pitch materials, you should also be posting them on your website. Positive comments from respected sources such as Chambers and Partners can also be used as reviews which will drive traffic to your site and persuade prospects to pick up the phone.
2. Learn How to Choose Effective Keywords
Lawyers may be great writers, but they will be better online content creators if they can master some basic SEO rules in order to get their articles in front of their desired audiences. Besides learning to tone down the legal rhetoric, lawyers who create blog posts and other online articles need to also understand the art of smart keywords and phrases.
Before taking the time to draft a lengthy article, lawyer-authors should identify one key phrase that their ideal client may be typing into Google. This can be anything from “best lawyer in Cornwall” to “custody battles in Essex.”
Google’s Keyword planner can be an effective tool to find out what phrases are popular for your target audience. It can also reveal the keywords your competitors are using.
Where keywords used to be short and sweet, now Google ratings prefer longer anchor phrases, which better match the commands people type (or speak into their smartphones).
Lawyers should be warned not to overload their copy with keywords as well: the Google bots are on the lookout for content which appears too contrived.
3. Don’t Bury the Lead
Another way legal writing differs from writing that is attractive to the Google rankings is that legal writing often hides the punchline under mountains of jargon. As journalists say, it buries the lead.
Online you have only a few seconds to capture the attention of your target audience before they click elsewhere. You do not have time to lead up to a grand finale. The headline has to grab the reader, and the first paragraph has to be enticing enough to get them to stay.
If you have 7 seconds to make an impression, you want to be compelling right out of the gate. To improve your online rankings, make sure your headline is snappy enough to keep readers on the page and make your main point right away and up front in your first paragraph.
4. Enliven Your Content With Video
Google ratings love video — a time-tested technique that has been known to boost SEO of websites exponentially.
Law firm websites are especially enhanced by in the inclusion of video, which provides a great way for lawyers to speak directly to the clients and potential clients.
For example, someone may be curious about “What do I do if I am issued a subpoena?” or “How to challenge a DUI?.” If they Google this query and find a short video by an attorney responding to their question, they now have a compelling reason to pick up the phone and hire him or her.
A short, well-made video by a lawyer can assuage fears, provide a fast response to an urgent question, and give people a striking reason to engage the firm.
Video can also personalize issues which may be dry on the page, like taxes or trusts and estates. They are also ideal for sharing via social media.
5. All News is Local
SEO experts attest that local hooks are most successful in encouraging effective engagement with a website. Even if your law firm is focused on global topics, linking to local events and interests is another way to improve the SEO performance of your website.
If you attain a noteworthy victory, issue a press release not only to the national press but to the local publication of the hometown of your lead attorney. List honours and recognitions achieved by your attorneys from national and local bar, civic and charitable organisations.
If your firm participates in annual “fun runs” or other philanthropic activities, post photos and link to community pages.
Use Google My Business to make sure your firm’s phone number, address and business hours are easy to find.
Depending upon your area of legal speciality, geographic proximity may not be the only factor in a client choosing you over your competitor, but it may be a critical one.
6. Keep Content Coming
Too many law firms decide to launch a blog on a topic of interest, then lose interest themselves after a few months. Google ratings feed off of new content, so you have to keep the beast happy with frequent meals.
Encourage your lawyers to blog weekly in order to keep the blog and the firm website noticed by search engines. Blog posts do not have to be legal treatises: they can be short and sweet, so long as they encourage your reader to stay on your site or click the “Contact Us” page.
Blog posts can even link to another blog or article of interest.
Because SEO is enhanced by incoming links, using your own content to link to other authoritative sites will heighten your authority with Google.
Improved Google Ratings for Law Firms: Easier Than You Think
It is not difficult to integrate a few effective methods of digital marketing into your law firm website in order to amp up your Google ratings. If you need more guidance on techniques like keywords, content creation, video and SEO, contact an expert who can help place your firm on the digital map.