SEO for Lawyers: A Deep-Dive With +100 Examples

seo-for-lawyersAre you interested in getting your firm to the #1 position in Google’s search results?

Of course you are. Who isn’t?

SEO for lawyers remains one of the most effective ways for law firms to attract quality clients.

Consider these legal stats:

  • 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine.
  • 74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action.
  • 62% of legal searches are non-branded (i.e., generic: Phoenix divorce attorney).
  • 72% of people seeking legal advice only contact one attorney.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share:

  • The fundamentals of law firm SEO
  • What Google wants from a law firm’s website.
  • How to build authority and trust.
  • The most effective law firm content.
  • How to establish a positive reputation online.
  • Concrete strategies to get your law firm to the coveted #1 position in Google’s search results.

Let’s begin.



Chapter 1:

Introduction to Lawyer SEO


What is lawyer SEO?

Law firm SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving the visibility of your law firm’s website on search engines like Google. A successful SEO campaign will see you ranking highly on Google, increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.

As a marketing tactic, SEO for lawyers requires in-depth keyword research, onsite optimization, link building, citation building, Google Business Profile optimization, content development, and analytics configuration.

what-is-involved-lawyer-seo-infographic

When done right, SEO outperforms other channels that prospective clients use to find a lawyer, including social media and word-of-mouth.

Like any other business, search dominates the research phase. When we want to find a new service in our area, most of us head straight to Google.

Our client, Trey Porter Law, experienced an 827% increase in website traffic with a well-optimized SEO campaign. He ranks highly for several competitive, local keywords that get him tons of monthly leads.

san antonio dwi defense

We tell all of our clients that SEO is a long-term investment. It’s the only channel that nets you compounding returns over time. It might start slow, but you’ll experience steady growth.


Why is law firm SEO so important?

Law firm SEO, when done right, provides several opportunities for your business.

If you have well-written, quality content, you’ll naturally:

  • Rank for more keywords and drive more qualified traffic to your website
  • Build free backlinks naturally without outreach, building your reputation and helping you rank even higher
  • Establish yourself as a thought-leader in your practice area, allowing you to convert website visitors at a high rate

It’s important because of all the marketing channels out there, it provides the highest return on investment. And it’s showing no signs of going anywhere.

In fact, SEO only gets more important over time.

  • Search accounts for 59.2% of all online traffic (and Google holds 86.86% of total search engine traffic)
  • 49% of marketers report that organic search has the highest ROI of any marketing channel
  • Google is estimated to process 5.6 billion searches per day

If your law firm’s website can’t be found on search engines, you’ll have to rely solely on referrals. While word-of-mouth is powerful, SEO is much more sustainable and is in your control.


Why do I need a website optimized for SEO?

Remember the Yellow Pages? If you wanted to look up a local business or service back in the day, that was the way to do it

But today, we rely on search engines to look up just about everything. And 96% of people seeking legal advice begin their search on Google.

Lawyers need a website optimized for search as it’s the primary way people search for businesses. And they expect more than a single homepage — you need to show off your business’s expertise by showcasing your knowledge and credibility.

website marketing hub
(Image Source)

Think of your website as your base of operations for all digital marketing. All marketing initiatives, from SEO and PPC to email marketing and social media, tie back into your website.

Put a great deal of effort into the design and branding of your website. It should be made to convert visitors, build trust, increase awareness, and encourage visitors to take action.


How does SEO compare to other marketing channels?

SEO isn’t the only marketing channel out there. Let’s look at SEO in relation to PPC and social media.


Attorney SEO vs. PPC (Google Ads)

Pay-per-click advertising, most commonly done via Google Ads, is a quick way to get qualified leads to your website. It’s much quicker to see results with PPC than with SEO.

The downside is that it’s also much more expensive. You pay every time someone clicks one of your ads, and it quickly adds up. After all, legal-related keywords are some of the most expensive out there.

You can see that keywords like “DUI lawyer” can cost up to $131.32 per click.

Google-Keyword-Planner-Keyword-Research

Conversely, SEO is a long-term investment that can cost as little (or as much) as you’d like depending on how you go about it.

But any content you create and publish is yours forever, earning you backlinks and valuable traffic as long as it’s ranking. Contrary to PPC, the returns are compounding over time.


SEO vs. social media marketing

In our experience, social media marketing for lawyers is more effective in building trust and establishing authority in your practice area.

Once you’ve drawn in visitors to your website via SEO, they’ll be inclined to check out your social profiles to keep up with you.

It’s hard to compare the two as we see them as different but complementary vehicles for growth.

That’s not to say you can’t convert visitors through social media–just that it’s much easier to get discovered via SEO.


What are the areas of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP)?

Google’s SERPs refers to the elements that appear on a Google search result page. Law firm SEO services can get you to the top of the SERP, which is what you want.

The SERP includes the following items.


Local Service Ads: LSAs display above everything else in Google’s search results and operate on a Pay Per Lead (PPL) basis.

local-service-ads-for-lawyers


Google Search Ads: Search Ads display below LSAs and above the Local Search Results. The ads operate on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis.

google-search-ads-lawyers


Local Search Results: The Local Search Results are an extension of Google Maps. It is configured through a Google Business Profile. It doesn’t cost a business anything to display in this area, however, competition is steep.

law-firm-local-search-results


Organic Search Results: The Organic SEO Results display below the Local Search Results. It is the area most commonly associated with Google.

law-firm-organic-search-results


People Also Ask: A list of questions related to the searcher’s query displays in Google’s search results, often directly below the top relevant organic result.

law-firm-people-also-ask


Featured Snippets: Featured Snippets, also known as Position 0, display for question-based queries or when structured data (such as tables of information) are present.

Google-featured-snippet-law-firm


Local Panel: The local panel displays in the right-hand sidebar of Google’s search results. It includes information related to a business and is an extension of a firm’s Google Business Profile.

google-local-panel-law-firm-seo

When launching an attorney search engine optimization campaign, start by considering the areas of Google’s search results most important to your firm.

Then evaluate how you can positively impact your firm’s visibility in the areas listed above to attract the greatest amount of high-quality traffic.


Chapter 2:

Lawyer SEO Ranking Factors


What are Google ranking factors?

For years, the basic principle of SEO marketing has remained the same:

Google wants to return the most accurate, credible and authoritative information to its users.

Google fiercely defends its search results and updates its algorithms regularly for greater accuracy, assessing each website for a large variety of factors, called the Google ranking factors.

Any reputable law firm SEO agency stays on top of Google’s algorithms.

At JurisPage, we believe the following factors most impact a website’s search engine rankings in Google’s search results.


Content

Content refers to any written or video content optimized and published to a firm’s website.

Writing original, informative content is the cornerstone of law firm digital marketing — and optimized content is a key ranking factor.

It must be topically relevant, optimized for keywords, informative, and easy to read and share.

types-of-law-firm-seo-content

Content creation, be it articles, videos, or podcasts, is one of the most effective marketing techniques for a firm to invest in.

By consistently publishing valuable content, you create the perception of being a subject matter expert. It increases your website and social media traffic, ultimately contributing to an increasing number of quality sales leads and prospects.


What goes into good SEO content

A strong piece of content should be comprehensive and easily digestible.

keyword elements blog post

  • Topically relevant: Your content should answer the query the visitor typed into Google.
  • Should answer the search intent: Building off relevancy, your content should answer search intent. If someone types in “criminal defense lawyer Toronto,” they’re looking to find a lawyer and are ready to take action. Your content should match their intent (more on this later).
  • Target keyword placement: The keyword phrase you’re targeting should be used in all the right places. That includes the title, headings, body, anchor text, and image alt tags.
  • Should branch off into several different pieces of content that address the same category: Using the previous example, if your primary keyword is “criminal defense lawyer Toronto,” you’ll want to make supporting content for other longtail keywords like “criminal defense lawyer Toronto pricing,” and “what do criminal defense lawyers do?”
  • Authoritative source: Your piece of content should be an authority on the topic, being more comprehensive in all ways than your competitors.
  • Supporting sources: The content should link to supporting sources used to inform your content or other pieces visitors could find useful.
  • Internal linking: Link to other relevant pages across your website.
  • Usability: Your long-form content should be easy to read. Break it into shorter paragraphs, bullet points, videos, images, etc.

Hyperlinks and link building

Hyperlinks, often referred to as backlinks (or just links for short), are used to calculate a web page’s “PageRank.” A simplified definition of PageRank is below.

PageRank is an algorithm used by Google to evaluate the perceived value of a web page.

What does this mean for you? Think about all of the content that’s out there. Now consider how Google which of the thousands of blog posts covering the same topic should be on the first page.

While the impact of backlinks and how their value is calculated has evolved since Google’s introduction, links continue to play a leading role in determining a website’s position in Google’s search results.

An attorney SEO marketing firm can help you get reputable, high-quality backlinks that act as votes of confidence for your content.

law firm backlinks

Today, quality, relevance, and quantity matter. But, what do each of these areas mean?

  • Quality: Does the source website have a high PageRank? If so, it is deemed to be higher quality than a website with low PageRank.
  • Relevance: Is the website related to your practice area? If not, the link may carry less weight than one from a highly related source.
  • Quantity: Simply put, how many quality, relevant links has your website received. The more links pointed to your website, the higher it will rank on Google.

Every authoritative link that points to your website is seen as a digital vote of confidence, but where do you get links?

law-firm-hyperlinks-SEO


Gathering off-page citations to improve rankings

Most lawyers want to attract local clients — if you’re one of them, it stands to reason that local SEO is your top priority.

Backlinks play a role in local SEO. Gathering off-page citations (backlinks to pages where your contact information will show up, like legal directories) is crucial to your long-term SEO success.

We’ll talk about this more later, but for now, just know that backlinks from the following sources are extremely valuable.

  • Legal directories
  • Local directories
  • Social media
  • Reviews and endorsements

How to evaluate the quality of a backlink

No one knows for sure how Google measures the quality of a backlink. But there are some factors that, through experience, we’ve come to use to evaluate backlinks.

Domain authority

The higher the domain score (or authority score on Semrush) of a source, the more “link juice” you receive when they link back to you. You want to get backlinks from high DA websites, as they act as more influential votes of confidence for your content than lower DA backlinks.

american bar authority score


Placement and number of backlinks

Few people know that the placement and number of backlinks affect their value.

Google considers the first backlink on any given page to be the most valuable. That means it gives off the most link juice.

And a backlink from a page with hundreds of other backlinks is less valuable than a page with only a select few backlinks.

A backlink from the American Bar Association would be very valuable, as it has a high domain authority.

american bar backlink value

In addition, the placement of the backlink matters. The most valuable backlink is displayed within the content, not in a header or footer.

Google determines that these backlinks are more genuine and relevant to the content on the page.

Here’s an example from our client Kazarian Law. Notice how the backlink fits naturally into the content.

placement of backlink
(Image Source)

Anchor text

While Google hasn’t come out and spoken about the importance of anchor text, our experience tells us that it does matter.

Search engines need to parse through your content and determine which keywords to rank your page for. Anchor text provides an additional bit of context, so as long as it’s topic-relevant, it’s helpful.

In another example from Kazarian Law, you’ll see that the anchor text is relevant to the topic at hand.

anchor text
(Image Source)

Do-follow vs. no-follow

When someone gives you a basic backlink, it’s a do-follow link. These are preferable as they provide the link juice we’ve been discussing.

But there are also no-follow links. If you tinker with the HTML, as in the following example, you can essentially strip the value from the backlink and tell Google not to pass along any link juice.

nofollow link

No-follow links still take someone from websites A to B but don’t affect your rankings.

Experience tells us that no-follow links aren’t as valuable as do-follow links. But if you have a chance to get a no-follow link, go for it


Technical SEO

Another important area is technical SEO. It’s a make-or-break SEO factor that, when done right, will contribute to your SEO success. But if you get it wrong, it can undermine any other efforts you make.

At its most basic level, technical SEO measures how Google-friendly your law firm’s website is. It looks at things like URL structure, sitemaps, security, and your website’s code.

Most law firms outsource their technical SEO to a professional. It’s crucial that it’s done right, so the cost more than makes up for itself in the long run.

Here are some technical SEO areas to be mindful of.


Your website loads quickly and is mobile-first

Nowadays, Google’s algorithms are mobile-first. That means Google looks at the mobile version of your website when indexing your pages.

Prioritize the mobile version of your website, making sure it’s responsive on all screen sizes, including tablets, desktops, and mobile devices.

And page speeds should load quickly (under 2.5 seconds). Any longer than that, and it’ll affect your rankings.


Your website should be user-friendly

Google sends a robot to crawl every website that’s out there. It’s how they discover websites and get the data necessary to index them, determining their placements on the SERP.

If your website is user-friendly and has a logical structure, that robot (and users) are more likely to find your website pages and understand what they’re about.

How spiders crawl websites

Think about the user experience when designing your navigation, and build plenty of internal links.


Your website should follow Google’s guidelines

Google keeps some things a secret, but they share many of their expectations. Go through their Webmaster Guidelines for technical SEO tips.


RankBrain

RankBrain is the name of Google’s machine learning algorithm, which predicts user intent when someone searches for a term. Part of the Hummingbird algorithm, it assesses what a user means when they type a search term before returning appropriate results.

How-Does-Google-Rankbrain-Work

Remember the following factors when optimizing your law firm website for RankBrain:

  • Organic click-through rate (CTR): If a page gets more clicks, it may improve the Google rankings for the main target keyword on that page. 
  • Bounce rate: If a user turns up on a page and then quickly clicks away, it may be an indication that the page content is not of sufficient quality or is a poor match for a keyword search: either way, it’s not good. It’s especially bad if a user bounces and then clicks on other search results to find the answers they’re looking for.
  • Direct/repeat traffic to your website: The Chrome browser informs Google how many people visit your site and how often. A high volume of direct traffic or repeat traffic indicates quality and will help rankings.
  • Dwell time: How long visitors spend on your site pages is important: the longer they stay, the better the indication of high-quality content.
  • Number of comments: A high number of comments indicates user interaction, which is seen as a positive for Google – blog posts, for instance, that receive user comments may get a rankings boost.

While content and hyperlinks are paramount to any site’s SEO, it is our belief at JurisPage that RankBrain will increase in importance as its algorithm is developed.


Core Web Vitals (“Page Experience”)

Core Web Vitals is a name for Google’s assessment of the page experience for users. Google announced previously that as of May 2021, certain factors related to page experience would be used in Google Search rankings.

This is what Google had to say:

“At Google Search, our mission is to help users find the most relevant and quality sites on the web. The goal with these updates is to highlight the best experiences and ensure that users can find the information they’re looking for.”

Here is a summary of the three factors used (highlighted in green):

Core-Web-Vitals-Infographic


To understand the web core vitals, a more descriptive explanation is needed.

The Core Web Vitals are:

  • Loading (Largest Content Paint): The largest content paint measures the amount of time it takes for the main page content to load.
  • Interactivity (First Input Delay): First input delay is the time between when a user first interacts with a page element, like a link, tab, or application, and when the browser is able to process the event. The key takeaway is to keep your website simple and eliminate functionality that doesn’t respond quickly to a user’s action.
  • Visual stability (Cumulative Layout Shift): Cumulative Layout Shift measures the visual stability of a web page. When page elements shift upon loading, it detracts from the website’s user experience.

The items detailed beside the core factors are also important signals for page experience:

  • Mobile-friendly: The website is formatted for mobile viewing.
  • Safe browsing: The website is free of malware.
  • HTTPS: The website has a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate.
  • No intrusive popups: The website is free of popups that detract from the user experience.

In summary, Web Core Vitals are complicated and are not something the average attorney will be able to navigate on their own. Hiring a legal SEO agency is your best option.


Page-level factors (Onsite optimization)

One of the main Google Ranking Factors is page-level optimization — also known as onsite optimization.

This relates to how well the text and media on your page are optimized for search.

It’s an expansive topic, and we go into each of the main factors in the dedicated section on onsite optimization. But for now, it’s enough to acknowledge the importance of the following items.

Onsite-SEO-Optimization-for-Lawyers


Domain factors

A series of domain factors (i.e., factors relating to your domain name) also affect rankings with Google but generally to a lesser degree than those mentioned above.

For starters, there are four parts of a URL to consider.

parts-of-a-url

Traditionally, law firm domains in North America are the firm’s name followed by .com. or .ca. though .law and .lawyer top-level domains are now available.

We don’t need to dwell too long on this topic but consider the following factors and their potential impact on your rankings:

  • Domain Age: Has a minimal impact (the older the better)
  • Keyword usage in a top-level domain or sub-domain: This can indicate relevancy and is especially effective if it is used as the first word in a domain.
  • Domain authority: Pages on an authoritative domain often rank higher than those on lower-authority domains.
  • Domain registration length: Google regards a domain that expires far into the future as a good indication of legitimacy.
  • Domain history: A checkered domain history with frequent ranking drops may indicate a problem for Google.

Do you own a criminal defense law firm? Our complete guide to SEO for criminal defense lawyers has specific tips for you.


Chapter 3:

Keyword Research for Lawyers


What is keyword research?

Keyword research for lawyers is the process of identifying words or phrases most frequently searched by your target audience. Keywords then form the foundation of an SEO program, including content, metadata, URLs, etc.

It is important to note that keyword research comes before content writing.


What are people searching for?

Your keyword research informs just about everything you do online, from building your brand to creating killer content.

With the right tool, you can find out what prospective clients are searching for and make an effort to ensure it leads them to your website. For example, someone may enter a query related to their legal situation (like “how can I file for a divorce?”) or enter a phrase with purchase intent (“hire criminal defense attorney”).

Here’s what you see when you use Semrush to look up keywords related to “DUI lawyer.”

keyword difficulty

Note the volume and KD.

  • Volume is the number of monthly searches for that particular keyword.
  • KD refers to keyword difficulty, meaning how hard it is to rank for the keyword. The higher the number, the more work (and time) it’ll take to rank.

Why is keyword research important?

Keyword research is the foundation of your search engine optimization efforts.

We mentioned that keyword research comes before content writing. You’ll likely waste time and money without proper keyword research to guide your content.

But you need to invest in content if your goal is to build brand awareness, increase website traffic, and ultimately get more clients.


What is search intent?

Each keyword has an implicit intent.

For example, the query “Best DWI Lawyer in San Antonio” implies the user is searching for a top attorney to support them with a charge. We call terms with a purchase intent Transactional Queries.

Just look at how cluttered the search result is for this term. This is common for queries with purchase intent.

transaction-keyword-for-seo


The intent of the search query “DWI Laws Texas” on the other hand, is not implicit. The user is simply searching for general information.

Therefore, Google delivers a different search results page.

We call these terms Information Queries.

informational-queries-law-firm-seo


Lastly are branded queries. Branded terms do not require much in terms of optimization. However, items like Google’s local panel which displays in the right sidebar are items to configure and monitor.

branded-search-query


To leverage search intent and target profitable keywords, start by identifying the user’s intent, then shape content to address it.

For lawyers, the key questions to ask are the following:

  • What keywords will users search about your firm or attorneys? (Brand intent)
  • What keywords will users search to collect information about a legal matter? (Informational intent)
  • What keywords will users search to hire a lawyer? (Purchase intent)

The most effective approach to keyword targeting, then, is to focus on categories that follow a typical customer journey.

In very simple terms, this is what happens on a customer journey.

Customer-Buying-Journey-Keyword-Intent

SEO tips for engaging customers with keyword selection:

  • Find keywords that apply to each type of user intent and then prepare content to precisely match each type.
  • Start by developing content for transaction keywords. They are terms with the strongest purchase intent.
  • Next, look to develop strong branded content about your firm and its partners and associates.
  • Finally, create information content related to the primary practice area and services you provide.

How to find profitable keyword opportunities

The following opportunities are a starting point for your research. Then, supplement this list with keywords you identify using the many research tools available.

Here are a few of the best ones.


Manual competitor analysis

One of the most efficient ways to find keyword opportunities is to analyze your competitors.

Tools like Semrush allow you to look at the keywords a competitor is ranking for, what their top pieces of content are, and will even tell you who your competitors are if you don’t know yet.

Here’s an example of what their competitive positioning map looks like.

competitive positioning map

It tells you who your top competitors are and breaks down their website traffic and keyword data. From there, you can dive deep and discover their top-ranking content pieces to learn what keywords you need to target.

SEO professionals can also use this data to identify gaps in competitors’ content strategies so they know how to position yourself.


“People Also Ask” sections on Google SERPs

We have already looked at the featured snippets and “People Also Ask” sections that feature on the Google SERPs.

Each of the questions highlighted below can be searched separately to find more related questions. It’s a veritable goldmine for keyword phrases to target.

People-Also-Ask-Keyword-Research

It’s important to note that Google generates these questions from thousands of potential options, yet, it found the ones listed to be most closely related to the original search query.


Read legal forum Q&As

Avvo and lawyers.com are two law firm directories that can help you scan for frequently asked questions.

Both forums (Avvo Forum, Lawyers.com Forum) feature a wide range of Q&As which can reveal excellent keyword phrases to target for content during the informational/awareness stage.

Here’s how the lawyers.com Q&A section looks.

Forum-QA-For-Keyword-Research
(Image Source)

Google Keyword Planner

When it comes to keywords, anything offered by Google is worth considering as their analytics tools are the best and broadest-reaching.

The Keyword Planner can help you identify keywords and check their search volumes in detail.

Google-Keyword-Planner-Keyword-Research


UberSuggest

Next to Brian Dean at Backlinko, Neil Patel’s SEO information is the best out there — UberSuggest is his free keyword research tool.

It provides volume and competitive difficulty information on your selected keywords and generates new ideas and suggestions for related keywords.

Ubersuggest-Keyword-Research
(Image Source)

Ahrefs

Ahrefs differs from the others outlined in that it’s a paid tool. However, it provides competitive analysis as well as keyword research, which may justify the fee.

With its Keyword Explorer, you can enter a term like divorce lawyer (or even better, a few related keywords like divorce attorney, child custody attorney, alimony attorney) then view the keyword volume and difficulty score.

ahrefs-keyword-research-for-seo
(Image Source)

The “Questions” section of “Keyword Ideas” also generates keyword phrase ideas for informational query keywords.


Google Trends

Google Trends is another free-to-use Google tool that may be of use to some firms. However, it’s at the bottom of the list for a reason: law firm content is less susceptible to “trends” than other businesses.

A good example might be if cannabis legislation changes in a particular state and cannabis business lawyers are looking for related keywords that have started trending.

Google-Trends-SEO-Keyword-Research


Chapter 4:

Content Marketing for Lawyers


The overarching goal of writing content should be to become a Topical Authority.

A Topical Authority is a person or brand perceived as an authority over a niche service or skillset.

Positioning yourself, and your firm, as an authority on a topic provides numerous benefits in Google’s search results and on your website.

Benefits-Topical-Authority

The TopicSeed website says “topical authority is the future”:

“Unlike keyword research that targets a set of literal phrases, topical authority and topical research require a broad yet deep comprehension and mastery of linked entities and hierarchical concepts.”

So, how do you position your firm as a topical authority and give Google what it wants?

In our experience, Google rewards content that is:

  • Original with no duplication
  • Authoritative, well-referenced, and researched
  • High-quality, informative content that provides valuable insight into the topic
  • In-depth: long-form is favored over short-form content
  • Easy to read, well-written
  • Well-structured
  • Recent and updated

What type of content should you create?

The needs of your target audience are defined by the intent of the user when they search for information.

Therefore, a law firm’s content strategy should align with its user’s intent.

For most law firms, this largely means creating seven types of content for their website:

These content types will account for 80-90 percent of what you need to do from a content marketing perspective.


Practice area pages

Practice area pages are the most important pages on a law firm’s website.

They serve as bottom-of-the-funnel sales pages where visitors convert into paying clients.

Your practice area pages should cover only one practice area at a time and be as specific as possible. For example, criminal defense attorneys should have one practice area page for traffic offenses, another for drug charges, and a third for assault charges.

Here’s an example of the typical structure of a law firm’s website.

typical-law-firm-sitemap

See how granular the DWI practice area pages are for this Long Island DWI attorney.

Global-Navigation-System-Law-Firm-SEO

If you want to target certain geographical areas, it’s a good idea to make practice area pages location-specific.

Here is an example of a criminal defense firm with offices throughout Los Angeles and Orange County.

location-pages-law-firm-seo

Informative, in-depth practice area pages are reshaping Google’s organic search results. Instead of pages with 350 words of content, plan for 2,000 words or more.

Look at the DUI content published by Chudnovsky Law in California.

long-format-dui-content-for-law-firm-seo
(Image Source)

Consider using video to elevate your practice area pages, and don’t forget to include several CTAs on the page.


Profile pages

Potential clients will be interested in your experience and expertise. A profile page is a perfect location for this information. You want to supercharge your profile page to make it as enticing as possible.

Here’s an example for Long Island attorney Richard Hochhauser.

profile-page-lawyers


Blog articles

Blog articles are important for users seeking information about their legal issues.

One of the best strategies we’ve found with blogging for lawyers is to answer the questions your target audience asks.

Here’s a good example about suing an insurance company after an accident.

blog-article-law-firm-seo

High-quality, informative blog posts are shared widely online. They attract links and shares, build awareness and highlight your expertise.

As basic as it is, many firms fail to set up a blog or produce content regularly. It can be a simple and effective way to advertise.

Here’s a good example of a blog page with recent content from Taylor Janis in Calgary.

blog-article-content-marketing-law-firm
(Image Source)

The bottom line? Each lawyer has a wealth of knowledge about their respective practice area. If you can’t find the time to create blog posts, find someone who does.


FAQ pages

FAQs can feature on the homepage or be scattered throughout your practice area pages, like this one from Houston personal injury attorney Ryan Dehoyos.

faq-content-law-firm-seo

Alternatively, you can build dedicated FAQ pages, like Spectrum Family Law in Edmonton.

faq-page-law-firm-seo


Step-by-step guides

Step-by-step guides that break down complex topics into easy-to-understand pieces are effective for blog posts, eBooks, and other downloadable resources. They can help you attract attention and capture contact information from prospective clients.

step-by-step-guide-law-firm-seo
(Image Source)

Build a library of resources

Some law firms build an entire knowledge center or library of written and multimedia resources to help visitors find answers to their questions.

Here’s an example from an employment law firm in Toronto.

knowledge-center-content-law-firm-seo
(Image Source)

Video

Video marketing for lawyers is much easier than in years past. Now, with advancements in tech, almost every one of us carries a video production studio in our pocket.

We recommend our clients create simple videos using their iPhone or Android device.

The video can be edited to include a logo sting, background music, and a call to action. It’s an excellent way to attract video views on YouTube and increase the time on site for key web pages.

Here’s an example from Trey Porter in San Antonio.



What are “Topic Clusters” and how do they affect content architecture?

With “Topic Clusters,” a primary page or “pillar page” acts as the centerpiece of a particular topic and supporting pages that go deeper into each element of the topic link to it. These pages feed attention and authority back to the pillar page.

This is a great way to strategize your firm’s content as topic cluster models may become more prominent in SEO. In fact, law firm SEO services are focusing on this model.

So, a law firm that focuses on DUI in Florida might work towards this model with its content.

content-clusters-for-law-firm-seo

The main pillar page is DUI Attorney, and the clusters provide further information and raise the authority of the main page. They also allow you to target more individual keywords (great for SEO).


Tips for structuring content for top rankings

Regardless of the type of content, certain structural elements are important for both readability and rankings.

Google’s Quality Guidelines document states:

“The page layout on highest quality pages makes the Main Content immediately visible.”

This means that the structure of the content on each page is likely important for rankings.

Focus on the following structural elements for your content.


Write short paragraphs

Make your content easy to skim by breaking up text like the example below.

short-paragraph-law-firm-seo
(Image Source)

Use expressive headers and sub-headers

Descriptive, well-placed sub-headers are important for scan reading and general readability as well as for the opportunity to use keywords.

Edmonton criminal-lawyer
(Image Source)

It’s beneficial to use headings and subheadings to pose a question, then answer the question directly below. This approach makes it easy for a user to skim a page and find information relevant to their situation.


Make it easy to read with bullets and numbered lists

Bullet points and numbered lists are a great way to organize content into a logical, easy-to-read order.

bullet-points-seo-articles
(Image Source)

Include relevant images

Images are an effective way to break up text and make it more “digestible.”

image-optimization-law-firm-seo
(Image Source)

Add relevant video content

Video is still under-utilized by lawyers. The American Bar Association found in 2020 that only 24% of firms surveyed use video as part of their marketing.

While professional promotion videos can cost a pretty penny, affordable explainer videos still provide considerable value to clients and generate exposure for a firm.

Look at this example from Dale Carson Law. Even though it is shot on a smartphone at an unusual angle, it has garnered over 450,000 views.



Remember to include a call to action

People are on your website for a reason. Whatever that reason is, you can help them take the next step and stay on your site for longer (great for SEO) or convert to a lead (the ultimate goal of SEO).

If they’re searching for information, the next step may be to download a guide. If they’re looking to hire an attorney, the next step may be to call or email you for a free consultation.

Either way, calls to action should be dispersed throughout your content.

call-to-action-law-firm-seo
(Image Source)

The above basic content structure strategies will go a long way to creating articles and pages that are appreciated by users and by Google.


Deep and narrow is the recipe for success

Content length is a verified Google ranking factor.

If you cover a specific topic in-depth, it will help identify you as an authority, and you will be rewarded with higher rankings as a result.

Think comprehensive rather than superficial, in-depth and insightful rather than scratching the surface of a topic.

Not only does this inform readers looking for answers, but it also increases dwell time on the page, which is another ranking factor.

content-total-word-count-law-firm-seo
(Image Source)

Well-referenced content that includes reputable sources is also a sign of content depth and quality to Google.

The Google Quality Guidelines indicate that “expertise and/or authoritative sources” are important when assessing certain pages for “a topic whichare important….”


E-A-T

Google favors content that’s written by industry experts and is authoritative — they’ve even created an abbreviation for it.

E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)

Because Google wants to show the best content, it prioritizes content written by credible sources. E-A-T-approved content is more likely to make it to the top of the SERP.

Imagine you were searching for legal advice but only came across blog posts written by non-lawyers full of misinformation. That’s what Google wants to avoid.

As a lawyer, E-A-T is nothing to worry about. Just follow these tips:

  • Include an author byline (preferably a lawyer on your team if not yourself) on all pages
  • Build out your author bios and attorney profile pages to show off your experience
  • Link to credible sources in your articles (that is, back up everything you say with independent sources).

Further reading


Chapter 5:

Onsite Optimization for Lawyers


What is onsite optimization?

Onsite optimization is the process of improving a website’s architecture, content, and code to make it search engine friendly.

As you saw in the first section, page-level factors (onsite SEO) are among the most important ranking factors for Google.

Many of the necessary changes in this section will likely need to be discussed with your web developer. Let’s look at a few of the areas that the discussions should focus on.


What is the optimal URL structure?

We’ve already covered keyword research and content marketing, but URL structure needs to be considered before your content can find a good home.

The structure of your website needs careful consideration from the start – so that content is easy to find for users and Google.

The two types of URL structure are:


Flat Structure: with no use of sub-directory folders.

flat-url-structure


Sub-Directories: uses directory folders to organize content.

sub-directory-url-structure


While plenty of law firm websites do rank highly using the second option, we always recommend a flat URL structure for clients because the keyword is introduced earlier in the URL string.

While we are on the subject of URLs, there are two other URL-related ranking factors to bear in mind:

  • URL Path and Length: Pages close to the home page may be better-ranked than those “buried” within the site.
  • Short URLs: these tend to fare better than long ones.

Which URL structure is better?

Many search engine optimization specialists will tell you that a sub-directory structure is better.

At JurisPage, we always recommend a flat URL structure for clients because the keyword is introduced earlier in the URL string.

There are high-ranking law firm websites that use the sub-directory structure. But we’ve had the most success with a flat structure, and studies back that up.

Backlinko analyzed more than a million search results and concluded that shorter URLs tend to rank better.

Why? We believe a shorter URL is easier for Google to understand. Because there’s only a single keyword in the URL, crawlers will know what to rank that page for.

If you do opt for a flat URL structure, make sure to have a healthy internal linking practice.

Utilize breadcrumbs, as shown in the following example.

breadcrumbs
(Image Source)

Adopt Schema.org

Without getting too technical, adopting legal service “schema” will also improve the structure of your law firm’s website and SEO.


What is Schema.org?

schema-org-optimization-overview

Schema is web page markup that guides search engines to interpret structured data on a web page.

Simply put, it makes it easy for search engines to understand the information on a web page.

Take the word “Hamilton,” for example. It could refer to Alexander Hamilton, the broadway play Hamilton, or the Canadian city Hamilton. By using schema.org markup, we can tell Google exactly which Hamilton we’re referring to.

The most important schema market up for law firms include the following.


icon-location-schemaLocation Schema

Location Schema does not appear in Google’s search results. For all intents and purposes, it’s a microformat viewed and interpreted by search engines alone.


icon-attorney-schemaAttorney Schema

Attorney Schema is markup intended to identify an entity and a law firm. Like location schema, it’s a microformat viewed and interpreted by search engines, not end users.

Legal service schema signifies that you’re a law firm, making you more relevant to users searching for legal information. This can increase your CTR.


icon-faq-schemaFAQ Schema

FAQ Schema is markup intended to identify a question and its answer. It’s displayed in Google’s search results before a website’s meta description tag.


Here’s an example of FAQ Schema.

schema-markup-faqs


icon-review-schemaReview Schema

Review Schema is markup intended to identify information in a review, including the reviewer, the review, and a rating. It displays in Google’s organic search results.


This is how review Schema appears.

schema-markup-reviews


Schema isn’t for the faint of heart. In most cases you’ll need an SEO specialist to support you with its implementation.


Professionally written title and meta descriptions

The page meta title and description tags are what you see in the Google Search Engine Results Page after you type in a search term. The combination of the meta title, description, and page URL is called a snippet.

professional-meta-title-description

Meta titles and descriptions tell Google, and potential clients, about the page’s topic.

Titles and descriptions should be professionally written because of their importance in generating top rankings in Google.


Optimizing title tags for best results

Getting your title tag right is very important. It’s one of the most influential aspects that inform your on-page SEO.

When done right, a well-written title tag can help you rank higher in search results by communicating what your page’s topic is.

Title tags should include the target keyword first, followed by a pipe, then the firm’s name.

page-titles-for-seo

Here are some more tips:

  • Use “lawyer” over “attorney” as it has more search volume
  • Use fewer than 60 characters
  • Target only one location (state/city) per page
  • Include your city or state when optimizing for local search
  • Use modifiers like “near me” or “free consult”

Optimizing meta descriptions for best results

Meta descriptions are longer than titles (166 characters before being truncated) and should use the keyword the page targets but be compelling enough to convince someone to click through to your website.

page-description-for-seo

The more enticing the meta description, the greater the chance that a prospective client will clickthrough to your website versus a competitors.

We recommend including your geography and your primary keyword in your meta description. Start with an action word if possible, and be as compelling as possible.

Here’s an example.

meta description for lawyers


Improve page-load speed

You saw in the section on Core Web Vitals that page-load speed is an important ranking factor in law firm SEO.

Here’s what Google found about mobile page load speeds in a 2017 study.

mobile-page-speed-new-industry-benchmarks-01-2.width-800
(Image Source)

It’s compelling data.

Besides the negative SEO effect, it’s fair to say that nothing damages user experience like a painfully slow website.

So, how’s your site’s speed? Check it using Google’s free tool.

Here’s the result for one of our client websites.

google-page-speed-test

As you can see, the page speed score is 91 percent. The average is between 50-89 percent.

The bottom line? To increase the speed of your website, do the following:

  • Select a premium hosting platform, one that isn’t driving traffic away with poor performance.
  • Compress all images used on your website (uncompressed high-def images are the main cause of slow speed).
  • Install a caching plugin to compress and optimize scripts.

Optimizing internal links

We spoke about internal links briefly, but you should know that they’re an important part of SEO.

By internal links, we mean applying a link via anchor text to another page on the same website. The intention behind it is to help visitors navigate to other relevant pages of your website.

We’ll go over this more later. But for now, you need to know that Google loves internal links.

internal link structure


Why does it matter?

If you follow a flat URL structure as we recommend, internal links are a necessity. They bridge the gap between related articles and website pages, improving user experience, distributing link juice, and allowing Google to more easily crawl your website.

When you get a backlink from an external website with high domain authority, you get a lot of link juice. You can distribute that link juice across your site by using internal links, helping your other pages rank better too.

link juice flow

Internal links also encourage users to stay on your site longer, lowering bounce rates and improving dwell time. These are two significant ranking factors that, when addressed, will improve your rankings.


Use FB Open Graph (OG) tags

Did you know that when someone posts a link to your website or blog on Facebook, a preview of your page content is displayed?

Facebook knows the content of the linked website because it crawls the link and looks for Open Graph tags. Then, when a user publishes a link to a social platform, the open graph data is used. It includes items like the website’s image or logo, page title, and description.

Here’s an example.

Facebook-open-graph-example


Other winning onsite SEO strategies

According to the main authorities on Google ranking factors, the other areas that lawyers should focus on with onsite SEO are:

  • Keyword frequency/density/prominence: Long gone are the days of “keyword stuffing” — that may get your site penalized by Google. But if you can naturally demonstrate relevance to the topic by using a keyword frequently throughout a page, great! Even better if it’s in the first 100 words.
  • Keyword usage in headers and sub-headers: Google uses H1 tags as a relevancy signal, and we encourage our clients to develop content with this in mind.
  • Use of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords: Latent Semantic Indexing keywords are terms related to the main keyword that help search engines understand the meaning behind content — especially if it’s not immediately clear: a term like “insurance lawyers” could mean lawyers who represent insurance firms in legal battles or lawyers for people who want to sue insurance companies: LSI keywords like “civil lawsuit against the insurance company” will tell Google which one you mean.
  • Table of Contents: This helps both readers and Google better understand the content on the page and can lead to extra backlinks — you will find a TOC at the top of most of our blog articles.
  • Quality and readability of content: The depth and recency of content, the frequency of updates, the presence of duplicate content, and the readability of SEO content are all important for rankings.
  • Use of multimedia: The use of images, videos and other multimedia can boost the perceived quality of content.
  • Outbound link volume/quality: Linking to authority sites is generally considered good practice but too many outbound/affiliate links or broken links likely have a detrimental effect.
  • References and sources: Citing references and authoritative sources may indicate quality content — which law firms should find easy to do.
  • Image optimization: File name, alt text, title, description, and caption are important.
  • Mobile-friendliness: Your pages should be optimized for mobile devices according to Google’s “Mobile-first Index.”

Chapter 6:

Local SEO & Google My Business/Business Profile Optimization


Most law firms target the local area as a rich potential source of new clients. To do that online successfully, local search needs to be a priority.

Just look at this stat from Bright Local.

“93 percent of consumers used the internet to find a local business in 2020, with 34 percent searching every day.”

Bright Local’s Consumer Review Survey 2020

Google provides some pointers for businesses. A dedicated page shows you how to improve your local ranking on Google.

From the following, it’s clear that the main factors used by Google in determining rankings are relevance, distance, and prominence:

how-google-determines-local-rankings
(Image Source)

Relevance

Google wants to determine which Google Business Profile listing most accurately matches your search queries.

Put simply, if you search for “criminal defense attorney near me,” Google makes sure that the results it shows are actually matching the query.

You can do a few things to ensure your law firm pops up for local search terms.

  • Choose the right category: Choose the category that represents your practice area the most. Choose a specific option like “criminal defense attorney” over the more generic “attorney.”
  • A comprehensive description: The description of your business should be comprehensive, include keyword phrases, and take up the entire character limit. Read through the guidelines here.

google business description

  • Use images and videos: Add any high-quality images and videos you have to your Google Business Profile. These can include photos of your offices, your staff, thought leadership content, and more. Don’t skimp here; include everything!
  • Detailed service areas and sections: Describe your practice area, and include your targeted keywords. Don’t forget to include all areas your office serves in your profile.
  • Consistent business information: Your NAP is crucial to your local SEO. Make sure your name, address, and phone number are displayed accurately and consistently across the web. Fill out other information like your website URL, hours and operating hours as well.

Distance

Google’s #1 local SEO ranking factor is proximity, or distance. Think about it — if you were to look up “Thai food near me,” you’d expect to find restaurants you can drive to quickly, not those in another state.


Prominence

The ranking factor that requires the most work is prominence. Local lawyer SEO is hypercompetitive, and competition requires a certain amount of prominence to rank highly.

Here are the factors affecting prominence.

  • Links: As we mentioned, backlinks are votes of confidence. The more authoritative backlinks you have, the more likely you are to appear in the three-pack.
  • Reviews: Make sure to solicit not only many reviews but make sure they’re positive reviews. And make sure to respond to all reviews, even negative ones.
  • Directories: Get your law firm listed in as many legal directories as possible. Make sure your NAP is consistent and accurate across all websites.
  • Images: As we mentioned, having more images than your competitors can influence your rankings.

Google Business Profile/GMB: Own your local panel

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is the free business listing that replaced Google Local and Google Places. It is your firm’s direct connection to Google Maps and Google’s local search results.

Here’s how it displays in the search results.

google-local-search-results-listing

If you don’t polish your listing, one of your local competitors will get the free clicks from prominent positions held in the Google SERPs.

An optimized GMB account helps you boost local rankings.


Why’s Google Business Profile important for law firms?

Information from your Google Business Profile account may be used on Google SERPs directly in place of information from your actual website.

A search for San Antonio DWI attorney returns this page.

local-search-results-map-pack

To achieve visibility in the map pack, it’s very important to optimize all your business information.

How to optimize your Google Business Profile account:

  • Enter your business location correctly on the map.
  • List your authoritative and official business website.
  • Add information such as opening hours.
  • Ensure that your business name, address, and phone number(s) (“NAP”) are consistent with other listings and across your website: Google aggregates your business information from around the web – keep addresses and other details EXACTLY the same.
  • Choose the most appropriate primary category for your firm to ensure it shows up in the right searches. Be as specific as possible, i.e., “criminal justice attorney,” not simply “law firm.”
  • Add as many photographs of yourself, your staff, and your business premises as possible to make your firm more prominent.
  • Include a 360-degree tour of your office.
  • Describe the key points of your business, use keywords, and add links in the ‘Introduction.’
  • Solicit reviews about your firm (more about this later).

Why reviews matter

Consumers today are educated and tech-savvy. It’s easy to pull up a list of the top ten criminal defense lawyers out there and widdle them down until you’ve chosen the best.

Reviews are a make-or-break factor in this arena, and are one of the most crucial factors affecting local SEO for lawyers. Having fewer total reviews with a lower overall rating will ruin any chances you have of getting those lucrative cases.

If you were looking for a new dentist in your area, you would go with one with at least a 4.5-star review rating. That principle applies to law firms as well. People looking for legal representation want to hire the best.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of having plenty of five-star reviews is that you’ll be more likely to appear in the map pack.

top criminal defense lawyers

Appearing in the map pack always gets you more leads and more clients, so it’s a worthwhile priority.


Reply to all reviews

Most of us think we need only reply to negative reviews, but that’s bad advice. Replying to all reviews is valuable. Here’s how.

  • Keeps you top-of-mind. Replying to reviews sends a notification to the user who left the review. This keeps you in the mind of the reviewer, helping you further your brand.
  • Reviews are content. Every review you receive strengthens your position on Google and in legal directories, positive or negative. Replying to said reviews generates even more content.
  • Makes you more approachable. Establishing yourself as a thoughtful, relatable human being is hard online. Replying to reviews, even if it’s with a simple “thank you” can go a long way in making yourself more relatable.

Citation building in top legal directories

Citations are references to your business name, address, and/or telephone number on the web. Quality citations are important for law firms, even if you don’t receive a backlink from the referring website.

Google considers citations from well-established and reliable websites (with good domain authority) an important ranking factor. They add credibility, context, relevance, and authenticity to your law firm.

There are two main types of citations relevant to law firms.


Structured citations—the most common; found in online directories like Yellow Pages, Yelp, Lawyers.com, and Avvo.

citation-building-yelp
(Image Source)

Unstructured Citations—found on blogs, government websites, media websites, etc.

unstructured-citation-local-seo
(Image Source)

The best citation sources for law firms

Here are some of the best places to get quality citations.


Prominent legal marketing directories

Go for quality citations over quantity. Most are free, but there are also paid options.

Select the directories with the best domain authority, such as:

Wherever appropriate, make sure that all attorneys at your firm have completed and optimized their personal profiles in the directory.


The key data aggregators in the USA and Canada

“Data aggregators” gather your name, address, phone number, images, etc. and disperse the details to thousands of websites.

The main aggregators in the US and Canada are:

You can submit information to them using Moz Local, Yext or Bright Local or they will get your data from the likes of:

Make sure your business information is correct and optimized with all aggregators, as it is where most search engines get their data.

Your business should be featured in the proper category, and the listing should include images/video, a detailed description, and operating hours.

Yellow-Pages-Structured-Citation
(Image Source)

Every couple of months, updated data is sent to the search engines. If your business information is not up-to-date and doesn’t match with what the search engines already have, it can damage your rankings.


Chapter 7:

Lawyer Link Building


Links remain one of the most influential ranking factors out there. They’re a core part of Google’s algorithm, and serve the practical function of improving navigation through the web.

What is a hyperlink?

Hyperlinks are the clickable underlined text that interconnects websites together. They are often referred to as backlinks.

Here’s how they normally display on a web page.

hyperlink-example-seo

Every backlink pointed to your website acts like a digital vote of confidence to Google.

Many of the top-ranking law firm websites have content that attracts backlinks naturally. Others have invested in campaigns to increase the number of backlinks pointing to their site.

You should do both.

Let’s take a look at how it works and the best-practice strategies you can use to start getting more links.


What is anchor text?

Anchor text is the words that encapsulate a hyperlink. Readers do not necessarily see the URL of the link on the page. Instead, they see colored text (often blue but green in this example).

anchor-text-hyperlink

It’s best if anchor text is descriptive and includes the keywords a website page is attempting to rank for, though you may not have much control over the anchor text that another website uses to link to your pages.

Google says the following about it:

“… anchors often provide more accurate descriptions of web pages than the pages themselves.”

Anchor text remains a ranking factor but don’t overdo the keywords in the descriptions.


How does link-building work?

When an external website links to you, it shares a small portion of its authority.

The process of encouraging other sites to include such links is called link-building, an established SEO strategy.

Here’s a list of hyperlinks on an external scholarship page. All of the blue underlined words are hyperlinks.

hyperlink-examples
(Image Source)

It is sometimes referred to as “offsite” SEO because instead of making changes to your website to improve its rankings, the changes are made on an external website.

In this example, the Yelp website provides a link to the firm Taylor Janis Workplace Law.

yelp-hyperlink-example
(Image Source)

Link-building from these types of authority sites is relatively simple, but sometimes, you’re asked to pay for the privilege.

Here’s a broad overview of the main legal directories, with their domain rating (evaluation of authority).

Getting authority links from sites other than legal directories can be harder work.

The best way is by generating content that compels other site owners to link to it or otherwise investing in strategies that compel other site owners to link to your website.

Let’s look at the best ones.


What is Google looking for with links?

Before we move on, let’s take a quick look at what Google is looking for with your backlink profile, as identified in their ranking factors.

Google considers several link factors when assessing a hyperlink, but we recommend keeping the following factors in mind.

link-factors-google-considers


The 7 best attorney link-building strategies

Apart from directory links, we’ve found the following link-building strategies for lawyers to be the best investment.


Guest posting

Guest posting is where lawyers publish content on another authority’s website in exchange for a backlink.

guest-post-examples-seo
(Image Source)

Usually, it’s a temporary arrangement where you reach out to another law firm, a related professional business, or a professional association and offer to post content their readers would be interested in.

In return, you’ll be allowed to include a backlink or two to your website, sometimes in the content but also in the author bio.

guest-post-hyperlink

The key to guest posting is not to overdo it and to select reputable websites to collaborate with. Quality, not quantity.

The more authoritative the site is, the more value the link back to you will carry.

Guest posting best practices

  • Don’t reuse keywords in anchor text; make it natural
  • Only guest post on reputable sites
  • Get links published in the body text rather than in bios

Infographics

Well-designed infographics have two important characteristics for SEO: they help people stay on your page, and they are easily shareable.

When someone shares your graphic, there’s a good chance of a backlink to your website (you should be credited for your work).

Here is an example from Steinberg Law Firm.

personal-injury-lawyer-charleston-infographic

If you can encapsulate key information in a graphic format (chart, diagram, image with stats), it’s a winning strategy both for your audience and for SEO.

The process is relatively simple, although the execution is everything:

  • Research information from a reputable source
  • Design your infographic professionally
  • Promote the graphic on your website and across social media

Infographic best practices

  • Use data that provides value to your target audience
  • Hire a professional designer to put together visually appealing graphics
  • Use many visual representations
  • Use a catchy headline
  • Promote your infographic everywhere

High-quality blogging

Write compelling content and follow the tips included in our content marketing section above, and you’ll naturally attract backlinks.

It all starts with sharing informative, original content that answers questions thoroughly and effectively.

Therefore, investing time (or money if you hire an external writer) in writing blog posts not only raises your profile as a topical authority but generates backlinks naturally.

high-quality-blogging-example
(Image Source)

Publishing books, eBooks, reports & other quality content

As well as blogging, you can take your knowledge-sharing a step further to generate more backlinks.

If you write high-quality content like eBooks, guides, reports, white papers, and so on, links to it can be widely shared around social media.

Here’s how one Tennessee-based criminal defense law firm, Houston & Alexander, approaches it.

free-ebook-example
(Image Source)

Podcasting

For lawyers who intend to get active with multimedia, podcasts are a great way to share your knowledge and generate more backlinks.

From a link-building perspective, the work you put into a podcast can pay you back in two main ways:

  • Attracting links from media organizations
  • Garnering links from host bios

Here’s a great example from the Legal Talk Network.

In 2018, it posted a podcast titled Fire in a Crowded Theater.

lawyer-podcast-for-seo
(Image Source)

A year later, CNN opinion writer Kara Alaimo published an article on Twitter’s removal of a Nickleback video posted by then President Donald Trump.

In the body of the article, the writer links to the Legal Talk Network’s podcast in a paragraph about free speech.

cnn-article-hyperlink
(Image Source)

Links from large media organizations are worth their weight in gold. This is another example of the power of content creation.


Join Help A Reporter Out

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a free service that helps reporters in North America acquire the expertise they need for their stories.

help-a-reporter-out-for-seo

You can sign up and provide your opinions and quotes as required. The content is used by major news outlets, including Reuters, Fox News, Time, etc.

For you, it’s a path to extra publicity for your firm, as well as credibility and backlinks.

Success with this may take a while. HARO wants to create content that engages the audience, so you need to provide quotes that offer a unique and engaging perspective on the legal topic at hand.


“Win” legal awards & join associations

If you join associations and put yourself in the running for legal awards or purchase them, it can help generate backlinks through the profile pages that you create.

Winning law firm awards work on several fronts. They build credibility, create social proof for your firm, and deliver SEO value.

super-lawyers-awards-seo

Source

A good way to start receiving awards is to nominate other respected lawyers that you are acquainted with. Let them know about the nomination, they may reciprocate in the future.

You can nominate lawyers for awards at the following types of organizations:


Chapter 8:

Reputation Management & Review Solicitation


Reviews or testimonials help potential clients understand your services better AND are important for SEO.

An SEO service for lawyers can help you figure out a way to request reviews and testimonials in a fluid, organic way.

Think of them as your corroborating evidence. Almost all visitors will expect to see other people saying good things about your firm.

attorney-ratings-seo
(Image Source)

Why are reviews important?

Bright Local’s 2020 Local Consumer Review Survey shows how important it is to actively solicit reviews, and to do it continuously.

Review-Statistics

People now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. They are seen as an indication of how much you can trust a local business.

So, you absolutely must have them to attract clients.

From an SEO point of view, reviews are used as an important ranking indicator in local searches. Google says it itself in its guide: improve your local ranking on Google.

“Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.”

A high overall Google review rating (4.8 – 5.0) may also help you rank for “best” or “top” lawyer searches in your local area: another important reason why gathering a broad base of high-quality, positive reviews from clients should be a priority.


How to solicit more reviews

Since reviews are so powerful, how can you get more customers to write them for you?

Try Googling your firm’s name. Which review sites appear on the first page of results? These are the sites that prospective clients will see. Target more 5-star reviews on these sites. That way, existing search results at least present you as the stellar firm that you are.

Following are the fundamentals of how to go about it.


Most importantly and obviously: Ask for them!

Here’s how our client Oykhman Criminal Defence request reviews on their website.

review-solicitation-form
(Image Source)

Note how they make it as easy as possible for clients to leave a review. It certainly works as they have collected hundreds of glowing reviews from clients.


Prime customers at the start and remind them at the end

Let customers know their feedback is welcome and expected at the start of the relationship. Include it in the description of your process while onboarding.

Then, when you remind them to leave a review after the case file is closed, it will jog their memory to act.


Understand the rules of engagement for each review platform

Different sites have different rules for how and where you can ask for reviews.

Yelp expressly forbids asking for or incentivizing customer reviews but Google has no problem with you asking customers to review you.

yelps-review-policy
(Image Source)

Use GatherUp

GatherUp is a platform that helps you automate the customer feedback process. It makes getting online reviews easier.

gatherup-reviews


Manage and respond to all reviews

People are more likely to leave reviews if they know that their feedback will be heard and responded to.

It’s a good idea to respond to every review, both positive and negative (rather than just negative ones).

negative-review

By responding to every review, you show that there is a real human being behind your firm’s review system and they are not just managed by a robot.

Responding to Google My Business reviews also triggers a notification to the reviewer and helps keep you top of mind with them – making it more likely they will come back if legal services are required again in the future.


Where should law firm clients leave reviews?

Put simply, as many places as possible, Remember, prominence is a major ranking factor for Google local search. The more prominent you are on the main review sites the better.

Focus on the following websites.


Google My Business/Business Profile

You’ve seen how Google My Business reviews show on the SERPs with a star rating next to your name. This happens once you have a minimum of five reviews, so make that your first target if you currently have fewer than that.

Oykhman Criminal Defence in Edmonton has cracked it, sitting prominently at the top of local rankings for “criminal defence lawyers Edmonton.”

google-reviews-in-map-pack

You can feature Google reviews on your website too, like another of our clients, Oykhman Criminal Defence.

Google-reviews-on-website


Avvo

If you’re listed on Avvo, make sure that you get customers to review you there.

It is especially important for individual lawyers within law firms to do this. Ratings show on your profile and add instant credibility to your “personal brand” as a lawyer and appear prominently in search.

Here’s an example from personal injury lawyer Ryan Dehoyos.

avvo-review-rating-example
(Image Source)

Yelp

5-stars next to your name on Yelp provides instant credibility and also carries considerable SEO “juice” as reviews from Yelp are aggregated to many other sites.

yelp-review-example-five-stars
(Image Source)

However, bear in mind the strict policies on leaving reviews (and no solicitation) on Yelp, or you could be banned or penalized.

This is why many firms have no reviews on their Yelp profiles. You can send your clients a link to Yelp but don’t request a review and send a direct link to your profile.


Facebook

Regardless of your practice area, it is highly likely that your clients have Facebook profiles. They may not know Avvo, BBB, Yelp, or have a Google account, but they are familiar with Facebook and understand the review process there. It’s very simple.

facebook-review-examples
(Image Source)

Facebook is also an authority site so it is a good idea to actively solicit reviews there.


Better Business Bureau (BBB.org)

Many law firms connect with clients through the BBB, which is considered a trusted authority site by Google. It’s an underused resource by lawyers and if you do get business this way, encourage your clients to leave reviews.

Reviewers can only leave their first name and initial of the last name, which (in the case of a criminal defense lawyer, for instance) can help maintain anonymity.

bbb-review-example
(Image Source)

Further reading


Chapter 9:

Performance Metrics & KPIs


As with any law firm marketing, part of the secret is measuring performance and adjusting campaigns to make them more successful in the future.

The problem is that SEO takes time to work.

After the changes are made, patience is required, and performance needs to be measured and monitored over months rather than days or weeks.


The metrics that matter and how you track them

There are certain metrics to track and interpret if you want to know how successful your SEO efforts are.

Ultimately, these are the following.


Rankings: This shows how are you ranking in Google for your main keywords.

analytics-serps-rankings


Organic Traffic: This shows how many visitors are landing on your website due to organic search.

analytics-sessions


Pages: This shows which pages are receiving traffic. Are they your most important pages?

analytics-pages


Leads: This shows how many target clients are contacting your law firm.

analytics-sales-leads


What are the main tools you can use to track these “vital statistics?”

While an increasing number of analytics providers exist, we’ve found the following analytics platforms to be the best.


Google Analytics

google-analytics-home-page

Google Analytics is a free tool for webmasters.

It allows you to track your goals and measure many key website performance areas:

  • Visitor numbers
  • Visitor source
  • Visitor demographics
  • What they’re doing on your site (behavior)
  • Frequency and ‘recency’ of visits
  • Contact form submissions
  • Conversions
  • Site speed
  • Mobile visitors

Google Search Console

google-search-console

The Google Search Console is another free tool that can help you improve and optimize your website by tracking the following:

  • Who is linking to your site?
  • Are there technical errors on your site that need fixing?
  • What keyword queries are being made by users?

Google Tag Manager

Google-Tag-Manager

Google Tag Manager is also free and manages JavaScript and HTML tags. These are snippets of code that are added to the site and used for tracking and analytics on websites.

This information is then sent to third parties.

If you don’t manage it properly, it can lead to site issues. Tag Manager makes it easy – without the need for a web developer.


Monitoring Calls Via CallRail

callrail-metrics

A great tool for measuring the number of phone calls you receive is CallRail.

I’ve blocked out a few columns for privacy, but you get the idea.

With CallRail, you can:

  • Measure phone call conversations from search, digital marketing (including PPC), or even offline
  • Record phone calls
  • Automatically show the right number to the right audience

Master SEO for law firms by starting with the basics

SEO was, still is, and will be (for the foreseeable future) a key foundation of any law firm’s marketing strategy.

If you’ve read this far, congratulations! You now know most of what you need for a comprehensive understanding of SEO basics.

In brief, try to focus on:

  • Optimized, informative, and in-depth content
  • Building authority
  • A great user experience
  • A good technical SEO structure and user-friendly law firm website design
  • Compliance with all of Google’s guidelines

If you need support with SEO services, contact us to learn more.