Your office is Pinterest perfect. Your team’s new headshots are on point, so you have not had to convince anyone you’re not a cat. Your brand continues to evolve and improve — shouldn’t your SEO practices grow with you?
You might already have a pretty good idea of what SEO is and how it works. If you’re just here to understand the finer details, feel free to skip ahead to the next section — although a little refresher never hurts.
SEO — short for search engine optimization — is the science of finessing law firm website content in accordance to search trends to get more impressions and better leads. Although SEO requires an understanding of algorithms and complex technical strategies, it’s also as much about understanding basic human nature and your particular target audience, and applying that knowledge to your website content to increase website visitors through search engine results pages, known as SERPs.
Today’s SERPs are busier than Austin at brunch, with more advertising and organic results than the days of bright banner ads and boring blue links in a vertical list.
When your future clients search for a keyword like “personal injury lawyer,” they will see various results, not just a list of lawyers stacked together like the yellow pages.
Typical SERP SEO results include:
Organic website visitors nearly always have the highest conversion rate of all forms of online traffic. (Check your Google Analytics now; I’ll wait! Does your organic traffic convert into leads and phone calls at a higher percentage than paid, social or referral traffic? I bet it does!) But SEO isn’t just about integrating the right keywords into your web content — although that’s one of the more well-known pieces of the SEO puzzle. Rather, it’s about having a wrap-around content strategy that is informed by well-researched data and a mastery of the technical side.
Advertising is not just good for your law firm, it’s good for the people you have the opportunity to serve. But in the internet age it’s not enough to simply have a website; you also need a strategy to stand apart from the crowd. Whether you lead a brand-new firm or are simply ready to reimagine how you market your legal services, investing as early as possible in attorney SEO sets you up for the most success in the long run.
When crawling and indexing sites, Google typically prioritizes high-quality content that’s accurate, recent and easily available. Because the best law firms naturally provide this kind of content on their sites, anyway, optimizing SEO — especially on the technical side — to bring in high-quality clients just makes sense.
Getting your name on a billboard isn’t enough to build the trust and connection many people want to feel before even contacting you for the first time.
A competitive 21st-century law firm website needs to provide an immersive, educational experience. What you say — and how you say it — is your identity. The more people know who you are and how you can help, the more you can establish your firm as a trusted name.
Cultivating your SEO ranking to appear higher in SERPs means you need to provide quality content that puts your law practice in front of people at the precise moment they are actively looking for your legal services.
SEO for lawyers is particularly important because first-page rankings often translate into credibility and trust. And how many people take the time to click past the first page of search results? The first position in Google search results has a 33% click-through rate on both desktop and mobile, while second-page click-through rates drop to an astounding 2 to 3% and decrease from there.
HubSpot’s 2019 Global Survey indicated that 70% of marketers are already actively investing in content marketing, and about 64% of marketers report spending time on SEO. Think about how much your firm is currently spending in time and money on your SEO campaign and how you measure its success. In views? Rankings? New clients? Social media success?
Organic search traffic is an investment in your law firm’s visibility and relationship with the public that will pay off long into the future. Working with a law firm SEO company means you’re acquiring an asset rather than renting space that disappears as soon as you stop paying for it like with pay-per-click ads, which may get you attractive SERP positions but also high CTRs that leave your marketing budget high and dry.
If you know you could get more from your firm’s SEO strategy, read on to learn why you just might decide partnering with an agency experienced in SEO for attorneys is a good move for your firm.
When taking steps toward even better SEO optimization, you can start right at home. For some industries, Google assumes that the searcher will want a company near them even if they don’t put a geographic qualifier (such as Austin) in their search. A quick search for “Pizza” on Google likely shows you the nearby pizza shops, rather than the highest-ranking pizza places in the country.
The legal space is another industry that produces localized search results on Google. This is where the local map pack plays such an important part in getting found:
Using your Google My Business page to improve local SEO rankings is a matter of ensuring your business profile is thoroughly updated in three areas:
You can ensure your law firm is making headway on the website users driven from SERPs by consistently creating and sharing quality content informed by data about what people want to know. One way to do this is by designating an online content marketing writer who works with your SEO expert to publish content on your site — and not just on social media. On the other hand, many firms choose to partner directly with an SEO agency to ensure the content represents both their values and law firm SEO service best practices.
If the attorneys in your law firm are licensed to practice in multiple states, you may also want to consider playing in the bigger pond, in which case you’ll also need to compete with more firms. With expanded visibility, your firm can become a contender for high-profile cases like class-action lawsuits, which can result in significant payouts for clients and attorneys alike.
An experienced SEO marketing team can provide a custom law firm website with a dedicated SEO strategy that works to secure top expanded rankings and legitimate, quality leads without upending the personalized, local presence your firm has worked hard to build.
Using SEO to rank in organic searches is tantamount to staying competitive. Organic searches are the dominant channel of website users, and consumers themselves trust Google’s algorithm user experience and rely on it for service and content at a rate that is growing faster than even organic social media, according to BrightEdge Research.
Companies that are already intentionally using SEO demonstrate that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to increasing organic traffic. But there are a variety of research-supported methods law firms can use to increase their search engine rankings to get clicks that turn into conversions.
By meeting you where you are, we can ensure that your SEO strategy is targeted to your specific needs, as we did with FVF Law in Austin. FVF Law’s involvement in the Austin community, compassion for people, and commitment to providing transparent and honest legal representation set them apart in the highly competitive personal injury law field. The firm already had a great site with great information and lots of positive reviews. What was missing were crucial SEO technical updates, new page content — including Spanish-language pages to remain accessible to the community’s sizable Latino/a population — and high-quality link building.
Our legal copywriting team got to work writing more than 40 new pages of content and rewriting existing content to optimize it for SEO. We then integrated this copy into a new site structure and navigation while maintaining a focus on a positive user experience.
In just under two years, FVF Law’s monthly organic traffic has increased 993% percent, with first-page rankings for more than 370 high-value search terms and 108 in the top three. They also increased their number of leads six-fold.
Google’s significance in your SEO practices cannot be overstated. More than 200 factors go into Google's algorithm. Google says they actually have a “whole series of algorithms to help them sort through the billions of webpages to find the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second.” So, it’s no wonder that it can feel like an unwinnable race to the top of the rankings, especially when Google’s algorithm is constantly changing.
Whether you’re thinking of taking on the task of legal SEO yourself or looking to partner with a law firm SEO company, there are a few critical factors to understand to get a top ranking and drive high-quality traffic.
Don’t just take our word for it. Google themselves says:
“If you're thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you're considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.”
If a number one position is your goal (as it should be), technical SEO elements are the breadcrumbs that can lead you to your number one ranking.
Before making any major adjustments or investments in rebuilding or improving your website, your SEO team should conduct a technical audit to assess the health of your website’s technical SEO. Our audits look at more than 80 technical items.
Here are a few of the ways we optimize your technical SEO:
The bottom line with technical SEO is that without intentionally adopting savvy practices that court the algorithm, your law firm can have all the great content and backlinks in the world but will likely fail to achieve a top-three ranking if it is sitting on or pointing to a site with a shaky SEO foundation.
Connecting with potential clients is about warmth and competence — you don’t have to be afraid to show you know your stuff! However, what you post is also important on a technical SEO level. While you may already have great content on your website that can be optimized to drive website traffic and increase leads for new clients, you likely need more.
Before finalizing a content creation strategy, you — and perhaps your lawyer SEO provider — should conduct a content audit to assess your existing assets to determine how you might reorganize, repurpose, improve, add to or even prune your existing content.
As long-form content increasingly becomes a source of SEO success (notice how long this page is?), it’s important to think about the role you want an ongoing blog to play in SEO for your law firm.
Blogs get fresh content and keywords into Google, but they also help your firm develop its voice, keep a conversation your community, and even avoid fruitless leads by giving potential clients an opportunity to see whether or not your law firm is a good fit for them.
When your core content is engaging and informative, it gives people a reason to keep coming back — not to mention, it gives Google plenty to grab onto to keep your law firm fresh and on top in SERPs.
Unfortunately, many busy attorneys often put blog writing on the back burner. A comprehensive SEO strategy should include creating and optimizing content for your site that is both richly informative to the user and search engine.
A content plan or strategy will allow you to tell your stories but do so with purpose and in an organized manner. Law firms, especially those that seek to optimize their SEO, find themselves needing to highlight their specific areas of practice, which can be relatively narrow.
Repeating similar content is OK, but the approach and the keywords should change. A good blog strategy should include choosing topics wisely, considering which will be evergreen and which might fit a particular season for which certain keywords are ultra-popular and then matching relevant keywords and phrases. Staying on top of the evolving data and generating content is time-consuming work! Thankfully, we know a few people who are great at this.
You already know that link optimization is a crucial part of any SEO strategy, but the landscape of link building is always in flux. As the algorithms get more complex, the importance of high-quality — and compliant — website links are more important than ever.
Search engines use links to find new pages but also to assess the quality of those pages. The more high-quality sites that link to your site, the more Google trusts that content and the higher your content will rank. While creating backlinks used to be as simple as submitting your website to every Web 2.0 site, writing a press release and sending it to 200 sites or using software to submit your site to 500 directories, now that kind of over-optimization will get your law firm dinged in the rankings.
Instead, maintaining consistent link building is as important as any other kind of networking — and as time-consuming. Here are just a few of our proven strategies for acquiring high-quality links:
A high-quality backlinking campaign usually takes two to four weeks to ramp up and can be upwards off a month or two before they start positively impacting your SEO ranking. Depending on your site’s current position versus the competition and especially if you have a brand new site, it can take up to a year of consistent link building to see the kinds of results you are expecting.
For many of the law firms we help with building backlinks, the first six to 12 months are spent playing catchup to other firms. Once we catch them up, we can help them surpass the competition. For many law firms, staying consistent with link building when there are a thousand other tasks at hand is a challenge. Neon Ambition is one of the few SEO companies that guarantees high-quality backlinks are built each month.
According to Google, SEO typically takes four to 12 months from the time you begin making changes until you start to see the benefits. We always try to set realistic expectations that the ROI from SEO often comes in the later half of the first year and more so in year two and thereafter, once you’ve really climbed the rankings and are getting all the traffic and leads that come with that.
Often, attorneys can pick up some quick wins on long-tail search terms to get a few cases coming in the door sooner rather than later to help cover their early investment in SEO. Obviously, the ultimate goal for most firms is to secure more clients, more cases and more revenue, but because SEO is a long-term commitment to investing in the future of your law firm, success looks much different at different stages of the process. Often in the early months, we have to look at improvements in keyword rankings as we are moving a law firm from ranking on page 10 to page five to page two. All of this movement is in the right direction but likely not leading to more traffic as few people look on page two.
Neon Ambition’s competitive research can help you set realistic expectations for success, given where you are and where the competition is in terms of number of pages of content, quality of content, and number and quality of backlinks you’ll need to achieve first-page success.
The ROI of paid ads is more immediate, and many people appreciate the easy measurability of pay-per-click advertising (PPC). However, in a highly competitive industry like the legal field, the monthly cost of PPC to stay on top can be astronomical.
The amount of traffic and cases a law firm can generate from SEO is often more than could be achieved with even an unlimited ad budget simply because more people click on organic rankings than they do on paid ads. We often see SEO for law firms generating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of traffic organically, investing far less monthly in SEO to achieve those levels of traffic.
We aren’t fans of the word impossible, and we know you understand your law firm’s goals and expertise best. So we understand why you may want to handle your own SEO. We also know that search engine optimization isn’t rocket science; but SEO is probably not the only rocket you’re commanding.
If you’re interested in going the DIY route, you will need to consider — at the very least — five basic processes:
Building and maintaining SEO is a momentous undertaking for your legal marketing manager. If you only have one marketing person in your firm, expecting them to be able to handle SEO all on their own is a pretty unfair ask. If that person is you, how often have you told yourself you will just check in on Google Analytics “real quick” only to finally look up from the screen when you realize you might have missed a meal or two?
We can’t guarantee you won’t still fall down the rabbit hole — especially when it’s great-looking data — but knowing your firm is in good hands doesn’t hurt.
Our clients often have a Senior SEO, Junior SEO, Copywriter, Editor, Link Builder, and an Account Manager. Even a law firm with an in-house marketing team can benefit from partnering with the right SEO provider.
There are some risks your practice just can’t afford. There are literally thousands of SEO companies, and some have more scruples than others. Hearing story after story about bad experiences people have had with SEO was actually one of the driving factors that led Jordan Slover to found Neon Ambition.
There is a pretty good chance you have been spammed by an overseas —or even local— SEO company guaranteeing you results for a low, low price. In fact, one national firm we work with spoke with and received quotes from 10 different SEO agencies before deciding to work with us. The range of prices they were quoted varied between $1,500/month to $15,000/month. How is that possible?
Unfortunately, buying SEO can be tricky when everyone makes the same promise of first page success. There are some things you just should not bargain shop, and the future of your law firm is one of them. If you do sign up with one of these companies, hopefully you will just find yourself the victim of black hat tactics, poor quality content and bad link building. At worst, however, you might have just given access to your entire digital presence — and possibly confidential or sensitive personal or financial information — to scammers.
Always research the company you are considering hiring, and don’t be fooled by one-size-fits-all promises. A good SEO company will take the time to research your law firm and set realistic expectations with you. This is why we spend on average five hours between speaking with and educating our clients on how SEO works and what we do, conducting competitive research and reviewing options and — most importantly — setting expectations. We know this is an important decision for your firm, and it’s one that we don’t take lightly.
As a digital marketing agency focused on being the best option for law firms nationwide, Neon Ambition helps law firms grow through SEO. We focus on forging strong relationships with our clients and see ourselves as a partner with a vested interest in your success. We take the time to give you undeniable proof that our campaigns are strategic and successful with hard, quantifiable evidence.
If you are ready to grow your law firm by optimizing your online presence, contact us to schedule a complimentary mini-audit. Let’s talk about how we can help you generate more traffic, leads, and conversions that don’t just look good in marketing reports but result in high-quality clients who help you meet your firm’s goals.