You don’t have to be a computer programmer to understand the fundamentals of marketing your law firm’s website. To increase the number of clients inquiring about your legal services, there are a few easy steps to take. Let’s get started by laying a foundation for the basics of law firm SEO.
Some SEO Advice from a Google Expert
If you plan on getting your website on the front page of Google, it is important to know about Matt Cutts, an SEO Specialist and Engineer with Google.
To stay on top of your website’s optimization and attract new clients, here are a few tips from Google’s search engine expert:
As you can see in the video above, how your website is structured, the quality of your backlinks and the authority (or the importance) all play a part in whether your website shows up in the search results.
Now, let’s see if your attorney website is search engine friendly. Here are 7 SEO tips for lawyers and law firms:
SEO Tip #1: Improve Site Speed
Your website’s load time has a direct impact on both a visitors experience and your search engine rankings.
Think about this: a one-second delay in page load time could:
- Reduce page views by 11%
- Increase visitor dissatisfaction by 16%
- And, reduce client acquisition by 7%
The speed of your website can have a dramatic effect on your business. Prospective clients searching for a lawyer may not be patient to wait for your website to load before jumping back on Google to find a faster loading lawyer website.
To put this into perspective, Google has performed some research on the average site speed for websites in the United States:
To check the performance of your law firm’s website you can use Google’s free Page Speed Insights Tool. If we take one of the top search results for “California law firm” and put it into this tool, here’s what you’ll see:
Marshall Law Firm has a good score for the desktop version of their website and offers suggestions to improve its performance.
You may want to talk to your web developer to make the appropriate adjustments to your law firm’s webpage load time (i.e. reducing web coding and server response time).
However, according to Yahoo 80% of your website’s load time comes from the different images, videos, and design style to that page. If you can reduce either the size of these files or minimalize your site design, you can improve the performance of your load times.
SEO Tip #2: Focus on Visitor Experience
Google and other search engines want you to focus on user experience and site design. Their goal is to offer the best websites to provide only the best experience.
Your law firm’s website should be responsive which means it can be viewed on both a desktop and a mobile device. Since so many people are using their smartphones to find information, you don’t want to lose potential clients to a competitor staying ahead in the digital race.
Another feature about user experience includes the content on your pages. All your pages should have text and a few images, this is what search engines use to determine what your pages are all about.
Think about some of the best websites you enjoy. That’s the kind of experience you want to provide when someone visits your website or reads your law firm’s blog.
SEO Tip #3: Use Words People Search For
Understanding which words are being used in search engines is the most important part of your law firm’s SEO strategy.
Keywords, the words or phrases used in searches, should be used throughout your website and blog to increase your website’s search engine rankings and help you attract potential clients.
There are a number of free research tools you can use to find exactly which keywords people are using. Here are a few you can start using now:
SEO Tip #4: Create Keyword Specific Pages
Once you have discovered the keywords related to your law firm, the next step is to start building pages or blog posts with them in it.
Be sure to use specific keyword phrases and don’t be afraid to create pages from keywords that have low competition. For example, if a keyword phrase like “low price divorce attorney” only gets 10 to 50 searches per month, yours may be the only website specific enough to answer their questions (and potential business inquiries).
SEO Tip #5: Avoid Penalties
No one fully understands how a website is ranked by search engines, however, there are a few known penalties that can affect you. Here are a few you should know about:
- This penalty occurs if your website is showing full content to Google and partial content to your visitors. For example, if you force users to sign-in, register, or log-in to see the full content.
- Hacked Site. If your website has been hacked and its redirecting visitors to spammy sites, search engines like Google will quickly pick up on this and flag it. The results can lead to your website getting buried in the search engines.
- Keyword Stuffing. From time to time, using keywords in your law firm’s blog is how search engines know which content to offer their searchers. However, if you use the keyword too many times, known as keyword stuffing, your website can be penalized for it.
Getting a penalty on your website can dramatically damage your standings on the results pages of search engines. Here, the best SEO tip for lawyers is to avoid these penalties and use search engine webmaster tools (such as Google Search Console) to monitor your website. If there’s ever a problem with your website, for example, if it gets hacked, Google Search Console will send you an immediate notification.
SEO Tip #6: Add Your Law Firm’s Website to Google My Business
Google My Business is extremely important to your website’s search rankings as it affects your local SEO. After you sign up, you have to wait for a postcard to be sent via mail to verify your business. As soon as you get it, verify your website so you can show up in localized and map searched.
Other search engines have their own local listings and directories which you should add your website to:
In addition to these popular business directories, you should also put your website up on these lawyer specific listings:
SEO Tip #7: Use a Strong CTA
Of all the lawyer SEO tips to help improve your website’s search rankings and attracting more visitors to your website, this is the one tip that matters most.
A call to action is a unique and noticeable statement telling visitors what to do when they arrive at your website. When potential clients are coming to your website you should have a dedicated page with a contact box, location, and other ways to reach you.
Additionally, you should think about how to make your number and contact information pop-off the page. Or, consider offering a free consultation if they schedule an appointment online. Whatever you do, after putting all this work into getting people to your website, contacting you should be obvious and easy to do.