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Law Firm SEO: Beginner’s Guide (2020 Update)

Today I’m going to show you how to get started with law firm SEO.

Helping you get more clicks, traffic, leads and conversions.

I use most of these techniques for my clients.

Getting them great results.

Let’s get started.

Choose the best platform

Start With A Solid Foundation

Every law firm needs a solid website. This is the foundation for every successful SEO strategy. Here at LegalSites, we suggest using WordPress. This is an open-source platform that powers 30% of the top million websites.

What’s an open-source platform? It means that the source code is available for modification by users and it’s freely available. Yes, WordPress is totally free. I know, how good is that? The only downside is you have to figure out everything else for yourself. Including hosting, themes, site builders, plugins, domains, Google indexing and so on. Hence, WordPress can feel a bit daunting for beginners.

WordPress doesn’t hold your hand like your Kindergarten teacher did. But it lets you create a website with limitless potential.

Closed-source platforms guide you through the steps of building a website. These include Squarespace and Wix. If you haven’t seen their ads, you don’t watch enough Youtube.

What’s the downside? They’re expensive and buggy. Back in the early day, I used Wix to build a DJ website. It overheated my laptop and drained my bandwidth. Many of the apps also had hidden costs. If you want to create a blog and add users, good luck. The same goes for Squarespace.

Closed-source platforms also restrict the user from editing their website as they see fit. In fact, as your business grows, the limitations of these platforms will become clear.

Open-Source v.s Closed-Source: The Takeaway?

There’s a lot more we could say here, but this is an article about SEO. All you need to know is that WordPress is flexible, free and SEO-friendly.

How do you get started? We suggest you hire a law firm website designer. This is because WordPress doesn’t hold your hand like other platforms. Otherwise, you might find the process overwhelming. Leading to an unpolished and ineffective website.

Audit your website

SEO Audits

“At age 11, I audited my parents. Believe me, there were some discrepancies, and I was grounded.”

Will Ferrell, The Other Guys

If you haven’t seen ‘The Other Guys’ with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, add this to your list. It has nothing to do with SEO, but it’s a sensational movie.

Now, let’s talk about SEO Audits.

If you have a website, it’s time to give it an SEO audit. This will show you the issues that need fixing. But, be mindful that some SEO audits are incredibly superficial and overly-simplistic.

You should use an in-depth and comprehensive SEO audit tool. Many of these aren’t cheap. Get in touch if you would like LegalSites to provide you with a free website audit.

SEO audits should do the following (and more):

  • Ensure your site is getting indexed and crawled. (This sounds weird, but it’s a good thing).
  • Check for penalties in Google Search Console
  • Test your site
  • Analyse your backlinks and competitors
  • Check errors and redirections
  • Audit on-page tags

Get the basics right

On-Site SEO For Law Firms

This involves editing the website so that it gains a better organic rank in search engines. The main things to consider are page titles, meta descriptions, heading tags (H1, H2, etc.), Yoast (this is a free SEO plugin on WordPress) and alt tags for images.

Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

Page Titles & Meta Descriptions

The page title (also known as Title Tags or Meta Titles) should mention the keyword that you are targeting. Whereas the meta description should compel people to click on your site.

It’s a common misconception that the meta description should include keywords. Whilst this is okay, your ranking won’t improve as a result. Yet, a high click-through rate will improve your SEO. Thus, you should write a compelling meta description but don’t cram it with keywords. The Google algorithms are designed to flag ‘spammy’ descriptions.

H1 and H2 Tags

These are ‘heading’ tags. In your web page copy, break up your sections into headings and paragraph text. For example: use H1 for your main heading and H2 for sub-headings. The H1 tag should definitely include your target keyword.

Alt Tags

Google algorithms can’t ‘see’ your images. So, they need alt tags to tell them what the image is. How is this achieved? Describe the image using an alt tag. This will increase the chances your website will rank in search results.

Yoast SEO Plugin

This is free plugin for WordPress and it’s sensational. Once installed, Yoast easily lets you optimise the SEO of each page. Whilst closed-source platforms include an ‘SEO Wizard’, Yoast is free. It’s also used by many of the world’s top-performing websites.

Ensure your website has relevant content

The foundation of your website is the content on your homepage, practice area pages, lawyer bios and blogs. These pages should include targeted keywords and compelling content. Before you dive in, research your competitors and use SEO tools (e.g. SEMRush and Ahrefs). This will ensure your pages are SEO-friendly.

Every law firm needs detailed practice area pages. For example, personal injury law can include more than a page for ‘auto accidents’. Why not add a page for ‘commercial truck accidents’, ‘Uber accidents’ and ‘bus accidents’? This helps you rank in search results for specific topics. Why? The content and page URL includes targeted keywords that people are looking for.

Once you have nailed these topics, move on to blog posts. If you’re not sure what to write about, start with FAQs.

Start compiling a list of the most commonly asked questions from your target audience. Turn these questions into informative articles. Create a schedule and post consistently. This is a great way to develop trust and confidence in the minds of your audience. As your reputation grows, so will your traffic.

Take-home point? Improve your SEO by creating keyword-specific content that brings people to your website.

Bonus Tip –

Test your writing with The Hemingway App. It points out errors, helps improve the readability of your article and generally makes you a better writer. Forget asking a colleague or family member to proof-read everything. Use the Hemingway App instead. The best part? It’s totally free. I use it for every article I write.

Off-site SEO for Law Firms

Off-site SEO For Law Firms

Pack up your bags, wave goodbye to your beautiful website — it’s time to go on an adventure. It’s called ‘off-site SEO’.

Link Building

This is one of the most important ranking factors. Essentially, Google likes it when high-quality websites link back to your website. For example, a link to your website from an article by The Australian. This is much more effective than several hundred links from low-quality websites. That’s why you shouldn’t waste your money buying links from Fiverr. These websites can also attract a penalty from Google if it suspects you are buying dodgy links.

The easiest way to create quality links is to start small. Try sponsoring local events and scholarships. Send out a press release to small publications. Attend networking events. Build up your circle of influence and establish connections. Usually, the best way to build links is to get off your computer and talk to people.

Directories

These are websites that connect potential clients with lawyers. They can be industry-specific or broad. For example, Lawyer list, Local Search and OneFlare. Check that they include ‘do-follow links’ because many of them only provide a ‘no-follow link’. This has no SEO benefit.

Google Business Profile

Claim your profile if you haven’t already. It’s totally free and many of your competitors have already claimed theirs. This will help your website show up in the Google Map Pack, which is often at the top of locally-based searches.

Please ensure consistency. For example, your contact details should match the info on your website.

What Next?

The Next Steps

Law Firm SEO isn’t supposed to be simple. If it were, everyone would be doing it right. This creates a golden opportunity for those people who invest early. Once you start, you’ll wonder why you ever hesitated in the first place.

I hope this article has moved you closer to your goals.

Please get in touch if you would like some help with your law firm web design and digital marketing.

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