Want new law firm clients from Google?
Check out this article on law firm SEO.
It’s filled with SEO tips that we use for our clients.
Ready to get started?
Let’s dive in.
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1. Get a basic understanding of law firm SEO
What Is Search Engine Optimisation?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of continuously optimising a website for higher rankings in the organic search results, with a focus on popular search engines like Google.
In saying that, SEO isn’t just about optimising your website.
In fact, SEO involves other disciplines within digital marketing, including:
- Content marketing
- Public relations
- Conversion rate optimisation
- Coding and web development
- Content design
- User experience (UX)
- Lots more
In short, the sites that perform best in Google aren’t just good at SEO. They’re good at digital marketing in general.
2. Keyword Research
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the practice of finding search terms that users enter into search engines when looking for products, services or general information.
Why is keyword research important for law firm SEO?
Keyword research will help you rank your pages on Google.
That’s because you’ll be optimising your pages based on what people are actually looking for.
In other words, you’ll be speaking the language of your target audience.
For example, instead of using the word ‘commercial lawyer’, you might find that ‘business lawyer’ is more popular.
How can law firms do keyword research?
You’ll need keyword research tools.
The good news is, some of them are free.
And you probably don’t need the expensive ones.
These are usually for digital agencies or more advanced users.
Keyword research tools for law firms
- Keywords everywhere (very affordable)
- Google Autocomplete (also known as Google Autosuggest) (free)
- Google Search Console (free)
- Google Keyword Planner (free when using Google Ads)
- Ubersuggest (free option available)
- Moz Keyword Explorer (advanced users)
- SEMrush (advanced users)
- Ahrefs Keywords Explorer (advanced users)
3. Fix up your website
It’s essential that your website is optimised for law firm SEO.
This will help you get better rankings.
Law firm website fixes should include:
- Submit sitemap
- Sync with Google Search Console
- WordPress users: Install and configure an SEO plugin (e.g. Rank Math SEO)
- Not using WordPress? Run your SEO wizard on whatever CMS you’re using (e.g. Squarespace).
- Sync with Google Analytics
- Choose a primary keyword for each page. Add it to the title tag, meta description and URL permalink.
- Secure your website with an SSL certificate.
- Optimise website speed
- Easy navigation (e.g. add a menu to the header and ensure it’s easy to use. You can also add page links to your footer. Don’t forget to use a menu toggle for mobile and tablet devices).
- Responsive design on mobile, tablet and desktop
- Homepage hero must achieve the following:
- It quickly (and clearly) describes what you do
- And what you want someone to do next (e.g. contact you? Join your email list?)
- Lead generation tools (e.g. enquiry form, click to call, online scheduler, etc).
- SEO-friendly copywriting
- Fonts, Colours and general branding consistency
- Develop practice area pages
- CTA button a prominent position (e.g. header and homepage hero)
4. Write SEO-Friendly Content
Each page on your website needs to be Google-friendly.
Including practice areas, homepage, blog posts, news articles, team member bios and more.
But it’s really important to write informative content for SEO.
This will help you get found on Google.
For law firms, this will mostly be news articles, blog posts and practice area pages.
So that’s what this part will focus on.
Quick tips for writing SEO-friendly content:
- Always research a topic before writing it. How? Keyword research, check out popular competitor social media posts, use websites like BuzzSumo, etc.
- Don’t write what you THINK people want to know about. Research it first.
- Flesh out your practice area pages. For example, don’t just have a page on family law. Instead, add subpages (e.g. divorce, property settlement, child custody, parenting plans, binding financial agreements, etc). This shows Google that your website contains supplementary information.
- Listen to this podcast episode: Is blogging a waste of time for law firms?
- Ensure your news articles contain the keywords people are using. For example, if you’re writing about a well-known person who’s been convicted with a criminal offence, use their name (if allowed).
- If you’re first starting out, I suggest you focus on less competitive keywords. For example:
- Sydney Criminal Lawyers = competitive
- Sydney AVO Lawyers = less competitive
- And use the checklist below.
5. Optimise Content for law firm SEO (Checklist)
This checklist will help you optimise your pages so people find them on Google.
It’s based on what we use here at legalsites.
In fact, I’ve used this checklist for this article.
(FYI: Focus Keyword = Primary Keyword)
- Add Focus Keyword to the SEO title
- Add Focus Keyword to your SEO Meta Description.
- Use Focus Keyword in the URL
- Use Focus Keyword at the beginning of your content.
- Tip: The first 10% of the content should contain the Focus Keyword preferably at the beginning.
- Use Focus Keyword in the content.
- Minimum recommended content length should be 600 words.
- Use Focus Keyword in subheading(s) like H2, H3, H4, etc..
- Add an image with your Focus Keyword as alt text.
- Optimise keyword density.
- There is no ideal keyword density percentage, but it should not be too high. The most important thing is to keep the copy natural.
- Short URL
- Permalink should be at most 75 characters long.
- Link to external resources
- It helps visitors read more about a topic and prevents pogo-sticking.
- Include a mix of nofollow and DoFollow links
- Link to other resources on your website
- Internal links decrease your bounce rate and improve SEO.
- Use Synonyms and Related Terms
- Use variations of your target keyword on your page. For example, if your main keyword is “Melbourne Family Lawyers” also use “Family Lawyers in Melbourne”…..”Best Melbourne Family Lawyers” etc….
- Ensure your content looks great on mobile devices.
- Use Structured Data
- Structured data (Schema) can help your site feature “Rich Snippets” in the search results.
SEO Title Readability
- Use the Focus Keyword near the beginning of SEO title.
- Consider using a number in your SEO title. Why? Headlines with numbers are 36% more likely to generate clicks, according to research by Conductor.
- Maybe write a title with a positive or negative sentiment. Why? Headlines with a strong emotional sentiment (positive or negative) tend to receive more clicks.
- Consider adding a ‘power word’ to the title. Why? Power Words are tried-and-true words that copywriters use to attract more clicks. (e.g. proven, powerful, outstanding, etc).
- Add a table of contents
- This can make it easier for people to navigate your content. For example, they can go straight to the information they want. Which makes it less likely they’ll leave your website quickly. ‘Time on-page’ and low ‘bounce rates’ are generally considered very good for SEO.
- Write short paragraphs and sentences.
- I usually write 1-2 line paragraphs and short sentences. This makes it easier for most people to read. In fact, it’s possible that Google is scanning the length of your paragraphs and sentences. So it’s worth making them short and easy to read.
- Use rich media (e.g. images or videos)
- Content with images and/or video feels more inviting to users. It also helps supplement your textual content. This can improve time on page and lower bounce rates.
6. Location Landing Pages
This is one of my favourite law firm SEO strategies.
It’s pretty simple.
Just make landing pages for the locations you want to target.
Keane Family Law landing page for Caroline Springs.
This is a suburb in Melbourne Victoria.
Location landing pages are a fantastic way to target clients in less competitive areas.
You’ll see we’re targeting Caroline Springs, which is easier than ranking for Melbourne.
But the beauty of this is, Google often matches users with pages that are close to their location.
So, if the person is physically located near Caroline Springs while using Google, it’s likely this landing page will show up.
Therefore, it’s possible to out perform more established websites with location landing pages.
7. Local SEO and Google My Business
This is absolutely essential.
In fact, when we sign up a client, local SEO is usually one of our top priorities.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimising a business for location-based keywords, such as “Lawyer Melbourne”.
This makes it more likely that your website will appear on Google Maps and organic search results.
It includes website fixes, Google My Business, building citations, link building and more.
What is the Google map pack?
The Google Map Pack (also known as “The Local Pack”) is a set of 3 local business results. Including a map of their locations pulled from Google Maps.
Why is the Google map pack important for law firms?
A SERP (search engine result page) usually includes:
- Google Ads
- Map Pack
- Organic listings
So it’s important to be included on at least one of these spots.
Ideally, you’ll want to be visible on all three.
This can drastically increase your CTR (click-through rate), referrals from other lawyers, phone calls and website traffic.
Our clients, Hamilton Janke Lawyers, have the top spot.
That’s because we’ve focussed heavily on their local SEO.
Including Google My Business.
How can law firms rank on the Google map pack?
According to Google:
Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search. For example, our algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.(Source: Google)
Relevance refers to how well a local Business Profile matches what someone is searching for. Add complete and detailed business information to help Google better understand your business and match your profile to relevant searches.(Source: Google)
Distance considers how far each potential search result is from the location term used in a search. If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, we’ll calculate distance based on what we do know about their location.(Source: Google)
Prominence refers to how well known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands are also likely to be prominent in local search results.
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. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.(Source: Google)
Google My Business Quick Tips:
- Register on Google My Business (GMB)
- Wait for your postcard to arrive. This will include your verification code. Follow the steps to verify your listing.
- Optimise your listing.
- Ensure your website has the same data as your GMB listing (e.g. name, address, phone number, operating hours, etc). It should be formatted the same. Consistency is important. In fact, keep it consistent throughout all online platforms. Including social media and business directories.
- Fill out your profile. GMB will guide you through this.
- Don’t neglect ‘category’. I suggest you choose the same category that your competitors have chosen. Then fill out the secondary categories too. Many law firms forget to do this. Options could include: law firm, solicitor, divorce lawyer, criminal defence lawyer, legal services, etc. Add as many relevant categories as possible.
- Add your services.
- Keep your business hours up to date.
- Super important: Get reviews and reply to all of them.
- Add plenty of photos and geotag them. Photos are absolutely essential. You’ll drastically increase your chances of getting enquiries with more high-quality photos.
- Complete ‘info’ section. Use the word limit. At the time of writing this, you can add up to 750 words. Include keywords.
- Add videos.
- Use the ‘post’ function.
- Keep checking GMB for new features. And use them. GMB wants you to use the new features.
- Check your ‘insights’ to see what keywords people are using to find you.
Don’t forget to build citations
What are citations?
Citations are any mentions of your brand online. These usually come in the form of directory listings (like Yellow Pages,) or social media profiles.
Remember to be consistent with your GMB listing (e.g. name, address, phone, opening hours, website URL, etc).
Need help with building ciations?
Use our guide. It includes our favourite business directory websites for building citations.
Don’t forget to create your social media profiles. Even if you don’t intend on using them (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn).
Useful Local SEO Resources for lawyers
We’ve got more content that goes into depth on local SEO.
Here are some of our favourites:
- Podcast episode: How to rank on the Google Map Pack
- Blog post: Google My Business for lawyers (3 proven tips)
- Blog post: Local SEO for Lawyers (complete guide)
- Podcast series on Local SEO: (part 1, part 2, part 3)
Local SEO for lawyers is also a fundamental service in our SEO campaigns. Check it out here if you’re interested.
8. Link Building and Outreach
Link building is the hardest (and most important) part of any law firm SEO strategy.
Here’s the truth:
If your site doesn’t have backlinks pointing to it, you’re probably not going to rank very well.
So it’s also important to promote your content via outreach and on social media.
Link building tips for law firms
- Write content with original data. This can increase the chances another website will link to you. For example, you could post an article that contains insightful data, insights, research on a relevant topic. If another website is writing about a related topic, and they find your article, they might reference your article and link to it. Or you could reach out to a website and suggest they link to your article.
- Contact websites that might want to link to your article. Don’t just contact anyone. It’s really annoying. I get generic emails every week asking for links. Most of them don’t appear to have researched my brand.
- Don’t spam. Send unique, short and tailored emails.
- Need help with building links? Consider our SEO campaigns.
9. Use SEO Tools and Software
You can technically practice SEO without a single tool.
But it makes SEO significantly harder.
Our favourite law firm SEO tools and software
- Keywords everywhere (Google chrome extension).
- Google Analytics
- Google search console
- Google Tag Manager
- Google keyword planner
- SEM rush
10. Collect and analyse your data
It’s really important to gather high-quality data.
This will show you:
- Where your leads and traffic are coming from (e.g. Google, paid ads, social media, word of mouth, etc).
- Popular days of the week
- Seasonal trends
- What’s working
- What isn’t working
- Keyword opportunities
- Which pages are the most popular
- And so much more
Use the tools that we’ve suggested in this article (e.g. Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google My Business, other SEO tools, etc).
And measure your success consistently.
I hope you enjoyed this article!
Here’s what I suggest…
What are you going to work on first?
Pick one tip from this article and work on it now.
Let me know how you go!
Bonus: Want a free law firm marketing plan?
Learn the secrets to getting new clients with law firm marketing.
Hit the button below.