Are you a local attorney looking to maximize the return on investment from your brand new shiny website? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great investment. However, the legal niche is an extremely competitive area and there is definitely a “right way” and a “wrong way” to go about optimizing your site. Below are several tips to help you get better visibility in the search engines and generate more cases for your law firm.
Website Structure & Design
Before we even think about link building or landing pages we need to make sure the website is laid out properly. Attorney websites are notorious for having ungodly large images of themselves right smack in the middle of the homepage. While branding is important it’s not more important than giving your visitors the information they require and generating leads. Make sure the following design elements are found on your website.
- Phone number (in text for mobile viewers) is available at the top of the page.
- Contact form is found above the scrolling fold of the page. (This should be site-wide!)
- Minimize flash and moving objects as we you want the focus to go on conversion elements (phone number or contact form).
Now for the structure of the website we want to keep it as simple as possible. Make sure that you group all your practice area pages together. Create a separate category for family law, criminal law and bankruptcy law. You want each category to work as a “silo” that you can internally link between.
SEO in the legal industry is a little different than other niches. Typically you run to the Google Adwords Tool and start plugging away until you find a good mix of searches and competition. The legal niche is primarily full of using a combination of GEOGRAPHY + PRACTICE AREA + ATTORNEY/LAWYER. What’s most important to take in consideration is your law firms’ location and practice area. If you only service clients in the state of New York it probably doesn’t make sense to target visitors from California. Visitors finding your law firm website in California aren’t very likely to convert into a phone call or email. For this very reason you will want to very carefully select the GEOs you want to optimize for. Typically a radius of 30 miles from your office is a safe bet but you will want to test and modify your keywords according to your firms needs.
Local / Place Page Optimization
Google & Bing local place optimization is very important for the legal niche. Typing into the search engine any combination of GEO + Practice Area + Attorney/Lawyer will display “local” listings. For this reason you will want to claim and optimize your listing.
Link building plays a large role in the legal niche just as it does with any other website your performing SEO for. You will want to make sure you submit your website to legal related directories. You can also purchase premium listings on sites such as Avvo and HG.org. Both of these listings can help funnel some much needed authority and link value to your website. Of course these alone will not place you at the top of the SERPS but it will be a good start.
I’ll give you an extra hint: Do the attorneys in your firm have any affiliation with their altar maters? Many times it’s possible to get links from these extremely valuable sites from donor’s pages or even previous graduate profile pages. Make sure to look into every connection each attorney has.
Keep Plugging Away & Continue Testing
The legal niche can be one of the more difficult niches to achieve SEO results in but don’t let that deter you. Remember to target all sorts of local geographies and to continue adding value to your website. This isn’t necessarily a niche where more traffic equals better results so also remember to play around with the location of your contact form and the call of actions you are using to get visitors to convert into client.
Once you learn how to become a lawyer you should be setting up your firms’ website and participating in SEO. It’s an investment that if engaged in properly can be the best marketing tool you will ever invest in.