A lot of law firms rely on their reputation and word of mouth to generate business — so as long as you have a website that’s presentable, you’ll be fine, right?
Unfortunately, your digital marketing and online presence is much deeper than that.
Of course, having a presentable website with a seamless user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) that is able to convert traffic into leads is essential, but your website also needs to be discoverable.
That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in. In this guide, we will be discussing what SEO is and why it is important for all law firms to use SEO with their online content.
What is SEO?
When you google something, do you usually go to the second and third pages on Google to find your answer? Probably not.
The reality is, the first five results on Google make up 67.6% of online traffic across all search engines, with only a small fraction of traffic making it to page two or three.
SEO is a way that you can increase organic traffic (visitors) to your website without having to pay for clicks — it just takes time. SEO does this by increasing your ranking on the search engine results page (SERP), so that you’re more discoverable on the internet.
How long does it take?
As we mentioned above, with lawyer SEO you can have your website at the top of Google without having to pay for your position with Google Ads — but it takes time for this strategy to be implemented. So, how long are we talking? Well that depends on a few different factors:
- The level of competition in your chosen industry
- The authority on your site (pre-existing SEO)
If the type of law you specialise in has a relatively low level of competition and your firm has already established a base level of SEO on your website, it may only take as little as two months to see results from SEO.
On the other hand, if your firm has a high level of competition and no base for SEO, it may take up to 12 months or more to see results.
As a general rule of thumb, the average time to see results from SEO is between six to 12 months. The key to seeing results sooner is by starting as early as possible.
Below is an example of a law firm we have worked with in the past, and how long it took for their SEO to become effective. Some of the law SEO keywords we ranked for throughout their entire site included:
- Family lawyers near me
- Restraining orders WA
- Separation checklist Australia
- Cost of divorce in Australia
- Divorce lawyers in Perth
- Lawyers payment plans
- Divorce lawyers near me
Why lawyers need SEO
Even if we agree that your firm attracts most of its business from word-of-mouth right now, we can’t stress enough how important SEO is for scaling a business. Without a proper SEO strategy, your law firm is missing out on a large percentage of the market because you simply aren’t discoverable on the internet. SEO is important because it increases the visibility of your firm.
Here are some statistics on how clients engage with law firms online:
- 70% of firms attract new cases from their website
- 74% of consumers who visit a firm’s website do so with the intent to take action
- 57% of consumers search for lawyers by themselves online
- 87% of firms have a website, which makes for a very competitive market
These points, particularly the second point, should be able to establish quite clearly how important SEO is. If nearly three out of every four people are landing on your website with the intent to take action, no doubt an increase in traffic will have a linear relationship with an increase in customers.
If you’re still not convinced that SEO is important, here’s a statistic for you:
SEO is able to reduce the cost of your customer acquisition by 87.41%.
Does that sound like something you’d like and should be doing?
That being said, what is involved to optimise a website for a search engine?
What does the SEO process look like?
Organic SEO for lawyers
The first priority is to try and predict what potential clients are searching for in Google – we call this keyword research. By having these keywords and key phrases on your website, and having them there in a natural easy-to-read way, Google will rank your page over others.
49% of all marketers think that organic search has the very best return on investment of any marketing channel, whether that’s digital or non-digital.
If Google can recognise that you’re trying to answer someone’s question online, the amount of traffic being sent to your page will increase – without a doubt.
The sorts of phrases we would target in an SEO campaign for lawyers (depending on the type of law you practise) would include:
- Lawyer Perth
- Criminal lawyer Perth
- What questions should I ask a solicitor?
- What is a family lawyer?
As you can see, these keywords have little similarity or cohesion, and would be hard to try and put together on the same page. In an SEO campaign, there would be many different pages, blogs and forms of online content made so that all keywords relevant to your firm are included.
Content creation for lawyers
The vehicle to enhance a website’s SEO is content. Google is intelligent and it can calculate the readability of your content, so if you are just trying to flood a web page with keywords in a list style format that isn’t creative or engaging, it will actually decrease your ranking.
Having good quality content will not only help increase your ranking with Google, it will also be more engaging for your audiences. Educating and helping your potential customers with quality content builds trust and credibility, making their decision to choose your law firm an obvious choice.
The types of content that can bolster your SEO, or the different types of tools that can bolster your SEO, is broad.
Let’s say someone is browsing the internet trying to find out what a binding financial agreement is, you can create a blog article that addresses exactly what the reader wants to know. Through the blog article you can address exactly the person’s psychological pain points and explain how using a lawyer will reduce their stress and make their life easier, eventually leading them to take action with your firm.
Let’s say a prospecting client wants to know what they will need in order to go through a property settlement. You can create a how-to guide or checklist to outline exactly what they need, and what the process is. Throughout the piece of content, you can funnel them towards needing a lawyer by resonating with their pains and explaining how your firm can help them alleviate those pains.
Some of the forms of content include:
- Blog posts
- Web pages
- Photos and visual galleries
- Buying guides and how to content
- Local SEO for lawyers
Have you ever searched for “restaurants near me”? If you have a good local SEO system, your business will come up first. If a firm has a physical location, they will be able to use local SEO.
For example, if someone searched “lawyers Subiaco” which is a suburb in Perth, a good local SEO strategy will ensure your firm appears at the top of the list.
To put it simply, the more you tell Google where you are, the more Google wants to recommend you when someone searches for something geographically.
Internal linking for lawyers
Internal linking is the process of linking web pages together using a hyperlink. Think of it like being a spider web or network of pages all connected by a clickable blue link that takes you from one page to another — the more relevant pathways that connect pages, the more Google understands about your website.
Why is that important?
Google’s main objective is to serve the searcher. If a prospect spends 5 minutes reading your blog and 5 minutes on your service page, it signals to Google that you are serving the searcher. After all, time spent on a page is one of the factors Google uses to rank your website. So, how would this work for you?
Let’s have a look at the example below,
If your website has 10 SEO blogs on divorce, all addressing various stages or questions one may have during a divorce and they are all linked to each other, Google will reward you for serving the searcher.
It’s important that Google recognises that you’re trying to help people find what they want. If you do manage to do this, your ranking will increase significantly.
Link building for lawyers
The last, but certainly not least important element, is external link building. Unlike internal linking, which only concerns internal website pages, external link building, or back linking, is when your website is featured on external sites and links back to your website.
The more external links you have, the more Google recognises that you are an expert in what you’re talking about, which is reflected in what is known as your Domain Authority.
Although link building has been proven to significantly increase your SEO performance, it is undoubtedly one of the hardest SEO tactics to get right.
But just because it’s hard to do, doesn’t mean you should ignore it – it’s too important.
In fact, 92% of marketers believe that link building will be the most vital ranking factor in the next 5 years for SEO.
Well if you do all this and do it well, do you need to bother with pay per click advertising?
Pay per click for lawyers, is it worth it?
First of all, what is pay per click (PPC)? PPC is a form of advertising where the advertiser charges a fee every time someone clicks on your ad.
For example, if you search for “lawyers in Perth” on Google. What do you see at the very top of the page with “ad” next to it? That’s exactly what we are talking about – that is a PPC ad. It is at the top of the page, but if someone clicks on it the owner of the website is charged by Google.
So, is PPC worth it? Usually the most effective thing to do is combine both SEO for law firms and PPC into your marketing strategy, which we call search engine marketing (SEM). If it was SEO vs SEM, you might be able to get away with just SEO, but it is recommended to use elements of both.
So let’s say you’ve decided to go with SEM, is that it? Is there anything else to be concerned about to be more discoverable?
Let’s not forget about website speed.
Don’t underestimate the importance of website speed
Ever landed on a website but then clicked off it because it’s just so agonisingly slow?
25% of people will click off your website if it takes more than four seconds to load – but there’s more to it than that. If your website is slow, Google will recognise this and decrease your ranking because it believes it to be less helpful for the user than a faster site.
It will damage your SEO if your website is slow.
So if you need to implement all these elements from website speed, to SEO, to PPC, who’s best to do it?
Freelancers vs agencies vs hiring internally
So, if we’ve worked out that SEO is important for law firms, who should do it? When it comes to choosing an SEO provider, how do you choose what’s right for you? Let’s take a closer look a the pros and cons of each solution:
Pros of freelancers
Freelancers are affordable compared to hiring an agency or in-house team because you can pay them based on work done, rather than a full-time contract.
95% of freelancing jobs match your requirements and time schedules. You can say to a freelancer “I need this done by this time” and if they can’t do it, you have the option of going elsewhere. There’s no contract tying you down and keeping you to the same freelancer.
Cons of freelancers
- You are responsible for the work and reporting
Once the freelancer’s work is done, it’s done. You are then responsible for making sure it is quality and for reporting and observing any analytics. If you do not have the expertise for this, it may pose a large problem for your SEO strategy.
Pros of hiring internally
In-house marketing manager or team for your SEO will give you complete confidentiality. This means if you develop some IP or have an SEO strategy that is far more effective than any of your competing firms, you’ll have a strategic advantage that they cannot access. As opposed to if you were at an agency and your competitors saw your SEO strategy was superior, competing firms could simply go to that agency as well.
- Knowledgeable of your brand
An in-house team should have a deeper understanding of your business than freelancers or agencies.
Cons of hiring internally
Usually your internally hired marketing team would be one marketing manager for a law firm. Even if you have a team, the team won’t be as large as an entire agency, and their collective skills probably won’t be as extensive. This can bring up some limitations for your firm when implementing an SEO strategy.
Pros of an agency
- Professional and experienced
Agencies will typically have the most experienced teams compared to in-house or freelancers because their experience and skill is how they will out-compete other agencies – so education is very important to them.
- Teamwork & strategy
An agency will usually be able to employ whatever strategy you’d like to pursue because they have a team big enough with a range of skill sets to accommodate.
- Reporting and analytics
Agencies need to be held accountable for how they are performing with their clients’ SEO strategy. Because of this an agency will usually have a very comprehensive reporting and analytics system. This allows you to be completely informed with how your SEO is performing, and what more could be done to optimise your strategy.
Cons of an agency
It’s no secret, agencies can be more expensive than other options. However, you pay for what you get. An agency will be able to service a far more comprehensive SEO strategy which will pay dividends for your law firm.
- Difficult to find a match
Sometimes it can be hard to find an agency that matches your firm or business. An agency won’t have as deep of an understanding of your industry as you do, so look for agencies that have worked with law firms in the past.
Who can help you with your law firm’s SEO?
At Invicta Agency, we are a digital growth consultancy that specialises in digital marketing to scale your business. With a local team of experts, we provide a holistic approach to scaling your business with digital marketing, from improving SEO rankings, and website conversions, to web design and content marketing. We do what is necessary, when necessary, in order to grow your law firm.