Search Engine Optimization Tips For Lawyers In 2019
It is hard to believe there was a time when attorneys and law firms were not allowed to advertise. Of course, that was a long time before the internet. Today, a legal practice must have a robust online presence to attract new clients. In fact, according to the National Law Review, 96% of people who seek legal advice search on the internet. Once online searchers find leads for law firms and decide to take action, 74% of them visit the firm’s website.
All this means anyone in the practice of law must do everything possible to rank high in search results. That means understanding search engine optimization (SEO) and what is most likely to work for 2018.
Google uses Wikidata for many of its search results. Google once used Freebase, but it is no longer in operation. Therefore, Wikidata has filled the gap. This is a must-do for anyone wanting to show up in searches, and especially for those who understand that machines are using artificial intelligence to make connections between data points. You do not need to write a lot of prose like Wikipedia requires. What is important here is information about you or your firm. Keeping your Wikidata information up to date is the foundation of any SEO effort for 2018.
Schema markup is HTML code on your page that your visitors cannot see, but machines can read it. This helps search engines, web crawlers, and browsers understand what your page is about. This HTML should include your contact information, active social profiles, your Wikidata information, and your Wikipedia pages. Google draws from all of these in its searches, and you are more likely to rank high if you offer Google a unified picture of who you are and what you do. Think of schema markup as hidden SEO that is made for machines.
Use Aggregator Sites
When you start trying to rank high in legal searches, you will notice immediately that Avvo, Justia, and Super Lawyers always come in at or near the top, making it harder for you to get into the top ten. However, that can work to your advantage. Make sure your profile on Avvo is up to date and clear. Let Avvo do all the hard work for ranking high in searches, and you can go along for the ride. The same goes Super Lawyers. You can advertise on both Avvo and Super Lawyers, and your advertising dollars will be more effective than they would if you tried to do advertising on the internet to raise your Google rankings. As far as Justia, it offers a free consultation to help you market your services.
Note that your SEO on these sites is vital. You need to use keywords that will help searchers within each site find you. Let the aggregators rank high on Google and make sure you rank high on the aggregator sites.
Use Keyword Mapping
Use keywords that lead your searcher through progressive steps to your firm. These steps go from broad to narrower to narrow-the classic funnel that marketers so often speak of. This strategy involves knowing where your keywords fall into the categories of:
- Capturing Attention
Keywords in this category are for those who want to find information that relates to their cases. Keyword examples would include things like, “DUI help, Visas, and Wrongful termination.” At this first level, you will attract people conducting a broad search. Use your specialties for the attention-getting phase.
- Explaining Your Services
This is the phase where searchers have found the general category, but want attorneys that handle cases like theirs. Keyword examples are, “Boston DUI attorneys, Phoenix malpractice lawyers, and Immigration help in Miami.” This second level is about letting your searcher know where you are and what you can help them with.
- Making the Sale
These keywords lead the searcher straight to you. (The National Law Review survey says that 72% of people who hire an attorney only contact one.) Keyword examples: “Denver drug defense lawyers near me, Hire an immigration attorney in St. Petersburg, Get a free consultation with a San Diego DUI attorney.”
These keywords are about finding that one attorney that can do the job.
The Bottom Line
SEO in 2018 for law firms is not about choosing a few keywords that all the other firms use. It means laying a strong foundation by making sure your information is in locations that Google uses to create rankings (Wikidata), getting into the top ten results by piggy-backing on sites that are already high in searches, and using a keyword map to strategically draw potential clients to you in a series of steps.
Sources used in this article: