Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the best ways to drive clients to your website, and with law firms, it isn't any different. Think about it, when was the last time you were looking for a business, did you pick up the yellow pages or did you pick up your smartphone? Chances are is that you chose the latter, and you wouldn’t be alone there.
97% of people use search engines to help them find businesses. And with 5.5 billion Google searches each day, you'll want to ensure that you're getting a portion of that potential traffic. And that's where legal SEO comes in to play.
As a law firm or a solicitor, you'll understand that you need a constant flow of clients to keep your firm afloat. By following our essential tips to optimise your website, you'll be able to build up a client base that most firms only dream of having.
So, without further ado, here are the best ways for you to optimise your website using legal SEO.
1. Determine Who Your Intended Audience is
The first fundamental step in any successful legal SEO strategy is to identify who your target audience is.
Do you specialise in a particular type of law or individual cases such as personal injury claims or criminal law? Then understandably you're looking for a specific kind of client for your business. Therefore, you'll want to consider the best ways to reach out to your audience to grab their attention.
If you specialise in personal injury claims, then you may want to consider paying for ads on social media platforms that someone with spare time on their hands may frequent.
Once you have identified who your target audience is and the platforms they frequent, you're ready to proceed onto the next steps of your strategy.
2. Use Local SEO
Local SEO is beneficial in many different ways and should be an integral part of your overall SEO strategy. Optimising your website for local SEO ensures that you appear in the search engine results pages for terms such as ‘law firm near me' or ‘personal injury London'. This will get you a lot more local clients, and with 88% of consumers visiting local businesses within 24 hours of clicking on your result, the potential footfall or interest in your business is too good to miss. Here's how to optimise your content for local SEO.
Create a Google My Business (GMB) Account
Google My Business plays an essential part in an effective SEO strategy, helping your business to be shown in localised results, displaying all the information that a potential client who is considering visiting your business would need to know before making an informed decision on whether or not, where and when they want to visit your business in person.
That's why it's crucial that when it comes to filling out your GMB application, you should ensure that you complete it with as much information as you can provide, which should include:
- Business name
- Business address
- Opening days and hours
- Telephone number
- Website address
- A brief introduction to your firm
You’ll find that previous clients reviews of your firm will also show up on your GMB, which will appear either to at the top or to the right-hand side of the search engine results pages. Prospective customers are also allowed to ask questions about your business or any services you provide, so it is best practice to ensure that you check this regularly to ensure that any questions about your business which could help your footfall are answered as quickly as possible.
Optimise your website for keywords that have local intent
Around 46% of Google searches have local intent behind them. Therefore, to make the most of this, you need to identify what local searches people are searching for in your area, which are called ‘local intent keywords'. Examples of
By identifying what keywords are related to your business, your next step is to consider which would be excellent opportunities for you to rank for by checking their search volume and difficulty.
You can find local intent keywords by carrying out keyword research, and for more information on how you can implement these keywords into your content and optimise your pages for local intent, we've created an in-depth guide to keyword targeting that you can read.
Submit your business to online directories and citations
Yellow pages, remember them? They’re a thing of the distant past now, and while they do still exist most directories and citation have gone digital now, which is why you should consider doing so too.
Citations and local directories help your website to gain more traffic as hundreds upon thousands of users use lists every day to find businesses who provide the services that they require.
However, there is a set of practices you should adhere to when you submit your website to directories, to ensure that you are set to get the most benefit from doing so.
- Avoid directories which look like spam and/or aren’t administrated – While submitting your business to an online directory isn't black hat SEO, submitting your business and website on a site that contains a lot of spam is black hat SEO and could land you with a nasty penalty. To avoid this, you'll need to take a look through the types of websites and businesses that are already featured on the site and make that deduction for yourself. Another way to tell whether the directory is safe is to see whether the submissions have to go through a screening process or not. If they're uploaded straight onto the site once you've submitted your entry, you'll want to avoid these directories at all costs.
- Only submit your site to directories that are relevant to your industry – If the directory you're looking at doesn't have a proper section for the legal industry, then you'll want to avoid these directories as well, regardless of how many monthly visitors they get. Links from websites which are entirely unrelated to your industry can appear to be spamming. As well as this, if you're your target audience isn't on the site looking for your listing, then you're unlikely to find yourself with any referrals.
- Make sure the other businesses on the site are useful, reputable companies – It’s always a good idea to take a look at the directory and the types of listings that are on the site before you consider adding your website to the index. If the types of businesses on the website aren't reputable, trustworthy and don't have good reviews, then you may want to reconsider using this directory.
- Ensure that the directory is updated regularly – If the website isn't updated regularly, then you'll find that chances are they'll be a lot of dissolved businesses on the directory. Users will tend to avoid out of date directories, as they can prove to be frustrating when the company doesn't exist anymore, so save your efforts.
3. Encourage You Past Clients to Leave a Review
Businesses with the best reviews will appear at the top of the local results bar when potential clients carry out Google searches with local intent which is why it's essential to encourage your past and present clients to leave you a review on your GMB or Trustpilot.
Reviews are valuable because, for the most part, that's the first place users will go to if they aren't already aware of your business. Unfortunately, if you don't have any reviews, then customers may be reluctant to try out your services and opt to go with one of your competitors that have got reviews.
The more reviews you receive, the more you’ll find that you’ll end up working your way up the local SEO rankings, all the while increasing your customer base and your credibility.
4. Create Blogs Showcasing Your Expertise
For you to increase your client base and get chosen over your competitors, you'll have to ensure that you establish a credible and trustworthy relationship with your clientele before they even use your services, which can be difficult.
One way to show your knowledge and expertise is to create blogs on your website for your clients to read. These can be as tightly or loosely related to law as you wish them to be, but they should also be the following:
- Able to show off your industry knowledge
- Providing interesting insights about law
- Providing helpful insights about law
- Optimised for keywords
5. Try Video Marketing and Create Videos
Alternatively, if writing blogs and content isn't your thing, then you can do the same thing but in video content to show off your expertise instead.
However, it is vital to ensure that your video content is exciting and compelling enough to keep your clients engaging and interested in the information being provided.
To understand more benefits of video marketing, you can take a look at our page on Why Video Marketing is Effective, where we go over the subject in-depth.
6. Be Helpful and Informative Not Sales-like
Clients will want to use your services more if you provide them with useful advice. As opposed to making them feel like you've backed them into a corner. Which is why you'll want to ensure that you leave the sales-talk at home when it comes to creating copy for your website, whether that be written or otherwise.
The relationship with your client base is set to improve when you are providing them with valuable information, instead of pitching ideas and trying to sell them how great you are. Instead, let the help and information that you give the users speak for itself.
7. Make Sure Your Website Leaves a Positive Impression
Asides from the information you provide to anyone who visits your website, your site itself will also leave a lasting impression on users, so ensure that you make it a good impression instead of a bad one.
Poor user experience of your website is one of the things which will make potential clients click away from your site and go to a competitor. Which is why it’s vital that everyone who visits your website has a positive experience and can quickly and easily find the exact information that they’re looking for.
If you want to make a positive lasting impression, ensure that your website can reach the following criteria.
Ensure Your Website is Mobile friendly
Around half of all Google searches take place on mobile, meaning that if your website isn’t optimised for mobile and a potential client lands on your page, then they may have trouble clicking on buttons, reading the text and viewing media and resources on your pages.
Instead, to check that your website is optimised for mobile devices you can check using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool and see what changes it recommends that you make to your website to make the user experience of your pages better for mobile and tablet devices.
Ensure Your Pages and Content Loads Quickly
Nowadays, when users are browsing the SERP, they expect websites and pages to load within just 2 seconds, and if you can't compete, then it might be impacting your SEO negatively.
By using Google's PageSpeed Insights, you can decide whether or not Google deems your page speed to be fast, average or slow. Ideally, you should be aiming for a score as close as you can get to 100.
Although Google provides you with recommendations and changes for you to make in for you to improve your site speed, we’ve comprised a guide on site speed optimisation that you can read for further information.
8. Build Relationships with Clients
Law is an industry where if you treat a client well and go all out for them, then you'll find that you have a client for life; therefore it's essential to build and establish these relationships.
Ultimately, you will build relationships with clients once they have hired you, but there are still ways to form relationships with your clientele before you’ve even been hired and here are the best ways how to.
Treat your clients as individuals
Whether you're talking with your client, through website copy, on the phone or via email, it's essential that you treat your clients as individuals instead of just a means to an end. That means establishing an understanding of who your client is, what their problem is, and what their needs are. If they've got children, ask them how their children are, if you're addressing them in an email, ensure that you use their name. Making an effort to get personal with your clients will go a long way.
Share your knowledge
Sharing your expertise on a subject will not only demonstrate your knowledge and proficiency in the industry but will also help you to establish better relationships with your clients. As you'll probably already be aware, clients don't like to be kept in the dark, even if they don't know all the ins and outs within the industry. Instead, ensuring that you remain entirely transparent with your process and what's going on, will earn you a level of respect with your clients.
Be completely honest and open
This leads on from the following point about having complete transparency with your clients, as no one likes being left in the dark, especially when there can be so much at stake. Sharing all of the information about what you know, whether it may be good or bad is respected as clients get a better understanding of what to expect to prepare.
Follow up on comments, mentions and reviews
Whether you've had comments, queries or reviews left about your business or your services, one way to keep these relationships going is to engage with them. You can get as in-depth as you wish, but a simple like, follow or comment can go a long way.
Nevertheless, you may come across some less than ideal feedback, which is to be expected. However, the key is not to get disgruntled or completely ignore these comments; instead, the best thing for you to do is address the commenter and the issue head-on and seek to resolve the problem.
For example, sending the following reply to unfavourable comments or reviews can seek to resolve disputes and demonstrates your responsibility and credibility.
Hi [Customer Name],
We are sorry that you had a poor experience with us.
Would you mind direct messaging/emailing us on: [Company email address] and providing us with a bit more information to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future?
[Position held at the company]
9. Try Using Pay per Click (PPC) Ads
Pay per Click (PPC) differs from SEO, as instead of earning clicks and working your way up the search engine result pages organically (meaning that you don't have to pay). Whereas with PPC, you pay per user that clicks on your result.
You’ll usually see adverts and sponsored results on search engines such as Google at either the top and/or bottom of each results page. Meaning that it can help improve not only the number of leads you receive but also helps you to increase your visibility.
Although you may be wondering what's the point in carrying out search engine optimisation when you can work your way up in the SERPs by using PPC, however, the best results to be had is from using both in conjunction with one another.
For more information on Pay per Click advertisements, you can view our dedicated PPC guide.
10. Be active on social media platforms
You may think that social media is no place for a law firm to be, but then again, you’d be wrong.
Arguably, there are social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, which are entirely unsuitable for your needs as a business; however, you shouldn't dismiss social media as a whole.
Instead, law firms are more suited to platforms such as Facebook Business, Twitter and LinkedIn, to post the latest industry updates, your most recent blog posts and information about your team. As being active on social media will not only mean that you'll increase awareness of your business but also helps you to:
- Network with other likeminded businesses and influencers
- Recruit for positions at your firm
- Attract more clients
- Build better relationships with customers
11. Provide Consultations
Because when it comes to the law, everyone's needs are different and specialised, therefore it can help to have a brief meeting with any potential clients to understand what exactly it is that they require of you.
There are several different ways in which you can do this, which include:
- Online chat option on your website
- Request a callback contact form
- Helpline number
Although it can be time-consuming to follow up with every potential client who requests a consultation, it can be highly beneficial for many different reasons.
- It helps to decide whether or not they are a suitable client – Not everyone who steps foot into your office will be an appropriate client, however over the phone consultations are a relatively less time consuming way of determining whether or not a client is suitable for your firm, which can save you both the time and effort of meeting in person.
- Even if they aren’t a suitable client, they may come back in the future – If they aren't an appropriate client, you can still help direct them in the right direction. That way they'll think of your business or recommend your firm in the future if their consultation was a positive one. So, remember, there are still positive benefits from even those clients who weren't suitable.
- It helps to establish a relationship and trust with the client – By showing that you care and taking time out to follow up on a consultation, clients will respect that. And what they'll respect even more is if the experience is a positive one. You don't have to give away all your industry knowledge, but leading them in the right direction will show them that you're a law firm that they can trust.
12. Invest Time, Effort and Dedication into Your SEO Strategy
SEO requires time, effort and commitment to pull it off successfully. If you haven't got the time to do so, then you may wish to hire a professional who can do precisely that for you.
SEO and the world of digital marketing can seem like a daunting place, which is why digital marketing and SEO agencies such as Dojono, are here to help you.
Now that you know how to create a successful SEO campaign for solicitors, the next step is for you to get started and however, you choose to do that is entirely up to you.