Don’t Hire Your Competitor’s Law Firm SEO Company

SEO for law firms is a competitive space. Getting better visibility in Google means more prospective clients finding your law firm and reaching out to inquire about your services.

Finding the right SEO company can be a challenge.

There is a lot that goes into an SEO campaign, and many vendors are aware that not every consumer has a sense of what it all entails. Some vendors offer SEO services cheaply, but don’t give clients their money’s worth. Good SEO for competitive industries like legal is time and labor-intensive, and getting better search engine rankings for law firms cannot be done so easily.

Think of it this way – if you want your firm to get onto Page 1 of Google for “[your city] [your practice area] lawyer” you have to displace another law firm that is currently on Page 1. Getting to Page 1, knocking down a competitor, and keeping your spot, is not easy to do in a competitive area.

So, how do you find a good SEO company for your law firm?

One of the most popular pieces of advice out there is to ask others in your space for a referral. Asking for referrals from your colleagues for practice management solutions, document management solutions, and timekeeping app preferences is all well and good. Those things help you manage your day-to-day law firm life. Yet, asking for a reference for an SEO company from another firm in your city and practice area can actually hurt your marketing plan.

In this post, you’re going to learn about a few reasons why using the same SEO company as others in your legal space can cause problems. We’ll also talk about some important concepts to help you find the right law firm SEO company for your needs.

Only One of You Can Get to the Top of Search Results

If you are looking to get better search engine visibility, you might think to look at your competitors and colleagues that are ranking well. What services are they using?

The problem is one that you may have already identified – “If I hire this company, how will they be able to get both me and my competitor to the top of Page 1 results?”

If you want to be ranking towards the top of Google for “[your city] divorce lawyer”, there is no way you can take the top spot without knocking down a competitor. And the SEO company you hire, if they are already working with that other law firm, can’t satisfy both clients’ needs. So, one of you is going to be unhappy.

Though, many law firm SEO companies, in seeking to maximize their profits, will take on competing clients, fully-knowing that they cannot deliver the best results for both clients.

The purpose of law firm SEO is to give you an edge over your competition so that you can reach more of your target market. If you’re using the same company as your competition, it probably won’t matter what you pay them. Your intentions and wishes are no more important to the company than those of your competitor. One of you will win. One of you will lose. And you’ll both pay. There’s no guarantee about who will make that number one spot, either.

It’s a Conflict

SEO companies don’t have the same stringent conflict of interest requirements as law firms. However, that doesn’t mean that a conflict isn’t present. At the end of the day, an SEO company is made up of marketing professionals. They want to make money. Many have absolutely no problem working for any law firm as long as they’re getting paid.

Some SEO companies, however, will purposefully avoid conflicts. Boutique SEO companies that are dedicated to getting the best possible results for their clients, will not take competing clients in the same city and practice area.

From what we have seen, the SEO companies offering exclusivity are more likely to be the SEO companies treating SEO like a service rather than a commodity. Some companies let you “buy” SEO for $100-$300 per month. But, in a competitive market like legal, there is not a lot you can get for that little in spend. If you are spending $100-$300 per month in SEO, chances are that whatever you are getting is being automated and making a negligible impact on your search visibility. This is especially since your competitors in Google are working harder and investing more in their campaigns to ensure they get better results.

You Won’t Get the Best Possible Work

As a lawyer, you understand that there are some basic arguments and defenses that you may use in similar cases. You also know that there are certain present facts that could alter your plan. The organization itself may serve one or more industries just like how your law firm practices in one or more areas of law. A good SEO plan for any law firm requires a lot of research. The research they do for you they could also use for another law firm who offers the same legal services as you.

The flip side of the coin is that you’ll pay the full price for research they performed for a competing law firm. They won’t necessarily pay attention to any additional things you’d like to have in the plan. If they do use your additional desires, you’ll likely get charged more. So, you’ll pay full price for research that wasn’t done specifically for your law firm and get charged more if you want to do anything specific to your firm.

What Should You Look for in a Law Firm SEO Agency?

Now that you understand why you shouldn’t work with an SEO agency that serves your competitors, let’s talk about what you should look for in the right law firm SEO agency.

Know who they work with. This is the only way that you can guarantee that you’ll get the best results. Make sure that the SEO agency isn’t working with any of your direct competitors at the outset. You need the best possible results to help get your law firm’s web page in front of your target market. A good law firm SEO agency just doesn’t want to compete with itself for the number one spot on the search engines.

Can the agency act as an extension of your marketing department? Communication is essential for great results. The law firm SEO agency should have great communication and a great working relationship with anyone involved in marketing your law firm. Everyone should be working to achieve the same set of goals instead of creating and following their own set of goals. Your marketing team has a key goal of helping create and even implement the best possible plan.

Also, law firm SEO isn’t a magic bullet that will give you the number one spot overnight. This is a common gimmick that SEO firms tend to deploy to make them appear better than they are. Avoid these firms at all costs. Any agency that says they can do that is misleading, at best. The “number one spot” means different levels of competition for different keywords. For example, you could very easily get the #1 spot for your firm name or a very long keyword that your firm focuses on. Those terms will not be very competitive or drive much traffic, but it lets the SEO agency say, “I got you to the #1 spot.”

Choosing the right law firm SEO agency will help improve your rankings while making your law firm their priority. They won’t (and don’t) work with your competitors, either.

Andrew Cabasso
About the Author: Andrew Cabasso
Andrew Cabasso is an attorney and co-founder of JurisPage, an online marketing agency for law firms, now part of Uptime Legal. Andrew has given many lectures and CLEs on website design and Internet marketing to legal professionals. He is the author of Search Engine Optimization for Lawyers and The Complete Guide to Attorney PPC. Follow Andrew on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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