If you want to appear better in those Google Maps results (and you should), an important factor is your firm’s physical location. Every page on your website should have a Name, Address, and Phone number. Each should be consistent on every page. And, these should be consistent with your Google Business page as well. So, if your address is “Suite 101” you should have it be consistent – either Suite 101 or Ste. 101 – on both your Google Business page and website.
Site security is now a ranking factor.
Every website, especially law firm websites, should have an SSL certificate (making it so your web address begins https:// rather than http://). An SSL certificate ensures that information sent via your website is protected. This is especially important for law firms since prospective clients often share sensitive information in contact form submissions.
Overall, there are a lot of on-page factors that make up the 200+ ranking factors for Google and other search engines, and there’s not enough time to go into all of them. This is just meant to be a brief highlight of some important ones.
Off-Site SEO for Lawyers
While you can make tons of changes to your website itself that will affect its visibility in search engine rankings, there are also things that need to be handled off-site that can affect your website’s search rankings.
Like on-page factors, there are many different things off-site that can affect your rankings. Here is a small preview of some important elements.
Google Business Page
First, make sure you have a Google Business page. It’s free to set up. Make sure that your page mentions your website address, describes your practice, has photos, and has the correct Name, Address, and Phone number consistent with the website. Seriously, consistency across everything is important. Suite 102 vs. Ste. 102 makes a difference, and it’s a simple mistake you can avoid.
This is an easy thing to do and it’s a big help in SEO for lawyers.
Solicit positive reviews from satisfied former clients. Make it part of your routine closing of a file. At the conclusion of a matter, ask the client, “How likely would you be to recommend my services to another?” If they say “Very likely,” then ask them to write a positive review about your firm online, as it helps other people know what it’s like to work with you, and helps you get found.
Link-building is the biggest off-site activity that will be able to affect your search visibility. Link-building involves getting other websites to add a link on their website to your website. Google and other search engines see links from reputable websites to your website as those websites effectively vouching for yours.
Not all links are created equal. A link, or thousands of links from low-quality websites to yours can not only not be helpful, but it can be downright harmful as they signal to Google that you are trying to game Google’s algorithm.
Buying links from a site like Fiverr, for example, is something you should never do.
But, there are ways to build quality links from reputable sites.
First, there are online directories. Directories like yellopages.com, Avvo, Yelp, and others are good to have. Create a full profile of your firm in these directories, making sure to list your website address.
Next, look to your local community – your city or town. What local business directories or websites are there in your neighborhood that might want to pass a link to your website? Some things law firms can do to get local-oriented websites to link to them include volunteering, giving seminars, hiring interns, or giving a scholarship.
Beyond that, you can build links by offering to write articles on other people’s blogs. Share your expertise in a thorough article in exchange for a link.
How Long Does It Take to Get Results?
How long does it take for your law firm to get SEO results?
This is a question I get a lot. There are many different factors that go into this, though.
Are you in a competitive market going after competitive keywords?
How invested are you in different SEO strategies?
Who’s doing your SEO?
Some companies selling SEO for lawyers say “We can get you on Page 1 in 3 months.”
Anyone selling that is misleading.
You could get to page 1 for a keyword in a few months, sure. But, that keyword isn’t going to be the one you choose. It’s probably going to be a non-competitive keyword, or one that you are already on the cusp of a page 1 rank for.
Or, you could find your SEO company using some black-hat SEO techniques that get you to page 1 quickly, but then penalized in the long run.
Avoid people with a “page 1 guarantee” like the plague.
Getting SEO visibility doesn’t happen overnight. Any campaign starting from scratch will take some time to get visibility for you. It can take 4-6 months to start seeing movement, and a year or longer to see serious movement on competitive terms.
There are a lot of factors involved though.
Be mindful that getting to page 1 means you are displacing someone else who is already on page 1.
And, if page 1 is competitive, the existing firms on that page will not be so willing to give up their prime spot to you.
There is a lot that goes into SEO for lawyers. There are a ton of factors that affect search engine rankings and many different strategies that people employ.
But, if you’re starting to think about doing SEO or hiring out for it, you should know the basics. So, hopefully this article taught you something new and now you can better evaluate the SEO strategy for your firm moving forward. Good luck!