Many lawyers, think that local SEO is a “black box.” That’s to say, the results that show up on the first page of Google just magically appear there once you have a professional-looking website.

That’s not the case at all.

In this post, we’ll teach you the basics of SEO, including what makes SEO work for attorneys, why it’s so important, and how to approach SEO for your practice.

Does SEO work for lawyers?

Most definitely, yes. Law firms wouldn’t be investing in websites or creating content if it didn’t help them show up on the first page of Google.

There are only two ways to show up at the top of Google.

  • You can run Google Ads to secure a promoted ad spot at the top.
  • Or, you can invest in SEO to rank organically.

While Google Ads work, especially if you want to rank right away, the minute you stop paying for ads, your ad spots disappear. Whereas SEO takes more time to rank, when you do start ranking on page 1, it is harder for you to lose those rankings.

Not to mention, when people are searching for professional service businesses, like law firms, they tend to trust organic results more than ads.

Why is SEO important?

A solid SEO strategy can not only improve the number of visitors to your website, but the quality of the traffic as well, assuming you are targeting relevant keywords. This means the traffic that’s sent to your site through organic search is more likely to be a qualified lead because they were searching for terms that are relevant to your practice area.

How to approach SEO as a law firm

Before you begin your SEO efforts, you need to realize that it’s not an instant solution. SEO efforts should be ongoing and continuously improved. You shouldn’t attempt to set it and forget it.

Launch first

As mentioned above, an effective SEO strategy is all about timing. You’ll need to lay the groundwork early to reap the benefits down the line.

This is particularly important since when someone is in need of a lawyer, they usually have an immediate need or concern. They are most concerned about reputation, credibility, and timing. This is very different from how a consumer approaches buying a product on Amazon, which can be a more emotional, impulse purchase.

For example, let’s say you’re an estate planning attorney in Florida and your goal is to attract more high-net-worth clients. As you grow your blog, you might write about the legal aspects of trusts or other legal strategies you’ve seen.

While the traffic to your blog won’t happen overnight, you should see more traffic and leads over time if you execute consistently.

Make sure you are targeting relevant keywords

This brings us to a related topic. The biggest mistake that we see law firms make (besides not investing in SEO) is targeting the wrong keywords, or worse, not know what keywords they are going after.

This is kind of driving to an unknown destination; how will you know when you get there?

You want to make sure the keywords you’re targeting are relevant to your ideal clients. You don’t just want quantity. You need quality traffic, too.

Going back to our estate planning attorney example above, let’s say that you spend a fair amount of time creating dedicated landing pages and blog posts that are centered around a list of keywords related to “DIY wills” or “how to create a will for under $50.” You might rank well and get a lot of traffic from this content. However, the content may not lead to many new clients for your firm since these folks aren’t looking for expert guidance but instead searching for the cheapest solution.

Focus on location

Another mistake that new law firms especially make is trying to target very competitively, broad keywords, like “lawyer in Florida” that they have no chance of ranking for they have a new domain with almost no backlinks.

This is why it’s crucial to do your research ahead of time and find out what keywords and phrases are relevant to your practice area that your audience is looking for.

As a lawyer, you can only practice in states where you have passed the bar and/or have an office.

This means your SEO strategy should be focused on location-specific keywords related to your practice area and services.

Following up with our Florida estate planning law firm example. This means you’ll get the most bang for your buck by targeting keywords like “best estate planning attorney in Orlando” or “Orange County estate planning attorney.”

Establishing your search rankings for terms in your local area can help you gain credibility and reach in surrounding areas.

Get reviews on your Google My Business Profile

One of the best ways to improve your location-based searches is to optimize your Google My Business Profile. This includes asking for GMB reviews.

Positive reviews from happy clients on your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) listing can improve your SEO rankings and the impression searchers have of your firm, but the reviews aren’t going to write themselves. You shouldn’t expect clients to post a review without prompting them (see how to ask for a review), and you need to engage with the reviews that are posted, both positive and negative.

Pro Tip: That’s where automatic customer feedback surveys using our tool, FeedbackAutomatic, can come in handy.

So, whenever a case ends on a good note with a client, ask them to please leave you a good review on Google. You can even send them a follow-up survey or thank you email with a link attached for them to leave a review.

Be sure to respond to their comments with gratitude to show that you truly do appreciate their business. If you have a negative review, respond to that person, too.

Apologize and offer to remedy the situation. People make mistakes, and it’ll go a long way if your prospects can see that you’re humble about yours and willing to make them right.

Remember, SEO isn’t a quick fix or magic bullet to drive instant traffic to your website. However, investing the time and resources from the start compounds over time, resulting in more brand awareness and leads in the future.

To fast-track your success with local SEO, consider investing in an SEO-optimized website with tools like Socialite or our industry content marketing library to help you rank quickly. That’s where our team at TitleTap can help. Request a free demo today!