SEO can be a complicated process. That’s especially true for busy lawyers focused on practicing law. Even with the vast amount of knowledge available on the internet as it relates to search, it’s still so easy to make simple mistakes that stifle growth and waste time.
Here are 5 common missteps we see when it comes to law firm SEO(and some quick tips on how to avoid them).
Believing SEO is a Speedy Process
It is common to underestimate the amount of time it takes to rank a website on Google.Not only is the process of search engine optimization time consuming alone(it takes four to six months to start seeing results), but depending on how competitive your keyword phrases are in search, it could take even longer.
First and foremost, patience is required if you want more traffic and higher returns. Some tactics can be sped up by having more resources but overall, the process of ranking a site just takes a long time so pack your patience!
Building Spammy Links
Building spammy, out-of-context, or weak links is an SEO disaster. Links are one of Google’s top ranking factors, therefore high quality links from authoritative domains are a necessity. Low quality links from junk domains can get you into trouble.
You may think creating links for the sake of getting the task done will increase traffic, but irrelevant and/or low-quality links can be damaging. A link building campaign requires making intelligent goals, not just haphazardly buildings links and expecting results overnight. It is quality over quantity here.
Here are some effective link building tactics:
- List yourself on lawyer-specific directorieswith a high Domain Authority – free and paid options are both available.
- Include links to your website as much as possible whenever posting to social media platforms but be careful to not over do it.
- Sponsor organizations or events, drawing from existing relationships. Capitalize on this opportunity by placing a link to your site on the corresponding website for the organization/event.
Another mistake that may be made here is solely linking to your homepage. If it’s relevant, focus on deep linking and direct people to practice area pages of your website.
Hiring Agencies that Promise Fast Results at a Low Cost
A Google guideabout businesses hiring an SEO agency states that“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on google.” In other words, results never happen overnight, and any company that advertises themselves this way may not be trustworthy.
Here are a few other tips for finding a good SEO agency:
- Never respond to spam you get over email
- Word of mouth is a good route to take
- Interview several agencies and narrow it down to a couple you like
- Ask to speak to other clients they’ve recently had, preferably ones that are also law firms
Just as any reputable law firm doesn’t guarantee you will win a court case, no reputable SEO agency shouldpromise results. Ask for statistics or concrete proofto back up any statements made by a prospective agency. Transparency is key here.
Neglecting Content Creation
Attorneys may be under the impression that they just need to list their practice areas, contact information and location to make themselves available and detectable by search engines. They need to offer more information on their website in the form of in-depth practice area pages. Other helpful content can also move the needle like testimonials pages, or an FAQ page.
Keeping content up to date is also important. When Google sees “fresh” resources, they may be more likely to display those results over pages that have not been updated in years. Users also like fresh content because it’s perceived as more relevant, timely, and useful.
Try the following when it comes to your content:
- Guest post, but do not use guest-posting services (Google regards them as negative spam sites).
- Create a blog: If you are a personal injury lawyer, generate blog posts related to personal injury keywords.
- For key pages on your site like practice area pages, focus on long-form content that is all-encompassing and better than other similar sources on the internet.
Disregarding Your Local SEO
When people are in need of an attorney, they are almost always looking for a law firm in their immediate area. Therefore, when you don’t optimize your local presence, you are missing out on clients that are looking for your help.
Previous tips like building links and creating content (but framed toward a local audience) will work here, but a key task is to claim and optimize your Google My Business page.
Here’s how you do that:
- Search for your firm name in Google
- Claim your Google My Business profile by clicking the blue “Suggest an Edit — Own this business?” link in the listing.
- Follow the steps to claim the profile (note that some attorneys may be prompted to receive a postcard in order to claim their profile and this is pretty standard).
- Once your profile is claimed, include keywords which pertain to your primary practice areas.
- Choose a specific category for your firm (i.e. choose personal injury attorney, not just “attorney”)
- Fill out business description and service pages on your profile including your primary keyword phrases.
- Add as many images as you can to the profile (i.e. more than 50).
- Make sure your firm name, address, and phone number (known as NAP) is consistent with other online profiles.
- Generate and respond to reviews (if your state bar allows).
Don’t make the mistake of not responding to reviews. All reviews, negative or positive, require interaction.
Your competitors are probably making the mistakes listed above. Not correcting the mistakes is where attorneys struggle with SEO. If you want to generate more business from the internet using search, fix any issues with your web presence and gain traction by avoiding them in the future.