Gone are the days of hanging out a shingle and waiting for clients. With the advent of the Internet, lawyers only advertise in the yellow pages if they want to. Nearly everyone goes to their computer—or another digital device—when they are searching for anything. Looking for an attorney is no different.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), marketing has never been easier, or more complex. Just as soon as one becomes acquainted with Google’s algorithm, it changes. Aside from paying an online marketing website like LawLytics, what can you do? Fortunately, there are clear guidelines to what works and what does not, if you know where to look.
Which SEO Actions Are Generally Unsuccessful?
When online marketing, or any marketing for that matter, has been attempted and failed, it is easy to wonder, “why?”. Unfortunately, the answer is seldom clear. If you knew what you were doing wrong, you most likely would not be doing it.
One aspect that could be causing the SEO marketing strategy to flounder is if the wrong “expert” has been hired. This could mean that he or she is not qualified for the job. Perhaps their skills or experience-level were misrepresented. Maybe their expertise is in a field other than SEO for law offices. They may be using outdated techniques, breaking search engine guidelines, or even outsourcing their work.
Although this may improve their bottom line, it does nothing to forward your practice. A few of the other reasons your SEO may not be working include the following:
- Buying AdWords (pay-per-click)
- Distributing unwarranted press-releases
- Fabricating or embellishing performance reports
- You have not devoted enough time to learning proven SEO strategies
- Paying for guest blogs or links on prestigious legal publications
- Reusing content, whether yours or someone else’s
- Using a “one-size-fits-all” or and “SEO for Dummies” approach
Perhaps, your SEO efforts were paying off and suddenly, you discover your online presence has disappeared. Alternatively, your marketing strategies may have been working and then merely stopped. Often this is because of the nature of SEO and Google. In other words, Google’s algorithm has been updated and what used to work, no longer does.
What Are Easy, Successful SEO Actions?
There are several steps that a law firm can take that are easy and effective. Most of them require very little time out of your busy day. In fact, a few only need to be done once to reap the benefits.
First, make sure that your local directory listings are correct. Go to Google My Business and claim ownership of your business. Then, go to “duplicate locations” and remove any copies of your business to avoid confusing prospective clients. Do the same on YELP, etc. This makes it easier for people to find you.
Next, request and post positive online reviews. This helps you maintain existing clients and convert potential ones. It is important to manage this strategy yourself. To use powerful, SEO-friendly words, someone without a legal background may inadvertently alter the meaning. This could not only reflect poorly on your business, but may also cause trouble with Google.
Finally, you want to cultivate a proactive social media presence. This is intended to support your law firm’s high-quality website, which is the official introduction to the company. Having accounts set up in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter allow you to interact with potential clients. It also provides free advertising.
How Long Does It Take to See SEO Benefits?
How quickly SEO works depends on quite a few elements. Additionally, following a good SEO strategy to the letter does not guarantee success. It does, however, drastically improve one’s chances. The time it takes for a firm to see SEO benefits depends on the following:
- The amount, quality, and uniqueness of website and social media content
- The formatting of the website and social media pages
- The size of the market
- The size of the niche clientele
Another aspect that negatively affects how quickly SEO works is how complicated the website is. Generally, if the design of the website has a fancy design, it detracts from the message. Complex images and fonts make navigating the website difficult. This drives people off the website and to other more straightforward options.
What Should a Law Firm Ask Before Hiring an SEO Company?
For more complex marketing strategies, many law firms choose to hire outside experts. Unfortunately, the SEO field is rife with charlatans exaggerating their skills and experience.
Before beginning the search, Google suggests reading Webmaster Guidelines. Then, ask prospective companies the following questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have an office, or do you work from home?
- How many full-time employees do you have?
- Do you outsource any of the work?
- Do you follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines?
- What is your legal background?
- Do you understand legal ethics?
Follow up on any answer that sounds suspicious, or discard the notion of working with that company right away. Lastly, ask them for a full list of everything they intend to do or provide to your firm. They should know their business well enough to supply you with a detailed outline of a strategy tailored for your company.
There are many ways of using SEO attracts clients. You can easily do the basic steps yourself. For a more comprehensive strategy, an all-in-one website system for lawyers, such as LawLytics, can be helpful. It uses cutting-edge practices and SEO-friendly pages to communicate with search engines. It showcases attorney bios, testimonials, and case results. This enables lawyers to spend their free time polishing content, and less time stressing about strategy.
Published on 18th September 2018 by Ian Brady.