It is no secret that achieving higher positions in Google’s search results for your law firm will usually result in more enquires. Many solicitors take some time to familiarise themselves with the basics of how this can be done but they miss the essential factors required for a successful outcome.
In this article we will cover the most important considerations for a law firm’s SEO strategy. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a complex subject but the following article has been created with the intention of removing unnecessary jargon so as to make the information as easy to follow as possible.
How do we get our law firm at the top of Google?
This is probably the most common question due to the obvious value such a position in Google’s search results would provide to a law firm. For example, being listed on the first page of Google for a valuable search such as ‘solicitors in London‘ would certainly help a law firm in London reach a valuable audience but for many firms this would not be a realistic target (unless they have a large SEO budget) due to the amount of competition for this search. The large firms will also invest large sums of money in obtaining the most competitive positions so choosing the right search terms or ‘keywords’ is essential. Most law firms make this mistake and so the rest of the SEO campaign usually fails as the time, money and effort is all thrown at an unrealistic target.
So what keywords should we target for our small to medium sized law firm?
The best place to start is by being highly specific. So if you are not a full service law firm with offices covering the UK, you will probably want to focus on the legal services you offer and a more precise location. For example, if you are a family law solicitor in the London borough of Harrow then targeting a search for ‘divorce solicitors in Harrow‘ or ‘family law solicitors in Harrow‘ would much more likely result in a page one position in Google’s results for these searches than targeting London as a whole or not including the specific area of law you provide a service for.
Now before you rush off to update your keywords you need to know that the above is not enough. Just having a website with the correct keywords wont do it. This is just the start so please ensure that you read all of this article to save your firm both time and money.
We updated our keywords on our law firm’s website but we still don’t show in Google?
This is what usually happens! Whilst having a realistic set of search terms (keywords) to target is important for the foundation of your SEO campaign, this is just the beginning. Many solicitors make the mistake of believing that they just need to update their page titles and meta tags and it is all done. This will likely do nothing for your rankings but it does need to be in place, ready for the next SEO tasks detailed below.
How many words should we write for each page about our legal services?
It is not uncommon to see lots of information on a law firm’s homepage and only a few hundred words on each of the service pages. This is something that must be resolved for better Google rankings as the content on your firm’s website matters.
You need to have enough valuable content on your website related to the legal services you provide if you wish to see the best results. 100 – 300 words is not enough. You should aim for 1,000+ words per page for each of your main legal services. Obviously the information needs to be appreciated by your potential clients, so keep humans in mind rather than search engines but you should easily be able to write an informative page for each of your legal services with around 1,000 words.
To help you achieve 1,000+ words per page, you can break the page up into an introduction, followed by details about the legal service and the processes involved. You can then end the page with information as to why your firm is a good choice with details of experience in the specific area of law, legal team involved in providing the service, etc.
You might have also heard that you need to include your keywords in the text multiple times. This does help but do not overdo it! If you read it aloud and it sounds like you might have repeated your keywords too often, then you probably have. Remember to write for humans first and not search engines as you want your potential clients to be impressed with what they read.
It is also worth noting that Google will give a website a penalty if the pages are stuffed full of keywords. Just mentioning your keywords a few times is fine and is usually all you need. Best to be safe.
We have suitable keywords and great website content but our law firm still does not show anywhere in Google?
This is also what usually happens! You add your law firm’s new website content and wait for weeks or months and nothing happens. Your law firm is still not showing in Google after all the hard work but you are now ready for the next stage.
Up until this point we have been building a foundation which is absolutely essential but usually nothing will happen until you get backlinks pointing to your firm’s website.
This is where the hard work really begins and there is no shortcut or cheap quick fix for getting these important backlinks. You have probably seen lots of cheap website link packages online but you must avoid these. These links are against Google’s guidelines and will usually result in a serious domain wide penalty which is often almost impossible to fully recover from. Stay away from buying links! They almost always do more harm than good.
So where can we get the right kind of backlinks for our law firm’s website?
The main thing you need to keep in mind when trying to build backlinks to your firm’s website is that not all backlinks are equal. Some backlinks are extremely valuable whilst others can be harmful to your SEO efforts.
As mentioned above, any backlinks that you can buy cheaply are the ones you do not want. So do not be tempted by these cheap packages even if they make great claims about how good they are or state that they have some kind of partnership with Google. No SEO agency has a partnership with Google but many claim that they do!
The backlinks that you do want are the ones from respectable sources that are relevant to your law firm. A great place for a law firm to start is with legal directories as the listings that your law firm has on a legal directory will naturally include a link to your law firm’s website. Legal directories also greatly help with local SEO which you can learn more about in our detailed article here: Why your law firm needs to be listed in legal directories.
You should also ensure that your law firm’s details are accurately listed with the SRA and the Law Society which will also provide links to your firm’s website as they will naturally link to your website as part of the service they provide.
Another place to add your law firm’s details is through Google’s business listings. This will also help people to find your offices using Google maps plus the listing will can also link to your firm’s website so make sure to include your website url.
The next place you should try to acquire backlinks is from relevant media sites. These would include local newspapers and legal blogs that will naturally cover topics highly relevant to your law firm and its location. These backlinks can often be much harder to obtain so you might need to contribute some helpful information or sponsor an event in your local community as there needs to be something with substance that these media sites can write about or include on their sites in order for you to gain these valuable backlinks. It is often easier for larger firms to get such links at they are naturally in the media if covering high profile cases but there are still plenty of opportunities for small to medium sized firms to get involved with their local community or reach out to legal bloggers.
So how many backlinks does our law firm need?
Rather than focusing on the amount of backlinks you should instead focus on the relevance and quality of the backlinks. Remember not all backlinks are equal as we covered above. So you want to try and get backlinks from relevant legal sites and ideally they will also be UK based websites. So websites ending in .co.uk are better than a domain that is associated with another country or a global domain. Usually the more relevant they are to your law firm, the better they are but you also have to consider the quality of the website as this is also very important.
As a guide though with our LawClick SEO services, we aim to get around 100 backlinks for the law firms that we work with. This is something that takes many months to complete as mentioned previously, there is no quick or cheap shortcut to the process. That said, for all the time, money and effort involved, SEO still provides one of the very best (if not the best) returns on a marketing investment due to the nature of higher Google positions resulting in more enquires for your law firm.