SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a process under which website owners seek to improve the level of organic traffic they receive by making changes to their website including publishing high quality content, making on-page technical adjustments as well as acquiring high quality inbound links. Although there are other online marketing channels that can be used for lead generation (such as Pay Per Click, Paid Social, Display Advertising), SEO in the vast majority of cases produces the highest return on investment in comparison.
Why should legal companies invest in SEO?
Done correctly and successfully, SEO can help lawyers and legal companies vastly increase the amount of new clients they acquire, almost always at a much lower cost per acquisition compared to buying sponsored ads. The table below illustrates the cost of acquiring relevant traffic from Google Ads. As you can see even if a law firm converted 3% of this traffic the cost per lead would be over £150 on this one keyword alone.
|KEYWORD||SEARCH VOLUME||CPC||100 CLICKS||CPA (3% CONV)|
|Solicitors in London||1,900||£7.20||£720||£240|
|Solicitors in Birmingham||2,400||£4.78||£478||£159|
|Solicitors in Leeds||1,000||£8.99||£899||£299|
Now, considering what an average law firm charges per hour for their fees, they may still make a good ROI on the above (assuming enough leads turn into paying clients) but compared with a successful SEO campaign the cost per acquisition from PPC activity will be much higher. To illustrate this point, check out the ranking below we achieved for a law firm for the keyword “single justice procedure notice” which has over 1,000 monthly searches and an average CPC of £1.14.
Not only do they appear for this one competitive keyphrase, you can also see below the other terms this page ranks and how many users are searching each month….
|single justice procedure notice||3||1000||£1.14|
|single justice procedure||5||390||£1.01|
|single justice procedure notice form||5||90||£1.12|
|what is a single justice procedure notice||4||70||£0.43|
|single justice procedure notice criminal record||3||70||£1.51|
|single justice procedure notice how long||1||70||£0.76|
|single justice procedure notice for speeding||2||70||£0.89|
|single justice procedure speeding||2||70||£1.97|
|single justice procedure notice for speeding mitigation||4||50||£3.40|
Here’s the real kicker: this is just ONE page on our client’s website, the beauty with SEO is you can optimize your entire site, which means ALL pages and rankings will improve. Check out the visibility graph for our client (May 2020)
Our client has enjoyed exponential growth in their turnover by implementing a successful, strategic SEO campaign including content improvements, technical SEO fixes, Digital PR and blogger outreach. Each month we build on what we have achieved by adding more content and exploiting additional opportunities to earn organic traffic from users at all stages of the conversion process. In particular we target featured snippet opportunities as this can really drive a huge increase in traffic flow once they have been achieved (see an example FS below)
The above image is just one example for the phrase “what happens in court for drink driving”, which has 480 searches a month and costs £1.99 per click to buy on Google Ads. You can see from the above image that a competitor is bidding on this exact term, however as our client has achieved the position zero we have generated 412 organic sessions to this page in May 2020 alone.
Let’s do some quick maths. 412 x £1.99 = £819.88 per month, every month. In fact it’s more than that, PPC click costs generally rise year on year, so to maintain this level of traffic via PPC the costs are only going to go one way (up). Moreover, we delivered the above data with just ONE piece of content, showing the real power of SEO.
What SEO tactics can lawyers use to boost their rankings?
SEO is based on 3 core pillars – quality website content, authoritative backlinks and a sound technical SEO footing. However the results are not instantaneous and require a long-term approach and long-term investment level.
Below are the 5 main areas law firms should look at in order to boost their organic performance. on Google:
#1 – On page SEO – The technical make up of your website and pages
This refers to how well a site is optimized from a technical point of view in order to attract a higher level of organic traffic. Some of the optimization process includes looking at meta title tags, H1’s, site speed, HTML, source code, URL structure, internal linking, alt tags, and schema markup. This is by no means an exhaustive list as we cannot adequately write an entire guide to on-page SEO in this one post. However, here are some quick pointers lawyers can implement to help improve their website from a technical SEO point of view.
- Populate the title, h1 and h2 tags with popular search terms that are relevant to your business
- Make sure your content naturally contains you targeted keywords (without keyword stuffing)
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate and links important pages from the navigation menu
- Ensure your site loads quickly and renders correctly on all devices
- Mark up relevant content with schema, particularly important for localised search terms
Enacting the changes outlined above should give you a good starting position from which you can build out your SEO activity.
#2 – Keyword Research – What words people are searching for
Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of building a successful website. Knowing which search terms users are searching with will help inform you of how best to write and organise your website’s content. There are a variety of keyword tools on the market that provide data on what users are searching for and how often (approximately) they are searched for each month, most of which allow you to filter by location. Again we can’t cover the entire topic of keyword research in this post so here again are some useful tips…
- Use a free keyword tool such as Google Keyword Planner or Keyword.io to find the most popular search terms associated with your business (include locations). [Paid tools are better for this task if you have the budget, checkout SEMrush.com]
- Group the most popular terms into individual content buckets that are thematically related
- Create sub groups of the most important and most popular terms (head phrases) and focus your main website content around these
- Don’t build a page or every keyword you find – instead group similar terms and build content hub pages that covers the main terms related to each topic area
- Write naturally, don’t use exact queries for every heading and sub heading on your site
Keyword research is included in our monthly SEO packages. Check them out, or keep on reading…
#3 – Website Content – The words on the pages that tell your story
An old adage in SEO is ‘Content is King”. However, whilst great content is not in itself the only ranking factor, without great content, you have little hope of ranking. From the perspective of a law firm looking to increase their organic performance they will require content that ranks well, engages the user and leads to conversions. These three goals are not always independent of each other, in fact often they are highly intertwined. Trying to “write for search engines” will inevitably lead to over optimized, keyword stuffed content, whereas writing naturally (but strategically based on keyword research) means you will please the user as well as search engines. SEO content writing is another vast topic so here are five pointers law firms can use to get started…
- Write for your audience – people looking to hire a law firm – so avoid any technical jargon or esoteric language they won’t understand (or be searching for)
- Establish the search intent of the top search queries for each page and structure your content around these
- Answer the questions that users are querying, using an inverted pyramid structure, with the most important information at the top
- Use sub headings and imagery and break up the content, avoid overly long paragraphs and use tables and bullets when appropriate
- Link to other important and relevant pages from within the copy. We call this internal linking.
We can handle all your website content needs. And understand how to write in regulated industries. Check them out, or keep on reading…
#4 – Link Building – The external authority of your law firm
High quality backlinks are an essential component of achieving SEO success. Whilst content is important, there aren’t many websites that do well without high quality links. In the legal space this is even more important because it’s so competitive with thousands of law firms chasing the top positions on Google. As well as being highly competitive, link building for lawyers it’s also pretty tough because law is not a natural topic people outside the industry typically talk about. This is why lawyers tend to outsource link building to a digital agency (such as us!) who have the knowledge and capacity to acquire the quality and volume of links required to move the dial. However here are some link building tips law firms can use to get started in this area…
- Make your content interesting and link worthy, share your knowledge and become a thought leader
- Share your content on social media channels
- Ask for links from previous clients, suppliers or industry bodies
- Submit your site to lawyer specific directories (avoid low any low quality ones)
- Create a scholarship and reach out to educational institutions
We can handle all your link building needs. Check them out, or keep on reading…
#5 – Local SEO – Maps and location based visibility
Most people looking for a lawyer will want one local to where they are based which means there is lots of search traffic that includes local towns and cities. For law firms looking for more clients from around their local practice areas it’s imperative that their website is optimized for these types of localised search queries (particularly as there is the opportunity to appear in the “local pack” maps listings as well as the regular 1 to 10 list). There are some specific optimizations that law firms can do in order to improve their search presence locally which we have listed below…
- Ensure the NAP (Name, Address, Postcode) data is consistent within current local directory inclusions such as Yell.com, Yelp.com etc
- Create, expand and develop your Google My Business profile – exploit the multitude of features available. Ask previous clients to leave you a GMB review
- Make sure you have a dedicated page for each service/location you serve (use a keyword tool to discover search volumes)
- Sponsor local events or sports clubs in order to acquire links from other local websites
- Use Local business schema markup
You are hired for your specialist knowledge – So are we.
Quite a lot to take in there – which is why most law firms who are ambitious about competing online outsource this activity. You could try and do it all yourself, but would you not rather be working on serving your clients?
We have the expertise, knowledge and experience needed to expand your online presence through successful search engine optimization.
Get in touch with us today to talk with one of our friendly SEO specialists.