Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.) is a pillar of legal marketing in the digital age. Your firm website is the most valuable digital asset you have. Most searches today start with Google, and S.E.O. helps your website be found on the search giant and other search engines. Getting S.E.O. right can increase the amount of people who visit your website, greatly expanding your potential client base. Like a great oak tree, S.E.O. can have many branches, but to flourish it needs a healthy base. At LISI, we believe a good base starts with connection, content creation, and local S.E.O.
It’s important to “Get Connected” to useful analytical tools, as we noted in our recent post, 5 Steps to Get Started with Search Engine Optimization, because you need to measure your efforts to know if they are working. To that end, two tools we recommend you set up before you begin your S.E.O. efforts are Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Google Analytics (H3)
Google Analytics (G.A.) is the web’s most popular web analytics tool. G.A. allows you to measure most user interactions on your law firm’s website. For example, let’s say you have an “About the Firm” video on your About page, and you want to track how many people are watching it, how long they are watching it, where they went on the site after they watched it, etc. Google Analytics can help you answer all of those questions. If you don’t know how to install Google Analytics, check out our guide on installing Google Analytics 4.
Google Search Console (H3)
While G.A. alone is a good start, to have a 5-star setup out of the gate, we recommend installing Google Search Console (G.S.C.) as well. Google Search Console is like popping the hood of your website to see how the engine is performing. It can be a bit technical, but some of the things we like to use Google Search Console for include:
- Ensuring sitemaps are submitted correctly. G.S.C. will let us know if we have submitted the sitemap successfully, and will also tell us if there are any warnings or errors as Google crawls and indexes the website.
- Using G.S.C you can discover search queries that triggered your site in the Google SERPs. This report is called Performance on search results. This is particularly useful to determine which queries led to which pages on your site. You can also look at which queries may be getting high impressions (meaning your site appeared in the SERPs) but users don’t seem to be clicking through.
S.E.O. is not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic, it’s a long-term strategy that requires ongoing effort: content is a vital part of that effort. As stated in our recent blog on S.E.O. you have to produce valuable content to succeed in S.E.O. Not only should you ensure that your practice area pages are optimized for the right keywords, but you should also be crafting content that users are searching for.
When users undertake a search on Google, they are searching for information. The advent of Google has opened a portal with which humans around the world converse daily, at a clip of 5.6 billion times a day. Potential clients are asking questions, and producing fresh content helps your firm answer those questions.
Let’s say Example & Martin is a firm that services entrepreneurs. The firm could produce content geared towards common startup challenges like “Should I incorporate as an LLC or a C Corp?” or “How to file a trademark or obtain a copyright.” Potential clients are asking these questions, and you want them to come to you for the answers. Producing content allows you to address these questions and expand your keyword profile outside your set practice areas. Example & Martin may have a Trademark practice area page targeting terms like “trademark attorney” and “trademark lawyers,” but there are loads of related terms to this topic, and producing content helps you target those keywords too.
Content also helps you obtain backlinks: links from other websites to yours. Backlinks are like votes of confidence. Think about all the times you have recommended something to a friend. Perhaps you have a mechanic with whom you have a lifetime relationship, and they are fair and do great work. You would recommend that mechanic to a friend over the closest shop, right? Backlinks operate with the same premise. You want to obtain links from reputable sites which tells Google you are a trustworthy source for that information.
For example, you may produce a piece of content on a change in employment law. If a C.N.N. article links back to that piece, that’s a high-quality backlink for your site. These are the types of links you want. In this case, C.N.N. is saying that it trusts Example & Martin law firm as a thought leader on this particular topic. Building backlinks is one of those branches that we alluded to earlier, and rightfully deserves its own post. For now, just know that they are important, and producing content consistently can greatly increase your chances of getting them.
Law Firm Local S.E.O.
Our last point hits close to home, literally. You know by now that you should claim your Google Business Profile. But why? Earlier, we touched on the sheer volume of searches hitting Google each day. The volume has increased over the years, and how Google presents the results has changed drastically. Google has become extremely sophisticated in pursuit of better serving its users. The search engine results page (SERP) is no longer a list of blue links. There are maps, shopping, images, ads, etc.
Claiming and optimizing your local listings in Google Search will allow you to optimize your office locations so that you can show up on the map and in traditional Google Search results. There are also many other location citation providers, and we recommend claiming and optimizing those. There are tools to accomplish this, or we can help you.
S.E.O. is not a one-time tactic. Rather, you need to regularly cultivate the S.E.O. on your website. As search trends change and you continue to produce new content, you need to ensure you are always optimizing for S.E.O. Even a few hours a week devoted to the activities listed in this blog post can go a long way toward your S.E.O. success.
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