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11 “More” SEO Specialists Share Their Best Tips for Lawyers

This is the question we posed to more than 50 SEO specialists who have done SEO for lawyers. Their answers will provide you with good direction whether you're formulating your own law firm SEO strategies or just looking for general advice. If you want to improve your own website rankings or your clients' website listings in the search engines, then this expert Q&A roundup is what you're looking for. Enjoy and share it with others. Thank you!

  1. SHARI THUROWsearch-usability.com twitter.com/sharithurow

I've implemented SEO on law sites both nationwide and worldwide since 1995. You might think that my #1 SEO tip might have changed in these past 20+ years. But unfortunately, my tip is the same now as it was in 1995.Attorneys are notorious for writing and speaking in "legalese" (legal jargon). I understand that if they are marketing their law-firm website to other law-firm websites, it's okay to write and speak in legal jargon. However, if a law firm is targeting users who don't understand legal jargon, then guess what? Lose the legal jargon…or use it in combination with the users' keyword phrases. As we often say in the usability/UX industry, "Use the users' language. "Lawyers have to be careful when conducting keyword research. If they encounter "legalese" in the keyword research tools, they should understand that those specific queries are likely ones that other attorneys are doing. Use that data for legal-specific pages. One example might be a family attorney. His or her target audience is unlikely to use the keyword phrase "spousal support" when conducting a search in the US. "Alimony" (without the quotes) is a more likely search term. Therefore, a family-attorney website should use BOTH terms on specific pages. Use the users' language … but also inform them of what the legal term means. Another example might be a corporate attorney. His or her target audience is likely to use some business jargon. This website should include business jargon in the right context on the website. I'm certainly not saying that attorneys should never use legal keyword phrases on their websites. Use the RIGHT words in the RIGHT context. Use the users' language on your websites. The result? More search engine traffic, more trust, and more conversions.

  1. DANIEL RUSSELL com/law-firm-seo

I'd say the most important gap in most law firms' SEO strategy that I see is content. Law firms either try to fit all of their practice areas onto a single page instead of breaking the practice areas out into their own landing pages, or they have a single practice area with only one page of content dedicated to it. Instead, they should consistently create new content with the help of their attorney experts.

  1. BROCK MURRAYseoplus.ca twitter.com/seobrock

My #1 tip is to lean heavy into content. The deeper and richer your content is, the more change you have to rank for short-tail and long-tail keywords alike. Law is one of the most competitive spaces out there for SEO, so doing bare minimum optimizations only keeps you treading water. As a lawyer, you have an opportunity to write in-depth, expert content about your areas of practice. While we generally advise 400 words minimum for most businesses, a lawyer should be looking at 1000+ words per page if possible, with a user-friendly layout and enticing CTAs throughout.

  1. ASHLEY FAULKES com twitter.com/madlemmingz

The trick to getting great results from SEO in 2018 is to think outside of the standard "content" box. Most people look and fight for easy to think of topics and keywords because they can't imagine how wide their net can be for catching potential customers. Instead of just using content ideas that are tightly associated with your main topic, you must "go wide" with your research. People who might be interested in your products or services have lots of different problems and interests. And it is up to you to explore them and see which ones are relevant to your business. Then you can write SEO optimized content to bring them to your website and slowly nurture them into customers.

  1. CASEY MARKEE mediawyse.com twitter.com/MediaWyse

First, I do a lot of legal marketing, especially with our own law firm located at www.milner-markee.com. My wife and mother-in-law are both immigration attorneys and so I've "seen it all" in respect to most legal marketing methods. By far the most effective strategy that has worked for the firm has been using Avvo.com. Avvo, especially in select verticals like immigration, personal injury, and bankruptcy, dominate Google local search results. These high local placements lead to a large amount of traffic to specialty referral pages on Avvo that local attorneys can leverage by buying "blocks" of impressions on those pages. These blocks cover both specialties and geographical areas. The secret for attorneys utilizing this service, especially those paying for placement, is to fully fill out and optimize their profiles. For example, this profile for Attorney Tifany Markee (www.avvo.com/attorneys/92127-ca-tifany-markee-298534.html) does very well competitively for three main reasons; she has fully filled out her profile and garnered a coveted 10/10 Avvo Rating, she has 30+ personal and professional referrals (www.avvo.com/attorneys/92127-ca-tifany-markee-298534.html#client_reviews), and she has invested time on the Avvo site, contributing 160+ legal answers to the community (www.avvo.com/attorneys/92127-ca-tifany-markee-298534/answers.html).

These optimizations have allowed her, and in turn the firm, to leverage Avvo extremely well and increase both referrals and bottom-line traffic to their site at the same time.

  1. MATTHEW CAPALA searchdecoder.com twitter.com/SearchDecoder

Zero-in on "Near Me" Google Visibility As a legal professional barred to practice law in a single state, there are very real boundaries to consider in SEO and marketing: they are called laws. One way to achieve results in SEO without encroaching on legalities is to geo-target your keywords. If you are a lawyer in Wynwood, Miami (where my SEO agency is located), you serve clients in South Florida, and the focus is on immigration, try employing geographic parameters, such as Immigration Delray Beach Lawyer or Immigration Palm Beach Lawyers or Immigration Key West Lawyer. Make no mistake, I'm not advocating creating hundreds of "keyword stuffed" webpages for immigration lawyer plus every possible city and town in South Florida…unless you want to trigger Panda filters. Rather, a smart marketer who understands how Google's Rank Brain works, can include these keywords in a long-term content strategy focused on geo-focused content and related topics. A webpage with a case study about how the lawyer helped an immigration client in "Delray Beach" or an article covering the specifics of a newsworthy immigration case in Key West—the closest point in US territory to Cuba, actually—might be a good place to start. Through an expanded geographic target, you will have more referrals without a headache of unwanted contact.

  1. PATRICK COOMBE com twitter.com/patrickcoombe

Great question. For the past 7-8 years I've been doing SEO on one attorney or another, so I suppose I have a lot of experience on this. Before I did SEO, I did a lot of IT work and web design for lawyers. On the other hand, I think my client would be pretty angry with me (maybe even sue) if I gave out the #1 tactic that I'm using on him right now. I will say this: before he hired us, he spent quite a bit of coin on having some videos produced. Having quality content on hand (a knowledge base, steady blog posts, videos, podcasts … even tweets and Instagram posts) can really help propel you into the SERPs.

I'll also say this about attorneys and SEO in general: they all have big budgets and a lot of them are kind of shady, more-so than other industries. Depending on the industry, some of them throw ungodly amounts of money at SEO and local PPC, so if you really want to compete, it helps to work with some of these clients with the bigger budgets.

  1. MIKE BRADFORD nichesiteazon.com twitter.com/nichesiteazon

I think the biggest tip I could give would be to make sure Google My Business has been set up correctly. It's difficult to get any success without this unless you're in a very weak SERP.

  1. VENCHITO TAMPON com.ph twitter.com/venchito14

Build in-content links to your legal domain's target pages. One way to do that is to create a scholarship program and publish a page targeted to legal colleges and universities. This would allow you to get links from .edu sites that are still relevant to your brand and can tremendously improve the site's domain authority. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Identify your working budget for the scholarship program (in my experience, the optimal scholarship price that can earn/build the maximum number of links is $1000).
  • Spend time prospecting for available scholarship listing sites using Google search operators (edu "scholarship" "legal").
  • Expand your list by adding listing pages from other verticals that are still relevant to your industry.
  • Reach out to them and ask to be included in their pages.
  1. ANDREW HOLLAND co.uk twitter.com/Zooglymedia

My number one tip would be to build case studies around a firm's clients. Not only would these case studies be great reading, but they would also connect with the target audience, help to build the site's topical authority, and help the firm's consumers. Imagine that the person just charged with an assault charge goes online looking for advice and finds a case study on the very subject/charge they have been given. This is superb for building client trust, and the loved ones of those charged will also be searching for help/case studies. The key is for these case studies to be in-depth. When it comes to talking about the law, we are often looking at potential custodial sentences. People want to read in-depth information when they could end up in prison.

  1. TANNER JONES consultwebs.com twitter.com/consultwebs

The #1 Tip would be to claim and optimize your Google Business listing for your firm's key office location(s). We have seen strong local visibility continue to drive consistent cases for law firms, but a firm must also have a strategy for earning new (positive) reviews. Local visibility with a strong reviews rating (4+ Star) is one of the most powerful marketing tools on the web today.

Chris Dreyer

Chris Dreyer is the Founder & CEO of Rankings.io, which provides SEO (search engine optimization) services to lawyers, to help them obtain more clients, cases and revenue. To learn more, visit rankings.io or email Chris at chris@rankings.io.

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About the Author: Chris Dreyer is the Founder & CEO of Rankings.io, which provides SEO (search engine optimization) services to lawyers, to help them obtain more clients, cases and revenue. To learn more, visit rankings.io or email Chris at chris@rankings.io.

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