Legal services is a hugely competitive industry sector and for those carrying out an online search for legal services, there is a myriad of search results options presented. When it comes to gaining competitive organic search traffic advantage online, solicitors must invest their efforts effectively into shaping their online presence in order to rank well.
SEO for solicitors and law firms doesn’t necessarily differ hugely compared to that of businesses in other sectors, but there are specific actions that can be taken to benefit law firms Search Engine Optimisation practices and boost how they present digitally – to both existing and potential clients.
The Basics of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation and refers to the practice of developing and optimising websites in order to meet the needs of search engines so that they’re able to best understand and ‘read’ them, to rank them appropriately in search results when users carry out an online search for something related to their products or services.
Search engines use algorithm programming that weights factors it gleans from websites to decide how and where to rank them on SERPs (Search Engines Results Pages). While the exact method of calculation is confidential, it is widely based upon:
- The perceived positioning of a website within its industry space and its relevancy
- The perceived authenticity of the brand
- The user experience (UX) of the website.
While there are a whole host of other search engines, the practice of search engine optimisation is widely referred to as meeting the Google search algorithm, as this is by far the most used search engine worldwide: frequently attracting 90%+ of all search engines traffic!
How does SEO for Solicitors Differ to that For Other Business Sectors?
There are basic Search Engine Optimisation practices that all businesses with an online presence should adhere to, but law firms do need to make some additional considerations that many of those in other industries do not.
- Maintaining an air of professionalism through all website content and design that conveys the serious messaging and prestige consumers look for in a legal website, whether for personal injury, family law, or other legal expertise.
- Ensuring contact details are easily found on every law firm website page so that potential clients are able to make direct contact or ‘convert’ as soon as possible, thereby generating leads.
- The inclusion of set legally mandated and binding text and disclaimers in relevant website content, as required by the legal industry specific areas of practice.
- The inclusion of up-to-date relevant content at all times in order to ensure any disclosed information is correct even as the law shifts and changes.
This means that where organisations in some sectors may be able to update their website and just leave it ‘as is’ for long periods of time, a law firm website and content does require a more involved approach that maintains thorough and continued management.
The Most Important Law Firm Search Engine Optimisation Ranking Factors
While the algorithms behind search engines are updated all of the time, there are still a number of factors that contribute heavily toward positive search engine results pages rankings. Specifically in SEO for solicitors, these cover three main areas.
Content refers to any content created to engage uses; be it to educate, inform or to encourage conversions. For SEO for law firms, this includes articles and blogs on themes related to their area of legal practice, videos, podcasts and audio files. Where content is relevant to the legal service sector or area of expertise that law firms operate in, it will contribute toward the appropriate ranking of a law firm’s website as well as encourages sharing, and assert brand perception.
Backlinks and off-page citations are links to or mentions of a domain that influence how a search engine perceives its authenticity online. The impression, credibility and authority that a law firm holds is reinforced through third party references toward them. When it comes to the contribution this makes for law firm SEO, it should be noted that authenticity is key: the likes of random directories and low-grade websites linking to them will not help to bolster such authority.
Overall UX (User Experience) is now a major factor for Google rankings; taking into account the positive experience of using a website rather than just the content within it. Such components of a site include security protocol, page loading speeds, site structure, title tags, engagement metrics and the ease of navigation,
It is critical, therefore, that those providing SEO for solicitors and law firms have a comprehensive understanding of best practices, and are able to provide an all-encompassing SEO service covering all bases in their SEO strategy.
Asserting a Positive Online Reputation Through SEO
An essential part of SEO for solicitors is the assertion of a positive reputation online – as it’s well known that any negative perceptions are easily created and shared, and can spread rapidly even if not entirely accurate.
Law firms must ensure that their presence is as professional as the rest of their practice and that no standards are compromised. This requires the thorough and expert management of not just Search Engine Optimization efforts, but all online presence – through social media, webmaster management, digital PR and communications.
Local SEO for Solicitors
Where law firms practice in a set geographical location or have a bricks-and-mortar office for which they wish to attract custom, local SEO can prove hugely beneficial for organic search results.
Google Business Profile provides additional search engine rankings opportunities for ‘local’ businesses that stipulate their location online and so allows for specifically targeted ranking. This includes their presence on Google Maps, the ability to list contact details, photos, and for Google users to leave service reviews. Where users are searching for a law firm in a certain location or are browsing businesses in an area, they will be able to see a whole host of additional information that usually otherwise wouldn’t be presented without clicking through to a website.
While survey results differ, some businesses focused on servicing specific locales report that Google Business Profile provides up to 25% of their total business, and a great deal more of their overall organic traffic. Local SEO services provide further competitive advantage with an enhanced Search Engine Results Pages presence for free: proving great value.
Where To Start with SEO for Solicitors
Law firm SEO should be managed by a specialist SEO company who is able to not just provide a comprehensive and all-inclusive service, but also able to adapt search engine rankings efforts and SEO tactics continuously in order to meet the shifting needs of algorithms and the changing best practices along with them.
Woya Digital are experts in law firm SEO, driven by a specialist, expert SEO team working to constantly remain at the forefront of the changing SEO landscape.
With experience spanning businesses in all industries, we are experienced in working with a variety of law firms and are fantastically placed to meet the needs of practices operating within the sphere of law and justice. Contact us to discuss what an organic SEO campaign for your business would look like, and begin with a free SEO audit.