Law firms have a lot of work to do in order to stay on top of the competition. Everything from web site design and search engine optimization to traditional, everyday marketing efforts play into whether a firm stays busy, brings in new clients, and becomes an overall success.
The Essentials of Law Firm Marketing
Most lawyers recognize the benefits of high quality search engine optimization. Everyone’s online, and those who aren’t soon will be. The Internet is the first place we all look for professionals when we need help, and your firm can really capitalize on that. You can capture leads while building trust, and that’s the cornerstone of a good attorney-client relationship.
By snagging the top spot on Google and the other search engines and putting down some roots, that’s how.
Internet searchers are drawn to the top 10 results, and if your firm isn’t at least on the first page, you’re missing out on valuable business.
If you want that top spot (who doesn’t? That’s where all the good clients go), you need more than just a great-looking website. That’s part of it – but in addition to being useful, aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly, it needs to have some authority with the search engines.
That authority comes from other websites.
Search engines are in the business of delivering high quality results, so Google looks at things such as backlinks – links coming into your firm’s website – to determine whether your site is worth putting on the first page. If high quality sites in the same niche are linking to yours, Google can determine that yours is pretty valuable, too.
Backlinks aren’t “set-it-and-forget-it.” You need to keep acquiring high quality backlinks in order to build yourself a layer of protection from Google algorithm updates and to ensure that your site has a very firm grasp on the top spot.
Remember, though, that your site won’t do anyone any good if nobody can find it. That’s where the right keywords and phrases come in; they’re the perfect complement to a healthy backlink profile.
SEO as Part of a Law Firm SEO Marketing Plan
It’s not enough to put the term “lawyer” and your practice area somewhere in the text of your landing pages. In fact, you’d be doing your firm a great disservice by doing that. You need targeted, focused keywords and phrases to reach your ideal clients, and that takes intensive research.
You also need to know what your competitors are up to – who are they targeting, and how are they reaching their audiences?
SEO is not some kind of top-secret magic. It’s basically a numbers game, and you need the right formulas to push your website to the top of the SERPs.
Fresh, Relevant Content: A Must-Have in Law Firm SEO
Google and the other search engines like to see sites that are updated frequently. They like to see plenty of content; in fact, one of Google’s most recent algorithm updates took action against sites with what they called “thin content.” Websites with very few pages that contained little useful information got the ultimate smackdown – they were pushed to the deepest, darkest parts of the Internet, and unless they make a serious effort to populate their sites with what Google demands, they’ll never be found in the SERPs again.
If you’re like most lawyers, though, you don’t have the time to publish a dozen 1,000-word articles. You may not even have time to commit to a regular blogging schedule. Many firms find it incredibly helpful to have interviews transcribed and published; that saves everyone time and keeps your website fresh in Google’s eyes.
Keeping Track of Your Metrics
Every law firm marketing plan needs to be tweaked now and then. It’s just the way things work. You won’t know where to make adjustments if you’re not monitoring your stats and metrics, so it’s always a good idea to pay close attention to what’s working and what isn’t working. At the same time, you need to monitor your competitors and find out when they’re employing new techniques, when they’re getting new backlinks from high quality websites, and when they’re pushing out content like there’s no tomorrow.
We know what you’re thinking. “Who has time to implement a huge law firm marketing plan?”
The truth is that very few people have the time or the inclination to sift through thousands of pieces of marketing advice (most of it is terrible advice anyway) just to find one gem. Once you do find that gem, it’s outdated in a week. Most firms outsource this work because it’s incredibly time-consuming, complicated and, frankly, it’s a headache unless you have a burning passion for SEO and marketing.
Look, there’s no magic spell you can cast on your website. There’s no one-click solution to push your site to the top and crush your competition. It takes research, hard work and a little time – but the results are completely worth it, because they translate into real money in your bank account.
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