All businesses within specific industries require digital marketing in today's day in age. While I won't say it's impossible, it's exceedingly difficult for your business to succeed without any form of digital marketing in place.
In this blog post, we're going to focus on lawyers and SEO, mainly why lawyer SEO is incredibly important for long term business success.
The legal industry is a very competitive niche. Everywhere you look, or everyone you speak with, either is or knows a lawyer. At some point in your life, whether it be for something good or protection, you will require a lawyer, so knowing how to source and find one is essential.
Most people looking for a service provider will turn to search engines, such as Google, to find what they are looking for.
What does this mean?
This claim is excellent news for lawyers because if they implement the right lawyer SEO strategy, they'll soon be ranking for all of the right keywords and generating the necessary traffic to generate quality leads.
You're probably asking yourself what goes into an effective lawyer SEO strategy, and in short, it's a lot of content creation and quality link-building. Like most SEO strategy creation, most of the success comes from the initial audit and planning. Learning about the industry, the search intent of potential clients, and brainstorming the right content to create and links to build will play a critical role in any SEO strategy's success.
How do I choose an SEO agency?
If you are a lawyer looking for an SEO agency, you'll soon feel overwhelmed in your search by the extensive amount of results and competition within the industry scouring for your business.
No doubt that partnering with an SEO company for your legal practice is a significant investment and decision, so you want to get it right and ensure that they will get you the results you need to grow your business.
When choosing an SEO agency, here are questions to ask and answers to look for:
How much do you charge?
Usually, this is the first question a client will ask an SEO agency, and if not, how big your budget is is usually the first question that comes out of the SEO agency's mouth.
The reason that this is usually the first question out of both parties is that the client (lawyer) wants to first make sure (or should at least) that this is something they'll be able to realistically afford, and the SEO agency wants to make sure that is something that the client can realistically afford before proceeding in discussions.
In our professional opinion, a realistic budget for a lawyer SEO agency to work with and what a lawyer should be prepared to spend is $5,000 per month at the minimum.
Think of like this, if you're spending $60,000 per year on working with a lawyer SEO agency and it continually brings in new website traffic that converts into paying customers, the odds are that the ROI will be massive. A lot of that depends on what you, as the lawyer, charge for your services, but chances are one client will equate to more than $5,000.
In regards to budget for the lawyer SEO agency, this kind of budget should be more than enough to work with from the beginning, and as your relationship (hopefully) strengthens, you can get more aggressive and slowly add more advertising dollars to your lawyer SEO budget.
What sort of KPI's do you track?
Nobody wants to spend money and invest in something that doesn't provide results. Granted, SEO takes time to display results; after three months are up, you should begin to see the positive effects that occur.
Therefore, it's essential to know what you need to track to see if your lawyer SEO efforts are generating a consistent ROI or not.
Here are the two most important KPI's to track and what your SEO agency should share with you:
Total Keywords Ranking for keywords is one of the keys to success in lawyer SEO. Keywords, best defined by Moz, are, "ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they're the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called "search queries." If you boil everything on your page — all the images, video, copy, etc." Ranking for keywords relevant to the service you provide will open up the opportunity for your legal practice to be seen and, hopefully, convert a viewer into a lead. Hence, that's why the total number of keywords is a significant KPI to follow because the more keywords you rank for, the more of an opportunity you have to generate traffic from keywords.
Monthly Organic Traffic Assessing how much organic traffic you're generating is by far the most important KPI to track. You'll want to look for trends and ensure that you're consistently increasing this number. That being said, not every month will show growth; Google's algorithm changes and sometimes unknown factors play a role in this number; you want to look for gradual increases that you can evaluate by quarters. For example, if you're investing in SEO, you'll want to see an increase in monthly organic traffic from Q1 to Q3. If not, it's probably time to move on or ask why this is not growing, because ultimately, the more traffic generated, the more of an opportunity you have to convert.
How long will it be before we can expect results?
Here is the unfortunate cold, hard truth to this question: nobody knows! If a lawyer SEO agency begins to tell you that they guarantee a certain amount of traffic or to be ranking for a certain amount of keywords by a particular date, please, and I can't stress this enough, run!
SEO is not guaranteed. The only guaranteed aspect of an on-going SEO strategy is what deliverables you can expect month-to-month. For example, instead of an SEO agency saying that they guarantee your monthly traffic will go up in month one and double in month three, they should instead tell you that in month one, we are going to focus on creating long-form, quality content for your blog, and build foundational links so that these blog posts have some authority, and then use those posts in month two and three as part of our aggressive guest post outreach.
Hearing that from your lawyer SEO agency is a lot more comforting, and you're mostly in good hands.
With that said, you should begin to see the effects of your SEO deliverables in about three months from your start date. If your website is optimized correctly from day one and that it didn't have anything negative affecting it, you should begin seeing positive trends in month three and up.
How should SEO fit in with our overall marketing strategy?
Your law firm's growth marketing strategy should not be 100% SEO, although it needs to incorporate SEO in some way, shape, or form. Many lawyers will get clients from different outlets, but it's imperative that when people hear about you, look you up, and find you, that they see that you're a credible player in the industry.
There are many ways to establish credibility, but one way would be to acquire real positive reviews and manage yours and your firm's reputation.
How do you do this? Well, for starters, you need to provide good service to your clients. If you can't offer a good service, then why would anyone leave a review? But, if you do give a good service and your client is happy, ask them to leave you a useful review on Google! As you begin to acquire good reviews online, potential new clients will see these reviews and be inclined to have a conversation with you regarding your legal services.
Social media will also play an integral part in establishing your law firm's credibility and relevance. Each social platform has a different kind of audience, and for your firm, it'll take a bit of trial and error to see how each audience responds to other content.
Utilize LinkedIn to share industry-related news, blog posts, new hires, and content of such.
Use Twitter to build a voice for your brand, follow and interact with other firms or companies in your industry, and build a mature sense of humor. Twitter is an exciting place!
Facebook is the most widely used social media network by far, so I'd make sure that your content is spot on when planning and publishing content. I'd leverage Facebook's reach to get people to opt-in for newsletters, webinars, or sign-up for events that your practice plans.
As far as Instagram goes, get creative! Instagram is mainly visual content, so whether it be employee interviews, industry facts, or exciting information, share visually appealing content that has a purpose to it.
While focusing on these other kinds of digital marketing, I'd also recommend tapping into email marketing. It doesn't need to be often, but it needs to be creative. Send out newsletters, company updates, and email flows to remain in touch with your existing and future clients.
Will I have a dashboard to check and stay up-to-date?
Here is the quick, short answer: you absolutely should! If not, how else would you know of the deliverables you're getting each month, the keywords you're ranking for, and what your monthly organic traffic is?
While working with a lawyer SEO agency, transparency will play a massive role in how successful your SEO success is, because unless you are aware of what's going on, you can't understand where your SEO stands. Getting access to an SEO dashboard is not enough; you need to understand the information provided.
What good is it if you don't understand one thing presented! So, make sure that your lawyer SEO agency explains to you what each item represents, what's right, and needs attention.
Do you always follow Googles best practices?
SEO is a shady business; I won't lie. Many people in the digital marketing and SEO industry claim to be something they aren't, and it ends up ruining it for the rest of us. When successful, SEO can change lives.
It really can! But, sometimes people have such bad experiences like spending thousands of dollars and getting no results, that it leaves such a sour taste in their mouth and they're too worried to work with an SEO agency again.
While I understand that it can be worrisome to trust someone with your SEO investment after you feel scammed by someone prior, make sure that you ask this question and analyze their response to ensure that they play by the rules. Google has these practices that it asks search engine marketers to follow. If they don't and engage in black-hat SEO, it'll permanently harm and ban your site from Google search results. Some of Google's best practices are unique content creation, not violating Google webmaster guidelines, avoiding spammy link-building, and keeping your website fresh.
Ensuring that your SEO company is not one who disobeys Google's best practices is a good sign that they're a reputable company that'll get you great results.
When interviewing and then deciding on a lawyer SEO company, don't forget one thing: SEO is a long term investment, and you need a long-term vision and partner.
You won't see results in one day, one week, or one month - what you will see is the transparency of an SEO agency, monthly deliverables (content, links, etc.), and in months three and up, you should expect to see an ROI that pays wonders.
A dependable law firm SEO company can make or break your law firm's success, whether you're established and want to grow bigger or just starting.