By this point in time, every lawyer with an internet connection has heard of SEO. What many don’t understand is how to go about doing it. In 2017, a search engine presence is not a luxury you can afford to live without. If you’re a lawyer (or for that matter, anyone) who’s clueless about how to improve your search rankings, read on as I attempt to demystify the concept of SEO!
What is SEO?
SEO — that’s short for search engine optimization — is the process of increasing organic search engine traffic through various means. Each search engine has a proprietary algorithm it uses to rank websites. No one knows exactly what goes into these algorithms, as they are ever-evolving, closely-guarded secrets. However, it’s safe to say that three general principles will always influence these algorithms:
- Relevance: is your content fresh and on point?
- Popularity: is your website kind of a big deal?
- Accessibility: how easily can a human and/or web crawler get around your site?
Looking to these principles as guideposts, you can start to imagine the types of SEO tactics that work: writing lots of good content, getting quality link-backs from other websites, improving the user experience on your website, and so forth. More on that in a minute.
Developing your strategy
Before you start the SEO heavy lifting, you need a strategy. What kind of traffic do you want to attract to your website? If your law firm has a local focus, then you’ll want to drive more traffic to your site from people in your area. If you have a niche practice with a national reach, then you’ll want to drive traffic within your specific practice area. You’ll also want to make sure to capture anyone who’s searching for your company name.
Now that you have your arms around a target audience, it’s time to start brainstorming the keywords your audience is searching for. The riches are in the niches, so avoid generic phrases like “law firm.” Instead, prioritize long-tail phrases like “small business law firm in greenville south carolina.” Keyword brainstorming is largely a combination of industry experience and common sense, but if you want to achieve next-level SEO ninja status, you can even research search volumes for various key phrases to ensure that you’re targeting the most valuable keywords.
Planning your tactics
You’ve got your target keyword list — now for a plan of attack! Rather than dive all the way to the bottom of the SEO rabbit hole, I’ll just hit on a few low-hanging-fruit things you can do to move the needle on your search rankings.
- Edit your existing content to use target keywords and phrases.
- Add relevant content to your site frequently, such as through blogging.
- Make sure your page URLs incorporate keywords where possible.
- Write guest posts on relevant industry blogs, and ask for a link-back to your site.
- Get some earned media through local public relations efforts, which will likely lead to more link-backs.
- Use keyword-rich, descriptive “title” and “description” meta tags.
- Add “alt” tags to your images.
- Update your website’s technological framework to be accessible on all devices.
In the meantime…
It takes time for SEO to pay off. Take us as an example. We opened our firm in December of 2016. As of the date of this post, we still haven’t reached #1 in Google for the phrase “campbell teague.” This is because there’s a firm called Teague Campbell that’s been around for several years. In a couple of months, we should see this turn around, but in the meantime, we’ve purchased our company name in Google Adwords so that we appear above the organic search results. Paid search can be a great complement to SEO, though it does come at a cost.
Who can help me with SEO?
Campbell Teague can! SEO is hard work, but we’re up for the challenge. Combining our industry background in digital marketing with our experience in the legal industry, we provide marketing consulting services to law firms of all sizes who are looking to improve their marketing strategies. Have a look at our law firm consulting page.