What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of adding useful content to your website, so that prospective clients can find you more easily through search engines (such as Google or Bing).
This is done by looking at the phrases your customers type in and then answering their queries by adding content to your website. This content can take the form of blog posts (such as the one you are currently reading!), videos, podcasts and of course, your firm’s service pages.
Not only will your firm begin showing up for specific queries related to your firm but ideally you’ll begin to answer a variety of your prospective clients’ questions about your areas of expertise. You’ll become a thought-leader in your particular area, and build that all-important trust with your future clients.
The importance of ranking well on Google – what can SEO do for your firm?
When done correctly, ranking highly on Google can provide a steady stream of new, prospective clients who are looking for the exact services that you offer.
Some ways in which ranking highly on Google can benefit your law firm include:
1. Overtaking your competitors
A channel that is almost as competitive as the law profession itself, only 10 web pages will make it to the first page of Google on any given search. As 75% of all internet users do not click past the first page, getting a spot in that lucrative top ten is key.
If you are regularly updating your website, holistically adding content around your key areas of business and gaining links where you can, you stand a good chance of overtaking your competitors for those top spots and getting in front of your target clients.
2. Generating new customers
Following on from the previous point, ranking well on Google can bring in potentially high volumes of people to your website, but more importantly, bring in new clients and referrers.
For example, if 100 different people are typing in ‘Family law solicitors’ every day, and you rank on the first page for this service, your website will be shown to those 100 people, every day.
The potential for your website to not only showcase your work and your team, but to become a key business development tool, is huge.
3. Increasing the perception of your firm as a thought-leader
Producing high-quality content across your key practice areas will not only showcase your expertise to existing clients and peers but the ability of that content to bring in new clients from Google should not be overlooked.
Establishing that authority and reputation can mean you are seen by clients who are typing in multiple search queries around a given topic. It builds the perception that you are a go-to source of information. It also means that those looking for information about that particular service are already excited about the prospect of working with you when they make that first call.
4. SEO isn’t something you simply ‘do’ but work into everything you produce
For good rankings through SEO, as with many endeavours, consistency is really important. Every time a piece of content is produced by your firm, you should think about how you could optimise it, in order to get it seen by as much of your target audience as possible.
There are innumerable methods for how you can optimise your website’s rankings. Below, we have compiled five actionable steps you can take to see tangible results.
How to improve your law firm’s rankings
1. Do some research into what search terms you could be ranking for
Research a list of relevant phrases to aim for, and note which pages to add them to (or create a new page where needed). You could also have a look at what your competitors are doing, and use this as inspiration. As long as your strategy at this point includes the basics of what keyphrases to aim for and where they are best placed on your site, you should begin to see some improvement.
2. Develop a calendar for posting regular content
Following on from the above, developing a calendar which details who is creating a specific piece of content for what keyphrase, and when it will be published, encourages the consistency that is important for good rankings.
Outsourcing your content creation can definitely expedite this process, but you might also find that some of your legal assistants, trainees or NQs would like the opportunity to put their name on a piece they have written for the firm.
3. Ensure your website is performing well
If you are seeing increases in traffic to your website, but are without as many calls or emails to the office as you’d like, make sure your website provides a fluid user experience. This might be as simple as adding relevant links to your text (to your service pages or your contact page). It may also require an audit to figure out how to improve it.
4. Earn links to your website from other websites
Links are a key influencer of your website’s rankings. They are essential for reaching and maintaining those sought-after top ten spots. PR can be invaluable at gaining press coverage for a particular achievement or story. Alternatively, writing a piece for certain institutions, journals or contacts in your network with key online publications (without forgetting to ask for a link back!) can be a great way to build those all-important links to your website.
5. Use human language
Search engines prefer to rank language that is authoritative yet understandable. Minimising the use of legalese on your website can greatly improve the clarity of your content. This not only is a key ranking factor, but it generally helps your prospective clients (and for most firms, their clients are not legal experts). From article titles to the text you hyperlink, make sure to simplify your message as much as possible, even when you are explaining more complex legal topics.