Running a law firm is hard enough, and the last thing attorneys want to think about is Search Engine Optimization.  More often than not, we get calls from attorney leads who say the clients aren’t coming in like they used to.  Unfortunately, this is likely because their websites are outdated and not appearing in search engine rankings.

If we look at the history of the legal landscape, it is easy to see a gap between law firm past and law firm future. In the past attorneys could develop relationships with clients based on hard work and referrals – building a loyal word-of-mouth network over time.  Now, over 97% of consumers use the internet to research products and services in their local area.  Even if a client gives a glowing verbal review about your services, any potential business will still hop online and Google your name and competitors.  Once a client in the research phase of their decision making has selected their top choices, they will begin to read reviews.  This means that in order to find steady success, a law firm needs to control their presence online.

To thrive as a firm, you need to monitor your website and make adjustments.  If a bad review comes in online, you need to address it head on and re-adjust your image.  Here are the three most basic SEO tactics you should be doing at your law firm – and how frequently you should be doing them:

SEO Tip 1: Google Yourself/Your Law Firm – Weekly

While this may not seem like a tactic, Googling yourself will give you insight into your rankings. If you do not have a website, we urge you to build one to stay relevant.  If you are searching for yourself and nothing comes up – you have either a technical or keyword problem, and you should seek advice from an SEO expert.

You can also use your search results to find areas for improvement.  High ranking websites like Avvo and Facebook have options to create and optimize law firm and attorney profiles.  You can use directory and social services like this to boost your online portfolio.  Lastly, check your reviews to make sure nothing negative has popped up – and encourage happy clients to leave you positive feedback.

SEO Tip 2: Make Sure Your Website is Being Indexed – Monthly

Recently we worked with a legal tech company with the main marketing goal of more revenue.  They had just built a website with a marketing company (not us!) and were not seeing results.  When we did a quick site search we found that their website was blocking Google from crawling and indexing it.  Their search results looked like this:

Your page’s meta descriptions are mini elevator pitches for your firm, they should say something like “A modern law firm with over 20 years of experience helping people recover from bankruptcy.”  They should NOT say, “A description for this result is not available because of this site’s robots.txt.”

To view your website pages, and seeing how they would appear in search engines, navigate to Google.com and type “site:www.yoururl.com” into the search engine. This will give you a populated list of all of your indexed URLs and their public descriptions.  If pages are missing or you are receiving the same error as above, you have a serious problem and should consult with a marketing team.

SEO Tip 3: Build Backlinks – Monthly

In day of SEO past, backlinks were all the rage – the more the better.  If you could get 5,000 links on 5,000 sites you were ranking well and your site was healthy.  Now, low quality links in bulk actually hurt your website.  So what is the solution? Focus your efforts on obtaining one great link a month instead of several bad links.  A great link would be a link on a website with high authority and traffic.  We have obtained links from Wikipedia for our clients by created content that helped users, not by spamming.  Schedule a day at the beginning of the month to look for backlink opportunities.  We recommend using a marketing software or company to scan some of your competitors websites for backlinks, and start there.  You can also think about guest blogging with colleagues or friends in exchange for a link on their website.

Obviously this is an incredibly simplified list, but it’s a great place to start.  Once you have mastered these SEO for lawyers basics, you are ready to move on to more advanced tactics like keyword research and meta tags.  As always, if you have any questions please contact ONE400 – we are happy to help.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to submit them below and I will address them.

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