SEO for Lawyers
There are many SEO professionals that SEO is a fine art and is a secret society, but truth be known that Google would much rather see higher quality sites with amazing content, than to attempt to game the algorithm.
When managed properly, a local SEO campaign can be one of the best marketing investments you can make for your law practice. For best results, you need to approach SEO in a step-by-step fashion.
Here are the 4 key steps you must take to rank higher, generate more traffic, and attract more clients:
- Keyword research
- Keyword optimization
- Citations and Links
1. Keyword research
Start by listing the services your practice provides. There are 2 types of keywords that apply to lawyers. Focus on Hiring Intent Keywords.
1) Phrases with hiring intent
2) Phrases with research intent
Your primary focus should be to rank for the phrases with hiring intent keywords since they usually signal that the person doing the search intends to take an action. Hiring intent keywords should be prioritized in your local SEO campaign because they signal that a search is being done for the purpose of taking some sort of action. For example, a keyword like “estate planning attorney” indicates that the person doing the search is ready to hire an attorney.
Research intent keywords are primarily used to gather information. Keywords that indicate research intent are primarily used for gathering information or learning about a topic. These keywords are much less likely to result in an action being taken after the search. For example, if a person searches “Do I need a will?” they aren’t necessarily ready to speak to an attorney – they’re just doing research.
The keywords that will serve as the foundation for your SEO campaign will be directly related to the legal services provided by your practice. For example, your keywords might include “estate planning attorney” or “criminal defense lawyer.” After developing your list of keywords, set up an account with Google’s AdWords platform.
2. Keyword Optimization
There are 2 major types of pages you’ll want to optimize. Your Google My Business page and the key pages on your website.
Google My Business Page
For local dentist-related searches, your Google My Business page is what shows up in the “Map” results. Having a fully optimized Google My Business page will play a key role in your Local SEO initiatives and deliver a compelling introduction of your practice to prospective patients. Another benefit is that often it’s faster and easier to get a Google My Business page ranking in Google versus your website. Additionally, Google shows these map pages at the very top of the search results.
Some examples of available Google My Business categories for lawyers are:
- Bankruptcy Attorney
- Divorce Lawyer
- Employment Attorney
- Estate Planning Attorney
- Family Law Attorney
- General Practice Attorney
- Immigration Attorney
- Labor Relations Attorney
- Trial Attorney
Optimizing Your Website
On your website, the initial focus will be to edit your “core pages” which includes the homepage and service pages to make them match up with the keywords that prospective patients are searching for. Focus first on hiring intent keywords
3. Citations and Links
Optimizing your website and Google My Business page are the initial steps you need to take to start ranking on Google. But to compete in a crowded field, you’ll need to do more. Building citations and links are the next major step to separate yourself from the other dentists in your area.
Citations are mentions of your practice Name, Address and Phone number (known as “NAP”). You’ll first want to include a citation for your practice on your own website, on your contact page and ideally also in the footer of your website. Then, you’ll want to build citations across the web by getting listed in relevant directories.
There are 3 main categories of directories that you’ll want to submit to:
General, National Business Directories
A great starting point is to get listed in the major national business directories. Some of the top directories include Yelp.com, 411.com, yellowpages.com and citysearch.com. We also recommend setting up a Facebook page for your practice.
You’ll also want to submit to dental and indsutry-specific directories, such as everydentist.com and implantdirectory.com. Some industry-specific directories will be free while others require a fee. We recommend focusing on free directories first. If you opt to get listed in paid directories, you’ll want to make sure that you’re generating some website referral traffic from those directories (which you can track using Google Analytics).
Finally, you’ll also want to search for local business directories in your area. An example of a local directory would be your local Chamber of Commerce website. Important: you’ll need to ensure that your business Name, Address and Phone number information remains 100% consistent across all directories.
By “links,” we mean hyperlinks pointing from another website (higher domain authority) to your website. These are also known as “inbound links.” Google places a lot of emphasis on what types of websites are linking to you. Links act as a vote in favor of your website’s authority and relevance.
Submit to general, dental, and local directories. Directories are helpful especially for Local SEO because they are a source for getting citations as well as links. Most directory listings will provide you with a link to your website, as well as a mention of your practice Name, Address and Phone number (NAP).
Take inventory of the offline relationships you’ve built, and see if you can gain links from those relationships. Or, perhaps you’re a member of an association and you’re able to gain a link in that directory listing. Or you’ve sponsoring a local event and you’re able to gain a link as part of your sponsorship.
Another step is to see which websites are linking to your competitors’ websites and then see if you can get similar links as well. And in this way, you may find additional directory opportunities or come across other ideas for how you can attract links to your website.
Reviews are another factor that can give you an edge over local competitors and give you higher rankings on Google’s SERPs. In addition reviews helps improve trust. Getting reviews on your Google My Business page will help your Google My Business page rank higher, so you get more exposure to prospective patients. Plus, when prospective patients see all of your positive reviews, they’ll be more likely to contact you.
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