Our Best Law Firm SEO Strategies For 2021

Justice may be blind but your SEO campaign shouldn't be. Having the right law firm SEO strategy in place from the start will help your firm grow exponentially.

law firm seo

What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? 

SEO is a long-term law firm marketing strategy that connects law firms with potential clients.

In short, SEO is the single most important investment you can make for your long-term marketing success.

That's because a successful search engine optimization campaign creates massive visibility around your law firm in search engines. This means more potential leads can discover your legal services over your competitors.

The best SEO strategy targets topics your potential clients are already searching for in Google or Bing and leverages natural language content to help searchers solve their problems and answer their legal questions.

SEO is one of the most reliable and profitable online marketing strategies a business can have when done correctly.

But here's the truth: Legal SEO is a powerful practice that most legal marketing companies haven't fully figured out yet.

After an in-depth analysis, I discovered that the lawyer market is surprisingly underserved. There are plenty of digital marketing firms, sure. And lawyer SEO is highly competitive; make no mistake about it.

But when it comes to modern SEO success, well, let's say there are still a few tricks these old dogs have yet to learn.

That's where having the right knowledge comes into play. SEO for law firms doesn't mean that you get shown your Google Analytics report and call it a day.

After more than 16 years in SEO, I've redefined modern SEO best practices and figured why not share them with all my attorney friends.

By the way, our research shows that the time for you to take advantage of a transparent, objective, and proven approach to SEO is now.


Keeping Up

Modern Law Firm SEO Services

We studied 15 of the most competitive metro areas for SEO and personal injury lawyers in the United States. We found that each and every one of these metro areas lack both strategy and consistency. This means that you can start fresh in any city in America and dominate the search engine results page. Targeted SEO efforts can help you drive a massive amount of new case leads.

Your SEO company should be focused on creating relevant content both on and off your website. This is the way modern search engine optimization is done. This is what it's going to take for your law practice area to thrive among even the most competitive of niches, no matter which vertical you serve.

Your firm can attract qualified leads by targeting traffic that's directly related to your firm's core service offerings and practice areas.

On-page SEO

Off-page SEO

Technical SEO

Content Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Satisfaction

97%

Of Law Firm SEO Campaigns

This is the percentage of law firms that have hired an attorney SEO expert and are under-served.

What You Should Expect From Your Law Firm SEO Company

A successful legal SEO marketing campaign will leverage best practices to boost the popularity and relevance of your website traffic above all other competing firms in your niche.

First, you're going to need to create the high-relevancy, high-quality content for your practice area that Google expects; then, you will need to build links to your valuable content from trusted domains.

This strategy grants your firm greater visibility in the search results and a broader client base as a result.

What's more, this approach gets you the prime real estate rankings in Google at a fraction of the cost of traditional digital pay per click (PPC) advertising.

Here's how we do it:

Focus on the client. Win more cases.

You have no time to learn and execute a strategic SEO campaign. You need to be serving your clients and winning cases, not spending hours analyzing search traffic, and researching keyword opportunities.

The problem is, it's real work to perform targeted keyword research to uncover the most significant opportunities for your practice areas while focusing on the consumer.

That way you're getting the best value for your marketing dollar.

Focus On Your Firm

Learn about your firm's challenges, goals, and ideal clients to understand what success looks like for you.

Competitive Analysis

Deep competitive marketing analysis in your specialty to identify the greatest opportunities.


Targeted Search

Target the most important search information to advance your campaign faster than traditional SEO for lawyers.

lawyer SEO

Proven Techniques

Focus on proven SEO techniques that produce first page rankings for your most valuable keywords.

Custom Campaign

Create a custom SEO plan that attracts new potential clients to your law firm website.


Meet The Competition

 Meet the competition head-on and generate new case leads in the most direct fashion possible.


RESOURCE MAPPING

Optimize your sales funnel with SEO

 Attracting cold leads is a thing of the past. You're going to need to include keyword mapping in your strategy to identify what your prospective clients are already searching for, then map those target keywords to every step of your sales funnel.
Your focus should be on getting first page rankings for the most profitable "money searches" of your campaign from discovery to conversion. A plan that naturally increases your website's exposure and attracts more organic traffic at all 4 stages of the funnel.

Transactional Searches

These are the search terms of visitors who are actively looking to pay for your firm's services. These "money terms" have the highest conversion rate for acquiring new clients through your law firm websites. In internet marketing language, these are searches at the bottom of the funnel.

When you start getting more phone calls, more leads, and more revenue every month, that's when you'll know it's working.

Keyword Example: Hire a Denver personal injury lawyer, Denver personal injury attorney near me.

Navigational Searches

These are the search queries of people looking for information about your services. People want to know if they can trust you to be their legal representation. This means making sure your website is well represented in the search rankings around your company name.

Keyword Example: Denver personal injury lawyer reviews, Denver personal injury attorney cost

Commercial Investigation

These searchers are looking for relevant legal content and information about what your firm does. They're also questions your target audience is asking to clarify your firm's services and offerings. You've captured their interest. Now show them what you have to offer.

With deliberate law firm website design and website content, you must display this knowledge on your business page to be considered an authority on your firm's expertise. This also provides a great user experience.

Keyword Example: personal injury only law firms in Denver, highest personal injury settlement in Colorado

Informational Searches

These are the searches prospective clients have to find more information around their legal case at the beginning of the sales funnel. These long-tail (typically) keywords will have the most volume and most immense potential to increase website traffic overall, attracting the right eyeballs to your website.

This information will exist as valuable website content on your law firm's website, typically in the form of blogging. 

Keyword Example: How to find a personal injury lawyer, what is a personal injury claim

Your SEO campaign will target each of the four types of searches to drive traffic at each step of the sales funnel, with a particular emphasis on transactional (money) searches.

When you give the searcher the kind of content they're looking for and do your SEO due diligence—optimizing meta descriptions, HTML title tags, header tags, and the rest—your campaign will be poised to succeed in the SERPs, that's a fact.

Give search engines what they want. The way they want it.

As a webmaster, you can't afford to guess what kind of content Google wants to reward in the search results.

Gone are the days of churning out average blog posts and inserting keywords, hoping something will slip past the algorithm.Google makes the rules, and you want to play to win, right? Google is a mobile-first search engine, so you better make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices.

And remember, they want to make their pay per click experience better, and your page should strive to do just that.

To help you win in the rankings, you're going to want to optimize your content, and your website structure from the start to perfectly match the natural language patterns that search engines are looking for.

Website audit and optimization

Cornerstone Content Curation 

The C3 Processing Model

If you're competing in a highly competitive environment, your cornerstone content web pages or what some might refer to as landing pages (or evergreen content) must be optimized to rank for your firm's most competitive search terms.
Optimizing the following page types and their organization "grants" you the ability to beat the algorithm and rank competitive keywords higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages).


Static Pages

In addition to your home page, static pages are web pages that will be deeply relevant to your firm over an extended period. For example, a criminal defense focused law firms will have static pages detailing their services through clear copywriting, infographics, or testimonials.
 

Blog Pages

Blog pages are SEO-informed resources that address the common questions and concerns your potential clients are searching for online.

For example, a DUI firm may have blog posts offering generic legal direction on what happens when you get a DUI, the legal penalties of drunk driving, or the fees and services associated with hiring a DUI attorney.

  • Organize and group your content, navigation, and URL structure to stand out on the Google search results page
  • Perform natural language processing using modern SEO techniques to match the language patterns Google expects and rewards.
  • Optimize key on-page factors, metrics, and metadata to improve click-through rate, decrease bounce rate, and strengthen on-site SEO.
  • Maximize the exposure of your most valuable pages in the organic search results
  • Resolve factors such as page speed or broken links that are hurting your site’s ability to rank

        Establish your brand to command rank

        Your brand must be highly visible online to succeed in lawyer SEO and clearly broadcast a strong professional reputation. You want a brand that can't help but rise to the top of the search results pages. You will need to establish your brand and domain name online as a trusted and recognized authority. You can achieve this by building real profiles on real websites with real content. Not to mention including real case studies and online reviews to help solidify your brand reputation.

        You can use the authority of established legal directories like Avvo, Justia, FindLaw, Best Lawyers, and the like, as well as social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Use the ones that make the most sense for your firm.

        Localization - win more business with local SEO

        Suppose your law firm is a local business. In that case, potential clients are already looking for your services right in your neighborhood.

        If your specialty is car accidents, then you want to be known as the big car accident law firm down the street that attracts more business than any expensive billboard ever could. Whether you're a divorce lawyer, personal injury lawyer, or otherwise, when your firm's website is optimized for local search, you're positioned to capitalize on as many of these potential leads as possible.

        Localization not only has a powerful impact on the top 10 results, but it also impacts your business listing's placement in Google's "map pack" or Google My Business. This type of snippet can show your NAP (business name, address, and phone number) in the top results located within your local practice area.

        High quality link building at scale

        Having a strong link profile is essential for moving to the top of search engine rankings FAST. Savvy marketers know that inbound links are what separate the winners from the losers in competitive markets.

        You will need to build a systematized process for building high-quality backlinks from trusted domains. Hiring an SEO agency dedicated to performing outreach to other websites will help you build valuable, white hat backlinks from trusted domains related to your practice areas.

        The bottom line is that link-building can be the unfair advantage that your firm's website will leverage to rank at the top.

        Link building truly is one of the most critical aspects of law firm SEO, and it can't be gamed with shady link-building tactics or quick-fix WordPress plugins; It's one of the primary key performance indicators to measure and one of the ranking factors that gets ignored the most.

        Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Legal SEO

        There you have it. Effective SEO isn't some big secret. It's simple, but not easy. And sure, if you're just starting out with SEO at your firm, getting it right on the first go-around might be a tall order. But if you follow the top SEO strategies for law firms that we described here, then you'll be on the sure path to higher rankings.

        These strategies comprise the exact process we use for our clients to deliver world-class results in the rankings.

        To learn more about the current best practices in law firm SEO, we've put together a series of FAQs that our experts on the Advocate SEO team get asked the most.

        Do you have a question of your own?

        Submit your SEO-related questions here: https://advocateseo.com/contact/

        What tools do you use to perform SEO for lawyers?

        The primary tools we use to deliver world-class SEO results include Ahrefs, Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools), and Google itself. However, we use a select number of specific apps and plugins depending on the client's needs (more on plugins in a later FAQ).


        What is On-Site SEO?

        On-site SEO, also called on-page SEO, will determine the success or failure of your SEO campaign.

        The goal of on-site SEO is to deliver the kind of content and structure Google AND searchers are looking for. On-site SEO refers to all of the essential elements Google and your users look at when evaluating the quality of your web pages.

        Any significant issues in the content type, organization, or structure can limit your page's ranking ability and your ability to satisfy search intent.

        Here are the most important on-page factors to include for higher rankings:

        • Title tag
        • Description tag
        • Header tags
        • Keywords
        • Keyword density / term frequency
        • Unique content
        • Content length
        • Multimedia
        • Images
        • Natural language words
        • URLs
        • Internal linking in your content and menus
        • Schema markup
        • SSL certificate
        • Domain WHOIS
        • Modifiers/sentiment (ex. "best", "top", "guide", among many others)

              What is Off-Site SEO?

              Off-site SEO refers to all activities that occur outside of your law firm's website. In most cases, "off-site" refers to backlinks.

              If optimized on-page SEO is table stakes for running a successful SEO campaign, off-page SEO is where the winners are quickly separated from the losers. Off-page SEO is the most time-consuming and challenging part of the process.Off-site SEO is the practice of working with external sources (other websites) and getting them to include a link back to your website. This can be done in various ways, like posting guest posts and press releases and offering your unique take in an expert round-up post. Ultimately you'll want to find the opportunity that works for your situation.

              In off-site SEO, we want to get as many authoritative, relevant "resources" to link back to our website. Imagine every backlink is a vote. The more votes you have across the internet, the more trustworthy, authoritative, and relevant your law firm website will be to Google—and the better you will rank in the SERPs.


              What is the role of social media in law firm SEO?

              Social media is an integral part of any digital marketing campaign, including law firms. If you're a law firm owner or solo attorney, you want to broadcast your message and services to the right people. In most cases, this means the people in your local market.

              Social media platforms can help expand your reach and prove to potential clients that you are the authority in your practice area. An active social media presence will increase engagement with your business through comments, visitors to the website, followers, and business inquiries.

              From an SEO perspective, maintaining an active social media presence is a known Google ranking factor. Add social media marketing to your strategy today.

              How important is website speed in modern lawyer SEO?

              Don't be fooled—there is nothing more frustrating to users and Google alike than a website that doesn't load properly.

              In most cases, that extra few seconds of waiting just isn't worth sticking around for. Providing a fast, smooth user experience is paramount here. Make no mistake: if your website doesn't load fast, users will bounce, and Google will favor your competitors in the rankings.

              If your site loads slowly, don't worry—Improving site speed isn't hard. Things that affect how fast your site loads are media file size, number of plugins, how your site is coded, among other criteria. You should run a site speed test frequently to make sure Google likes what it sees.

              Ultimately, page speed matters a great deal. Still, it's just one of the many hundreds of factors Google's algorithm is taking into consideration.


              How does Google determine rank for law firm websites?

              Ah yes, the million-dollar question. Google is notoriously secretive about the ins and outs of their ranking algorithm (called the RankBrain algorithm). That said, they do give us enough information to base our actions on.

              In a nutshell, here's what you need to know about how Google ranks websites in the legal space:

              Google uses some 200 or so ranking factors (signals) to determine how favorably your website should rank in the search results. Despite frequent algorithm changes, Google has always wanted to reward websites that improve user experience.

              From the research and tests we've done and the results we repeatedly see with law firms we partner with, the way to succeed in SEO is to give Google what they want, the way they want it. When Google crawls your site, you want your site structure to efficiently guide their crawlers to the important parts of your site. Putting a priority on user experience is also required.

              There are tons of factors that affect rank, but succeeding in the SERPs is as much about the words your users are reading on the page as it is about organization and site structure containing those words.


              What's the difference between SEO and SEM?

              Ah yes, the million-dollar question. Google is notoriously secretive about the ins and outs of their ranking algorithm (called the RankBrain algorithm). That said, they do give us enough information to base our actions on.

              These two acronyms are often used in the same context, but understanding the difference is important and quite simple.

              Potential new customers have many different ways of discovering your business website and the services you provide. Still, when it comes to acquiring new customers via search engines, there are only two:

              Search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of generating website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. Other standard terms marketers when referring to SEM include paid search ads, paid search advertising, and PPC (pay-per-click),

              Search engine optimization (SEO), on the other hand, is the process of generating website traffic by ranking highly in the organic search results.

              SEM is entirely a pay-to-play model. Choose your terms, bid on keywords, and scoop up a portion of the traffic. When done right, SEO gives you the ability to rank organically over the long haul for those costly PPC keywords in the law firm industry. If you're an attorney, investing in SEO can save you a small fortune over the long term—and give you more bang for your marketing buck.


              What role does a blog play in an SEO campaign?

              Here's the truth: most attorneys and law firm owners don't make good use of their blog. Sorry, they just don't. In many cases, we find that law firm websites use their blog as a platform solely reserved for local news, accident reports, short posts, and press releases. A blog can play a much bigger, better, more influential role than that!

              Instead, you should think of your blog as a vehicle to demonstrate your expertise in your practice area. Your categories should closely reflect the topics your business focuses on. The goal is to publish compelling original content, often in the form of articles that provide visitors with valuable ideas, tips, and answers to the questions they're searching for on the internet. A blog should be a space where you write content to answer your potential client's questions and get them interested in your business offerings.

              At Advocate SEO, we spend a large amount of time performing effective keyword research in advance to ensure that every article published on your website is engineered to rank and is superior to your competitor's content. With regular posting, you can generate a wealth of valuable content that gets right to the point and satisfies the searcher's intent, and ranks at the top of the SERPs.


              What are citations? And why are they such a big deal in legal SEO?

              Citations are by no means unique to law firms, but getting citations for your firm is an essential step for getting top rankings.

              Getting a citation involves listing your business's name, address, and phone number (NAP) on another website. As we mentioned earlier in this article, putting your firm's NAP on websites and directories like Avvo, Facebook, Yelp, and so on sends a positive signal to Google (and potential customers) that you are an established, reputable business. A firm with citations from many reputable websites stands a better chance of climbing the ranks above the competitors.


              What is "duplicate" or "thin" content? Are they different?

              Duplicate content is exactly what it sounds like: when multiple articles are so similar, their value is diluted simply by their very existence. Thin content, while different from duplicate content, still gives us a similar problem. Every website has a site quality ratio (SQR). This ratio is the overall balance of strong, in-depth content versus short, flimsy, mediocre content. A healthy SQR is one that is heavily weighted towards robust, deep, valuable content, and minimal on thin content.

              Remember the Golden rule in SEO: every page a resource. Every good writer knows that each word has to earn its place on the page. Same with SEO. When planning your content strategy, remember that every page needs a purpose or a reason for existing. Otherwise, you'll risk sending a strong negative signal to Google that essentially marks those duplicate and thin pages as spam. Frequently writing content that doesn't add any SEO value or importance to your users isn't worth it, so just don't do it.

              Spend your time and attention on creating unique, in-depth content. And keep it updated as the topic evolves. That will ensure your content remains fresh and relevant for months, if not years into the future. This is what SEO's mean when they say "evergreen" content.

              How can I accurately estimate the ROI on   SEO for my law firm?

              One of the most challenging things any marketer does is to measure the actual ROI on SEO.

              It's difficult. It's imprecise. It may not be as exact as other marketing channel projections, but you must do it. After all, SEO is an investment, and as a law firm owner, you want to be sure that what you spend on that investment is worth it. You want to count on converting X new customers every month and expect to increase revenues by Y.

              There are many ways to estimate the ROI on SEO, some more accurate than others, but businesses who are tuned into their main website KPIs tend to have better ROI calculations. Here's how to calculate the ROI on SEO for your firm:

              First, you'll need to grab a few numbers from your analytics.

              • Search volume: Add up the monthly search volumes of all your keywords for the proposed SEO campaign
              • Conversion rate: Dig into your site analytics to find your website's conversion rate
              • AOV: Find your average order or case value

                    Once you have these three numbers, it's time to use them in a simple three-step calculation:

                    • Multiple your estimated monthly searches by your potential capture rate (estimated % of clicks to your website when you rank on the first page)
                    • Multiply that number by your website's known conversion rate
                    • Take that number (your estimated number of sales per month) and multiply it by your average order value (or average case value)

                          When you're done, you'll have an accurate estimate of the monthly ROI on your SEO investment.

                          How do you choose which keywords to target in an SEO campaign?

                          Keyword research matters—it matters a lot. Choosing the right keywords might be the single most crucial part of your SEO planning process—the keywords you target will be the basis for your success. Understanding which types of search queries and phrases will bring visitors and customers to your site is about figuring out search intent. 

                          Think about your own search behavior online. When you enter something into Google, say "car accident attorney near me" or "who is the at-fault driver in a sideswipe?" you likely have a very clear idea of what information you expect to see. In the former, you're looking to hire an attorney; in the latter, you're just looking for some information to answer your question. Understanding that specific expectation—the search intent or underlying purpose of the search—is how you will know what type of content to write content for your site.

                          To analyze user intent (search intent), you'll need to break down your basic keyword research into four individual categories before adding them to your SEO campaign.

                          Transactional Searches

                          These are the search terms of visitors who are actively looking to pay for your firm's services. These "money terms" have the highest conversion rate for acquiring new clients through your law firm websites. In internet marketing language, these are searches at the bottom of the funnel. When you start getting more phone calls, more leads, and more revenue every month, that's when you'll know it's working.

                          Keyword Example: Hire a Denver personal injury lawyer, Denver personal injury attorney near me.
                          Navigational Searches

                          These are the search queries of people looking for information about your services. People want to know if they can trust you to be their legal representation. This means making sure your website is well represented in the search rankings around your company name.

                          Keyword Example: Denver personal injury lawyer reviews, Denver personal injury attorney cost
                          Commercial Investigation

                          These searchers are looking for relevant legal content and information about what your firm does. They're also questions your target audience is asking to clarify your firm's services and offerings. You've captured their interest. Now show them what you have to offer.

                          With deliberate law firm website design and website content, you must display this knowledge on your business page to be considered an authority on your firm's expertise. This also provides a great user experience.

                          Keyword Example: personal injury only law firms in Denver, highest personal injury settlement in Colorado

                          Informational Searches

                          These are the searches prospective clients have to find more information around their legal case at the beginning of the sales funnel. These long-tail (typically) keywords will have the most volume and biggest potential to increase website traffic overall, attracting the right eyeballs to your website. This information will exist as valuable website content on your law firm's website, typically in the form of blogging.

                          Keyword Example: How to find a personal injury lawyer, what is a personal injury claim

                          Your SEO campaign will target all 4 types of searches to drive traffic at each step of the sales funnel with particular emphasis on transactional searches. When you give the searcher the type of content they're looking for and do your SEO due diligence—optimizing meta descriptions, HTML title tags, header tags, and the rest—your campaign will be poised to succeed in the SERPs, that's a fact.
                          Every successful SEO campaign is built upon keyword research that matches the searcher's intent.


                          Is lawyer SEO still relevant in 2021?

                          SEO for law firms is here to stay; that's a fact. Sure, the rules of the game evolve. And Google takes a certain sick pleasure in throwing the odd curveball algorithm update that you'll never see coming. And the nuanced tactics that work today may not work in the future. But as long as there is an internet, and as long as commerce is being conducted online, and as long as people are still using it to access online marketplaces and information to read, search engines will always be a powerful way of getting in front of your target audience—your potential customers!

                          The world is a big place, and new attorneys are putting up new sites for their new legal practice every day. This means the competition is only increasing, but don't let that dissuade you from entering the SEO arena. As ad costs continue to climb, SEO is becoming more and more vital for business growth. The benefit of having an SEO partner who is a specialist in your specific industry and has been stalking the Google algorithm for over 17 years is that you are left in good hands. Advocate SEO is the partner you need to help you become the most successful law firm in your area.


                          How should I evaluate an SEO vendor for my law firm?

                          Before you enter into a working relationship with a legal SEO vendor, you should ask questions and do your due diligence to make sure you know what you're signing up for.

                          You want your SEO vendor to function as your partner; someone, or some entity, that understands your business, your goals, and is enthusiastic about building a close professional relationship.

                          When you ask the following questions of your potential SEO vendor, you'll set yourself up for success with an experienced partner who has your firm's goals ever in mind.

                          Q: How long have you been in business?

                          Anyone who claims to be an SEO "expert" ought to have been in the business for a respectable amount of time. You want to work with a vendor who has paid their dues in the industry and has a proven track record of delivering exceptional SEO services to many satisfied customers.

                          Q: How many people are on your team?

                          Obviously, the smaller the team, the less bandwidth to handle many clients effectively. That said, bigger doesn't automatically mean better. Advocate SEO is a fully distributed team, and we firmly believe quality talent trumps quantity any day of the week.

                          Ask your vendor about the size of their team, but also ask about the roles and responsibilities. How many employees are trained in the hands-on SEO work that is being provided? How many are salespeople or account managers? It's in your interest to work with a vendor who is ethical, transparent, and is exceptional at SEO—those are the details that matter most.

                          Q: How do you communicate with clients you partner with?

                          One of the biggest gripes in SEO from a client perspective is the lack of clear communication. There should always be an open line of clear communication between the vendor and the client. You want a vendor who operates as your partner, someone who is thinking about your business as much as you are (maybe more!). For that reason, it's in your interest to vet your SEO partner and make sure they put a premium on clear communication. An average SEO firm will drop you into a system of automated phone trees, emails, online support tickets, and unreturned messages that can be uniquely frustrating. Ask if you have a dedicated marketing professional who will respond to your emails in a timely, helpful manner.

                          Q: What is your process for tracking and reporting on performance progress?

                          Like the previous question, you should ask your vendor for an example performance report and ask them what their process is for explaining tasks and activities that went on that month.

                          When looking at the report, you want to check to see how thoughtfully it was written. What metrics are being emphasized? Is anything missing? Does this make sense? Can I share this with my team, and will they understand it without any additional explanation? Is this report a bunch of clunky SEO jargon, or is it written in simple terms?

                          A stellar SEO vendor will create lean, clear reports that anybody can understand. If the information seems too complicated and confusing, partner with a different vendor.

                          Q: How do you produce content for your clients?

                          Average content isn't going to advance your SEO campaign, full stop. The days of keyword stuffing, ghost copy, and Robo SEO writing are long gone. To win the modern SEO game means you must commit to unique, high-quality content. Y'know, the kind people will actually read.

                          Ask your prospective vendor for a list of recent clients' websites and look at their content. If the content passes the sniff test, next ask them how the content is produced. SEO agencies have to operate at scale to succeed, which means content production needs to be systematized for efficiency. Ask the vendor if they have licensed attorneys or editorial staff members trained in your practice area (personal injury, tax law, real estate, IP law, etc.).

                          When vetting a vendor on their content production ethics, you want to look for quality, depth, and expertise.

                          Q: Does your team offer any training or educational materials?

                          A reputable SEO vendor will practice what they preach. That means they should tell you how the sausage is made. Be wary of companies who pride themselves on "proprietary" or "secret" formulas or processes. You can't afford to gamble on your SEO vendor. Evaluate your SEO help based on the transparency of their methods, the depth of their educational materials, and, best of all, see if they offer in-house SEO training to law firms. If they're willing to teach you how to perform law firm SEO yourself, you know you're in good hands.

                          Q: Do you specialize in my practice area of the law?

                          As SEO becomes increasingly complex and competitive, there is an increasing need for domain-specific specialists. If the law firm SEO vendor you are vetting isn't hyper-focused on your particular industry, that could be a serious red flag. You need a partner who understands the ins and outs of your practice area. If they are going to be writing content for your firm's website, then you'll want to make sure the content they're writing is legally-accurate and ethically responsible.

                          Q: Can you provide a list of everything that you'll do for and provide to my law firm?

                          There is no uniform way SEO agencies price their services. Still, you should request to see a clear list of services with specific fees associated with whomever you decide to hire. If you ask the vendor for this information and they are hesitant, they say "it's complicated" or seem on edge about it, then they probably aren't the agency you should partner with.


                          Does my site need video to compete in SEO?

                          In the context of an SEO campaign, I like to think about video SEO like ketchup—it makes everything better.

                          Do you need video? Unlikely. It depends on your goals as a firm and how much you care about investing in different multimedia types (including audio, video, custom images, visual infographics, and written content).

                          Videos are engaging and are great for compelling social media content. Videos can help engage visitors and grow your followers and potentially convert them into paying customers.

                          The benefits of video SEO really kick in if you manage to have a YouTube channel created for your law firm. If producing video makes sense for your firm, then by all means. But don't set up a YouTube channel unless you're ready to treat it like a sister blog (that means nurturing your channel with new content consistently over the long haul).


                          What is an XML sitemap? And how does it help with my law firm's SEO?

                          A sitemap is a list of pages on your website (organized by post type, page type, category, as a few examples) that tells search engines what to crawl. A sitemap is a simple XML file, and when you submit it to a search engine, it tells the crawler which pages and sections of your law firm website you want to be indexed. As the name suggests, a sitemap functions like a real map.

                          The benefit of having a deliberate, logical sitemap is that it makes your medical malpractice firm website easy to read by a crawler, which is a significant plus for setting your site up for SEO success and making sure Google likes what it sees.


                          What is a meta description?

                          A meta description is a section (or snippet) of text written in an HTML tag that describes the content of that particular page.

                          If you write articles for your divorce attorney blog, you've probably seen the little field with a set limit of 160 characters where you can write your text. Meta descriptions are a small but important piece that can help increase click-through rate in the SERPs, but beyond that their true importance is minimal.

                          That's mostly because meta descriptions are not a ranking factor, and you don't need to have them on every page of your website. Having a short meta description that accurately and enticingly describes your content is a smart idea, but the truth is, even if you leave your meta description blank, Google usually fills in the description for you based on what might be most relevant to users.


                          What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? Which one should I use?

                          HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an encrypted version of HTTP, the primary protocol for transferring data over the internet. Whenever you see that lock symbol in the address bar in your browser, you can rest easy with the peace of mind that the site is secure.

                          HTTPS is the best option (the only one in our opinion) because of its superior security benefits. For example, if an attacker was trying to intercept sensitive information (login credentials or credit card number, say). They would only see random characters instead of the actual information.

                          Our advice is to avoid lingering on websites that don't use HTTPS—the risk is easily avoided and isn't worth the potential negatives associated with insecure encryption.

                          In terms of SEO, Google publicly stated that HTTPS is a ranking factor. Even if it's a lightweight one, don't underestimate it—the encryption security benefits also protect your cherished users.


                          What is an SEO audit? How long should it take?

                          An SEO audit is essentially a complete evaluation of your website's SEO performance. Does the site load well? Do you have a lot of broken pages or untidy redirects? Is your site structure organized neatly? These are a few examples of what you'd want to look for in an audit.

                          An audit will tell you how "healthy" your site is in Google's eyes. The healthier the site, the better chances of top rankings. The goal is to maintain a site that Google can crawl easy, understand, and reward. A full SEO audit covers both technical and non-technical factors. Whoever performed the audit will generate a report, including recommendations for improvements.

                          The range of time it takes to complete an audit varies widely. A full-on technical audit on a small site might not take more than a day or two. But a full audit for large sites with hundreds of thousands of pages or more can take longer—up to a month.

                          The amount of time an audit takes depends on how intensive the audit is (18 SEO checks or 200?). The right SEO agency will make decisions about your audit based on the priority level. There's nothing worse than an "expert" running down a templatized SEO checklist. Understanding how to efficiently and effectively perform an SEO audit requires deep experience and an ability to see the forest for the trees. Don't get burned by another unskilled SEO—partner with Advocate SEO instead.


                          What metrics or KPI's should you track in SEO?

                          An SEO audit is essentially a complete evaluation of your website's SEO performance. Does the site load well? Do you have a lot of broken pages or untidy redirects? Is your site structure organized neatly? These are a few examples of what you'd want to look for in an audit.

                          What gets measured gets managed, as they say, and it's no different for SEO.

                          In an earlier FAQ, you discovered how to calculate the ROI of SEO. Great! In the spirit of tracking and data analysis, you'll also want to keep an eye on key performance metrics for success. The primary metrics we recommend monitoring include:

                          SEO Metrics:

                          • Referring domains
                          • Backlinks
                          • Click-through rate
                          • Keyword ranking positions
                          • Impressions
                          • Clicks

                                Website performance metrics

                                • Organic traffic
                                • Referral traffic
                                • Direct traffic
                                • Bounce rate
                                • Time on site
                                • Pageviews
                                • Conversion rate
                                • Visitors

                                      To track your campaign's progress, you'll want to maintain a careful watch of these metrics. From an SEO perspective, you need to know how many leads you're generating thanks to SEO. In the law firm industry, that might involve inbound appointment requests and bookings, email inquiries, or collected emails.

                                      As far as how to track these metrics, you have plenty of options. Google Analytics is the primary tool we use to measure growth, and the influence SEO has. You can set up custom dashboards to track performance and use that data to report on your findings. Google Search Console will give you a read on your SEO gains and performance with data on clicks, impressions, ranking positions, and click-through rate. These two Google products are entirely free. But if you want a fancier option, there are plenty of great products to buy.


                                      How long will it take for my firm to see results?

                                      An SEO audit is essentially a complete evaluation of your website's SEO performance. Does the site load well? Do you have a lot of broken pages or untidy redirects? Is your site structure organized neatly? These are a few examples of what you'd want to look for in an audit.

                                      Second from questions about the return on investment in SEO, this is the most common question we get asked after onboarding a new client.

                                      The length of time an SEO campaign takes to produce results depends on many factors:

                                      - How old is the website? Have there been previous SEO campaigns?

                                      - How competitive is the industry you're in?

                                      - How much are you willing to invest?

                                      SEO is rarely easy, but it is simple. An in-depth discovery call is the first step to answering the question of, "when will I start to see results from SEO?" Before we work with a client, we want to know the history of their website and marketing campaigns. We want to know if any SEO tactics have been implemented in the past. If so, what worked? What's working now? If a site is brand new, we will be transparent and tell you that it could take several months and even years to catch up to the competition.

                                      In short, the website history, level of competition in the industry, and the client's available budget are the three main factors that influence how long it will take to see results.


                                      What WordPress plugins should I use on my law firm website?

                                      An SEO audit is essentially a complete evaluation of your website's SEO performance. Does the site load well? Do you have a lot of broken pages or untidy redirects? Is your site structure organized neatly? These are a few examples of what you'd want to look for in an audit.

                                      If you're just getting started in SEO and you use WordPress as your CMS, then you'll inevitably find yourself installing plugins to customize your law firm website the way you want it. Here are some of our favorite plugins and a few details for why we use them:

                                      Rank Math SEO for easy web SEO

                                      Rank Math is a free plugin; it's not complicated to use and requires little-to-no technical skill. This is one plugin you'll find yourself using a lot.

                                      One-Click SSL food a secure website

                                      For those unfamiliar, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a method of securing and encrypting sensitive information on your website. An SSL certificate brands your website with the HTTPS in your website's URL address (the lock symbol, remember?). One-Click SSL makes it easy to implement SSL security on your site.

                                      WP Rocket for improving website speed

                                      Website load speed is an important ranking factor, and it matters to your visitors. WP Rocket is a powerful caching plugin that helps speed up your website.

                                      ShortPixel Image Optimizer for image resizing and compression

                                      This plugin makes it easier to compress and optimize all of your images to increase site load speed.

                                      WP Forms to collect information from your visitors

                                      WP Forms is a lightweight form builder that lets you collect information from your visitors. Registration forms, payment options, newsletter sign-ups, and more.

                                      OptimizePress for a simple drag-and-drop website builder

                                      Suppose you're starting a new law firm website out of your attorney office. In that case, OptimizePress is a sophisticated website builder that comes with 100+ templates and widgets that let you add elements like video, social icons, page layout elements, and more. This is especially handy if you aren't a developer or don't intend to hire a developer to build your website for you. OptimizePress makes DIY website development easy.

                                      Ready to get more organic leads?

                                      The major players in your market are driving a huge number of new case leads with SEO. Our data helps us visualize your market and break down numbers so that you can understand the potential. We can show you how!


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