Though the term is commonly used by many people these days, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) remains a very arcane discipline. Unfortunately, there is more misinformation than accurate data out there regarding what it is, how it works, and what it can do for you and your law firm. SEO, in other words, remains a mystery to most people. But it doesn’t need to.
What is attorney SEO?
Is it different than SEO for other industries? Answer: not really, other than the fact that each field involves its own set of descriptive terminology. The best SEO company for lawyers is one that has experience in the legal field, and can use their breadth of knowledge for your firm’s benefit. But first and foremost, any law firm SEO expert must be an expert in the general practice of search engine optimization.
So a better question might be “What is SEO?”
In essence, SEO is simple. Every day, more than a billion (yes, that’s “billion” with a “B”!) searches are performed on the web. And that number is growing constantly. However, only a tiny fraction of those searches relates to you and your law firm. It is those “viable” search phrases that reputable attorney SEO services should target for you.
A viable search term is one that is typed in by someone who is specifically looking for an attorney to provide the services you offer.
What makes a search term viable?
In order to be viable, or useful to you and your practice, a search term must:
- Divorce lawyer might be what you are, however
- Child support for long-term marriage is the service you offer; a much better indicator of relevance.
- Child support payments may be something you help clients with, but
- Attorney specializing in child support modification would be typed in by someone who is specifically looking to hire a law firm like yours.
- Divorce attorney Los Angeles Marvin actions, though most people don’t think in these concrete terms. They’d be more likely to phrase it as
- My long-term partner and I were not married. Can I still get support payments? Believe it or not, search engines (especially Google) are sophisticated enough to grab the meaning behind that phrase
Do I need to show up first in Google?
This is one of the least understood areas in SEO. The fact is, language is complex, and each person has a unique way of phrasing their search terms. Because of that, there could be hundreds of thousands of individual search phrases that may apply to your law practice.
What an effective law firm SEO agency will do is to identify the topics that are relevant to your practice, and begin to build up more and more search result placements for you within those topics.
It is important to remember when looking at your results that inevitably there will be many more search phrases for which you will NOT show up, than phrases for which you will show up. That is normal. What is critical is that over time you begin to show up in the results for a greater and greater number of relevant phrases. And, even more vital is that searchers are getting to your law firm’s website via search engines, and contacting you.
How is good SEO accomplished?
Achieving successful SEO results is based on performing a number of tasks over a period of time. While there are dozens and dozens of factors that affect search position, the most critical are:
- Page Title Also called the Meta Title tag, this item serves a dual purpose in that it not only lets search engines know what each page is about, but also serves as the header/clickable link in the search engine results
- Page text content Well written, relevant copy on your pages is absolutely essential — and deceptively difficult to achieve. A good writer will know how to connect to a human user, while simultaneously appealing to search engines.
- Inbound links Though they don’t have the ultimate power they used to, having links from other sites, leading to your site, is still essential. Unfortunately, all links are not created equal. These links must be from relevant, trusted sites to have the proper effect.
As mentioned above, there are dozens of other factors involved in effective SEO. Since time is not unlimited, a good legal SEO company will know which factors to focus their resources on.
How do I evaluate the results?
If you’re looking for a simple way that you — as a non-SEO expert — can evaluate the results of your SEO program, you’ll need a time machine. That’s because you have to travel back to the late ‘90s, when the entire field was still relatively simple!
Today, the process is much more complex. Skilled law firm SEO companies will use a variety of sophisticated platforms to track and evaluate the results of their work. They need to study not only the terms for which you show up in search engines, but also the behavior of users that find you via those terms. Good SEO practice means consistently improving both of those results over an extended period.
That being said, you need to remember that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Over time, it can be an amazingly powerful way to connect with potential clients. But it is a gradual process that involves patience and long-term vision.