Wondering what are the search engine optimization for law firms and SEO basics?
You are looking to learn more about SEO so you can improve your law firm’s website online presence?
What is SEO?
We have the perfect article for you!
In this article, we will go over the SEO basics for law firms. What is SEO, why should you optimize for search engine queries, what is an organic result, SERP, SEO guidelines, search intent and more?
This article is divided into the following sections to help you navigate better:
- What Is SEO?
- Why Optimize For Search Engine Queries?
- Organic Search Result
- Search Engine Results Page
- SEO Guidelines From Search Engines
- Search Intent
- Keyword Research And Keyword Targeting
- How To Optimize For Google
Let’s get started…
What Is SEO?
SEO refers to “search engine optimization”.
SEO is the practices and strategies your law firm will employ to increase traffic to your law firm’s website by particularly performing well on search engine platforms such as Google and Bing.
A successful SEO strategy will lead to greater online market reach, brand awareness and achieving a higher volume of leads for your services.
Search engine optimization has two primary angles.
One important angle for SEO is to understand what your customers are searching for, what keywords are they using, what questions do they want to have answered and so on.
This angle of SEO takes into consideration the user and their search intent.
The other angle important for SEO is to understand the technical measures used by search engines to deliver value to their online users.
Google’s objective is to provide its user with the best and most relevant search result based on the user’s search query.
As a law firm, you’ll need to build your website and web pages in such a way that search engines can find value in proposing your website and web pages.
You should also have a good understanding of the search engine operations from a technical point of view, how they crawl your pages, how they index your website, how well they understand the content of your page so they can propose your content to their users.
Why Optimize For Search Engine Queries?
You SEO basics to optimize for search queries users will input in search engines.
Why optimize for search queries on search engines?
That is how people are finding content and information on the internet.
How Does A Search Engine Work?
A search engine is essentially a computer program that takes a user input of keywords and performs an analysis to discover what the user is trying to look for.
The search engine will evaluate hundreds, if not thousands, of factors to evaluate what content may be the most relevant to a particular user.
Based on that assessment, a user will be given a selection of web pages the search engine considers to be the most suitable for that user, at the particular location, at that particular time and based on the user’s history.
You can think of the search engine as one big catalog of the entire content of the Internet.
Search engines will discover all the material and content available on the Internet in the world and classify them based on their classification algorithm.
When a user searches for a law firm or legal terms, the search engine will look into its worldwide database of content and determine which search results will be the most relevant and useful for that user.
If your law firm’s website appears on the first page of Google or Bing, it means that the search engine considers your website relevant based on the specific user query.
Your ultimate goal with SEO is to appear on the first page of search engines.
Adopting SEO basics can go a long way!
The Majority of Online Traffic Is Driven By Search Engines
Most of the online traffic in the world is driven by search engines.
This makes it critical to have your law firm’s website optimized for SEO.
That’s how people are going to find your law firm online.
Implementing SEO basic strategies can lead to a constant stream of traffic to your website over time.
You’ll need to put a lot of work and effort to get your SEO right but once the results come in, it’s quite interesting and profitable.
The beauty of SEO is that once your efforts start paying off, you will benefit from the positive SEO results over time.
If you have a page that ranks well on Google, that page will continue to rank well over time.
You can even develop a search engine optimization plan to benefit from the authority of your website pages ranking well on Google.
Organic Search Result
What is an organic result when referring to SEO?
Organic results are the results offered by a search engine to a user’s query for free.
On every search engine results page, also called “SERP”, the search engine will propose some websites organically and others who are paying to appear for that particular search result.
SEO efforts are geared to rank organically and for free.
Every search engine results page on Google will have 10 organically ranking websites.
If you do a search for “business lawyer in New York” on Google, you will see 10 websites proposed by Google for free.
The websites appearing on the first page of the search engine results page have done effective SEO to be ranked on the first page.
The more competitive a keyword, the more your SEO strategy will need to be on point to achieve a first-page ranking.
Getting organically listed for as many keywords as possible on the first page of a search engine is the golden prize for any SEO strategy.
Appearing on the first page of a search engine result will dramatically increase the traffic to your law firm’s website.
The more you have visitors coming to your website, the more you have an opportunity to engage and convert that visitor to a customer.
Search Engine Results Page
The search engine results page, or SERP, is the actual result a user will see on the search engine page following a query.
Search engines are companies looking to give their users the best user experience just like you are doing as a law firm.
Search engines will use different strategies to enhance their user experience.
They can provide different SERP features such as:
- Featured snippet which is an answer box giving the answer directly to a question on the search engine results page
- People Also Ask boxes showing common questions asked by others
- Image carousels providing a serious of results in a carousel format
- Local packs which are a result of local businesses or places a user may like to check out
With a specific SEO strategy, you may be able to target SERP features organically.
This means that Google may organically list you in local packs or in an answer box.
This can have a positive impact on driving more traffic to your law firm’s website.
SEO Guidelines From Search Engines
Search engines like Google offer the online community a good amount of information and material to help them with SEO.
You can consult Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide is a useful SEO guide.
Search engines issue important guidelines to help you succeed with your SEO.
These are some of the most fundamental guidelines you must observe:
- Write content that is human-friendly and not intended for search engines
- Be transparent with your users
- Don’t use deceitful tactics to trick search engine results
- Provide value to your users
- Make your content unique and special
- Keep page titles clear and relevant
- Have your website load fast
- Give your users a positive experience on your website
- Use alt tags to describe your images
These are high-level guidelines of course as there are many ways you can bolster your SEO with on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO and so on.
Search intent is an important facet of SEO basics you should consider in developing your law firm’s SEO strategy.
Search intent is the motivation behind the user’s search query.
You can classify search intent into four categories:
- Informational intent
- Navigational intent
- Transactional intent
- Commercial investigation
An informational intent is a searcher looking to find more information.
For your law firm, informational queries are things like “contract drafting basics” or “what is due diligence”.
With these search queries, a searcher is looking to find out more about how to draft a contract or better understand due diligence.
A navigational intent is a searcher looking for a specific website.
A navigational search is when a user finds it easier to type the website name in a search engine than to actually type out the exact full website URL.
A searcher will type something like “Baker McKenzie” or “Skadden Arps”.
With these searches, a user is looking to navigate to Baker & MaKenzie’s website or Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
It’s much easier to type the law firm’s name than to type the actual law firm’s URL in the browser.
Transactional intent is a searcher looking to purchase something or enter into a transaction soon.
This type of user is motivated by an objective to purchase a product or a service.
For example, a searcher typing the search query “contract lawyer New York” or “business lawyer near me”.
These are search queries suggesting that the searcher is actively looking for a contract lawyer in New York or a business lawyer near their location.
This shows an intention to engage with a lawyer or a law firm.
Commercial investigation is a searcher looking to compare a product or a service to make up their mind in making a final purchase decision.
For your law firm, a searcher may search for terms like “business lawyer cost” or “best business lawyer in New York”.
With these types of search queries, the searcher is looking at evaluating the legal costs for doing business with a business lawyer or looking to identify a selection of the best business lawyers in New York.
A commercial investigation query shows that the searcher is nearing a transactional intent and is weighing different options and considerations.
Keyword Research And Keyword Targeting
An important part of the SEO basics is to identify what you are looking to optimize your website and webpages for.
You want to identify the legal keywords you are actively going to target with your SEO.
Identifying the right keywords is not as easy as it may sound.
You should have a good understanding of the legal keywords that will result in the best changes for the conversion of your clients.
You’ll consider things like search volume, search relevance and the level of competition involved with those keywords.
You’ll need to understand who is your customer.
For your law firm, you’ll need to define an ideal customer persona and understand that persona.
What will your customer persona look for online?
What is your customer persona interested in?
What is your customer’s level of sophistication?
The more you understand your ideal customers, the more you can develop an SEO strategy to appear to that customer persona.
How To Optimize For Google
Google uses a lot of ranking factors to rank your law firm’s website.
Nobody knows exactly what are Google’s ranking factors but there are a lot of them.
The more Google gets better, the more they get sophisticated in how they rank your law firm’s website.
What is the main way you can optimize your website for Google?
You can optimize your website SEO for Google with the following techniques:
- Search intent
- Content quality
These are some high-level topics to help you optimize your law firm’s website SEO for Google.
If you look at each of them, they bring value to your site in a different way.
Crawlability is how well Google can find and discover your website and all your pages.
Mobile-friendliness is to cater to the majority of Google searchers using mobile devices to search the web.
Pagespeed is how fast your website loads and gives a user a good user experience.
Search intent is your website pages are written specifically to address your user’s question or query.
Backlinks are the number of other websites out there linking to your content as they find value in sharing or referring their own website visitors to your website.
Authority is your level of expertise in your legal area of practice.
Authority demonstrates to the user that you are the subject-matter expert and you have the competence to answer their question or query.
Content quality is how well you are writing your legal content and material on your website.
The more your content is useful to your users and written for humans to read as opposed to merely optimized for search engine bots, the more you are relevant in from a search engine’s perspective.
In this article, we look at search engine optimization basics for law firms.
SEO is the practices and strategies your law firm will employ to increase traffic to your law firm’s website by particularly performing well on search engine platforms.
In this article, we looked at important elements of SEO:
- What does SEO mean?
- Why should your law firm optimize for search engines?
- What is an organic result?
- SERP and SERP features
- A searcher’s intent when searching using legal keywords
- Doing keyword research
- How to optimize for Google ranking
We hope this article was useful to you.
You should consider the SEO basics we covered here and incorporate them into your law firm’s digital marketing strategy.
Did we miss anything with regard to a law firm’s SEO basics? We would love to hear from you. Drop us a comment.