The days of Yellow Page searches are long gone, and the traditional methods attorney’s have used in the past to solicit and grow their client base is time consuming and often has a low return on investment.
Lawyers and law firms alike are investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to recruit prospective clients, and they are doing so for good reasons. Imagine the amount of growth your firm will experience by allowing your firm to find potential clients 24/7, without all of the marketing, events, and late night dinners which are otherwise required for one-on-one marketing.
For all lawyer’s and law firms, finding and retaining clients is a first priority, especially if you are running your own law firm. It is equally important if you are an attorney at a larger firm, as client recruitment is usually a part of your responsibility.
While there are many marketing methods which are helpful in growing clientele, the most proven method for getting and retaining a client is when a client finds you on their own, organically. More often than not, this happens via a client’s self-started online search utilizing search engines, such as Google.
Rather than you tracking down potential clients, they are are tracking you down which makes the client initiating the search more inclined to utilize your legal services.
Let’s Look At Some Numbers
The American Bar Association conducted research and found that one-third of legal clients began their search for an attorney online. Online searches include blogs, podcasts, and other online resources.
In fact, the majority of individuals who need an attorney go online to find representation. The Google Consumer Survey statistics revealed that 96% of individuals use a search engine when looking to find an attorney. This is why utilizing SEO’s for websites is vital for law firm’s.
Individuals who utilize search engines to run a search tend to reach out to a place that is listed within the page one of the search results. In fact, 98% of online searchers select a business to reach out to based upon what they find on the first page of the search results.
Having a website alone is no longer sufficient to gain clientele. In order to drive clients to your site and guarantee traffic, you have to market your site using SEO’s.
How Do SEO’s Work?
SEO’s can provide your law firm’s website with a higher ranking than your competitor sites within the search engine results page. Think of it like this: you have a prospective client who is looking for help in a specific area of law, say family law because they are seeking a divorce. They go online and pull up a google search and type in the phrase “best divorce attorney in Timbuktu.”
The targeted keywords and/or phrase from this search are then used by the search engine to pull results for the online searcher, also known as your potential client. The higher ranked your firm’s website is within SEO searches, the closer to the top of the search page your law firm’s name will appear when someone types in keywords.
The outdated marketing methods and models for attorney’s in the past are no longer sufficient to ensure the growth of your law firm. Traditional marketing is expensive, short-term, and casts such a broad net that the yield from the results are not worth the time, money, and effort.
On the other hand, leads which come from SEO’s have been shown by Search Engine Journal to have a higher rate of retaining a firm than leads which come from print or other traditional marketing methods. In contrast to traditional marketing methods, SEO’s are cheaper, have an infinite lifespan, specifically target clients who are seeking your area of expertise, and SEO’s do not require much human effort once implemented.
Both the online presence of your firm, and the web presence of lawyer’s working within your firm, are vital to success in today’s legal field. On its own, Google is utilized for 5 billion searches a day! Utilizing SEO will help your firm’s website rank higher than your competitor’s sites, and given the advancement and integration into all of our daily lives of mobile devices, many searches for legal services are being done with mobile phones.
Time to Play the Long Game
By maximizing your law firm’s reach to a larger group of individuals by utilizing SEO’s, evidence shows that both your firm and lawyer’s will see client growth. But, bear in mind that the growth will not happen overnight.
Moving to the top of the search list and to page one within a search to be found first by prospective clients takes time. Your firm must commit to making a long term SEO campaign and must implement tactics towards this campaign.
While most law firms who begin implementing SEO’s into their websites begin to experience client growth within five to six months, your firm must commit to at least one year for the strategy and SEO campaign in order to fully maximize the impact of your SEO efforts.
While you and your firm may be motivated to try out paid AdWords (where you pay to have your name listed at the top of certain search results), which will yield short term results, research has shown that investing in moving to the top of regular SEO results has a longer benefit for companies, providing a larger return on your investment.
What You Say Matters
According to independent studies conducted by SearchMetrics and Backlinko, one of the top ranking factors to help your law firm’s site move to the top three of search engine results is content. By adding in-depth and pertinent content to your firm’s site, you provide a search engine with more reasons to rank you higher over your competitor’s sites.
SEO ranking is all about having the right kind of content. One of the best ways to incorporate content that will help increase your SEO ranking, while at the same time informing your clients, includes having your firm’s lawyer’s write articles and blogs regarding their areas of expertise and target commonly asked legal questions. These blogs and articles should then be included on your law firm’s website to help draw traffic towards your site and increase your SEO rank.
To start utilizing SEO’s on your law firm’s website is simple.
- Start by doing what your potential clients will: Google target keywords to see which of your competitors show up first. Analyze the websites of all the search results listed on page one for each target keyword and look for ideas of how they are optimizing and what keywords their content targets.
- Brainstorm diverse keywords to create a broader reach to more prospective clients. Think of ways your firm can improve upon your competitors keywords and ways to tailor searches towards your site.
- Work to apply these findings to your law firm’s website. Remember that you can easily target leads and specific customers from specific geographic locations by adding a geographic phrase or word within your keywords.
To stay relevant in today’s growing legal arena, lawyers and law firms must tap into the SEO world. A small investment now will show guaranteed returns in the future. Plus, by staying up with the times, your clients will know that you are part of the leading and cutting edge within the legal arena, and they will be more inclined to come to you.
Start SEO on your website today so you don’t lose out on precious referrals that will come knocking on your door!