Being visible online is now essential for all law firms; when someone is looking for a solicitor or lawyer the first thing they are likely to do is search online. While personal recommendations from friends and family still play an important role in how clients choose their law firm, not being visible on search results will damage your ability to generate leads. In this blog we aim to take you through the basics of SEO every legal marketer should know.
Local SEO is now crucial for legal firms. According to a study released by Google in May 2016, 50% of its traffic is now on mobile and 30% of those searches are local. In 2014, Google launched its first ever local algorithm called Pidgeon and 2016 saw some additional changes. The initial update made searching locally more mobile friendly. Previously, seven local business where highlighted in a pack now only three are in the pack. (See below)
To ensure you end up within the three pack you need to ensure:
- Your address and phone number are consistent across your website and on any online directories you may be listed on. If there is conflicting information and different online sources, google is unlikely to put your business into the 3 pack.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews
- Earn reputable links
If there is one thing you can be sure of with Google local search, is that it will change and develop over the coming years.
Customer reviews are becoming an increasingly important part of the SEO mix. Your firm should encourage its clients to leave reviews, gently remind your clients by email nudges, incentives and on-site notifications.
Despite the headlines claiming attention spans are getting shorter, longer form content provides better user value and will outrank shorter, weaker content. Content mediums such as white papers, guides and long-read articles are ideal and should be part of your overall content strategy. However, this favouring of long-form content is not a licence to waffle. Content still needs to:
- Serve the visitor’s questions and goals
- Be easy, interesting and accessible on all devices and browsers
- Deliver the right information and experience quickly
- And, above all, do this better than any of your competitors
Search engines use links to determine how influential a site is. However, with link building you have to tread carefully as search engines know the difference between a good and a bad link. If you have bad links then google can, and will, penalise your website. Stay away from links, spam sites and paying for links, though this can be a bit of a grey area. To secure good links, they need to be relevant and have a good domain authority.
Over half of all searches are now done on mobiles and in response to this, google tweaked its algorithm in 2015 to give preference to mobile friendly websites. Making your site mobile-friendly will not only help generate new leads from mobile users, but it will also help you to stay at the top of the rankings, too!