SEO strategies, tactics and techniques are typically pretty similar from industry to industry — at least when looking at the big picture. When you start to get down to more nitty-gritty details, however, it helps to have an industry-specific focus.
To demonstrate how this can work, we’re using the example of SEO for law firms, describing how to review a site to find industry-specific opportunities to make a site more SEO-friendly.
Law Firm SEO Keyword Research
First, it’s important to review the site to make sure there are appropriate keywords with commercial intent. For example: “legal services” with the name of the state ahead of it, or “[state] personal injury attorney.” Sites can rank more easily with these types of terms and, even more importantly, those with commercial intent tend to convert at a much higher rate. Why? Because people using them are typically looking for legal services, not just information on the subject.
If you’ve effectively got your commercial intent bases covered, then it’s also important to include keywords with informational intent, ones often starting with “how” or “why.” These are ideal for optimized blog posts.
There are other keywords that don’t start with “how” or “why” that can also serve as guidance for blog topics of interest. Here are some examples, and their monthly search volumes:
- Florida marijuana laws (8,100 monthly searches)
- Florida cell phone laws (5,400)
- Florida divorce laws (5,400)
- Florida labor laws (4,400)
To get information on keywords and search volume, there are quite a few tools to use. These are some of the ones we recommend:
A free trial is often available with these tools, giving people a chance to try them out and choose which one works best for their needs.
Law Firm SEO Content Creation
First, it’s important to keep writing and posting fresh content. Google’s “freshness” ranking signal will reward sites with frequently updated content, plus ongoing posts = ongoing opportunities to boost traffic on targeted terms.
Sometimes, these research-focused terms don’t have large numbers of monthly searches, but they’re very targeted, ideal for conversions. For example, 40 people search every month on “how to choose a good personal injury attorney.” With this keyword, the title of the blog post has basically written itself!
Yes, those search figures are national, so not everyone typing that phrase in Google is looking for an attorney in a particular state. But, even when people outside of the attorney’s practice area reads the post, it can help with engagement metrics — something that Google is using to rank content.
Because of the role that engagement metrics can play in Google rankings, this means that law firm SEO strategies should focus on multiple audiences, such as:
- Potential legal clients
- Site visitors who may not need services right now but will:
- Contribute to the site’s engagement metrics simply by reading the content
- Recommend this post to friends and family members who may need legal services
- Share it on social media, broadening the reach of the content
- Link to the content, increasing the website’s authority
Note that Google is especially rewarding long-form content, so think about deep dives you can take on subjects that can help people with legal issues.
Bonus Tip: How you organize the content on your site matters, too. As just one tip, put the services section to the far left in the main navigation bar. These are pages you want to rank especially well, and this prominent place in the navigation sends more authority signals to Google and other search engines. You can find more bonus tips that focus on law firm SEO here.
Be sure to have unique optimized pages for each of your office locations, not just your main one. That’s because you’ll want to appear in Google’s coveted local search three-pack for all relevant locations, rather than being hidden somewhere in the listings where a potential client would need to click the “More Places” link for your office to be found.
To reverse engineer what’s going on with local search rankings, here are items to check and fix, as necessary:
- Create/claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing, making sure information is accurate and complete.
- Verify your listing.
- Ensure that the name, address and phone (NAP) information on the law firm’s website and accompanying schema matches what’s on GMB.
- Fix any discrepancies. GMB is like the Yellow Pages of the digital age, with inaccuracies causing plenty of problems.
- Encourage satisfied customers to write online reviews of the law firm, without specifically asking for positive ones. Also, you can hire an online reputation management company to generate more law firm reviews.
- Never encourage fake reviews or write one yourself.
- Never write or encourage the writing of a bad review about a competitor’s law firm.
Law Firm SEO Linkbuilding
To have a healthy SEO strategy for a law firm — just like with any other company or organization — it’s important to have quality inbound links. One of the more straightforward ways to get these is to get your firm listed in lawyer-specific directories, including these:
Also consider what organizations the law firm belongs to, whether local, state or national. Can you get listed on those sites, with a link back to the law firm’s site?
As you evaluate sites to try to get inbound links from them to your site, make sure they’re relevant with a reasonable domain authority (DA) score (these scores range from 1 to 100, the higher the better). You can find a site’s DA score at Moz.com, either with a paid subscription or, for limited usage each month, for free.
Also monitor the law firm site’s DA, as well as those of competitors. What’s most important is how well the firm stacks up when compared to direct competitors. If practicing only in Florida, for example, it doesn’t matter what a DA score is for a law firm that only practices in Iowa. As the SEO campaign continues, does the DA score for your law firm increase?
Although this post focuses on law firms, the strategies listed here can work for virtually any industry. So, adapt as needed and be sure to benchmark progress, including increases in site traffic, which pages are receiving the most traffic, how many inbound links there are, the quality of those links, changes in DA scores (yours and those of competitors) and more.
Significant amounts of intelligence can be gleaned through Google Analytics and the Search Console, so create solid baseline reports along with monthly follow-up reports. Continue to tweak your strategy as you learn more from your results, refining your strategy and — hopefully — seeing rewards in increased traffic, conversions and clients.