Why is SEO important for Law Firms?

Though you may be an expert when it comes to law, law school probably didn’t prepare you for one of the most important parts of running a practice: legal marketing! In the past ten years or so, the same questions have been asked repeatedly. The below answers will act as a guide to your questions that are most frequently asked by clients to their lawyers.

  • How much money should I invest in my law firm using online marketing?

    Experts suggest dedicating  2% to 18% of a business’ revenue to a combination of internet marketing and traditional marketing. We know that’s a wide range, but here’s a narrower version.

      Firstly, it’s important to consider what type of practice you are running: b2b or b2c.

        Depending on the practice area your firm specializes in will depend on how you offer your marketing services. A personal injury practice is very different from marketing a health care provider. There are marketing tactics that are more useful and effective for each target market and different amounts affiliated with reaching each one.

          B2C: In 2018, Deloitte conducted a CMO Survey which showed that b2c companies allow the highest amount of revenue to market. A high of 18% in gross income is put towards marketing dollars. According to the report, a workers’ compensation, family law, or personal injury lawyer hopes to reach a mass amount of people with the return on investment being the maximum success.

            How much should be spent on marketing a small firm?

              The Small Business Administration encourages businesses to spend 7% or 8% of revenue on marketing tactics if your company brings in under $5 million in gross income a year. Many independent practitioners tend to make less than this number, but the argument could be made that a lower percentage is more reasonable for a marketing allowance.

                How much should be spent to market a new vs. a well-known law firm?

                  The amount of marketing dollars spent on marketing strategy depends on where your business stands in its lifecycle. If your company does not have a brand name that is recognizable to your potential clientele, you should think about dedicating somewhere between 10%-18% to your marketing efforts. If your firm is more well known, you can get away with marketing 2%-5% worth of your gross revenue.

                    B2B: If your firm provides legal services to other businesses, the marketing will be different from a practice that caters to the general public.

                      According to the previously mentioned 2018 survey by Deloitte, the “service consulting” industry reports allocating 12% of gross revenues to marketing. For a company whose area of focus could be described as service consulting, it could be helpful for that firm to allocate 5%-15% of gross revenue to marketing will depend on its stage of growth.

                        Secondly, be aware of your practice’s stage of growth.

                          Are you handing out a flyer in your town? Do you have a company that is more well-known in one market but you hope to expand in another market? Are you known to be an industry leader and aim to preserve that reputation?

                            If you are in the beginning stages of marketing, whether you’re fresh out of law school or if you’re an industry leader, it does not matter. It is essential that your target market can identify who you are and what your firm does.

                              To achieve a level of brand awareness and the ability to stand out, you will have to turn to some resources. You will likely have to dedicate 8%-15% of your revenue to establish your brand in a way that makes you stand out.

                                • What is the correct amount of time that a lawyer should put towards marketing and practicing law?

                                  Every opportunity to practice law or dedicate time to marketing costs money.

                                    If your hourly rate is $175/hr and you take 10 hours a month going to networking events, hosting free informational sessions, writing blogs, or going to networking events, be sure to bill yourself for that time.  Essentially, you’re dedicating $1,750/mo on marketing. If you hired a writer for $125/hr, you would be $50/hr ahead if that time was spent practicing law, instead.

                                      Have any free time? You might as well take that time and DIY your marketing efforts and grow your practice! The key is to not forego billable hours to your time spent marketing. A marketing company charges lower rates than lawyers do, so if needed, consult a third party agency.

                                        • What sort of results may your firm expect through the use of SEO strategy?

                                          Law firms are bound to expect varying results with the help of search engine optimization (SEO). It depends on what the consumer wants to see and the specific SEO practices that are being followed.

                                            Is search a part of your customer experience?

                                              Marketing channels aren’t generally a solution. Though it is unlikely, a search might not be a part of your customer experience.

                                                If your target market consists of people in the area in need of representation for workers’ compensation claims, SEO would be an important part of the process when searching for representation. If it means doing a Google search for “workers’ comp attorneys near me” or searching “can I receive workers’ comp for carpal tunnel,” SEO will give you a chance to be seen on an organic search page in front of potential clients and have the opportunity to explain your services to them.

                                                  Is your target audience large companies in need of representation referencing real estate?

                                                    A search may not be as important as this is a secondary role in a customer’s journey. Let’s say your company wants to create a guide that presents all the information and answers to questions that may be specific to land use guidelines in Maryland. Now you will have a chance to spread the word about your brand and hopefully be seen by decision-makers at big companies that would have a use for researching your guide and tracking it down via your web browser.

                                                      To clarify, attorney SEO might be helpful when it comes to immediate results if your goal is to reach people independently. It may even help in the long-run if your goal is to attract companies.

                                                        If your customer journey does not have a use for search services, then you’ll never see SEO campaign results.

                                                          You’ve decided that SEO will be helpful to your firm; how long will it take before you see an outcome?

                                                            The local 3-pack: A market that consists with a just a few competitors should allow for a quicker turnaround in results. There’s a chance you might show up in your local 3-pack after a few weeks, as long as you make local citations for your law firm.  It’s important to remember that your local map results are often impacted by link building. If you have any opportunities to obtain links to web pages from your chamber of commerce, the BBB, or your local government websites, be sure to include them.  These links are bound to help results.

                                                              The organic results: It takes about six months to a year to establish your established expertise. Authority and trust will depend on the market, but regardless this combination of optimization will gain local SEO results.

                                                                It’s 2018 and SEO is not just about including the right keywords in your page. It’s about noting your expertise, and displaying authoritativeness, plus trustworthiness! This is a guide Google insists following, and it’s impossible to forget since it spells out E-A-T! And everyone is hungry for SEO!

                                                                  To establish E-A-T, you will need to implement a website content strategy. For example, let’s look at the top-ranked divorce lawyers in TX.

                                                                    When doing keyword research for “divorce lawyers in TX,” we were unable to come up on the first page of results. Alternatively, we have a guide to help kick off the process of understanding divorce in the State of Texas. After searching millions of articles having to do with “divorce lawyers in _______,” Google has established that people would instead obtain info referencing divorce than being interested in the lawyers or their business name itself.

                                                                      By using natural language processing (NLP) and past users click data, Google can determine that this outcome best fits the needs of the searcher. As a result, this page gets between 1k-5k visitors per month. When making a guide about divorce in TX and allowing it to be freely available via that law firm website, there’s a good chance that firm has generated anywhere between hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in revenue.

                                                                        Having written about an array of matters from divorce, to family law, and other subjects make the firm a master of its craft and a master of E-A-T. Through covering these tops and demonstrating user experience, the firm successful established expertise, authority, and trust. Through dozens and maybe even hundreds of entries, your firm can alarm search engines with search results showing that your company can fulfill the needs of Google’s wants to be displayed above other users.

                                                                          • Why do law firms fail in digital marketing and SEO?

                                                                            Firms tend to approach SEO with a short-term strategy in mind.

                                                                            SEO is like a game that never ends. It could take months before you get to that level you’ve been trying to beat for all this time. That’s why some companies hire professional agencies, like, Advisory Concept Evolvers to help with their PPC advertising on search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

                                                                            Many attorneys assume SEO plans can take about 6-12 months before receiving any results. By month 4, they may even get cold feet and want to back out entirely. The nerves kick in, and they are quick to stop everything before also getting an opportunity to gain any momentum. This is similar to giving up on that game you’re playing before even making any progress towards the next level.

                                                                            So what separates good SEO from lousy SEO? It’s the way a company goes about applying content. Good SEO users will create content that they know will rank well, while horrible SEO content is made just for the sake of being built.

                                                                            If you want to be found, then writing a blog about a topic that has yet to be used in some publications or talked about in the news would allow for excellent site SEO success because that will mean that your rank will be higher. It’s vital that you take time to do your lawyer SEO research when it comes to choosing topics to write about.

                                                                            • How can the use of blogging further market my law firm?

                                                                            Think of your blog a way to advertise your services, an opportunity to show off your expertise and the ways you can provide for your clients. Blogging can be an extremely cost-effective way of getting your firm in front of prospective clients. It can also be used to establish your authority on the topics that are most important to your potential clients, and the engagement that you get via your blog articles can serve to send trust signals from your firm’s website to Google.

                                                                            Here’s an example: A person researching criminal record expungement is demonstrating a need for an attorney that is skilled in this area. By writing an engaging, high-quality blog post that thoroughly explains the issue that includes internal links to your site, with a high ranking factor, will allow your visitors to locate your website and potentially inquire within. Why perform a second search for “lawyer for expungement” if they’re already on the site of an attorney that can help them?

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