Law firm SEO, like any industry-specific SEO, is its own breed, with strategies that work especially well for the niche. While it may be daunting to go up against large players in the law firm SEO industry, including FindLaw, Justia, and AllLaw, which use their own directories to promote their clients (a strategy that, hopefully, will be given less strength with upcoming updates), with a focused, smart approach you can compete with them and even overtake them. Here’s how:
1. Local SEO Listings
Law firms are generally local businesses, so listing your law firm on Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local is one of the first steps you should take to promote your firm, especially because local listings often outrank organic results. To rank in Google Places and other local listings, it’s important to prove to the search engines that your business is actually located in a particular area, and there’s no better way to do this than citations, or Name, Address, Phone listings. This list will get you started.
2. Attack the Dragon’s Tail First:
When I first started SEO, I remember reading a statement from a key player in the industry, who said: “If you were attacking a dragon you’d go for the tail first, not the head. The same goes for SEO.” What this means is that you want to go for the easier-to-rank-for phrases before going for the key terms. Instead of going for “maryland lawyer” first, try “[city] criminal defense lawyer” or “[county] criminal defense lawyer” or [city] [state] criminal defense lawyer”. These phrases receive less traffic; however, you’ll be giving these searches exactly what they want, and therefore be receiving high-quality traffic.
3. Reciprocals – They Work!
I don’t like suggesting reciprocal links, as they are generally considered a thing of the past, but in the law firm SEO industry, and only in the law firm SEO industry, reciprocal links appear to be especially effective. To find reciprocals, try searching for “lawyer inurl:links” or “lawyer link exchange”. Warning: Google’s Webmaster Guidelines warn about excessive reciprocal linking, so be aware of that.
4. Niche Directories
Directories in the legal industry seem especially prone to price gouge their listers, with many listings costing hundreds of dollars, but a few of these listings are worth the money. I’m not going to list them here, but there are a few.
5. Links to Pages
Most law firms have multiple areas of expertise, including DUI/DWI, divorce, criminal defense, wills and trusts, personal injury, etc. You’ll want a page for each service, and you’ll want to get links directly to these pages. Nothing screams unnatural link profile like a thousand links to the homepage and none to subpages. Keep in mind that the main anchor text phrases should be the law firm’s name and the URL; anything else seems unnatural.
6. Pro-actively Seek Links:
Instead of sitting around waiting for people to link to you, you can create things that will generate those links. Two ways to do this are through press releases and blog posts. If your firm has a major case, announce it with a press release that includes links to the firm’s website. Generating high-quality content for your law firm’s website, or guest posting on other legal websites, are great ways to actively create links.
These six tips should get you started with your law firm SEO.
You may also be interested in: Five SEO Tips for Small Businesses