Law firm SEO—Search Engine Optimization—is the process of ensuring that your website and its content are optimized to rank in search engines like Google and Bing. SEO is a multi-faceted approach to your online presence that includes website design, structured data, on-page optimization, and content generation to rank your website for search terms related to your business.
Search engine optimization is just as much about the people doing the searching as it is designing your content to rank properly for Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines.
It’s about discovering what people are searching for that’s relevant to your law firm niche, knowing what type of questions they ask, and delivering the best answer or best content for those queries.
Then, it’s about structuring your website and content in a way that is friendly to search engine discovery. Lastly, use analytics data to refine your approach and create better content in the future.
For law firms, we want our websites to be clearly focused on business, which should include an about page that demonstrates your expertise, landing pages for your practice areas like personal injury or DUI, and the ability to contact your law firm easily by whatever means the user desires.
Your blog should be posting relevant content to your business and to potential clients, while also showcasing uniqueness in your field.
Law Firm Website Design
A website is very often your first point of contact. It introduces you to potential clients, showcases your expertise, and begins building trust. Every page should be designed to drive new leads, with clear contact information, a form for inquiries, and calls to action scattered throughout the page.
Your website design should be search engine friendly and optimized for lead generation. For law firm SEO, we’ve identified five key points that your website should check off.
Intuitive Site Structure
Your site should have a homepage with clear contact information, clickable phone numbers, and contact forms at the top and bottom of the page. It should clearly state your practice areas, your expertise, and have a headshot photo so they can start getting to know you.
Your site should also contain an about page which details your company and personal professional history, separate pages for your practice areas (which are linked on the homepage), your blog, and a contact page with embedded map and easy to read location, hours, and phone numbers. Don’t forget the contact form on every single page!
Your website should educate potential clients in-depth on each of your main practice areas. Make your site the only resource they need to fully understand personal injury laws, or DUI laws in your state and local area. The longer they spend on the site, the higher your website will rank—and the more likely they are to call when they need an attorney.
Testimonials are important to feature on your homepage. A potential client knows that you are trying to win their business, so show them what other people have to say. You can easily link your AVVO and Google reviews on your homepage, or build a custom slider with your top reviews.
Site Speed and Security
The site should load quickly on desktop and mobile devices. We prefer WordPress as it is a highly supported platform that has been around nearly 20 years. Avoid high-bandwidth items like animations and fancy sliders.
Many people search on their mobile devices, and depending on your practice area, you may see upwards of 60-70% of your users are on your website on their phones. A website that isn’t responsive becomes very hard to read on mobile devices and sometimes doesn’t display key information!
Your website needs to be mobile responsive, meaning the formatting changes to “respond” to the device the user is on.
Structured data is coding done under the hood to tell Google, Facebook, and Twitter, what your website is about. It is a standardized format across the web to tell search engines what is on the page and what you are trying to rank for.
First, it tells Google what kind of website you have. Is it a business? If so, what type of business? What are the contact details for the business? This is key for law firm SEO as you are telling Google how to rank your website and what type of content is in it.
For example, a law firm may have structured data (in the html code) similar to this:
“@type”: “Local Business”,
“name”: “Law Firm of Law, Law, & Law”,
“@type”: “Mike Law”,
“contactType”: “Customer service”
Structured data also classifies various parts of your website like the “about” page, blog, and frequently asked questions (FAQ). Facebook and Twitter use structured data called Open Graph to set the content when you paste a URL, like a blog link, into their platforms.
Structured data is a huge ranking factor because it tells the search engine who you are, what you do, and when and where you do it, instead of the search engine trying to discover that on their own.
Law Firm Content Generation
A website that is regularly updated with fresh content will rank higher and perform better than a website that serves as an online business card. There are many different types of content to publish: blogs, videos, infographics, and podcasts.
You need to have a strategy. We find that many law firms know blogging is important, but they don’t fully understand how to strategize their blog writing to generate high quality traffic that they can convert into leads.
Blogging and video are the best types of content for law firms. A blog strategy (which we will outline in a future post) should focus on deep-diving into your practice areas and state-specific laws, local news and events.
Video is a great way to introduce yourself to potential clients. It shows your poise, confidence, and depth of knowledge in a way that clients feel like they’re getting to know you personally—before they even step foot in the door.
No matter the type of content, strategy and consistency are the most important aspects of content generation.
On-Page Law Firm SEO
On-page optimization includes ensuring that your content is optimized for relevant keywords, and ensuring that your content is properly formatted in a way that makes sense to the search engines (and also your content).
Your page and blog post titles should feature your target keyword and be between 50-60 characters. Google search typically shows up to 60 characters, so be concise.
Your title should explain what your content is about. If your title is different from what’s on the page, search engines will be confused about your content and it probably won’t rank as well.
Ensure that your page titles are tagged with the proper html markup: <title>Website Page Title</title>.
Your headings explain the sections of your content, and what each section of text is about. This should make sense in the context of the page and also feature keywords.
Use the correct formatting for each heading and in the right order. Don’t just use H4 because the font size looks better, this is a common mistake! It’s a hierarchy: h1 is for your blog title, h2 is a heading, h3 is a subheading, and h4 is a sub-subheading.
Map these out before writing the blog or landing page, then you can use them as an outline for your content.
Bullet Points, Quotes, Tables, and more.
These features not only make the text more readable, but bulleted lists and tables are often used for Google’s featured snippets. What’s a featured snippet? We’re glad you asked!
If you Google “frog,” on the search engine results page (SERP), you’ll see an image box and a Wikipedia definition on the right side. This is a featured snippet. You can find these for a lot of different items, but one that is highly relevant might be dui law in florida.
You can use tables and bulleted lists as “snippet” bait, meaning it’s designed to steal a featured snippet. This is never guaranteed, but if you’re writing for snippets, keep in mind that most text snippets are between 40-60 words.
Titles, headings, and formatting is important but it’s not going to move the needle on rankings if your content quality isn’t there.
Ensure your images are properly sized and compressed. Most website themes will have a set image size, so it’s important to resize and crop images to fit in these boxes natively. Additionally, you can compress the image to a smaller file size without losing much quality using online tools such as Compress JPEG.
This will help your images and website load faster, which means less people leaving before seeing your content.
Alt tags are applied to images to give search engines a brief description of what the image is about. For example, an image of your office should have an alt tag like <img src=”lawoffice.png” alt=”Law Office of Smith and Smithson, Criminal Defense Attorneys” />.
Notice how we snuck in a keyword about your practice area! You can also add the address, just make sure it reads easily for people and isn’t stuffed with keywords.
These are short descriptions, ideally between 150-160 characters, that tell search engines what each particular webpage is about. Many search engines will display this on the SERP (search engine results page), so make sure it’s clear and concise and describes what is on the page.
The John & Johnson Law Firm has more than 30 years of experience representing criminal personal injury clients in Miami. We will fight for your rights.
This meta description is 151 characters long and contains a practice area keyword. Perfect.
A lot of internet searches are being done by mobile device, and in the future, this is going to increase. For law firms, especially those engaged with quick-response practice areas like DUI and criminal defense, it’s paramount to format your content to be easily read on mobile devices.
This means breaking up the text and using short sentences.
You’ll notice on this post, we tend to use 2-3 sentence paragraphs, and for emphasis, a single sentence paragraph. This breaks up the text and not only makes it more readable, but more engaging as well.
SEO is Fundamentally About People
Search engines are ultimately just tools which people use to find data, products, or services that satisfy their needs and answer their questions. While it’s important to optimize your site to be discovered by search engines, the most important thing is to deliver great content to your target audience.
Deliver high quality, authoritative content that showcases your expertise. And do it better than your competitors, and with regularity. This will ensure that your law firm remains top of mind when people are considering who to trust with their money and their future.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself, you might considering hiring a professional! We offer a complete suite of attorney SEO and website services, including pay-per-click ads and local search optimization. Check out our packages and sign up for a free website audit.