Nearly one-third of people looking for a lawyer use the Internet to find a potential attorney. Yet simply having a website for your firm isn’t enough. To ensure that your website puts you ahead of the competition, you need search engine optimization — SEO. Here is a brief guide to SEO to demystify the concept and provide you with actionable tips to improve your web presence and drive business to your firm.
What is SEO?
SEO refers to strategies that affect your website’s placement in search results. Website content, social media content, links, and descriptive metadata (information such as a web page’s title, description and hosting site) all affect your site’s placement in search results.
A 2013 study found that fewer that 5 percent of web searchers even clicked to the second page of search engine results. Your goal with SEO: Employ various tactics to get to page one of search results so that more web users will see your website.
Why Do Lawyers Need SEO?
Lawyers need SEO for the same reason that other businesses need SEO: To stand out from the competition. By optimizing your website for keywords, which are common search queries, you can push it to the first page of Google (according to Search Engine Watch, at the end of 2013 more than two-thirds of searches took place using Google; Bing ran a distant second with 18 percent). Then web users will go to your website, instead of your competitors, and hire you.
Three SEO Strategies
Simply by making certain strategies habitual, you can improve your search result placement:
1. Use local keywords. Web searchers want an attorney near them, not just an attorney. Incorporate local keywords (such as “las vegas Medicaid”) into your website so that search engines will return your website when that term is searched.
2. Add to local directories. Add your law firm to local directories like Yelp, Avvo, and Google Places. This will put your firm on the map for users searching directories for elder law firms near them, and boost your website’s authority.
3. Build out your website. The more pages on your website, the more relevant and authoritative it seems to a search engine. So add a blog that discusses trends and offers helpful information to potential clients. This helps Google view you as an expert and bump you up in search engine results.
SEO can take a while to deliver results, so don’t be discouraged if you feel like your work isn’t paying off. By regularly creating optimized web content, you will rise in search engine results.