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Ultimate guide to SEO for law firms and legal websites

We're covering why your law firm needs to implement SEO to be successful in the digital age and why hiring an agency is the best use of your website optimisation budget.

Published May 29, 2024

Introduction

Law firms are facing a challenge today: Standing out amongst competitors. There are over 10,000 firms in the United Kingdom alone, ranging from small to mid-size to global firms. So how are the successful firms getting in front of potential new clients?

The answer is Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO. SEO is the practice of optimising your law firm’s website inside and out to drive more visitors and increase your position on Search Engine Results Pages (or, SERPs). In a competitive market like the legal sector, being high on the results page on, for example, Google, gives your firm a huge advantage in turning clicks into clients. When potential clients look for a firm to handle their needs, chances are high that they will not be scrolling through to page seven.

SEO is the answer that your law firm has been seeking, but it is not an immediate solution to your problems. SEO is a long game that can feel like an endless process. However, by developing a strategy with best practices and adapting as needed to search engine algorithms, you can address your firm’s lack of findability by implementing SEO tactics for a practical and effective long-term solution.

Why your law firm needs a strong online presence

It is no longer a bonus to have a digital presence with a user-friendly website; it’s a requirement. If your firm is not online, or online with an unappealing and outdated website, your clients are going straight to your competitors. A website with a strong SEO structure not only gives your firm a competitive edge, but also bolsters your reputation in the industry. In a sector where reputation is of the utmost importance, a strong website and online presence is key to connecting the dots between potential clients and your professional services.

Some notable advantages to implementing search engine optimisation in your firm’s marketing strategy include…

Visibility in the digital space

Heightened visibility provides a huge competitive advantage over other law firms and we’ve got the numbers to prove it: 96% of individuals will start their legal advice journey by using a search engine1. This means you need to be at the start of their journey, front and centre. With increased visibility, you can capitalise on people already searching for your services by showing up on the first page of their search. You won’t be able to do much from page seven of their Google search.

Making changes to your SEO will slowly start to build your reputation within search engines and their ranking algorithms. Optimising a website is not an overnight process and neither is improving your search ranking, but by investing in the practise of SEO, you are laying the foundation of a long-term solution to boost clientele.

The click through rate (CTR) based on your business's position on SERPs exponentially declines as your position gets lower. Source: Advanced Web Ranking

Build trust and credibility with potential clients

You wouldn’t show up to court in denim and a t-shirt. The same line of thinking can be applied to your digital presence; if your website appears unprofessional, vague or on the third page of SERPs, you are losing credibility and authority. Implementing SEO practices means taking a thoughtful steps to improve your website’s content, structure and user experience in order to rank higher on SERPs.

Google ranks websites based on their relevance and credibility so creating content, such as blogs or services pages that are tailored to your desired audience, is massively beneficial to your SEO strategy. For example, if you are a firm with a sector specialising in aviation law that you are trying to grow, creating content around aviation law will boost your appearance to Google for aviation law-related searches.

Targeted traffic and local optimisation

Showing up on SERPs means that you are intercepting potential clients at the right time. According to a Google Legal Services study, 74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action; meaning that if you are high on the results page, the people that are clicking on your link are ready to hire a solicitor2. By implementing SEO strategy, you are reaching a targeted audience of potential clients that are likely to click and convert.

One of the most important SEO tactics for law firms is localisation. Because law firms are highly localised businesses, operating within specific countries, cities or even towns, localising your SEO by including local keywords, leveraging client reviews and adding your business to local listings can improve your search visibility immensely.

Cost-effective strategy and investing for the long-term

While SEO requires an initial investment, the benefits of implementing search engine optimisation can produce long-term benefits that will outweigh any costs. Finetuning your SEO strategy successfully means that you can attract continuous organic traffic and remove any ongoing advertising expenses. Once your firm is properly optimised for search engines, the return on any initial investment is exponential.

Enhanced user experience

Today, over 60% of internet browsing is done on mobile devices3. This means that if you are not optimising for mobile, you are losing out on a large amount of potential clients that are unable to use your site on their device. Google and other search engines will rank your page on many factors, but one of their more modern implementations has been mobile-first indexing. This means that they are ranking content on your page based on the mobile version of your site. So if you are not optimising for mobile, Google is penalising your page.

Not only do you need to optimise your website for mobile, but your website also needs to provide a positive user experience. Think of all of the times that you have landed on a page If the search engine’s algorithm notices that users are landing on a site and clicking out of it quickly, the page will quickly lose credibility and favour on SERPs.  

Google Business Profile

A Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a vital part to optimising your website for the digital space. It plays a key role in your localised inbound marketing strategy and boosts your firm in Google search results. It gives your firm the ability to be listed on Google Maps, and best of all, it’s free! Google Business Profile is a crucial element for credibility in the law firm space, particularly because law firm marketing can be heavily localised.

Once your Google Business Profile is set up, it is important to take the time to optimise it. Ensure that the description of your business is informative and uses well-researched keywords that your ideal client would be searching. Include as much information as possible, including unique selling points, updated and correct contact information, and photos or videos to elevate your listing. In addition, Google Business Profile now has an option to write and publish posts to the profile. This is a great opportunity to promote any webinars your firm hosts, or promote a content piece you have published to drive traffic with a call-to-action such as “Learn More” or “Sign Up”. Posts last for 7 days, so they are always refreshed – this can be time consuming, but well worth the effort if you have a team or agency dedicated to this.

Get in touch with Novicell for a complete SEO audit and begin your digital transformation today.

The advantages of working with an agency like Novicell

Tackling a task like optimising your entire website for search engines is no easy task. Between understanding your user’s experience and creating content, it can take months to ensure your website is up to date and favourable to SERPs. Doing it yourself can be tempting, but working with an agency can alleviate the task of refreshing your digital presence in several ways.

Understanding search engine optimisation

As a professional service provider, legal firms often to not have a team built out to understand search engine optimisation, or dedicated consultants whose entire job is to optimise and measure digital presence. By working with an agency like Novicell, you will have the luxury of a personal consultant who takes the time to understand your business’s position in the marketplace, conduct competitor analyses, and research the appropriate keywords to make sure your website moves up in the rankings. These SEO consultants also have access to expensive and necessary software to conduct in-depth tests and inquiries to lay the groundwork for building a user friendly and optimised website.

Content creation

Another time eater? Creating relevant content. Writing 1000-2000 word articles is a task that is necessary for website optimisation, but requires time and energy to research, write and edit. Using an agency means having a dedicated team that will work with you to roadmap, research and write the content needed to boost your digital presence and optimise it for SERPs. Content is anything from the headings on your pages to the job vacancies page to selected imagery to the company blog. It can be a massive workload and the best way to tackle it is by offloading it onto an agency team specifically trained in content creation and management.

Time and cost efficiency

Unless you already have team that is experienced in designing, building and optimising websites, any digital refresh will have a learning curve. Your firm gets the most value from retainers and hourly work – not from researching keywords, trying to understand algorithms and user experience, or Googling how to code the backend of a website. The return on investment of allocating budget and outsourcing laborious and time-eating tasks to an experienced agency is productive time you gain.

Built-in support and maintenance

Designing and launching a new website is only the beginning: Post-launch, how are you going to maintain your digital presence and keep it updated with the latest optimisation techniques? Using an agency means you have access to people that will train your team on how to maintain your new website, while also remaining in your back pocket should you need their expertise again. Software and algorithmic updates are never-ending, and if your team does not know what to do in the face of change, your new digital presence will be for nothing. A healthy web presence means checking in on your site frequently to address any content, design, security, or software issues – and an agency can be the experienced support you need.

Limit your security risks

Law firms and websites can store valuable firm-specific information and a hack to your website would be detrimental. Many DIY platforms do not offer custom or high-end security measures to protect your information, and will also have severe limitations on any authentication methods, encryption or any other security configurations. Using an agency means building from scratch with custom, trusted code and configurations that are built to fit your firm’s needs. Not only that, but agency developers will understand security risks you may not have considered and will know what to look out for. Keeping your website and your information under an agency’s eye is key to having a secure online presence.

A dedicated project manager can tackle the administrative tasks

The team you work with will assign you a dedicated project manager, another huge bonus to the agency approach. Project managers handle everything from timeline and cross-functional communication, to budget and website maintenance. Your firm probably does not have a project manager on-hand, and dumping the task of organising and implementing a website redesign project from start to finish on one of your employees shoulders is a huge burden. Lift the weight of administrative tasks off of your teams shoulders by going the agency route.

So where do you start?

Now that you know optimisation is the first step on the road to increased traffic and new clients, what’s next? At Novicell, we are here to help guide you through reimagining your digital presence. If your firm is facing an outdated, lagging website, get in touch with us today for a free SEO audit with actionable insights from our team of dedicated consultants. Your full digital potential is just a click away.

 

1Source: Legal Marketing Stats Lawyers Need to Know | The National Law Rev (natlawreview.com)

2Source: Legal marketing trends all lawyers should read | Lift Legal Marketing

3Source: Internet Traffic from Mobile Devices (May 2024) (explodingtopics.com)

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