Expert shares top keyword research tips for successful law firm SEO Campaigns

The base premise of search engine optimization (SEO) could not be simpler: Maximize the visibility of your law firm online by using proven techniques to rank higher in search engine results.

The techniques available range from the creation of content to position your business as having expertise in select fields, to technical tweaks like making sure your website’s code and structure are optimized correctly.

Granted that the cost of investing in SEO is not an insignificant investment, but it’s a crucial element in the marketing mix for the competitive marketplace that law firms inhabit.

The aim of SEO is to make sure that indexed pages appear high enough in a search engine’s results pages (SERPs) that a prospective client can easily find your pages. This means that your website has to keep pace with Google’s ever-changing requirements.

In the expert opinion of SEO protagonists a legal SEO campaign should include:

·         Keyword research:  finding the keywords people use to find what they are looking for on your site that are relevant, attract a good amount of traffic, and have achievable levels of competition

·         Website optimization, including:

1.       Regular uploading of fresh content that’s appropriate for your audience.

2.       Optimizing content and back-end tags that reflect  your chosen keywords

3.       Making sure it’s easy to navigate your website

4.       Focusing SEO efforts on attracting clients in your area

5.       Link building so you have plenty of backlinks from relevant websites.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is made up of using professional strategies and tools to discover how people search for the sort of services that you offer.

Although there are keyword tools that provide some free usage, the most sophisticated cost money. It’s worth considering taking out a subscription or outsourcing the research to people with expertise at providing SEO support for lawyers.

The ideal keywords for your site will be those that are highly targeted and generate at least a steady level of traffic. You also need to be able to manage the competition so it’s no good trying to rank for something like “attorney.” You need to be much more specific

While conducting the research, it’s important to analyze individual keywords for their commercial intent. These terms have less traffic than some other terms, but they have distinct advantages:

1.       They rank more easily

2.       They can convert at a higher rate because people are searching for services, not simply information.

Keywords that combine research intent are also useful. They frequently start with “how”  or “why” as people are seeking answers to their problems.

Using content that includes these kinds of keywords, for example in white papers, case studies, blog posts and any videos is a good idea.

Remember content that informs or educates tends to attract more shares, likes and links which help with your site’s ranking.

Website Optimization

The minimum requirement these days stipulates that you must have a site design that is responsive. If you do, you’re ready to move on, and here are key elements of your website’s optimization.

1.       SEO Site Structure

An important part of search engine-friendly sites is how the site is organized and where the key content appears within its architecture. A site needs to be logically structured iso its easy for visitors to find what they are looking for.

It’s tempting to put the About Us link first, but for SEO purposes and for users it’s better you’re your practice pages are placed first. These are pages you want to have ranked well so making them more prominent sends the appropriate authority signals to the search engines.

Users go to practice pages first and only then do they look at About Us and the attorney profile pages.

When a site is easy to use, people feel much more comfortable about navigating its content and this means they will spend time exploring.

User experience (UX) is increasingly playing an important part in SEO effectiveness. Google is aware if people are spending a reasonable amount of time on pages. They also monitor bounce rates!

Google has made it clear that engagement metrics are not directly used as ranking factors. But research has found there is a correlation.

2.       Optimize URLs

It’s important to use as many keywords you have selected in the URLs for each page on your site without overdoing it.

Using similar phrases in two or more URLs can be penalised by the search engines for keyword stuffing. It’s also confusing because the engines don’t know which page to rank for the keyword.

3.       Blogging

Blogs are key parts of a law firm’s SEO strategy. Google loves to see fresh content and indeed employs a “freshness” ranking signal to reward sites with often updated content with higher rankings.

Another beauty of blog posts is they also enable specific search terms to be targeted.  These terms tend to attract significant traffic while service pages don’t qualify to rank.

For example, the search term “can I sue an insurance company” could be targeted with a blog post headlined “How to Sue an Insurance Company if You’ve Been in an Accident.”

Blog posts can be written with targeted titles and optimized for the same term. Geographical tags can be added to increase the local SEO opportunities. Phrases like “in South Carolina” or “in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.”

There are multiple audiences that you can target with blog posts including:

·         Potential customers

·         Site visitors

Both groups can help by:

·         Contributing to engagement metrics

·         Recommending a post to someone else

·         Sharing it on social media and so extending the post’s digital reach

·         Linking to an article so enhancing your website’s authority.

When content is fresh and regular, there is potential to build a solid reading audience, which keeps Google busy indexing your content so it can be made available when people search using relevant terms.

Content can be provided on a huge range of subjects on a blog. It’s typical for this content to focus on longer-tail search terms of between three and five words. As an example, you may specialize in defending people who are charged with DUI. If this is the case then the sort of posts you could be writing include:

How to book free rides on the 4th of July so you avoid any danger of DUI charges
How to make sure there is a reliable driver available when you want to attend a party
What should you do if your designated driver starts to drink
How to find a designated driver for your party group
What are some tasty “Mocktail” recipes for a designated driver when you host a party

In the conclusion to each of these posts, you could include calls to action to encourage people to contact your firm if anything untoward happens and somebody finds themselves charged with any drinking and driving offences or if any injuries have occurred as a consequence.

When planning an editorial calendar for a blog, it’s a good idea to consider:

·         Your audience

·         Any information that may be helpful to know

·         Sharing information that can be connected to your promotional messages

·         Sourcing suitable rights-free images and videos

·         Frequency of posting

·         Optimization strategies

Writing the posts

Google loves to reward long-form content, like 2,000-word posts which cover a range of issues, as a result, long-form blog post benefits include:

·         Positioning your site as having expertise

·         Ranking more highly and therefore being more visible online.

·         Attracting more and deeper engagement from the audience

·         Boosting engagement metrics

·         Increased sharing on social media platforms

·         Attracting more inbound links

With long-form posts not only can information be included for people who are new to a subject but also additional material can be inserted for those people who are already better informed.

The sort of elements that can be included in long-form posts include testimonials, checklists, frequently asked questions, quotes from experts, along with how-to videos, infograms and much more.

It’s crucial to remember when dealing with website content that it’s important to avoid duplicating content. When this happens, the search engines may well ignore some of the versions and as a result, that content may not be indexed.

 Blogs are powerful, linkable assets. They are the most likely places for other sites to find it worth linking to, which is a significant bonus for legal SEO.

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Author: Helen Bell


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