Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Law Firm SEO: The Future of Attorney Marketing

Law firm SEO is becoming bigger and bigger these days. If you think about it, it completely makes sense.

Lawyers are required to follow strict guidelines when it comes to advertising and can’t engage in any activity that lead the public to think of them as ambulance chasers.

Gone are the days of personal injury attorneys leaving business cards at the scenes of car crashes.

Consequently, lawyers have turned to the Internet to help get more clients and grow their businesses.

To do this, they’ve enlisted the help of SEO experts to help get their law firm’s websites on the first page of Google.

These experts are getting high-quality links pointing to attorneys’ sites, are doing thorough on-Page SEO, and creating sophisticated content schedules for fresh content to be published to their blog.

If you think about it, it’s genius. No one really goes to the phone book anymore and billboards are extremely annoying. Likewise, lawyers are prohibited from cold calling potential clients and are essentially forced into passively marketing.

In a system like that, SEO becomes the most important way to legitimately market legal services to those who are most likely to want them.

One of the most critical components of law firm SEO involves ranking attorneys for local keywords like “NJ traffic ticket lawyer” or “personal injury attorney in Florida.”

If successful, these lawyers will end up in Google’s Three Pack and have tons of phone calls coming into their law offices.

Local search requires attorneys to put themselves in directories like Cornell, Law Link, Avvo, and Justia.

It also requires a solid plan to garner as many favorable reviews from past clients as possible.

In order for a lawyer to rank well in Google’s local results, he or she needs to be in 50+ local directories, get dozens of 5 star reviews on his or her Google My Business listing and 3-5 other major listings, and earn links that boost the Page Authority of those business listings.

Law firm SEO also involves social media marketing. It’s critical for lawyers to make YouTube videos, be active on Twitter, engage with people on Facebook, and to use social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon to blast their blog posts across the web.

Lawyers who think they can follow the same old rules they used to for getting more clients are going to be in for a rude awakening in 2016 and beyond.

Referrals and word of mouth only get you so far and every other type of marketing has a terrible ROI and costs an arm and a leg.

SEO typically ranges from $1,500-$5,000 per month and yields an extremely high ROI. While it’s true that it might take a few months before it kicks in (since this is the nature of how Google operates), most attorneys who hire very reputable and knowledgeable SEO companies see terrific results usually in 3-5 months.

Unfortunately, many lawyers misunderstand SEO and choose to avoid it. They think it’s all smoke and mirrors and don’t recognize its value to their firm.

However, the ones that do see it, enjoy more business and ultimately more money than those that don’t.

Boosting Local SEO for Lawyers in 2016 and Beyond

local SEO for lawyers

Local SEO is crucial for your law firm, especially if your potential clients are usually in a specifically geographic area.

The easiest way to boost your Local SEO is by claiming and verifying your business citations.

While Google My Business and Bing Places are the two most obvious places to start, there are hundreds of business citations available. Obviously, some will be more authoritative than others.

If you're looking for a comprehensive list of local citations to start claiming and verifying, look no further. Below you'll find a list of 35 highly trusted local business citations that every law firm should be in:
  1. Yahoo! Local
  2. White Pages
  3. Where To 
  4. Brownbook
  5. Biz Rating
  6. Big Wig Biz
  7. N49 
  8. Yellow Pages
  9. Yelp
  10. Super Pages
  11. Go Local 247
  12. Yellow Moxie
  13. 2 Find Local 
  14. Cylex 
  15. Merchant Circle 
  16. City Squares 
  17. Tupalo 
  18. EZ Local 
  19. YaSabe
  20. eLocal
  22. Show Me Local 
  23. Get Fave 
  24. Four Square 
  25. Hot Frog 
  26. City Search 
  27. Manta 
  28. Angie's List 
  29. Topix 
  30. Map Quest
  31. CityFos
  32. Chamber of Commerce
  33. Kudzu
  34. Locality
  35. Top Rated Local
 If you're a bit overwhelmed don't worry. That's why we provided links to our personal citations so you can see what they ought to look like.

Make sure to have someone at your firm (probably an intern or marketing trainee) claim all 35 of these local citations for you.

Remember, claiming and verifying these citations is just the beginning. You're going to need to choose approximately 3-5 of the best ones and try to get positive reviews from prior or current clients.

Think about it, having 10, glowing 5 star reviews on Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Yahoo! Local will go a lot further (from an SEO perspective) than having 2 reviews on each of the 30 listings enumerated in this post.

Ultimately, if you claim and verify your listings, fill each out fully and consistently, and receive a lot of glowing reviews on 3-5 of the most popular listings, you'll see your local search rank skyrocket.

Here’s to improving your law firm's local SEO and getting more clients!

Local SEO for Lawyers: The Definitive Guide

local SEO for lawyers 
If you have a brick and mortar law office, you need local SEO to dominate the Google local search results.

To do this, you need to leverage the power of Page 1 real estate, business citations, and link building.

Think about it: you might have the best website in the world, but if no one is going to it because it is buried on Page 4 of Google, it's as if you never made the site at all!

So let's dive right it...

The first thing you're going to want to do is set up Google My Business and get your site in Bing Places.

Google my business allows you to occupy tons of space on the right hand side of Google, and Bing Places works the exact same way for Bing's search engine.

Make sure to fill out all of the information and form fields as completely as possible. Do your best to upload high-quality images, your logo, and to use an attracting description for your company.

After you’ve done this for both Google My Business and Bing Places, they will ask you to verify your business.

To do that, they’ll send you a postcard in the mail with a unique code that you'll have to enter. They do this to make sure that your brick and mortar location is legitimate.

With both of these under your belt, it’s time to set up some local business listings. Hop over to sites like Yellow Pages, Yelp, and Yahoo! Local. Claim and verify your business in these directories. Be careful though! Do not create multiple listings. It’s confusing for searchers and Google doesn’t like it either.

Fill out these profiles as accurately and completely as possible and be consistent across all of them.

Your company’s goal should be to claim and verify approximately 50 of these. Then, do your best to get reviews from pleased customers and/or clients directly on those sites. It violates Yelp’s terms of service to directly ask for a positive review, but many other listings don’t mind if you do.

For any listing that prohibits direct solicitation, simply remind your satisfied customer that you have a profile there. It might even be allowed to tell them, “We always appreciate honest feedback.” (Find out from Yelp though before doing anything like that.)

At this point you should have several business directory listings (AKA business citations) with several positive reviews along with a Google My Business account and Bing Places account.

Now it’s time to try to get 5 star reviews directly from your Google My Business account. The more 5 star reviews you have, the higher up in Google’s local listings you will be.

Lastly, try to build some links to your directory listings. This will give them some much needed "oomph" that could even propel them to Page 1 of Google for your company name. Imagine blanketing the first page of Google with your website and all of these business citations? That’s powerful, especially if your potential clients want to research you.

This is only the beginning of what goes into a local SEO campaign, but it should be enough to get you on your way and help you begin to rank higher for local keywords.