Law Firm Websites, SEO & Legal Blogs
Websites: Basic Law Firm Marketing Tools
Your website is your first impression to the world: prospective clients, referring lawyers, associates you may want to attract to your firm, articling students, judges and masters, journalists, and law associations. Make your website count.
Whenever you meet someone new, you Google them. Whenever someone with a legal problem is referred to your law firm, they Google you, usually before they call.
These days, even before potential clients visit your website, they Google "law firm XYZ" and "Google Reviews" to learn if visiting your website is even worth their time, based on what current and past clients have said about you. Your online presence matters more than ever and competition for good ranking on search engines is stiff.
What Kind of Law Firm Website Do You Need?
If you don't have a website, it's like you don't exist. If your website looks dated, your law firm is not putting its best foot forward. That said, clients of The Legal A Team use their websites differently—and there is quite a range:
Clients who use their websites to generate leads to get paying clients, such as Toronto's Taxpage and Riverdale Mediation as well as Mississauga's DeRusha Law Firm.
Clients who use their websites to attract members and promote certifications, such as the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario (FDRIO) and Mississauga and Brampton's Med-Arb Peel.
Clients who use their websites as a brochure, for potential clients to check them out after a referral by another lawyer (or a past or current client), such as Williams Family Lawyers.
There are no right or wrong answers, just different needs and requirements. Talk to us about your website needs or a website makeover.
How we Build Law Firm Websites
We start by examining what your potential clients are most likely to want to know about. The organic, on-page Search Engine Optimization for law firms that we do at The Legal A Team is a blend of:
What law firm practice areas are you trying to market?
What are the search terms that your likely prospects are using to find your legal services?
Demonstrating to Google that your expertise should place you above your competitors on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Create a high impact web site. We can create a website from scratch or adjust what you already have. If you already have a website, this rewriting some (or all) of your web pages.
When building a website from scratch, we like to evaluate the WordPress theme (or other template builder) from a SEO standpoint. We have learned that not all off-the-shelf themes or templates are created by developers with Search Engine Optimization in mind. Sometimes, developers focus on "bells and whistles" rather than SEO functionality.
Having conducted Keyword research, we recommend the best Google Keywords for your law firm. We optimize your entire website for these Keywords, while creating great, user-friendly content.
We maximize the conversion potential of your law firm’s website. Having read your website, or parts of your website, your prospects are motivated to call or email you, to arrange an initial consultation (IC). This is called “conversion,” in law firm marketing-speak.
Here is an article we wrote, What lawyers need to know about how Google ranks pages.
What is SEO for Law Firms?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of using Google’s own rules and best practices to get your law firm’s website to rank well on Google. Think of SEO as the Art of Getting Found.
Search Engine Optimization for law firms has levelled the way that people look for legal services—search is a whole new ballgame. The really great news is: even very small law firms that understand SEO can rank favourably without spending a nickel on Google advertising.
Google's indexing system is called the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and uses Google Keywords to decide those rankings. Google Keywords are what people actually type into the browser bar of their search engines. They use all kinds of words and phrases—and frequently not the ones you think. Here's what Google thinks is important to rank pages in early 2018.
Google uses sets of algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) to rank Search Engine Results Pages. Google used to announce a new release of yet another, tighter algorithm but this has now ceased. Google believes in continuous improvement. So, no more advance warning of algo changes after 2016.
Search Engine Optimization is especially critical for business-to-consumer (B2C) law firms that tend to have transactional work that clients pay for from their own pocket (as compared with payment from Accounts Payable from a large company): family law, wills and estates, personal injury, residential real estate, plaintiff-side human resources/labour law, and criminal law. For B2C law firms, Search Engine Optimization drives the all-important initial consultations (ICs) that keep your work-in-process (WIP) high and you and your associates busy. And billable.
Here's an article we wrote, Lawyers: What you don't know about websites can kill your business.
Why Your Law Firm Website Doesn't Rank Well on Google
When your law firm's website doesn't rank well (or doesn't even show up on a Google search), there is a communication gap between the language you have used on your website and what people are actually searching for. That's the first reason: there is a disconnect.
The second reason could be that your web developer has not conducted Keyword research at all. Or, the SEO boxes in your web platform have not been filled in (not kidding!). We have found that web developers for law firms and Search Engine Optimization experts for law firms are bifurcated specialists. And they don't necessarily communicate with each other.
Another reason could be that there is a lot of competition in the type of law that you practice. Personal injury law, criminal law, residential real estate, just to name three, are very competitive and difficult to rank for.
Google Keywords, Explained
The right Google Keywords are the currency of good rankings for any web search. For example, more people search for “divorce lawyers” rather than for “family law lawyers.”
Search Engine Optimization for law firms should not get bogged down in the legally correct terminology. We sometimes explain it to our law firm clients this way: You can use the correct legal terminology. Or, you can rank well on Google.
The great news is Google tells you the search volumes [the number of people looking] for whatever type of law firm service you are trying to market. Google tells you, ballpark, how many thousands of people are looking for the type of law you practice and what search terms they are using.
And increasingly, Google is using natural language search: in other words, people are typing questions into their search engine—and getting the answers they need.
What Law Firms Must Know About SEO in 2018
Google owns an astonishing 92% of all web searches in Canada. The balance is taken up by other search engines including Bing, Yahoo!, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, MSN, and Apple’s Safari. Collectively, Canadians have agreed that Google has the best search engine; therefore, it makes sense to follow Google’s rules when building a website.
The vast majority of people—some 95%—don’t click to Page 2 of a web search. That's a sobering thought.
That means that the vast majority of click-through traffic goes to law firms on Page 1 of SERP. This is why all law firms want to rank on Page 1 of every Google search. If there are a lot of ads on Page 1, some searchers might go as far as page 2. Conversely, if your law firm is not found by prospects, or your law firm is buried on page 17 of a Google search, your marketing becomes doubly hard.
If your law firm doesn’t rank on Page 1 or 2, your website is ineffective from a law firm marketing standpoint; you will need to work harder to get noticed and found. Your law firm website then becomes an online brochure that you direct people to, but potential clients have trouble finding you with a Google search. You are not alone.
Google ranks individual web pages, not websites. This is greatly misunderstood by some of our law firm marketing clients. Knowing that Google ranks individual pages is actually very powerful because if your so-called “Cornerstone Content” pages rank well, that is more than half of the rankings battle. Your entire website doesn't have to rank well, just two or three pages need to rank for your chosen Keywords. Isn't that much easier?
“Cornerstone Content” are Landing Pages where you provide lots of original, useful, and actionable content for web visitors. “Cornerstone Content” pages work well when they are around 1,000 words. A Landing Page is a page you have created to promote a specific legal service, special offer, or an initial consultation.
Put effort, energy and time into Search Engine Optimization, and it is entirely possible to rank well in many law firm practice areas. While Google has stopped announcing how exactly it ranks websites—we don’t know the exact algorithm—The Legal A Team has a pretty good idea. Google measures about 200 separate factors to rank individual web pages. Some of these factors are more important than others.
Search Engine Optimization is always a work in progress. If you want your law firm Google rankings to remain good, you have to constantly improve your website from your potential clients' standpoint. You’re never done because your other law firms are increasing their SEO as well. It's a lock-step competition.
Over time, SEO gets harder as Google ups the ante on its algorithm. Frequently, it is easy to see progress in your rankings when you first start doing SEO. Over time, it gets more difficult to maintain those good rankings. We tell clients that Search Engine Optimization is not alchemy, but rather an ongoing slog. So, nose to the ground.
Law Firm Website Makeovers
Is your website looking tired and dated?
Don't understand how Google ranks websites? Frustrated that your webmaster is not responsive to the changes you need done? Stock photos not resonating with your prospects? Don't know about Google keywords?
We can help, with a website makeover.
A recent website makeover we did for a Greater Toronto law firm resulted in a 53% increase in initial consultations (ICs). Make your phone ring again with a website makeover.
Want your website to generate leads for your law firm?
We work with a number of talented web developers who understand:
1) How Google ranks websites;
2) The technical and security requirements of websites; and
3) The high quality, original content with on-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that is needed when you want your website to rank well organically and generate client leads for you.
Starting your own law firm? Congratulations! Need a website, fast?
We can help. We can build you a basic law firm website. And it is easier than ever to maintain it yourself.
Here is an article we wrote, How your website can differentiate you and your law firm.
Here are some websites we have designed, written, sourced photography for, and built for law firms, mediators, and law firm marketing collectives, as well as done Search Engine Optimization for:
We Help Lawyers Create Quality Blogs
We help you turn your content into a more effective law firm marketing and law firm business development tool for your practice or law firm. We work with you to position you as a knowledgeable authority—and thought leader—using proven techniques for expanding your client base.
We take the time to develop quality, 5-star law firm marketing content for your legal blog. Whether your clients are businesses or consumers, we work with individual lawyers as well as practice groups and even entire law firms to help:
Refine the business goals for your content marketing program, or set them if you’re just starting out.
Create a list with you of emerging issues your client base and likely prospects should know about and will want to read.
Research what kinds of topics prospects are looking for and which ones get traction. This is key.
Help you edit each new blog post so it is in the style and format readers are comfortable seeing from reading newspapers and magazines.
Review each blog before it goes live, making editing suggestions and checking for readability.
Optimize the post so search engines can find it, based on current—and frequently changing—SEO parameters.
Advise lawyers on the social media sites, groups, and forums to promote their blog.
Track results so you know who is reading your blog.
Check out our writing credentials.