And let’s be honest – what per cent of those referrals search for your firm’s website and look at what it says before they contact you? Probably almost all of them!
The reality is, many people don’t even know a solicitor personally. So, if they suddenly find themselves in need of one, where will they look?
That’s right… They’ll search for a “personal injury solicitor in Oxford” on their computer, or maybe they’ll just type a question into their phone like: “How much does a solicitor charge for probate?”
Either way, if your firm’s website is highly visible in the search engine results, you have an excellent chance of getting new clients coming right to you. Generally, the people who enter these types of queries into Google are already motivated – and if you can get them to start talking to you first, you’re likely to earn their business!
Ready to make it happen? Let’s explore some great tips on SEO for solicitors!
Tip 1: Optimise for Local SEO
Most solicitors do the majority of their work for clients who are located where they practice: their city, their county, etc. If you want your firm to be visible and compete with the Brethertons, Freeths, and Blake Morgans near you, it’s essential to optimise for local SEO.
Local SEO is basically an extension of SEO in general, but it factors in the searcher’s location when pulling results. You’ll usually see local SEO results with “navigational intent” queries or location-based searches.
This is a huge topic all on its own, but working on local SEO can be categorised into a few key activities:
Claiming citations and directory listings (such as Yelp or Yellow Pages) for your firm
Managing customer reviews of your firm
These tasks are more important than you might realise, because the results in that feature box when you search for a local firm aren’t actually organic search results – they’re pulled from Google My Business listings.
If you want that coveted slot on the results page, you need to verify and optimise your Google My Business page. This includes making your name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistent everywhere your legal practice appears online (including your Facebook page and any other listings). For your Google My Business listing, make sure to include as many images as you can, focusing on shots of the lawyers and your office.
Good local SEO for solicitors is more important than ever. Take care that you’re getting the most exposure you can in local search.
Tip 2: Create “Hiring Intent” Content
One of the reasons local SEO is so powerful is that “hiring intent” is lumped into the query. Think about it: if you’re based in London and searching online for legal advice in your area, then there’s a good chance you’d hire a professional for their legal services if you found the right one.
You can capitalise on this concept of hiring intent through content that you publish on your website. A search term like “Oxford criminal defense lawyers near me” is sometimes referred to as a “money keyword,” because it’s associated with someone who’s ready to make a purchase (in this case, engaging your legal services).
Because they’re tied to a location, these hiring intent terms don’t necessarily have incredibly high organic search volume, but they’re going to be highly competitive anyway. In addition, the search results pages will be populated with ads using these keywords. To give your firm a better chance of ranking,you want to target one of these hiring intent keywords on each of your service pages.
It’s important that every one of your service areas has its own page, and that you populate it with at least 500 words of quality content. This gives you a better chance to rank for niche searches that are highly specific. It’s like the difference between trying to catch fish with one giant lure versus using a hundred smaller lures.
You’ll get a lot of value from incorporating hiring intent content on your site. As for your blog, you should expect to write posts for different types of intent, including “information intent” content, to bring in as much relevant traffic as possible.
Ultimately, the more content you create, the more potential keywords could rank and bring you new clients.
Tip 3: Promote Your Site Elsewhere
As you develop more authoritative content and push it live on your site, you’ll need to promote it to maximise its reach. Social media is one excellent channel to get your message out there, but if you don’t find ways of getting your content found outside of your own bubble, then you’ll be limiting your potential success.
Once you have quality content, you can engage in link outreach campaigns, offering your newly published blog posts as a resource to industry sites, fellow legal blogs, and complementary publications. You can also build links by publishing valuable, informative content on other sites like Quora and Medium and pointing readers back to your firm’s website.
Lastly, don’t neglect more traditional media. If you have the resources, a public relations firm can do wonders in drawing more eyeballs to your website. Depending on your legal practice area, simply having exposure may make prospective clients more likely to think of you when they find themselves in need of legal assistance.
But almost all of your firm’s online visibility starts with publishing useful content for your audience, both on your own site and through earned media. This content offers a few key benefits for your firm:
It demonstrates your authority in your legal niche
It provides new opportunities for traffic and exposure online
It serves as the foundation for PR efforts
With solid SEO and quality content supporting it, your promotion efforts can dramatically boost your firm’s visibility and make it easier to reach the people in need of your legal services.
SEO for Solicitors Wrap-up
From local SEO to great content and outreach, these tips should give you a solid roadmap for improving overall visibility for your legal firm. However, it’s easier said than done.
In the legal space, SEO requires you to take every step to get ahead of your competition. Everything we said before about the value of SEO for solicitors is true – it’s a fantastic opportunity for your firm – but it remains a huge challenge.
After all, every law firm knows how important organic search is for their businesses. This makes SEO in the legal space incredibly competitive, and it means you can’t afford less than expert SEO service, because it could cost you thousands of pounds every year in missed business.
At Common Ground, we have the experience and the track record to deliver results for solicitors. We have a team in place that can build and execute on a customised SEO plan for your firm.