Getting Customers to Come to You: Search Engine Optimization for Lawyers

In the business of legal counsel, there’s no shortage of competition. Lawyers across several different fields employ various methods to find clients and demonstrate that out of the pool of attorneys who deal in their specialization, they are the ones that clients should hire to represent their case. 

These methods are often time-consuming and imperfect for lawyers who have just entered the field and trying to ramp up business quickly. While the time-honored practices of networking and obtaining client referrals do work extremely well, both processes are slow-acting and can take years to convert into constant, sustainable leads. 

Enter: The Internet

Fortunately, the internet exists. Just as customers use search engines to connect with and transact business with businesses across a variety of industries, they have begun to use search engines to contact experienced legal professionals who can handle their cases. According to the National Law Review:

  • 96% of people use a search engine when looking for legal advice.
  • 74% of people use the information on lawyer’s websites to take necessary action.
  • 38% of people use search engine results to select and hire an attorney. 

Those stats were recorded in 2014. Since then, we have become much more dependent on the internet to find people who can provide services for us, necessitated by the pandemic and a rapid cultural shift towards a remote, primarily online means of transaction. 

Search Engine Optimization: An Essential Skill

While methods like networking and client referrals are still integral to the success of any legal professional, a much bigger part of the proverbial pie is now centered around (a) to what extent legal professionals have an online presence and (b) how that presence is used. We can’t expect the culture to regress to a pre-technological era, only to move forward: and so we must turn our efforts toward making sure that when potential clients search for legal advice, they come to our pages for the advice they need.

Search Engine Rankings: A Crash Course

In order to understand why search engine optimization is important, we must first take a look at how search engine rankings are calculated and why your firm’s site must rank high. 

Search engine rankings are calculated by taking stock of how many “votes of confidence” a website has, as well as the quality of those votes of confidence. By votes of confidence, we mean how many sites are willing to embed links on a particular page: google views the embedding of links as endorsements of a sort and considers the domain ranking of the embedded link’s site when weighing how much that endorsement means. 

Search engines attempt to present querying consumers with the results that are most applicable to their needs. Therefore, sites with quality endorsements tend to rank high, showing up on the first few search results pages. Obtaining a top spot is crucial, as customers do not usually navigate beyond the first page of any search results list: in fact, only about 2 to 3% of customers go to even the second page. 

In conjunction with email marketing campaigns and a cohesive social media marketing strategy, search engine optimization is necessary for any successful digital marketing campaign.

SEO Practices: What is Link-building?

In order to properly optimize their pages to rank high on search engines, your firm may need to employ link-building practices to organically and methodically boost their rankings. Link-building is, in short, a practice where marketing officials reach out to websites with higher domain rankings, asking for the opportunity to build links on their site. There’s quite a bit of strategy involved, as well as negotiation, as choosing to embed links on low-value sites can hurt your search engine rankings: you may want to hire a consultant to help you with your legal SEO strategy, as they have the experience and the know-how to get you excellent results rapidly.

Link-building is traditionally accomplished through the following methods.

Guest Posting

A link-building consultant reaches out to a quality website and asks for the opportunity to guest post. These guest posts are quality pieces of content that include a link to your site, relevant information, and connect your site to authoritative sources via the inclusion of other links. 

Niche Edits

A link-building consultant notices that a piece of quality content on an authoritative website has an inactive link and offers to replace that link with one of their own. This is a great way to simply and effectively boost your SEO ranking, provided the inclusion of your link makes sense in the context of the content.

Search engine optimization is a relatively new practice, borne from the dawn of the internet and increasing awareness on how customers use it. As time goes on and metaverse concepts become more mainstream, your business will not be able to stay competitive without an effective SEO strategy. 

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