Most attorneys know they need a strong web presence to attract new business. What some don’t know is how they’re supposed to accomplish that. Search engine optimization is a mysterious part of the equation for some attorneys.
Many attorneys see parts of the puzzle:
- Attorneys realize they need a good website.
- They know potential clients need to be able to find that website.
- There should be something about their website that attracts potential clients.
- Attorneys know they need to be found in search engine results.
Attorneys who own small law firms often play multiple roles. They’re often bookkeepers and managers on top of practicing law. With limited time and energy, making the puzzle pieces fit doesn’t always happen. When business is suffering, attorneys turn to large legal marketing companies or a so-called law firm SEO expert for help.
That help can be expensive, unnecessary, and sometimes dangerous from business and ethics perspectives. Worse, it can leave attorneys confused about what works online and susceptible to wasting time and money.
Yet, so many attorneys hire someone else when they don’t need to. But armed with a little knowledge, attorneys can be their own SEO expert.
Reason 1: Law firm SEO isn’t complicated.
Fear is a powerful motivator. That fact is not lost on some greedy legal marketers. Some SEO “experts” and legal marketing companies tell attorneys that understanding search engines is too complicated.
Some attorneys feel optimistic about a jargon-filled sales pitch and a too-good-to-be-true promise about “Page 1” rankings. They may sign on the dotted line without thinking clearly.
Some attorneys are afraid that:
- They don’t understand how SEO works for law firms
- It’s too complex to understand (or there’s no time to learn)
- Their law firm’s business will suffer (or keep suffering) unless they act
The problem with giving control to a law firm SEO “expert”
It’s tempting to surrender control to someone else if you’re in this situation. Unfortunately, what often happens is that attorneys surrender their control (and their money) to a long-term legal marketing contract that doesn’t produce results.
(What happens when you’ve signed onto an expensive, long-term contract? What’s the incentive for these legal marketers to produce tangible results for your firm? Regardless of the outcome, don’t they already have you on the hook?)
Read about 3 ways law firms can improve their SEO.
It’s hard to know much about your website’s health when you let someone else control it without first having a foundation of knowledge and a way to measure their efforts and hold them accountable. If you don’t understand good online legal marketing practices, it’s hard to know if your site violates Google’s best practices. It can be hard to change anything about your website if something goes wrong.
SEO is not what some legal marketers claim that it is. But when attorneys don’t understand how it really works, there’s no shortage of people willing to sell something to them. The failure to understand law firm SEO leads some attorneys to spend thousands of dollars for no reason.
When “SEO” is just nicely packaged snake oil…
SEO for lawyers, done right, relies on some basic best practices and basic (and very easy) optimization techniques that in no way require a big legal marketing company or a SEO “expert.”
It’s easy for attorneys to learn how search engine optimization works.
Much of what is marketed as SEO is either unnecessary, outdated, or unrelated to SEO. Attorneys who invest a little time to understand law firm SEO tend to see that it’s not complicated. They can do it themselves. And the things that they can’t do themselves almost always amount to nicely packaged snake oil.
They often see that the better (and less costly) investment is in attorney-friendly tools that give them control of their law firm’s web presence. These tools don’t have to be expensive or require a technical background to use.
Search engine optimization isn’t challenging. What’s challenging is spending your money and your time on tools or tactics that don’t work.
Can SEO experts think like your potential clients do?
When attorneys realize how law firm SEO works, they begin to understand a fundamental aspect involves getting into the mindset of potential clients and understanding how they use search engines.
Can SEO experts think like your potential clients do? Maybe. But attorneys know their potential clients better than any outside expert might.
An attorney is likely to know:
- The kinds of questions a potential client asks
- The questions they don’t ask, but should
- Misconceptions they have about their case or problem
- A potential client’s background
- The fears a potential client has
- Their goals when they contact a law firm
Attorneys who understand search engine basics and how potential clients use search engines are at an advantage over those who don’t. These attorneys realize that content that answers the questions potential clients ask to search engines is the key to improving their business.
Reason 2: Law firm SEO isn’t about magic. It’s about good content.
Attorneys shouldn’t worry about secrets, tricks, or keywords that will get them ahead in search engine results. Their focus should be on their potential clients. It takes time to build good content. But helping web visitors understand the law and solve their problems is what attracts them to your law firm. What won’t attract potential clients (without risking the long-term health of the website) through SEO are tactics such as paid attorney link building websites and directory submissions.
When you write for your potential clients, focus keywords often show up naturally. Can a little basic optimization help search engines understand your content? Can it help potential clients find you? Absolutely. For example, using long-tail phrases that clients are likely to search for is good for both potential clients and search engines. But you don’t need a law firm SEO expert to do that for you.
There’s no question that publishing client-focused content often is what attracts qualified potential clients. The questions attorneys should ask themselves are:
- What problems will I help my potential clients solve through publishing quality content?
- How often will I publish new content?
- What tools will I use to publish that content and help build my web presence?
LawLytics is for attorneys who want to cut through the SEO snake oil and engage in simple communication that works with search engines and potential clients alike. We empower attorneys to get off the legal marketing treadmill that leaves them with the perception that they are beholden to SEO providers, and we show them a better and more cost-effective way.
If you’re ready to learn about sustainable, effective law firm website marketing, and see how easy it is to have a successful law firm website using LawLytics, request a 20-minute online demo to see for yourself.