This is the fourth installment in a series about five questions attorneys should ask before hiring a law firm SEO provider.
(As I noted in the series introduction, these five questions are a good place to start if you’re thinking about hiring a SEO provider. However, these five questions are not an exhaustive list.)
One size does not fit all when it comes to online marketing for law firms. Law firms come in different sizes, different practice area combinations, different locations and different target audiences — and all of these things can affect how you approach SEO for your law firm.
If you’re going to hire a company or individual to handle all or some of your law firm’s SEO, there are a number of things you should check before you hire a SEO provider. The company or individual you’re thinking about hiring should understand and abide by legal ethics, as well as understand and abide by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. You should also make sure they have a solid understanding of your practice area(s) and the practice of law where you live.
Before you hire a law firm SEO provider, ask them:
What do you know about the practice of law in my geographic area and practice type(s)?
Sometimes, an attorney may consider hiring a SEO provider who claims that they “specialize” in working with lawyers. But what does this really mean? Attorneys should examine such a claim carefully. Often, attorneys who dig under the surface may find that the provider (or their parent company) also “specializes” in working with doctors, veterinarians, plumbers, and so on.
Even if a law firm SEO provider claims that they “specialize” in working with attorneys, they may not understand much about what you do as an attorney, the nature of your practice, or how potential clients find attorneys online. Many marketers don’t understand how different the business dynamics of different practice areas can be.
What law firm SEO providers should understand about your practice
The vast majority of SEO companies aren’t aware of the dangers of online legal marketing. Many SEO providers don’t understand legal ethics. They may also have a poor understanding of what you do as an attorney and/or the specifics of your practice area(s) in the geographic area where you practice.
Content marketing works better than any other form of SEO with both potential clients and search engines. But part of what makes content marketing work is an understanding of the mindset of the potential clients in the area(s) where you work.
Many potential clients use the internet to find their attorneys, whether or not they immediately realize they need one. They often ask complicated questions of search engines as they research their case or problem. And, when you write content that answers to those questions, search engines are likely to return those pages in search engine results. That often leads a potential client to your firm’s website.
Quality content brings visitors to your website and transforms them into new business for your firm. But what potential clients search for — and the content you’ll write to address those questions — varies based on a number of factors including your practice area(s), your target audience, your location, the local language of your geographic area, and more.
So, if you’re going to hire a company or individual to handle all or some of your law firm’s SEO, make sure they truly understand what you do as an attorney, your practice area(s), and the mindset of potential clients in the area where you practice.
What should a law firm SEO provider be able to explain to me about my practice area(s) and potential clients?
When you ask a law firm SEO provider about their understanding of the practice of law in your geographic area and practice type(s), the company or individual should be able to explain:
What your potential clients look for when they search Google. They should be able to articulate what kinds of searches your potential clients conduct, what kind of language they’re using when they conduct those searches, and what questions they’re asking of search engines.
What your ideal potential client looks like. The company or individual you’re thinking about hiring should also be able to explain to you what your ideal potential client looks like. This requires a relatively detailed response. For example, a DUI attorney who asks this question should expect an answer far greater in detail than “Someone who’s been arrested for a DUI.”
For example, a DUI attorney who works in a college town might target college students with underage DUI arrests. (You might be targeting their parents, as well.) A business attorney’s ideal potential client might be entrepreneurs who want to start a business. An immigration attorney’s ideal client might be individuals who want to relocate to the US for employment.
Whatever your practice type, your law firm SEO provider should be able to demonstrate that they understand what your ideal potential client looks like, because your target audience will inform your SEO strategy and affect its success.
If you’re feeling unsure about what your ideal potential client might look like, creating a law firm client persona can help you narrow your focus and target the right potential clients.
In the next post, I’ll discuss the last question in this 5-part series. To learn more about other questions attorneys should ask their law firm SEO provider, visit our page on search engine optimization for attorneys.
See other posts in this series:
- Blog Series Introduction: 5 Questions Attorneys Should Ask Before Hiring A Law Firm SEO Company
- Does Your Law Firm SEO Provider Understand Legal Ethics?
- Does Your Law Firm SEO Provider Follow Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Does Your Law Firm SEO Provider Claim To Have A Special Relationship With Google?