Search engine optimization (SEO) is a popular topic among small law firms and solo practitioners who are developing their online web presence. Many attorneys want to attract more business to their firms from the internet.
Unfortunately, much of the information about SEO that’s available is more noise than signal. That leads many attorneys to waste time and money on SEO methods that either don’t generate business for their firms or that harms their web presence in a way that can be difficult to recover from.
The truth about SEO for lawyers is that it’s easy for any attorney to achieve on their own. In this blog post, we’ll tell you what you need to know about SEO and why good SEO is a byproduct of creating high-quality content on your website.
What is SEO for lawyers?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic by improving the visibility of a website in the organic (unpaid) search results.
When a webpage or website becomes more visible in search results, it’s more likely to receive qualified traffic when someone conducts a related search. For those attempting to optimize their websites, the desired outcome is to have their site appear prominently in search results (and get more traffic to their website). This desire has led to cutting corners by trying to manipulate search engines into ranking sites more highly than they would otherwise merit.
The early days of SEO were messy and unscientific, which was useful for “blackhat SEO” practitioners. These people believed that they could trick search engines into giving them favorable placement in search results. The methods used by these blackhat SEO salespeople used to trick the search engines were unsophisticated but often effective.
At that time, these behaviors were a real problem for Google, which had correctly identified that search users wanted the best and most useful information returned to them when they searched.
However, Google quickly improved its algorithms to detect and relegate websites engaging in banned practices like keyword stuffing and link schemes and to reward sites with valuable information with better placement in search results.
The ability for search engines to relegate spammy sites (and reward those with good content) has made internet marketing a meritocracy. As a result, attorneys who provide superior, detailed, educational content are found more easily by potential clients (and convert those potential clients more easily once they’ve arrived at the attorney’s website).
Understanding why law firm website content is essential to SEO by learning about Google’s business model
One of the easiest ways to understand why website content is so valuable to attorneys who want to improve their online marketing is to understand the business model that Google uses.
Google relies on ads for revenue. But if Google presented nothing but ads, it’s unlikely that anyone would want to use the search engine. That’s where the organic listings (what you’ll find below the prominently displayed ads in search) comes in.
Google knows that search engine users use its product to get access to the best information — the information that helps them purchase the right products and services for their needs, and to take action.
As a result, Google rewards websites that create high-quality content with better placement in search results when someone makes a related query. Google needs high-quality content to function, and so it rewards high-quality sites that provide its users with value (or in this case, valuable content).
SEO is the outcome of high-quality content creation
SEO is the outcome of high-quality content creation. SEO is not a product, but rather, the byproduct of creating value for search users — not trying to trick search engines.
When you create high-value content for your potential clients that addresses their questions and concerns, many of the most valuable keywords are likely to occur organically in that content. When you write high-quality content, it’s likely to attract links from others who feel that your content is worth seeing — no elaborate link schemes required. And, when you create high-quality content, you can naturally forge a bond of trust between you and a potential client before they’ve ever met you face-to-face with a lot less “sales” effort required.
It’s the creation of high-quality content that does the heavy lifting.
In reality, it’s not so much “search engine optimization” as it is “human query optimization” — you should strive to make the pages on your law firm’s website the best and most comprehensive answer to a query. That, of course, is achieved through content. If SEO is the outcome and the result that your law firm wants, it’s the creation of high-quality content that leads you to that outcome.
Quality content on your law firm’s website brings visitors to your website and transforms them into new business for your firm. Content marketing works better than any other form of SEO with both search engines and potential clients.
Using the right tools and strategies, you can compete with any firm for pennies on the dollar without taking risks that can get you in trouble with the search engines.
Attorneys who use LawLytics experience outsized success when it comes to attracting qualified potential new clients through the search engines. We love showing attorneys how it works and seeing them grow their practices using our software, strategy, and support.