We get at least five inquiries per week in which a potential client specifically mentions wanting to show up on the first page of Google search results. Most times, instead of sending back a quote, we send back advice. Sometimes the websites just “ain’t broken”; it’s a host of other things law firms aren’t doing that hurt their rankings. Here are four steps you can take before you contact a web developer:
1. Get former clients to review your firm on Google+.
Spoiler Alert: Google reviews directly affect your Google ranking. Just search for any city + attorney (e.g., “Atlanta attorney”), and you’ll notice that the first page of results is dominated by firms that have two or more client reviews.
Happy clients are typically happy to review your firm. It costs you nothing. It costs them nothing.
The fine print: You can solicit reviews from clients; you just can’t solicit favorable reviews. So only reach out to clients that you know will speak highly of your firm and its services.
2. Stop writing content for other attorneys.
In casual conversation, I often find myself stopping to explain what some legal term means to my friends and family that don’t have a legal background. Most of your clients will have no familiarity with the law, statutes, malpractice, etc.
So stop writing content with the assumption that these people know the vast body of legal terms that you do. No one is searching for that.
I’d estimate that at least a third of Americans think “bad faith” pertains to a problem with a pastor or a church. If a client of ours handles bad faith cases, we title the pages “Deceptive Insurers” or “Deceptive Insurance Practices.” The accompanying content focuses on scenarios that constitute as bad faith. (See what I did there?)
The fine print: Google’s algorithm actually measures the readability of content on your site. So writing content “for the people” isn’t just something you should do to be nice, it’s mandated.
3. Answer questions, and use links from your firm’s website to do so.
The most powerful way to improve your website’s ranking is to answer questions that everyday people are asking, then using links from your website to back it up. In the process, you’re creating what are called backlinks. In the world of SEO, backlinks are like votes saying, “Yes, this web page answered my question.”
Social networking has made the process of back linking ridiculously easy. Facebook fan pages are easy ways to blast your Q&A’s and get them shared across the web. Search engines take note of every “like,” share, and comment.
The fine print: If your website lacks quality content, don’t worry about back linking just yet. It will be 100% ineffective. Raise your eyebrow to any service that will offer you x number of backlinks per month if your site features less than 3,000 words of content. If there isn’t much to link to, well… you get the idea.
4. Incorporate your target keywords in your site’s URL.
While not as effective as it once was, adding keywords to your site’s URL is still a great way to improve its ranking. For example, a Dallas firm specializing in personal injury cases could utilize “HurtInDallas.com” or “DallasInjuryLawyers.com” as URLs. These hands-down would rank better than an identical site built at “JDSmithLaw.com.”
The fine print: Make sure whatever URL you choose is easy to say and spell. In stopping to spell out your URL (be it over the phone or on a radio ad), you just might lose them to the guy with an easier link.