SEO for solicitors (Search Engine Optimisation) helps law firms to attract free website visitors who are actively looking for legal services. Google, Bing, Yahoo and social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube are all places that people start when they are looking for legal advice.
SEO for Solicitors - A Summary
SEO for solicitors is about giving search engines, like Google, everything they need to rank your website near the top of search results pages, when a potential client searches for your services.
What is SEO?
A free way for law firms to get website visits (and enquiries) from people using search engines to find legal services.
The big question when it comes to SEO for solicitors is how do search engines decide on what search results to show?
You need to ensure:
Search engines like Google want to match a user's search query with the most relevant results, so your law firm website needs to help the searcher as much as possible.
Many search engine optimisation experts have taken feedback from Google and identified three key areas for successful SEO, which are relevance, authority and trust. Quite nicely summarised in this article by the search engine journal: The three pillars of SEO.
Authority is measured by quality and relevance of the content as well as how many external links a website has.
External links from other websites act as votes of confidence in the eyes of Google, passing on “Pagerank”, a term used to demonstrate the authority of any given page that is indexed in Google.
Relevance is more about the content. If you want your site to rank well for search terms relating to "personal injury solicitors", then your website needs to be specific to personal injury solicitors. Your landing page needs to provide as much value as possible to visitors including;
- What a personal Injury solicitor does
- How they can help somebody who's suffering from personal injury
- The services that they provide for this particular area. For example is it no win no fee?
- Is the content engaging or is it just a load of words for the sake of it or worse, too brief?
Trust comes from how secure, reputable and engaging your site is.
For example, do visitors “pogo” back to Google after a quick glance at your law firm website, because it is not relevant?
Trust is not just about your website either. It’s about your brand. How well do people know you? What are they saying about you on other platforms? What types of reviews do you have and how engaged is your social media community?
Quick FAQs about solicitors SEO
There are at least 534,680 searches in the UK every month relating to "solicitors" according to Google.
A potential client of yours searches for a service, say “Family law solicitors near me” or "employment law advice", from their mobile or desktop and Google shows the most relevant search results.
The more relevant, free traffic you get from a search engine to your website, the more likely you are to get more enquiries. The more relevant enquiries you get, the more likely you are to get more paying clients. Sound good?
The good news is that most of SEO is about a series of repeatable process that help both Google and website visitors understand and get value from your website content.
The tasks are split between "on page" and "off-page factors".
- Write down a list of terms that you think your potential customers will be entering into Google to find your services
- Ask client facing solicitors what questions clients commonly ask
- Enter your list of keywords into a keyword tool
- Spy on competitors
- Use Google's suggestions
How to start your Law Firm SEO strategy
Strategy is vital when to comes to your law firm’s SEO efforts. Can you answer these 3 questions?:
- 1What’s the business objective from your SEO strategy?
- 2What do you need to do to get there? (long term and short term)
- 3How much do you need to improve your SEO performance? (If your website is new or underperforming, the answer may be a lot!)
These questions apply whether you are looking to sell your legal services nationally or as part of a local SEO strategy.
Depending on how new your website is, you might find you are sitting on a goldmine of opportunities.
What are the quick wins?
A good place to start with SEO for solicitors is to make sure Google is indexing your law firm web pages.
Go to Google and in the search bar enter site:yourURL.com, replacing “yourURL.com” with the address of your website.
You should see a list of your webpages in the results. If there are no results, then you know Google is having issues crawling your site. If you notice that there are some key pages or sections of your site missing then you know there is also an issue.
There are a few great tools that you can use for free to kick start your search engine optimisation and you should set these up from the start to help you measure performance.
Use Google Search Console
This helps you see any technical issues with the way your law firm's website is being crawled and viewed in Google. It will report on any crawl errors and mobile usability issues.
It is also really useful for seeing a list of search terms that your site appears in Google for and how often these pages were clicked on in the results.
This is great for helping you to make your SEO better each month and stay ahead of competitors!
If you already have the search console set up, you can see which search terms your site is ranking for and this will tell you if there are any immediate and long term opportunities in terms of keyword targets.
If you don’t have it set up, you should as you’ll be able to start tracking the data ASAP.
Use Google Analytics
Start measuring how much organic traffic your law firm's website gets, what that traffic does once on your site and how this compares to other channels. Google analytics allows you to measure daily, weekly and monthly improvements to the free traffic coming to your site from search engines.
In order to measure improvements here are a few search engine optimisation metrics you may want to measure each month to help you stay ahead of the competition:
- Organic (free search engine traffic)
- % of overall traffic that is organic
- Pages indexed in Google
It’s also a good idea to do an audit of your “SEO assets”.
If you have a website that is a few years old and already has lots of pages, your focus should be on upgrading content and structuring the site for success, however if the site is new, then creating content should be the starting point.
What resources do Law Firms need to do SEO well?
SEO for solicitors can be a full-time job, so you need to be aware of how much time money and resource you can put into the strategy, particularly for smaller firms.
There are three key skill sets required in order to deliver SEO for solicitors.
Search engine optimisation should be designed by an expert who has a proven record of delivery. The strategist can identify which pages should be ranking for which terms and the series of tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the objective.
Has a knowledge and experience of working in the legal sector already and can create content that's valuable for your end users. Great content converts website visitors into client enquiries, as well as improving visibility in search results. It's not just about writing words - the page layout and structure, website experience and even ability to create video content are all important.
Technical SEO knowledge
Understanding how Google works and why your site might not be performing as well as it should from a technical point of view including any crawl errors or errors with internal and external links as well as the quality of links coming to and from your site.
Find out more about marketing for small law firms.
Decide what your ideal clients are looking for and making sure your website content gives them what they need.
When to do it
You should review this regularly based on customer feedback and research. You might also wonder why certain pages on your website are getting no traffic, in which case it’s time to turn to keyword research.
Your SEO for solicitors strategy will give you a clear focus on what keyword themes you want each page on your site to target and can structure your on page content accordingly. You’ll then be able to measure any increases in both impressions and clicks for your keyword targets.
How to do it
There are some great free tools to help you with this including; Google itself, the Google Ads tool, Google Search Console and various paid tools that help you see what your competitors are ranking in Google for.
This is about understanding which words your target clients are going to enter into Google when they are looking for services like yours.
Make sure your website helps them to answer their query.
Keyword research is important because it highlights opportunities. It's not just a simple as deciding what your audience may be searching for and then creating content. Competition and the quality of your website and technology or make a big impact on how your site is viewed by Google.
Deciding on which keywords to try and target depends very much on how authoritative your site already is. For example if your site is new or a couple of months old, you want to target keywords and phrases with less competition, but accept that they might have fewer people searching for them.
If your site is more established, has authority and more links pointing back to it, you may be able to rank sooner for more competitive search terms.
The sweet spot is to find keywords that have a high number of searches by low amount of competition.
There are some great tools to help you with your keyword research including Google search console, Google Analytics and Google ads keyword tool.
One of my personal favourite tools for getting quick ideas is here. Just enter your search term in the box and it will spew out loads of ideas.
How can solicitors do keyword research?
Ask people who regularly talk to clients face-to-face or via phone, whether paralegals, receptionists or solicitors themselves and get feedback on any terminology that clients commonly use or even better any questions about a particular service that they commonly asked, for example “how does no win no fee work?” This will give you a real indication as to what people are searching for as well as give you ideas for landing pages and blog content.
Creating & structuring content
What: Pages and regular blog content that is mapped to your keyword research and is therefore likely to rank in Google and attract relevant visitors. It needs to be structured in "clusters" so Google can easily crawl and visitors can easily find information.
When to do it: It’s a good idea to do an audit of your existing content to look for opportunities to increase search engine visibility. Your pages can be updated regularly to reflect any new opportunities that arise and blogging should be an ongoing thing based on your strategy.
Why: you can be uber-specific with your landing page content and increase the chances that someone will enquire. For example instead of just explaining that you provide Wills, you can explain why it is important to make a Will and what happens if you don't. Each service can link to a series of "child" pages that go into more detail.
How to do it: A key thing is to remember your user. Don’t just stuff your target keywords and phrases all over the page (though doing a bit of that helps). If the search was about "family law solicitors", then your landing page should explain how your firm can help them with a problem.
Your research allows you to create a content calendar where by you know the types of blog content that you wish to create.
Each keyword theme that you have identified can be mapped to one of your services. For example, "no win no fee" could be a parent category for content relating to personal injury solicitors, medical negligence, dental negligence and any other types of injury claim.
Each page should be structured so that it targets your primary keyword and then links off to content about any sub topics.
Your researched allows you to create a content calendar where by you know the types of blog content that you wish to create.
Law firms that are trying to successfully deliver SEO for solicitors are often overwhelmed by having to create or write loads of content, however you are sitting on so much expertise as a law firm so you're already in a great position. You could also create one evergreen piece of content that acts as a guide for a particular service, for example "a simple guide to medical negligence law". This can be turned into a video or you could use snapshots to create pieces of content for social media over the coming months or weeks.
When creating content, you need to strike the balance between writing for search engines and your visitors. You should be aware of what you want each page at each stage of your hierarchy to do. For example:
Home page: “Solicitors in Newcastle”
This page is specific to local searches and your Google my business page will often rank here along with your website. You should introduce your brand, services and tell people how you can help.
Level two page: “employment law solicitors in Newcastle”
This page is specific to one of your services. In this instance the searcher knows what they are looking for and wants to know how you can help them with a very specific problem. This page can act as a "hub" or parent page to any future blogging content around this particular service.
Level three page: “Why do I need an employment law solicitor?”
In this instance the searcher has no awareness of you, but has a question about a service you provide. Blogging content can be created that goes into detail by answering this question. This page can sit under the level two page in order to help users find the information and tell Google how your content is categorised.
The above allows you to create a silo based around the service of conveyancing, whilst keeping the level two page specifically for local searches, where you can really drive home your unique selling points and value proposition, to build trust.
The level 3 page is for those who are still shopping around and have a limited awareness as to why they need a conveyancing solicitor. This page educates more than sells and starts the awareness of your services.
Don't agonise over creating a massive content calendar. You can do this on a weekly or monthly basis, it's really up to you based on your resource and based on the opportunities that come up. Once you have content published that starts to work, you might find that publishing 3 or 4 times a month works just fine.
What: Creating engagement through fast-loading pages that help users find what they are looking for.
When to do it: You can do this after you have your content ready, however user experience should be an important consideration from the start of any new web project. Will your pages load quickly? Will they just be heavily text based with little illustration? Does it matter?
Why: Get it right and you’ll have repeatable templates you can use across all pages. If your content management system is flexible, you’ll be able to use the data you have to make improvements. It's likely that visitors to your website will visit at least 2 others, so small changes can make a big difference.
How: Use proven page templates that convert. See below.
If you spent time and money on creating content for your website, then you should go the extra step and make sure it looks nice.
Usability is important when it comes to SEO for solicitors.
If your content is well written and laid out in a user-friendly, well structured way, it's likely that users will want to engage with it.
Structure your content with clear, concise sections and headings to let Google know which areas are important. This includes:
You'll also want to think about how your content appears on mobile.
I bet more than 50% of your traffic comes from mobile devices, yet it's funny how many clients just consider how their sites look on desktop.
Once you've identified which search terms you want each page page on your website to rank in Google for, there are a few places you should put the search terms for each page.
Driving even more traffic and enquiries
SEO isn't just about your website.
The one that all all law firms should use is Google my business, as this gives all the vital information to your local audience, including; opening times, telephone numbers and services. You'll often see Google my business pages appearing for "near me" searches
"law firms for buying a house near me"
Your business profile can act like a social media profile as you can post content such as images, news, updates about the business of your services and they can appear alongside your Google my business entry.
Your Google business profile also becomes a very important place for gathering reviews as potential clients or existing clients who had a good experience can sign into Google, go to your my business profile and leave a review.
Every Google my business profile has a link that you can send to clients so that they can go and review you. After a positive interaction with a client, you should send them an email with this link and they may be more inclined to give you positive feedback for all to see.
More genuine positive reviews helps others make a decision.
You can also try and drive traffic using YouTube.
Once you committed to creating content on a regular basis, set up your own YouTube channel as a brand for your law firm and you can repurpose your blog content as videos.
This gives people another way to consume your content as well as creating more awareness via Youtube.
Facebook and Instagram are also great places to generate traffic from.
It's up for debate as to whether Google see social signals as important when it comes to boosting the authority of your website. However, if your content is good enough, you're likely to get more free visits, more links and more shares, which is undoubtedly a good thing for your SEO campaign.
Links are an important part of your SEO campaign, both internal (linking in between pages on your site) and external (relevant links from other websites).
Watch this 6 minute Link building video (opens in Youtube)
Video by SEO link builder Julian Goldie to learn some ways to get FREE backlinks.
Links are deemed by Google to be a signal of authority - so in short, the more relevant, authoritative links you have from other websites, the more authority will be passed to your website and the higher you’ll rank in Google.
The only small problem with external links is that it can be time consuming to persuade other sites to link back to you. There needs to be a good reason, for example, great content that’s relevant to their site or audience.
For new law firm websites it’s a good idea to focus on generating content to start with and then focus on link building
Internal links are a great way of telling Google how your pages are related to one another as well as providing sign posts for users to other relevant content.
So if you have a page that you want to rank for "Commercial solicitors in London" - then all other relevant pages on your site should link to that page with commercial solicitors London as the exact anchor text for the link.
How long does an SEO campaign take?
The big question. It depends on how much resource you have to invest. If you’ve done the right research, created great content and have a well structured site. You should start to see improvements to your search engine visibility within a few months, but be patient, stick with it… and maybe ask an expert.