Create Content That Addresses User Queries
Creating direct and effective copy that answers users’ queries is at the heart of each effective legal SEO strategy that we implement. In order to rank at the top of Google, a law firm’s website needs to provide value and answer questions for the user. It’s important to consider the type of content and the types of questions that users want answered when they land on a web page.
Creating content that provides value for your users does not mean analysing the results of five different SEO tools. Creating valuable content comes down to common sense. We look at your competitors, the type of content that they are creating, and use insights to understand why that content appears on page 1 of Google. 9/10 it is because they are providing the best possible content resources – it really is that simple.
The old interpretation of keyword queries is no longer relevant. Google processes more than 5.6 billion ‘first searches’ each day. That means that users are using different, more complex search terms to find content and to find local companies. Google attempts to match the intent of the user to specific search results. That means your law firm website needs to provide a comprehensive overview of information.
Ranking on page 1 with 200-300 words of copy is in the past. Today, you need to create long-form, valuable content that delivers real value.
Optimise Important On-Site Elements
There are more than 100 on-site elements that impact how a law firm’s website appears in search. That doesn’t mean we need to spend hours on each element, we just need to focus on the ones that count. The on-site elements that our law firm SEO specialists focus on include:
Google E-A-T: Demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in the content that we create. The Google Search Quality Guidelines documents laments the important for E-A-T in the search ranking algorithm – so much so that they mention it 135 times in the 175-page document.
Keywords: Google is getting better at understanding semantics and ranking pages by more than a simple ‘keyword density score’, but that doesn’t mean you can forget keywords altogether. Today, keywords still play an important role in ranking for competitive, revenue-generating legal search terms.
Visual + Video: Google recommends using video + images to maximise the user experience and provide more value to users. Optimising video and visual elements on a webpage can go a long way towards improving rankings and on-site conversion rates.
Page Titles: If you’ve read this far down, we’re going to let you in on a little secret. Page titles are the number 1 on-site ranking factor. Failure to optimise page titles for the correct keywords means that you can kiss goodbye to page 1 rankings. Title tags are more difficult than ever before. In a recent study by Safari Digital of more than 1,000 client web pages, more than 54% had been re-written or shortened by Google. Today, we need to ensure that your page titles are optimised – without being over optimised.
Site Speed: Google has gone to great lengths to lament the importance of site speed. The recent page experience Google algorithm updates have placed more weight and more emphasis on ensuring that sites are fast and provide a good on-site experience for users. There are dozens of things that can impact site speed – our team will go to great lengths to ensure we get the best possible page speed scores.
Heading Optimisation: H1, H2, H3, H4 etc. The placement, the keywords that you use, and the location of your headings all have an impact on how you rank in Google search.
Internal Links: Just like external links (backlinks) internal links play an essential role in an SEO strategy. Whether you are linking between legal resources on your blog and your family law page, or you are linking from footer and header menus, internal links pass ranking signals that Google uses to rank content.
URL Structure: URL structure and permalink structure plays a critical role when developing an SEO strategy for legal firms. Your subcategories let users and search engines know the context of content and how to navigate through a website. Keyword usage in URLs also plays an important role in the way that a website ranks in search.
Local SEO Focus
Local search engine optimisation (SEO) helps businesses to be more visible in the local search engine results pages. Whether you’re a lawyer, dentist, accountant, or physio clinic – your local visibility is essential for attracting the right type of leads to your business.
Any business that has a physical location (like a law firm) or can service clients in a variety of locations (like a national law firm with multiple offices) can benefit from SEO services. Whether you need to appear on page 1 of Google in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide, or you just need to appear in front of a local audience in Townsville, you need to have a strong local presence in Google.
If you’re a law firm, you need to attract local clients. Appearing in front of a national audience for broad search terms like “Family Law” or “Criminal Law” is nice. However, the problem with broad search terms like these is that they appear in front of an audience that is unlikely to engage your services. Conversely, if you appear on page 1 of Google for a search term like “Criminal Law + *your location*”, you are far more likely to generate a conversion.
Google uses local signals like location services on your mobile or location services when you are on a Chrome search browser to connect you with the most precise and localised results. Google is the premier search engine because its results provide the most value to users. They do this by providing localised search results that connect users with the most relevant, personalised set of results.
As a law firm SEO specialist, it’s our job to put you on page 1 of Google for the RIGHT keywords – not just any old keywords. Our team will put together a customised SEO strategy that connects you with local customers who need your services.
Technical SEO & Site Architecture
Website architecture refers to the hierarchical structure of pages on a website. For a law firm, that may mean having a root page for “Criminal Law” and then sub-pages for all of the different areas of criminal law that you service. When we work with a legal firm, we put together a comprehensive list of legal services offered and turn that into a site architecture that we can build out over time.
Creating a logical, easy-to-navigate website hierarchy send clear signals to search engines about what your most important web pages are, and how new content fits into your overall objective as a law firm website. In addition to letting search engines know that hierarchy of content, a logical site architecture also means a better on-site user experience which will improve conversions and drive SEO ROI objectives.
Build Authoritative Backlinks
At the time of writing, backlinks account for around 50% of how a law firm’s website ranks in Google search. As a result, nailing your backlink strategy is essential for online visibility and overall SEO success. When you consult with an SEO Agency, you’re likely to hear about how they have a ‘trusted network of sites’ or ‘guest post bloggers’ that they work with. It’s all rubbish. There are four main ways to build backlinks for a law firm:
1. Create linkable assets that users genuinely want to link to and cite as a source in an article that they write. This could mean providing comprehensive online guides for different aspects of law, case law, or legal precedents – or it could mean reporting on timely developments in the legal sector. In any case, your content has to be interesting and timely.
2. Do outreach to websites. Review your competitors best backlinks, reach out to the websites where they have those backlinks, understand how they acquired those backlinks, and then reverse engineer that strategy for your law firm. The process is time-consuming (and soul destroying), but it is still one of the best ways to build links to transactional web pages.
3. Become a source. When a news site is looking for a source, provide comment or insights using the level of expertise that only a lawyer can provide.
4. Claim unlinked mentions. Let’s say a news outlet is covering one of your cases, they cite your law firm – then you want to turn those mentions into traffic generating backlinks. Our team will monitor and outreach on your behalf to claim new (and old) brand mentions that are floating around online.
At Safari, we use a combination of all four methods to create a holistic, white hat link building strategy that generates referral traffic and builds authority with search engines.
Google Business Optimisation
Google Business – formally Google My Business (GMB), is one of the most vital online tools utilised by law firms and solicitors. Easy to set up and manage, your GMB profile provides helpful information to clients about your law firm including your website, address and phone number, client reviews, and opening or contactable hours.
Existing and new customers will be able to search your firm by geographical location, business name, or services offered. For law firms in particular, Google My Business can go a long way in leaving a good first impression – the platform helps to provide relevant contact information while also building trust with real reviews from previous or existing clients.
The Google Reviews feature makes it easy for your clients to leave positive reviews after engaging your services. In 2022, online reviews are the key to building credibility and confidence in potential clients and referrers.
Furthermore, GMB Posts allows the firm to connect with existing and new potential clients by posting new and updates images, messages, and information to your business profile.
Leave it to The Experts
SEO for law firms is time consuming and complicated. Above all, SEO is a necessary factor in ensuring long-term success and visibility for any law firm in Australia. If you are serious about longevity and creating a sustainable stream of leads, then SEO is an essential marketing channel. The sooner you start, the sooner you can ween your firm off expensive search engine marketing (SEM) and start winning leads in your sleep.