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lawyer reviews checklist

By OppGen

The Ultimate Law Firm SEO Checklist

Law firms that aren’t using search engine optimization (SEO) as part of their digital marketing strategy are missing out. 

SEO helps your law firm’s website rank higher on search engines, increases your visibility with your target audience, and brings your firm more clients through organic searches.

Our law firm SEO checklist will help your firm get started with optimizing your website and kick off your SEO strategy to help increase your organic visibility and traffic from Google and other search engines. 

 

Table of Contents

 

What is SEO?

SEO is the strategic work done on, off, and behind the scenes of your website to help you rank higher on Google. The goal of SEO is to increase the quality and quantity of organic traffic your firm brings to your website. 

SEO involves everything from improving the speed, responsiveness, and user-friendliness of your website to targeting the keywords and phrases your ideal clients are searching for on Google, and more. 

Why is this so important for law firms?

Because when your potential clients need an attorney, they go to Google first.  

Let’s say run a personal injury firm in your area. When potential clients need an attorney, they’ll go to Google first, even before they’ll reach out for personal recommendations. 

They’ll look for attorneys by searching for terms and phrases like “personal injury attorney near me” or “car accident lawyer in my area.” 

The better your SEO, the higher you’re going to rank for searches like these and others related to your practice area and services. The better you rank, the greater the odds that these clients will come to your website, vs. your competitors. 

 

3 Pillars of Law Firm SEO

Your law firm SEO strategy needs to cover the three key pillars of SEO in order to be successful.

 

1. Technical SEO

Is your website fast and user-friendly? Does it work well on mobile devices? Is it easy for Google to crawl and index? 

If SEO work was described as a car, your technical SEO would be everything under the hood that makes your car fast, smooth, efficient, responsive, and fun to drive.

 

2. On-Page SEO

Your law firm’s on-page SEO addresses the visible content on your website. 

On-page SEO involves optimizing your practice’s website content for relevant keywords that your target audience is searching for. Effective on-page SEO strategies naturally incorporate keywords and phrases your target audience is searching for to find an attorney, directly into your website copy and text. 

Quality on-page SEO content starts with… 

  • Answering your client’s questions, in regards to your practice area and services. 
  • Providing solutions to their problems that your firm is uniquely qualified to handle. 

 

3. Off-Page SEO

This aspect of SEO addresses other websites on the internet that link to or reference your firm’s site. The more authoritative and relevant websites you have linking back to your website, the more credibility you build with Google and your audience.

You can build your own off-page links by creating business profiles on helpful directories such as:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • Avvo
  • Findlaw

Now that we have the pillars of SEO covered, let’s jump into setting up with your law firm SEO checklist…

 

Law Firm SEO Basics

This section focuses on getting the most important tools, accounts, and profiles you’ll need for analyzing and improving your SEO. 

We’ll be covering how to… 

  • Set up Google Analytics for your law firm
  • Set up Google Search Console
  • Connect Console and Analytics
  • Install an SEO plugin on your website

The set up of a solid SEO strategy can be complicated and overwhelming. Especially if you haven’t done this before. 

If you need professional assistance and support with your law firm’s SEO strategy, schedule a strategy call with our SEO team at OppGen today

 

Set Up Google Analytics for Your Law Firm 

Google Analytics gives your firm the ability to track key data that’s tied to your SEO and website performance. These tools help us track valuable data like: 

  • How much website traffic you’re getting. 
  • What pages your visitors are going to or finding the most helpful. 
  • How and what channels your visitors use to find you. 
  • Phone calls, contact form submissions, and chats that potential customers are making through or on your website.

To track this valuable data, you need to have a Google Analytics account.

Start by going to google.com/analytics and either create an account by clicking “Start for free” or sign in to your Google account by clicking “Sign in to Analytics.”

 

Set Up Google Search Console

Once you’ve finished setting up your law firm’s Google Analytics account, it’s time to set up Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another free Google service that allows you to monitor and troubleshoot your website’s appearance and performance. You can use it to find and fix technical errors, submit sitemaps, see backlinks, view queries people are using to search for your law firm, and much more. 

After setting it up, be sure to link your Google Search Console and Google Analytics account for advanced tracking and deeper insights into your law firm’s website data and performance. 

 

Install an SEO Plugin on Your Website

Another quick, easy, and free SEO win for your law firm is installing an SEO plugin on your website. 

Our preferred website creation platform is WordPress, which powers around 40% of all websites on the web. They have some of the industry’s best free and paid SEO plugins for websites.

The most popular, widely-used, and highest-rated SEO plugins on WordPress include:

Only download and activate one of these plugins to use on your law firm’s website. There are tons of great training resources for each of them you can find online so that you can start improving your law firm’s SEO.

 

Technical SEO Checklist for Law Firms

As we mentioned, technical SEO focuses on the technical aspects of your website, like site speed, design, responsiveness, user-friendliness, and mobile performance. These are all ranking factors search engines consider when ranking websites.

Two core aspects of technical SEO are:

  • Making sure your law firm’s website is mobile-friendly
  • Monitoring and optimizing your website’s speed

 

Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

Your ideal clients use search engines on their phones more than any other device. 

In fact, 54.4% of all website traffic in Q4 of 2021 came from mobile. 

Your law firm’s website has to be mobile-friendly. This is one of the first things Google takes into consideration when crawling your website and configuring how to rank it.

A mobile-friendly site is one that loads quickly and is easy to navigate on any mobile device. Keeping a simple, uncluttered, straightforward website design makes a huge difference in increasing site speed and creating a better user experience on mobile devices.

How can you see if your website is mobile responsive?

Start with running your website through Google’s Test My Site Tool. This will give you direct feedback from Google on how your website is performing on mobile, and what you can improve.

Next, you can use Google Chrome’s free inspection tool to see what your website looks like on a variety of mobile devices. 

All you need to do is… 

  • Go to your website.
  • Right-click anywhere on the page.
  • Then left-click on “Inspect.”

Google will reload the page in its Inspect view.

At the top of the page, you’ll see a thin white bar that says “Dimensions” along with the name of a mobile device that your browser is simulating (such as an iPhone X). This means you are looking at your website as it would appear on the mobile device you’ve selected. 

Next to the name of the mobile device, there is a small triangle. Click it for a dropdown list of other mobile devices. You can test different types of mobile devices and their different dimensions (your website will look different on an iPad Pro vs a Galaxy Fold phone).

The Inspect tool makes it easy for you to see what your website looks like on mobile devices and if there are any issues with your website’s mobile version.

 

Check Your Law Firm’s Website Speed

Speed is another critical website ranking factor for Google. Your law firm needs to be fast and load quickly to rank. The slower your website, the bigger of a detriment it is to your SEO. 

In fact, mobile responsiveness and speed alone can be the difference between ranking on page one for your target keywords and phrases, to not ranking at all. 

To check your site’s speed, go to Google’s Page Speed Insights tool and enter your website’s URL and click “Analyze.”

Google’s Page Speed Insights tool will rate your website’s speed, and give you detailed notes and steps on how to improve it. 

Keep in mind that the Page Speed Insights tool inspects a single page at a time, so you will want to eventually run speed tests on all pages on your website. 

Pro Tip: Use your Google Analytics to uncover what pages on your website generate the most traffic. Run a speed test on those first to see what you can improve to help them rank better.

Need help improving your law firm’s site speed and mobile-friendliness? 

Contact our SEO team at OppGen today for a free SEO audit of your law firm’s website.

 

Make Sure Your Firm’s Website Pages are Secure

Google (and your website visitors) need to see that your website is secure.

If your website URLs are still using HTTP, you need to make the switch to HTTPS

HTTP URLs are a sign to Google and your audience that your site pages are not secure. 

This puts your firm at a major disadvantage for ranking. It also makes your website more hackable, so it’s a security breach waiting to happen. If your law firm’s website may contain highly sensitive firm or client information, you need to secure your website. 

If you’ve made the switch over to HTTPS from an HTTP site, be sure that you set up 301 redirects that forward your website visitors from your HTTP pages, to the HTTPS address.

 

On-Page SEO Checklist for Law Firms

Like we mentioned earlier, on-page SEO is all about your website’s content. Out of all of the different pieces of SEO, you have the most control over on-page SEO.

 

Keyword Research and On-Page SEO and for Law Firms

On-page SEO encompasses the content and pages you create and publish to your law firm’s website. 

It involves optimizing the pages of your website by strategically incorporating keywords and phrases your target audience is using to search for your law firm on Google. 

These are the exact terms your target audience is using when searching for a law firm or attorney in their area. This is why keyword strategy is a critical piece of law firm SEO. 

Thankfully, there are a plethora of tools you can use to aid you in keyword research. We recommend investing in an industry-leading SEO and keyword tool like ahrefs or SEMrush

These pieces of software not only help you identify what keywords your target audience is searching for, but also have a full suite of tools for helping your firm with on-page, off-page, and technical SEO as well.  

 

Off-Page Checklist: SEO for Law Firms

Off-page SEO has a few major components:

  • Building out a strong network of backlinks on other, credible websites, which link back to your firm’s site.
  • Creating profiles on relevant online directories like Google Business Profile, Yelp, Avvo, FindLaw, and social media. 
  • Managing your law firm’s reputation on those directories.

These steps work to increase your firm’s online visibility and reputation, both of which are critical to ranking on search engines. 

Some important steps for getting started with off-page SEO for law firms are:

  • Setting up your Google Business Profile page
  • Adding your law firm to relevant legal directories and listings
  • Posting content to social media
  • Encouraging happy clients to leave positive reviews for

 

Set Up Your Law Firm’s Google Business Profile Page

A Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a must for any business. These free listings allow you to respond to client reviews, post updates, and put your law firm’s location on the (Google) map.

Google has some simple steps you can follow to set up or claim your law firm’s Google Business profile. 

 

Add Your Law Firm to Online Legal Directories

One important off-page SEO ranking factor is link building. Link building is when other websites have links that send users to your website.

Google and other search engines delineate between trusted websites and resources vs. ones lacking credibility. You want sites with credibility and authority to link back to your website. 

The more credible sites you have linking back to your law firm’s website, the greater credibility you build with search engines.

The challenging part is that it’s difficult to ensure high-domain authority sites will link to you. 

That’s where legal directories come in. 

Many online legal directories have established domain authority and credibility, which is why it’s important to create a business profile for your firm on these directories (Avvo, Findlaw, etc.). Plus it makes your law firm easier for prospective clients to find. 

 

Post Content to Social Media

Along with creating listings on legal directories, you can also start building up more backlinks by posting content to your law firm’s social media pages on a regular basis.

 

Encourage Clients to Leave Positive Reviews

Now that your law firm has a Google Business Profile, legal directory listings, and social media pages ready to go, all that’s left for you to do is ask your happy clients for reviews. 

Getting as many glowing 5-star reviews as possible tells search engines your firm does great work. In turn, they’ll reward you with better visibility on search engines results pages, and in the maps section of local search results. 

 

Improve Your Law Firm SEO with OppGen

Law firm SEO is an ongoing process and a full-time job. It requires staying up-to-date on the latest Google algorithm updates and SEO best practices. It’s a responsibility that requires the expertise of a skilled law firm marketing partner. 

At OppGen Marketing, we have a dedicated SEO team with years of experience in law firm SEO.

Schedule a strategy call with our team today so we can help you improve the digital footprint and online visibility of your firm.  

SEO and content marketing for law firms

By OppGen

SEO and Content Marketing for Law Firms

SEO and content marketing for law firms are two critical components of successful online marketing campaigns.

  • What is content marketing?
  • What is SEO?
  • Why is SEO and content marketing for law firms so important?

We’ll admit, digital marketing can be confusing. There are so many channels, tactics, strategies, methods, platforms, and opinions to consider. With all these options, it’s easy for your efforts to become divided and ineffective.

However, any agency worth their salt will tell you that SEO and content marketing are the foundations of an effective law firm marketing campaign.

 

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the process of creating and sharing relevant, valuable, and engaging content on your website and other digital channels (social media, YouTube, features on other websites, etc.).

Content marketing includes all types of media:

  • Text-based media like blogs, articles, ebooks, and emails
  • Images, photos, and infographics
  • Video 
  • And audio

Great. But why is content marketing for law firms so valuable?

 

Why Content Marketing for Law Firms is Essential

The goals of content marketing are simple and straightforward:

  • Get your content to rank on Google.
  • Gain more visibility online with your target audience: Individuals in your area searching for keywords, phrases, and questions related to your practice.
  • Bring more qualified traffic, leads, and legal clients to your website and firm.

What does it take to create great content? 

Quality, strategic content should provide answers to your target audiences’ questions and solutions to their problems.

Content assets should…

  • Educate, inform, and engage your target audience.
  • Build trust with them by showcasing your knowledge, credibility, experience, and success in your field.
  • Push visitors to contact your firm for a consultation (phone call, website contact form, website chat feature).

Content marketing is a fairly simple concept but is far more complex in execution. In fact, law firm content marketing happens to be particularly competitive. It takes skilled SEO technicians, writers, marketers, and creators to put your law firm on the map.

 

What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing various assets on and off of your website to rank higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), for searches related to your practice.

This can include…

  • Content Marketing: Enhancing and creating website content like text, blogs, videos, audio, photos, etc.
  • Improving technical aspects of your website like speed, performance, mobile-friendliness, navigation, and user experience.
  • Managing your online presence and reputation: Directories, social media, and overall web presence.

You can begin to see why SEO and content marketing are critical for the digital success of your law firm.

 

Relationship Between SEO and Content Marketing for Law Firms

SEO and content marketing for law firms should be synergistic. Not mutually exclusive.

SEO guides, informs, and enhances your content. SEO knowledge and tools give us the ability to research, analyze, and strategically incorporate valuable information and keywords into your content.

These are the exact keywords, questions, and phrases your target audience is using to look for your firm on Google and other search engines.

Content marketing works to boost your SEO and SERP (search engine results page) standings. Creating strategic, search-oriented content can increase your ranking on SERPs — producing more visibility, traffic, leads, and clients for your firm.

 

SEO without Content | Content without SEO

Using one without the other doesn’t really work.

Consider this: If you have superb website content but a slow, underperforming website — visitors won’t stay on your site. Additionally, Google will see your site has performance deficiencies and penalize you because of it.

Conversely, if you have a high-performing, user-friendly, easy-to-navigate website but inadequate website content, it may be impossible to rank.

Great content can’t compensate for bad SEO.

The best SEO strategy can’t make up for poor or subpar content.

 

How SEO and Content Work Together

Your SEO and law firm content marketing should be used concurrently. When they are, they can produce results greater than the sum of their parts.

Here is a quick breakdown and some highlights of the collaborative relationship between SEO and content marketing:

  • Content and SEO need to work together: They give users relevant, helpful, informative, unique, attention-grabbing content on a fast, responsive, organized, and user-friendly website.
  • SEO informs Strategic Content: A core component of SEO is identifying the keywords, phrases, and questions your audience is searching for.
  • SEO and content marketing are essential for ranking, increasing your digital footprint, and driving more traffic, leads, and clients to your website.

 

Digital Marketing Strategy for Law Firms

Content marketing for law firms and an informed SEO strategy are key to your firm’s digital success. What about the other aspects of digital marketing?

As with SEO and content, every aspect of your digital marketing efforts can work synergistically to grow your firm’s business.

There’s a good chance that the majority of your firm’s new, non-referral leads come from Google and other search engines. However, that’s not the online place they’re studying your online presence. 

Your ideal clients are also searching for and validating your firm in other areas of the web, like:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Directories like Yelp, your Google Business Profile, Avvo, and SuperLawyers

Bottom line: The best way to get discovered by new clients online is by consistently and strategically expanding your digital presence, across platforms. 

Results-driven content marketing strategies utilize a mix of different channels and types of media to get in front of your target audience, on the digital platforms they use the most. 

 

In Closing

Our team at OppGen uses industry-leading SEO tools, marketing best practices, and personalized, high-caliber content to produce winning law firm content marketing and SEO campaigns

If your business needs an SEO and content marketing strategy to put your law firm on the map and get you more visibility with your target audience, contact our team at OppGen today for a complimentary strategy session.

female lawyer reviews marketing plan

By OppGen

What to Look for in a Personal Injury Law Firm Marketing Plan

If you want your personal injury law firm to succeed as a business, you need to have a marketing plan in place. Without clients, you won’t have a personal injury law firm for long. Having a personal injury law firm marketing plan can prevent stagnation and keep a healthy influx of clients coming through your doors.

Not all personal injury law firm marketing plans are created equally. The best marketing plans are holistic and cover multiple channels, and should include the following:

 

Traditional marketing channels

Traditional marketing channels can be successful, especially when done at a local level. Here are a few traditional marketing channels you may want to consider as part of a marketing plan — of course, you don’t have to go with all of them. Pick a couple you think would be most effective for your personal injury law firm marketing plan or consult with a marketing agency for expert advice.

 

Billboards

Billboards can be found in several places: highways, small towns, and big cities. They’re meant to grab the attention of people driving past them, and for a personal injury lawyer, that can be a good thing! If you know of a busy street or intersection where accidents tend to occur more often than others and there’s advertising space nearby, try putting out a billboard with your personal injury law firm’s contact information. Should someone find themselves in a car accident nearby, they’ll have a better shot at contacting you for assistance.

 

Newspaper and magazine ads

Print isn’t dead, and newspapers and local magazines run print advertisements. With newspapers, you may even be able to get a press release published by contacting the newspaper editor. Smaller papers can’t always fill the local newspaper up with local news due to budget constraints and smaller staff, so many smaller newspapers take press releases and publish them. However, it’s important to send the press release over in a timely fashion. Some news days are busier than others, which means the press release might not make it if it’s not planned for publication for days (and in some cases, weeks) in advance.

 

Mailers and fliers

Mailers and fliers are yet another form of print advertising. While some people tend to see mailers as junk mail, it’s still something that can grab their attention. Sometimes the first thing people need is the name of a business and making sure they at least see it can give your law firm visibility.

 

TV and radio ads

Local TV and radio ads are channels you may want to consider for advertising your personal injury law firm. Partnering with a small local production studio to create a TV ad or television spot may be more reasonable and more effective than you think. 

 

Event sponsorships and volunteering

Sponsoring a local event or volunteering or fundraising is a great way to get your personal injury law firm’s name out into the public. It also shows you care about supporting the community and various causes. Do be careful about which causes you decide to raise funds for or sponsor, especially if it’s potentially divisive. But for the most part, showing your law firm cares about the community does more good for your business than bad.

 

Digital marketing channels

While traditional marketing channels are still relevant, it’s more important than ever to go digital. The technology available makes targeting the right audience at the right time so much easier than it’s ever been.

 

Search ads

Search engines like Google and Bing have advertising space on search engine result pages (SERPs) with ads that look similar to the organic (meaning unpaid) search results for various keyword searches. These ads are known as search ads, or sometimes are referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads due to how the costs for these ads are incurred (that is, you only pay when someone clicks on the ad).

Search ads are only displayed to prospects under certain parameters, such as prospects’ location

Unfortunately for the personal injury area of law, it’s much harder to run a successful campaign unless you have a large marketing budget. Depending on your location, it can cost over $930 per click for personal injury PPC ads.

But you shouldn’t give up on PPC entirely. There are other strategies you can attempt with PPC search ads. One such strategy? Creating high-quality ads and bidding well can result in lower costs per click (CPC). To do that, it’s recommended that you partner with a marketing agency that specializes in search ad campaigns.

 

Local services ads

Despite the high CPC Google search ads have for this industry, you shouldn’t give up on Google Ads as a whole. More recently, Google has started offering local services ads. These ads are not open for all businesses, but luckily personal injury law firms are among the growing number of businesses that can utilize these ads.

Local services ads are similar to search ads in that they only appear when prospects in certain locations search for a specific keyword (or in this case, a relevant service). Unlike search ads, they don’t charge on a per-click basis; instead, local services ad charge per lead. One extra perk of local services ads is that if a lead is no good, you can request a refund from Google.

 

Social media ads

Paid social media ads can also be of use to your personal injury law firm and certainly should be considered when creating a good marketing plan. Facebook in particular is a great digital marketing platform since you can use users’ data for targeting highly specific audiences. You can target who sees your ad based on location, age range, sex, interests, and groups, among other things. The types of ads and ad placements are also flexible and affordable, being less costly than paid search ads.

 

SEO strategy

In the industry of personal injury law, you can pay nearly $1,000 for a single click on a Google search ad. For many smaller personal injury law firms, those kinds of numbers aren’t sustainable for their marketing budgets. That’s why we encourage personal injury law firms to consider a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy with a local or regional focus. Even though it is a digital marketing channel, we’ve decided to include it as a separate section because we firmly believe an SEO strategy is a must for personal injury law firms.

The goal of SEO is to have your law firm’s website rank higher on SERPs for certain keywords.

If your law firm is the first result on the first page of Google for a relevant search, prospects are far more likely to click the link to your firm’s website. For example, let’s say a prospective client who was recently in a car crash doesn’t know what they need to do. So they might search using a keyword or phrase like “what to do after a car crash.” Google takes prospects’ locations into account when they search, so if your law firm is located within a certain radius of this prospect’s physical location and happens to have a blog on a relevant topic, it’s more likely the prospect will find your law firm and contact you for legal assistance.

This can be done through creating robust, in-depth content focused on specific keywords; having a fast and well-organized website; creating listings on Google My Business and other relevant directories; by sharing links to your site on social media and encouraging reviews from clients. The combination of these items can boost your SERPs position and bring in more clients over the long-term. Though SEO takes longer than a paid search campaign does to bring in leads, it’s well worth the investment of your time.

For personal injury law firms in particular, SEO can be lucrative — and it’s also a strategy that doesn’t necessarily require any payments to Google or Bing.

 

Lead attribution

Proper lead attribution is a must. Failing to track leads puts your personal injury law firm at a greater disadvantage than you’d think. Tracking leads gives you valuable data on where the leads came from, which can help you decide where you should be investing more of your time and marketing budget.

For example: GBM Law, one of our personal injury law clients, had worked with a marketing agency that did not track leads, and was struggling with its marketing campaign. OppGen had no problem making sure lead attribution and lead tracking was put in place.

As a result of OppGen’s personal injury law firm marketing plan, GBM Law experienced an influx of clients while also seeing a 54% decrease in cost per lead.

 

A great marketing agency

If you need help formulating a marketing plan for your personal injury law firm, look no further than OppGen. We’ve been able to change the game for personal injury law firms, such as our client GBM Law, a Columbus, Ohio-based personal injury law firm, and we know we can do the same for you.

Contact us now for more information about our personal injury law firm marketing plans and packages.

a lawyer records blog ideas on a notebook

By OppGen

How Important Are Blogs to Legal SEO?

What is SEO and why does it matter for law firms and the legal industry?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a digital marketing strategy with the goal of getting your website to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keyword searches.

Unlike search ads, SEO is an organic strategy, meaning you don’t pay the search engine to place your law firm’s website on SERPs for certain keywords.

Depending on the area of law your law firm specializes in, paid search ads can be very expensive. For example, personal injury law ads are one of the most expensive advertising segments on Google — and that is across all industries, not just the legal industry.

SEO is a marketing strategy that can help bring in more clients and cases more efficiently, more consistently, and more cost-effectively compared to other options (though you certainly can — and should — invest in paid search and SEO).

 

Why are blogs important for legal SEO?

The best legal SEO programs are made up of 4 components:

 

1. Technical SEO

Technical SEO focuses on tackling issues like website speed and coding. Google has been moving toward a mobile-first system with SEO, meaning that websites are judged first by how quickly they load on mobile devices.

At this point, it is a must to have a website coded for mobile devices and not just desktop computers.

 

2. Local SEO

In most cases, law firms are local to specific locations. This puts them at a good advantage for SEO provided they know how to use it.

One common Google search involves looking for a service or company “near me.” Google takes a searcher’s physical location at the time of their search and will display whatever they searched near them based on that location. When a prospective client nearby searches for “law firm near me,” it’s imperative that your law firm shows up, whether as a search result or on Google Maps.

One way to do this involves making sure your law firm has a Google My Business account with the correct business name, address, and phone number. It also helps to make sure your law firm is listed in relevant directories, too, and in the legal field, there are many listing options available to you.

 

3. On-page SEO

On-page SEO revolves around the content on your website. “Content” can be many things: videos, podcasts, photos, and blogs.

For those slightly familiar with on-page SEO, you might think that filling up a webpage with the same keyword over and over again can get you to rank high. This is no longer the case.

Today, on-page SEO means you need to create highly detailed, relevant content that your target audience finds valuable. This also means you need to make sure your content is readable — not only will your target audience be reading this, but so will search engines. Search engines read websites similarly to how humans do.

 

4. Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to the processes of link building, shares on social media, and getting five-star reviews.

Link building occurs when links on other websites point back to your law firm’s website. The more links that direct people to your law firm’s site, the better (as long as those pointing back to you are good resources, that is), because search engines recognize that when more people are sharing your content, it means your content is useful.

 

What do any of those 4 components have to do with the importance of blogging for SEO?

Each of these components play a key role in SEO, and you can’t have one without the others if you truly wish to have an effective SEO strategy.

That said, blogging is a key part of on-page SEO strategies. Even though you can’t keyword stuff pages anymore, you still can create valuable content for your target audience. It’s those pages that are most likely to be shared with others and can help you build a system of backlinks, pushing your website higher up on SERPs for relevant keywords.

Although search engines are beginning to include audio and video into searches, blogging will always be one of the most efficient and simplest ways to rank on Google and Bing for relevant keyword searches.

It’s much easier to set up a target keyword and try to rank for it compared to audio and video, which are still new. Compared to those other mediums, blogging has a lower entry point. Videos and audio require equipment and editing software. If you don’t know how to edit audio or video (both of which are time-consuming processes), you’re going to struggle to create good content, which is the goal of on-page SEO.

Everyone can write — but that doesn’t mean just anyone should.

 

Why should I have a legal SEO writer?

Though you don’t necessarily need to hire a legal SEO writer, you should consider working with someone who writes with SEO in mind.

Writing isn’t as easy as it looks, and that goes for SEO content writing, too. Writing about a subject you’re overly familiar with often means you may use jargon that most readers won’t understand. Let’s be honest: the average American isn’t going to read a legal document for fun. Most legal documents are dry and hard to read. That is the exact opposite of what you need for your law firm’s blog.

You can’t write a blog for a more general audience (compared to your colleagues in the legal industry, at least) that’s written like a legal document. It needs to be simplified in a way that anyone can understand. And that is a skill not everyone has.

It’s important to have a good writer who understands SEO and can weave target keywords into an easy-to-read blog post.

 

How to write a good legal blog using SEO

Choose your keyword(s)

The keywords you choose to target will determine the likelihood of your website ranking for those keyword searches. Some keywords are nearly impossible to rank for, while others are easy to rank for but aren’t searched very often. You won’t know the keyword difficulty or search volume unless you use a website like SEMrush or ahrefs. These websites track keywords, search volume, keyword difficulty, and more. Ideally, you’ll want to use keywords with a relatively low keyword difficulty and high search volume. These websites do require subscriptions. If you don’t understand some of the terms or ranking information on these sites, it may be a better investment to partner with a marketing agency that has access to them and will create content for you, such as OppGen Marketing.

Another consideration to take into account: Would someone who is looking for your law firm’s services use any of the keywords you may want to use? If not, drop those from the list. Knowing your audience and what keywords they could use matters a lot.

Last but not least, make sure your keywords are relevant to what it is you offer. Relevance is really important, and you don’t want to market something you don’t offer. But that doesn’t mean you are limited to just writing about legal issues. Look into a newsjacking approach. Newsjacking is a strategy that utilizes current events and writing about them from an angle you’re familiar with. For example, if you’re a personal injury lawyer, you could write about the Surfside condominium collapse in Florida and discuss what legal actions, if any, people have in a situation like that one. 

There are many different topics and keywords out there — it’s a matter of researching them.

 

Make an outline

Before creating the blog, make an outline and think about section headers. Blogs should not be formatted like a book or legal document. They need to be broken up into sections. Not only that but these sections should also be related to your keywords. If you can make sure your keywords are part of some of the headers (your keywords should always be included in the h1 header, which is also known as the title header).

Other SEO blog outlining tips:

  • Include your keyword(s) in the h1/title head and at least one in an h2 header
  • Use only one h1/title header per blog
  • Make subsections using h2, h3, h4, and make sure that h2 is larger than h3 and h3 is larger than h4
  • Make the last section header a call to action (CTA)

 

Write the blog post

Now that you’ve created the outline, you can finally start writing the actual blog post. You can certainly use the target keywords a few times, but be careful not to overdo it.

If you include images in your blog (and you should!), make sure you utilize the alt text tag. Alt text describes the image and will appear on screen readers. This helps people with visual impairments know what is in the image. Plus, it’s a good place to include a keyword, but the keyword is not the most important thing with alt tags — that would be accessibility.

 

Have someone outside your law firm review the blog

As much as you may want to have one of your fellow attorneys review the blog post, it’s a good idea to have someone who isn’t in the legal profession read it. This could be a friend, a spouse, or the person who handles all of your law firm’s communication. As long as they don’t have a law degree or practice law, anyone is fair game.

Once you find someone to read and review the blog, ask them to summarize what exactly it is they just read. If they’re able to summarize what it was about correctly after reading it, congrats! You have a blog post that is accessible to the general public.

 

Post the blog

Now that you’ve had the blog reviewed and made any edits or changes as needed, it’s time to post the blog to your law firm’s website. But there are a few things you need to include before you hit that post button, starting with a featured image.

With featured images, it’s important to use an image you have the rights to use. There are free stock photo sites that allow you to use photos for free, such as Pexels; and then there are subscription-based sites like Shutterstock. Both types of sites have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is a good idea to use both.

Another option for images is Creative Commons, which allows you to use images provided you follow the requirements for each type of license. For example, most Creative Commons content requires you to credit its creator. This can be done at the bottom of the blog post. But make sure you review each license carefully; there are some that will not let you use the content for commercial purposes. Others won’t let you modify the images in any way. Always review the Creative Commons license before using any content. 

You’ll need a meta description, too. Meta descriptions are the summaries that appear on individual search results. Meta descriptions should include the keywords you want to try to rank for and should be no longer than 160 characters in length. Anything longer than that will be cut off.

You can also adjust how the blog’s title (known as a title tag) will appear on search engines, too. It’s generally recommended that your title tag is somewhere between 50 to 70 characters in length, though Google has said there is no limit to the title tag’s character length. However, there is still a cut-off point measured in pixels, and this is where using a plug-in like Yoast can come in handy, as it can give you an idea of when the title tag is too long.

When posting your final draft of the blog, make sure its URL contains the keywords you want to rank for, too. This makes it easier for search engines to find, and it’s far more organized than letting the content management system (sometimes abbreviated as CMS) use the publication date or a string of random numbers for the URL.

Another thing to check before hitting that publish button: use your name as the author of the blog post to help establish not only your law firm’s authority, but yours, too. 

If you don’t want to publish your blog immediately, most content management systems allow you to schedule it for publication on a specific date and time. Otherwise, go ahead and click the publish button.

And now, you wait for an increase in traffic and hopefully emails and phone calls from prospective clients. Keep in mind that SEO is not immediate or automatic — it will take time before you see any increases in clients.

 

Share the blog to social media

Your post has been published. Now what? Easy: Share the blog to your law firm’s social media accounts. It’s an easy way to build up backlinks and possibly have others in your social (media) circle share it, too.

You may want to sit back and celebrate the publication and shares of your first legal SEO blog — but the journey’s not over yet. You’ll have to keep creating SEO-friendly blogs if you want to continue to see an increase in clients for your law firm. Search engine optimization is an ongoing strategy that never truly ends. Once you start, you should not stop.

 

Contact OppGen for more information

For some people, the fact that SEO is a never-ending strategy is too much to deal with. It’s too easy to run out of blog topics or keywords. Maybe you’re too busy to keep track of SEO.

Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to hire a legal SEO writer or a digital marketing company that can create original content for your law firm’s website and brings in more clients. And OppGen Marketing is here to do just that.

To learn more about OppGen’s legal SEO marketing program, contact us today, or fill out our free digital audit for valuable feedback about where you can improve your law firm’s SEO strategy and more.

Male AAPI lawyer reviews his personal injury law firm's website

By OppGen

SEO Expectations for Personal Injury Law Firms

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is often misunderstood by those who don’t work with it on a regular basis. It’s seen as something that’s easy to do, requires minimal effort or a handful of keywords repeated on a page, or something that should bring in results overnight.

At OppGen, we hear many misconceptions as expectations from personal injury law clients, who are beginning to consider an SEO strategy. Unfortunately, these expectations are unrealistic and in some cases, unobtainable.

So we want to share some of these SEO expectations for personal injury law firms to create a clearer picture of what goes into SEO and why these expectations are not rooted in reality, along with what they can expect from a solid SEO program.

 

How long does it take for my personal injury law firm to rank higher on Google?

Unlike paid search advertising on Google and other search engines, where it is easier to position your ads in better locations on search engine results pages (SERPs) in a relatively short period of time, SEO has more variables that can affect your personal injury law firm’s SERPs ranking. Due to these variables, it takes longer before you start seeing an increase in web traffic and conversions.

It can take anywhere from 3 months to even a year to start seeing results from an SEO strategy.

 

Why am I not seeing any improvements in traffic after optimizing my website for SEO? I’m creating great personal injury content, so why isn’t my site ranking higher?

There’s a more lot that goes into SEO than just creating great content or a streamlined website, as SEO is a multifaceted strategy with several variables one must consider.

OppGen takes the the following variables into account when creating an SEO plan for your law firm:

 

Technical SEO

Technical SEO focuses on the technical aspects of your website: your site’s speed, whether or not it functions well on mobile devices, and your site’s design and navigation.

A site that is easy for anyone to access regardless of their device and loads quickly is a site that Google will be more likely to rank higher on SERPs.

 

Local SEO

For local businesses, local SEO is a must. When someone searches for “personal injury law firm near me,” search engines use that person’s location to show them results closest to them. This means that it’s important for your law firm to show up in the local results.

Setting up a Google My Business listing for your law firm is absolutely a must because it can put your firm on Google Maps and therefore easier for prospects to select instead of any competitors. You’ll also want to have your personal injury law firm on other relevant legal directories. It’s always good for your law firm to be easy to find in multiple places; it makes you more competitive within your local market, too!

 

On-page SEO

On-page SEO involves creating relevant content featuring information that will be valuable to your target audience. We are far past the days of keyword stuffing pages, which actually can work against you. Today’s search engines are able to read much more like us, so you need to make sure your content is digestible and not loaded with jargon.

You’ll still be focusing on relevant keywords, but you need to know how difficult a keyword is to rank for. Some keywords are more competitive than others while others are rarely searched. It helps to have an SEO expert like those at OppGen to guide you through what keywords are likely to be effective for your law firm.

 

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is about spreading the word about your personal injury law firm. This can be done through social media sharing, glowing five-star reviews, and link building. Link building is a process that involves other websites linking back to your website. The more links that point back to your website, especially when these other sites are excellent resources that rank well, too, the better, because it tells search engines that your law firm is a good resource. When you also include positive reviews and content shares on social media, that’s even more telling to search engines about the quality of your law firm

SEO has so many variables to take into account. It’s not enough to just optimize your website for speed — you need to take other things into consideration, too, such as the keywords you are trying to rank for, as well as the content you’re making.

 

Why am I getting more traffic but roughly the same number of clients?

Getting higher traffic does tend to result in more clients, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the quality of clients your firm needs. Conversion should be the more important focus, not the number of web users visiting your website.

To improve conversion rates, make sure that your site is easy to navigate with a clean design. It should load quickly and operate smoothly on all devices, not just desktop computers. Your website should be optimized for mobile devices, and that’s a shift Google has been making when it comes to ranking high on the SERPs. 

 

Is it better for my personal injury law firm to be a featured snippet, a Google Maps listing, or a text-based result? Why can’t I rank twice on the same page?

Sometimes the ranking numbers for SERPs rankings can be confusing; after all, there’s a position 0 (which is just a fancy way to say the first PPC ad on a page) and sometimes it’s unclear if the first position (position 1) is a search result or a featured snippet… or even a Google Maps listing.

For our intents and purposes, we view the Google Maps listing as a type of featured snippet, which is ultimately the best ranking you can have on SERPs. Though these featured snippets/Google Maps listings aren’t technically considered as a numbered position on SERPs, they are the ultimate goal for ranking purposes. Featured snippets/Google Maps listings take up most of the traffic for keyword searches because they’re highly visual and are positioned before the rest of the results. 

However, it is highly unlikely for your law firm to be listed twice on the same page (that is, as both a featured snippet/Google Maps listing and a traditional search result), due to Google’s algorithms.

Remember: if your law firm appears as a featured snippet or as a Google Maps listing on the first page instead of a traditional search result, do not panic. That is the best case scenario for SERPs.

 

I’ve seen more new clients thanks to SEO, so can I stop optimizing my personal injury law firm’s website?

While you can stop optimizing your PI law firm’s site for SEO at any point, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do so. SEO is a process that is always evolving and changing. If you want to keep bringing in more clients through organic searches, you need to keep creating content, monitoring traffic and keywords, and pay attention to any changes to Google’s algorithm. Though Google doesn’t make these changes public, there are experts who pay close attention to the company’s announcements and policy changes that could have an effect on SERP rankings.

 

Why should I invest in SEO instead of PPC?

It may seem like PPC and SEO are ultimately incompatible, but we believe that PPC and SEO actually complement each other, and that is especially the case for the legal industry, which has the most expensive average cost per click for PPC ads

You can think of your PPC strategy as a quick fix; it’s sort of like putting a broken arm in a sling. It’s quick and it keeps the (your law firm) arm intact for a brief period of time. But relying only on PPC can become expensive and risky — it’s probably in your law firm’s best interest to find a more stable ongoing solution. SEO, then, is like a cast and physical therapy for that broken arm.

SEO takes longer to work (like the cast) and will also take continued upkeep (physical therapy), but it tends to strengthen the law firm (the arm) by establishing it as an authoritative place for information as well as by building trust and a good reputation with clients.

Unrelated to the broken arm analogy, SEO is also an organic marketing strategy, which means you do not have to pay Google or Bing or any other search engine directly for your website to be positioned for certain keywords. 

Though SEO requires a greater investment of your time, it doesn’t require as much money as PPC, making it a more feasible strategy for your personal injury law firm’s long-term success.

That doesn’t mean you should drop your PPC strategy, either; it may be easier to target leads for certain keywords with PPC than SEO and vice-versa.

 

Contact OppGen for more SEO information

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what SEO is, what goes into a good SEO strategy, how it can help your personal injury law firm bring in more leads, and how long it takes to start working. But if you still have questions about SEO, contact OppGen today for more information. Alternatively, you can fill out our free digital audit for your personal injury law firm’s website, and we’ll give you feedback on how your website can be better optimized for search engines.

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