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The Evolution of SEO for Law Firms: Where Are We Right Now?

March, 14 2024
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Jo Stephens
SEO for law firms

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become a critical tool for law firms to stand out. It drives more visitors to a firm’s website, increasing brand awareness and potential leads. SEO was voted the most effective marketing channel for law firms in the last year. That said, SEO is not a fast-moving or a set-it-and-forget-it tactic. It is a multi-stage, strategic program that is made up of both onsite and offsite tactics. It’s a long game, the rules of which are changing constantly due to unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances from competitors and Google alike.

With all that in mind, SEO is a valuable and necessary investment for law firms. Let’s delve into what makes a viable SEO strategy today:

The Importance of SEO in Law Firm Marketing

SEO is more than just a buzzword in the realm of digital marketing. It’s a strategic process that helps law firms improve their online visibility, attract potential clients, and ultimately grow their business. By optimizing their websites for search engines, law firms can rank higher in search results, making it easier for potential clients to find them.

Current SEO Tactics for Law Firms

The tactics used in SEO for law firms have evolved, adapting to changes in search engine algorithms and user behavior. Here are some of the current best practices:

  • Specificity in Content: Content should be specific and detailed, answering common questions related to the law firm’s area of expertise. This not only helps users find the information they need but also positions the firm as an authority in its field.
    • In today’s content scene, building out pillars of relatable content on target practice areas is a great way to build authority for a law firm’s website.
    • That said, for offsite SEO, thought leadership articles shared with local TV and media outlets have become a turnkey element of a firm’s content strategy. Exposure to local markets already using the news sources is important to brand development and developing trust.
  •  Local SEO: Optimizing local search is crucial as it helps law firms attract clients in their geographical area. This includes optimizing Google My Business listings and using location-specific keywords.
    • When it comes to local optimization, there needs to be a clear NAP (name, address, and office phone number) alignment between all your local citations, and your website’s local pages.
    • With the recent changes in Google’s algorithm suppressing some keyword searches for websites, the local pack has become prime real estate for law firm searches. Your Google My Business page also needs to have regular content shares to it to be “seen” and engage users. Share event pictures, blog posts, or case results for that area to ensure the best engagement for your local page.
    • Beyond your GMB pages and offsite citations, building out your onsite location pages into pillar content that dynamically connects all location-related content, from blogs to events or videos, is a solid tactic to increase viable local search leads.
  • Technical SEO: Ensuring fast load times and a stable, user-friendly website is an important element of SEO for law firms. This includes optimizing images, using responsive design for mobile users, and improving site speed.
    • H1 tags, ALT image tags, design elements, outbound and internal links, and the code that makes up your website and site structure are all critical technical SEO elements that must be tracked for compliance and functionality regularly.
  • Keyword Research: Identifying and using relevant keywords in content is critical to SEO. These keywords should reflect the services offered by the law firm and the queries potential clients might use.
    • Keyword research continues to be a debated topic in all SEO, and no less for law firm marketing. The best course of action is to target a balance of vanity (location, practice area) keywords and long-tail keywords, like the phrases someone on the highway would use to find an accident lawyer as their car is being towed away. Balance is important.
    • That said, tracking your leads in such a way that you can determine the keywords that drive the majority of your cases is a great place to start developing a viable keyword-targeting plan.
  • Content Marketing: Regularly publishing valuable content, such as blog posts, can drive traffic and improve SEO. This content should be informative, engaging, and relevant to the firm’s target audience.
    • When considering your law firm’s content marketing strategy, remember that when it comes to SEO writing, you are creating content as much for the search engines and the users you want to find your website. There is a skill to SEO writing that is different than legal writing or writing for a human audience alone.
    • Working with an SEO content writer who specializes in law firm content is a great way to ensure viable, searchable SEO law firm website content.

Navigating Google’s Algorithm Changes

Google’s recent algorithm updates have emphasized the importance of high-quality, user-focused content. The introduction of the Search Generative Experience (SGE) has further impacted SEO strategies. SGE uses AI to provide more natural and conversational responses to queries, changing how audiences discover and engage with brands online.

For law firms, this means offering granular answers to questions and incorporating video content. It also means staying updated with the latest SEO tactics and adapting to changes in Google’s algorithms to maintain and improve its SERP positioning.

Your firm’s SEO partner should inform you regularly of the changes happening in Google’s Universe, and how they’re adapting your law firm’s SEO plan to circumvent potential roadblocks or shifts in SERP position. While we are always retroactive in our response to Google’s updates, a well-built, and consistently followed SEO strategy will maintain consistent growth in reach and site traction over time.

Law firms that want to see a real lift in their case-related leads need to invest in a holistic SEO program that is focused on their target geography and practice areas, is multifaceted, and is tracked regularly for performance. Contact us today to get started.

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