3 Tips Lawyers Should Be Using to Rank on the First Page of Google

September 23, 2019

It does not take a marketing expert to know that showing up high on Google search results is important for marketing Colorado solo and small law firms. With over 167 billion searches each month, being at the top of the search list is like sharing your law firm with a stadium full of people each day. Not only that, but research shows that being on the front page (within the top five search results) is a major driver of traffic. A recent SmartInsights survey found that: 

  • 36.4% of all people choose the top-rated search result
  • 73% choose a link listed in the top 5 search results
  • Rankings lower than 11th place an average click-through rate of only 1.3%

What this means is that is critical to be showing up on the first page of Google results if you want to be seen by the people who need your services. 

Unfortunately, this goal seems to get a little harder with each update that Google puts out. Now, with paid advertisements and “position zero” informational results in response to questions, the real estate available on the first page of a Google search is limited to between 5-7 organic search results. 

Still, there are ways to make sure that your solo or small law firm is rising to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). Here are three tips that will give you the best chance to capture that number one spot. 


1. Choose Highly-Specific, Medium-Traffic “Long-Tail” SEO Keywords

A lot of lawyers assume that the higher the traffic, the better the keyword. This is not necessarily true. Although there might be a lot of traffic on the keywords “lawyers near me,” that is a very in-demand keyword phrase that does not pre-qualify the lead that Google might be giving you. 

Instead, focus on specific keyword phrases with relatively good traffic results (between 100-500 searches per day). For example, if you are a divorce lawyer in Denver, you might choose “child custody lawyers in Denver.” Although this will have less traffic than “divorce lawyers near me,” it will be easier to rise to the #1 spot for this “long-tail” phrase, giving you the best chance of optimizing for the phrase and earning that top spot.

2. Develop Keyword-Focused Landing Pages for Your Law Firm’s SEO Phrases

Landing pages for specific keywords is a factor that Google considers when delivering SERPs to consumers. It is important to make sure that these landing pages are focused on the keyword phrase that you have chosen without “stuffing” your page full of unnecessary callbacks to the phrase. An optimized page should follow these basic rules:

  • Put the phrase where it will be seen the most. Google will check to make sure that the phrase is in your title, meta description, alt tags (on images), and in the URL itself. 
  • 1%-2% keyword phrase text. Although a law firm might be tempted to drop in your keyword as much as possible, anything more than once per 100 words is asking for Google to penalize you for “stuffing” your page to get a higher score. 
  • Include supporting keyword phrases. Your page should include keywords that would typically be found in good content written about your subject. For example, if your phrase is “annulments in Colorado,” you might include “Colorado divorce paperwork,” “marriage lawyers,” or “divorce proceedings.”
  • Create text real people will read. Google has increased the emphasis on social sharing, interaction, and comments in creating their SERP algorithm. As such, it is better for lawyers to create engaging content than to simply create content with keywords in it. 
  • Quality links. Backlinks (people linking to your site from other sites) are great, and increase your score dramatically. Still, quality links that connect to your content are still helpful. Choose at least one outside link (preferably from a .gov, .edu, or .org site) and include one internal link to your own website on each page. 

3. Take Advantage of Local SEO

Even SEO-savvy law firms sometimes underestimate the growing power of local SEO. Google has made this more and more impactful on SERPs over the course of the last three updates. 

Of course, some of the power of local SEO comes with being the closest lawyer that fills the searcher’s need. Moz reports that this is becoming less important, however. In fact, their most recent survey showed that the quality of inbound links was the biggest factor in achieving high SERP rankings. Specifically: 

  • Quality of inbound links. How valued the linking websites are to the legal community. (i.e. A link from the ABA Section of Family Law would give you a higher ranking than one from DivorceLawyersNews.com) Local and industry-relevant domains are the highest-scoring. 
  • Diversity of inbound links. Still, if you had both the inbound links from the example above, it might work in your favor since they are both quite diverse platforms. 
  • SEO keywords included in inbound links. The text to link to your page matches the SEO focus of that page. 

Still, inbound links are the icing on the cake. In order to cover the basics of getting that coveted local SEO traffic, you need to make sure that you have the correct citations (business information like phone number, address, and contact information) listed on Google through Google My Business and Google Maps. Local reviews are also very important, as well as social connections through LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. 

Conclusion

Although it may seem nearly impossible to compete with the thousands of other lawyers in Colorado who are offering similar services to your solo or small law firm, taking advantage of Google search is one of the least expensive and most potentially rewarding activities to bring in new leads. By making just a few changes to your website and online presence, you can begin ranking #1 for keyword phrases that real clients use to find help.


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