SEO for law firms entails optimizing your web content to improve your online visibility on search engine listings. There are many techniques involved that range from content marketing strategies to optimizing your website’s technical framework to ensure top performance. The overall aim of SEO is to create a great user experience that offers valuable content, meets your prospective client’s needs, and leaves a positive impression. This not only boosts your web traffic but also encourages your clients to leave positive reviews on your site.
Although it's difficult to see overnight success, law firm SEO strategy is a long-term marketing strategy that yields long-term results. The investment is worthwhile if you consider that 96% of potential clients seek legal advice using search engines.
Thus, it's essential to start building your SEO strategy as soon as possible because it's becoming increasingly competitive for law firm sites to rank on search engines as more law firms realize the benefits of SEO. How do you know it's working, though? Here are some key metrics to look at in a law firm SEO report.
What are the Benefits of Search Engine Optimization for Law Firm Websites?
Having a strong online presence is more crucial than ever before and search engine optimization provides major benefits, including:
- Increase web traffic. With SEO for lawyers, you can boost your search engine ranking and improve the incoming traffic to your site. And if you the right SEO keywords and publish high-quality content, you'll attract more qualified leads because the people who find your website on search engine listings and business listings are more likely to be interested in your legal services, as opposed to cold emails or advertisement.
- Strengthen brand awareness. Getting discovered on search engine result pages (SERPs) also increases your brand awareness. By publishing valuable content that highlights your law firm’s values through the visual identity of your brand and style of writing and the visual identity of your brand, for instance, can help create more opportunities to connect with your potential clients and increase recognition.
- Grow your client base. With increased web traffic and a strong brand presence on your site, you're more likely to convert web visitors into loyal clients. That is because you've established your brand as an authority by publishing useful content.
What SEO Metrics Should I Track?
One reason search engine optimization is so successful is that you can track and measure just about any metric related to it. Whether you look at engagement, traffic, rankings, leads, or revenue, SEO metrics give you crucial insights into how your organic search strategy is performing.
Also, SEO metrics offer you the data you need when building a plan to market your law firm or improve existing marketing strategies. However, how do you know which metrics to track and measure? After all, there are hundreds of data points available in Google Analytics and other SEO tools.
It's essential to note that all key performance indicators (KPIs) and SEO metrics aren't equal. Although Google has about 200 ranking factors in its algorithm, some ranking factors are more important than others.
To get the maximum benefit from your organic search performance, you must focus on SEO metrics that deliver the greatest results. As a result, your SEO strategy will deliver a better return on investment in marketing spend.
To that end, let’s look at the nine most crucial SEO metrics you should track regularly.
1. New Referring Domains
Backlinks are one of the most essential ranking factors on SERPs. Often, relevant backlinks from high-quality websites can boost your domain authority. However, backlinks from legal websites that haven't linked to your law firm's site in the past are more essential than additional links from domains that have already linked to your website in the past.
For Google, if a legal site already links to your law firm's website, it means they view you as a trustworthy website. However, a second backlink from the same site is slightly less valuable than a backlink from a new site.
Thus, you must track your referring domains and overall backlinks. However, to grow your organic traffic significantly you must also ensure that number of new referring websites increases. Track this metric to make sure that your link-building efforts support your SEO strategy.
2. Domain Rating / Domain Authority
Domain Rating / Domain Authority is a score that most SEO tools, such as Moz, SEMrush, and Ahrefs, used to calculate the overall SEO strength of a site. The score depends on several factors, including the quality of referring domains and the number of backlinks.
The score is built on a logarithmic scale and it ranges from 0 to 100. Thus, it’s difficult to increase this score from 90 to 91 than it is to increase from 25 to 27. Websites with higher scores are expected to rank better for search queries than websites with lower scores, all other parameters equal.
It's essential to note that Domain Authority isn't an official Google ranking factor. But it's still important to measure this metric because it's calculated based on parameters that are ranking factors. If you want to rank on the first page of search results, you must work hard towards increasing your Domain Authority.
Also, it's worth tracking Page Authority for your most valuable landing pages. This metric monitors the authority of specific web pages instead of the entire domain.
3. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
CTR helps to determine the percentage of impressions in the Google SERPs that actually generated a click through to your website page. If 1000 searchers see your web page in the search results that include legal directories and 10 web visitors clicks through, you have a CTR of 1%. Just like impressions, you can monitor click-through rate directly in Google Search Console’s “Performance” module.
There is a strong correlation between CTR and ranking position. The higher your web pages rank on average, the more clicks they'll generate. While the first page of Google earns 90% of the clicks for a search query, most web traffic comes from the top three positions in SERPs.
Here are a few tips to optimize your CTR on particular pages:
- Match your web page title to searcher intent.
- Include a compelling call-t-action (CTA) within your page title if possible.
- Use dashes, brackets, or pipes to make your page title stand out.
- Craft meta descriptions that compel searchers to click your blog content and read more.
- Evoke an emotional response through your page title and meta descriptions.
- Explain what your potential reader will walk away with after visiting your web page.
- Use structured data to optimize the way your web page displays in search results.
- Use short and descriptive URLs that contain the target keyword.
4. Keyword Rankings
Keyword rankings are a critical SEO metric to track. They help you track your progress, and they provide an early signal that your SEO strategies are working. Further, keyword rankings offer an overview of your current organic traffic and the total opportunity.
Thus, when you're conducting keyword research, you must focus on both branded and non-branded keywords. Branded search terms are crucial because they represent clients ready to hire your law firm. These keywords are also critical to your online reputation. Conversely, non-branded legal keywords, such as "criminal defense attorney" or "personal injury attorney" are essential for influencing potential clients in the decision-making stage of the client journey.
Although keyword rankings regularly fluctuate, a sudden drop in search rankings could be a sign of trouble.
5. Organic Market Share / Online Visibility
Organic visibility is also known as SEO visibility, organic market share, or search visibility is a metric that monitors how much organic search traffic your law firm's site gets compared to the total clicks. It considers both ranking position and search volume, which generates CTR.
Most SEO trackers offer a sitewide visibility score, which depends on where your site ranks for all target keywords, and a keyword-specific score. Both scores are crucial to monitor because they summarize how your website is performing in terms of SEO.
It’s essential to know how to calculate search visibility scores based on organic traffic. That's because organic market share is essentially “free” visits from search engine users searching for information in real-time. While organic market share seems like a straightforward metric, it reveals how well you target and connect with your target audience.
6. Organic Conversions
Organic conversions are also a crucial SEO measure because they enable you to determine if you’re directing quality organic traffic to your website. If your web traffic visits are high but your conversions are low, this shows that you aren't getting the right leads to visit your law firm's site. You’re attracting potential clients who aren’t interested in your legal services.
Thus, you need to look at the search terms driving traffic to your website and then establish if they actually map to your client acquisition funnel.
For instance, if you're a personal injury lawyer, and you create an in-depth blog post about personal injury law topics, such as "what to do after a personal injury." When you look at the analytics for this web content, you see it generates a ton of organic search traffic but no sign-ups or engagement. This is a sign that your content is attracting people who aren't looking to hire a personal injury attorney.
To generate higher conversion rates, identify relevant target keywords at the top, middle, and bottom of your online marketing funnel and then focus on creating blog content around those specific keywords.
7. Core Website Vitals and Page Speed
Google increasingly focuses on user experience, and fast-loading web pages are one way that Google tracks this. Many studies through the years report that speeding up your web page speed results in higher conversion rates, and conversely, conversion rates decline when page load speed decreases.
The current set of Google core website vitals metrics focuses on three elements of the user experience, which include interactivity, loading, and visual stability:
- Largest contentful paint (LCP). This metric measures the time a site takes to display the largest content on a screen.
- First input delay (FID). This metric tracks the time from when a web visitor interacts with your website.
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS). This metric tracks the perceived visual stability on a web page load.
To check how your web pages perform based on the Core Web Vitals, check the “Enhancements” area of Google Search Console. Also, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to monitor these metrics.
8. Web Pages Per Visit
The average number of web pages per visit SEO measure helps to determine your ability to move your web visitors deeper into your conversion funnel. If most web visitors only visit one web page and then leave, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to convert them into paying clients down the road.
Remember, generating more web traffic is only the first step in increasing your law firm's revenue. Next, you must convince potential clients to take action. However, not every potential client is ready to hire your law firm. So, find other ways to engage with your potential clients and keep them interested in your web content. Pay special attention to exit pages where most web visitors seem to leave your site.
Here are simple tips that can help you improve engagement metrics, such as pages per visit:
- Make sure that your website layout is intuitive, and that your website is easy to navigate.
- Create topic clusters around themes so your prospects will always know the next step to take.
- Leverage strategic internal linking to guide your web visitors to other helpful web pages on your website.
- Add engaging content, such as surveys, and videos, that entertain your site visitors to interact with your website.
9. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of web visitors who visit only one page on your site. Although this metric isn’t a ranking signal, a high bounce rate is a sign that there's a problem with specific web pages or your entire website. Further, a high bounce rate is a missed opportunity to engage with your target audience.
So how can I reduce the bounce rate? Ultimately, you need to offer your law firm's site visitors a great user experience. The following simple tips can help you reduce your bounce rate:
- Make sure your web content aligns with search intent.
- Make the purpose of your web page immediately clear and put important information above the fold.
- Create valuable content that makes your web visitors want to explore your website more.
- Avoid things that interrupt the user experience, such as ads, pop-ups, and unintuitive navigation.
Related: Local SEO For Lawyers
What are the Essential Components of Successful Law Firm SEO Strategy?
Many key elements will impact your SEO strategy and determine its effectiveness, including:
- Content. Content is the most crucial component of SEO. It’s the driving force behind your law firm's site ability to rank and attract new clients. Things, such as blog content, articles, inner website pages, and the legal content on your home page are considered content. If you have a small law firm, valuable content makes it possible to compete with larger law firms. It's imperative to note that Google primarily relies on the content on web pages to index and rank web pages. So with SEO for law firms, your web content will drive your SEO results. Without great content, your SEO strategies will fall flat.
- Website design. User experience is critical to making sure that your law firm's site is Google-friendly and will rank. The way you design your website will affect these SEO factors significantly. If your site uses tiny text, that’s difficult to read or your site is difficult to navigate, you’ll have a hard time attracting and converting leads. Poor web design makes it difficult for web visitors to trust your law firm, too.
- So, pay attention to your website’s overall design. If your law firm's site is designed poorly, potential clients won’t stay there for long, and they won’t consume your web content. Investing in well-written web pages and great blogs is a waste of time if your web visitors don’t like your website design or can’t find what they’re searching for.
- Website structure. The way your law firm's site is structured will also affect its SEO ranking. For example, 87% of web visitors who visit a law firm's website get through a mobile device. A well-built law firm website will help to spark and cement trust with your web visitors.
- Mobile-friendly. A mobile-friendly site automatically adjusts to fit the screen of the internet user, whether they’re on a smartphone, laptop, or desktop.
- Secure. Your law firm's site must have a current and universally approved security certificate.
- Quick load times. Fast load times prevent your web visitors from getting frustrated and leaving your website.
- Compliance. There’s always a business owner out there willing to game the system. In SEO, that's called black hat SEO. These are unethical SEO strategies that people use to game the Google algorithm and get their sites to rank high. These include plagiarizing high-ranking content or buying links. Popular search engines, such as Google are sophisticated enough to figure out that a site is leveraging black hat techniques to rank.
- Google has guidelines that reward high-quality, valuable content with high rankings on SERPs. If you use manipulative tactics to rank, Google will punish your site with lower rankings. Thus, law firms that publish relevant content will rank high on SERPs.
- Authority. A site’s authority is another essential SEO ranking factor. Google gauges a website’s authority based on how trustworthy it is compared to other sites competing for the same search queries and keywords. The following factors affect a website’s authority:
- How relevant and useful the content is
- How easily the web content can be consumed
- The inbound links the site has. Inbound links are links to other legal websites throughout your legal content. Inbound links can be a black hat SEO tactic, in that they can cheat the Google algorithm. Or they can be links to valuable content and, therefore, beneficial for SEO. Authoritative and useful inbound links include:
- Internal links to high-quality, valuable, and authoritative websites;
- Links that don’t go to websites your law firm controls; and
- Link to web pages that aren’t soliciting.
Take Action Now to Get Your Law Firm's website to rank!
How well is your law firm's site ranking? At GoEngine, we have decades of experience working with law firms, improving their SEO, optimizing their social media marketing strategies and their digital marketing strategies, helping law firms with organic listings, and attracting new clients.
We can help you create a solid law firm SEO plan that helps you attract more potential clients and we can help you create SEO-optimized attorney biographies to establish your law firm as an authority in the legal industry. Contact our digital marketing agency today at (864) 300-0344 for custom legal marketing.