If you focus on these digital marketing concepts, devoting the necessary time and resources, you will almost certainly see your website improve by virtually every metric.
With the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, more and more law firms are seeing lost leads from traditional sources. Television and radio advertisements just aren’t as viable a marketing strategy in 2020 as they were even just six months ago. Television continues to be a fractured landscape and the number of radio listeners has plunged due to the steep decline of the daily commute.
With a slower than expected vaccine roll-out, attorneys everywhere are turning to the Internet to shore up lost potential clients. The first places most are taking a long, hard look at are search engines and the various social media platforms, primarily Facebook. If you’re wondering how to get started with digital marketing, the following concepts are the bedrock of most any effective online marketing strategy.
When it comes to digital marketing, few letters in the alphabet can furrow brows quite like those of S-E-O. For those not in the know, SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Contrary to popular belief, SEO isn’t difficult to grasp if you put in a little effort and time.
The very first step in properly SEOing your firm’s website is to sit back and imagine what your ideal client would search for in Google or Bing to find your business. For example, our firm is focused on acquiring personal injury cases, with automobile crashes being our primary focus. So, it’s no wonder that keyword searches pertaining to car accidents are what we aim for when we SEO our evergreen content.
If you find yourself stumped trying to come up with relevant keywords, a free tool like Google Trends or, even better, the more rigorous Google Analytics can be helpful. Another option is to simply spy on one of your more successful competitors to find out what keywords they are using to rank so highly.
Granted, these days Google and Bing update their algorithms at the drop of a hat, so the list below may change but, as of today, you should focus on properly SEOing the following attributes on your homepage and any supplemental evergreen content:
- Proper URL structure
- Title header (H1)
- Headers (H2, H3, H4, etc.)
- Meta description
- Title tag
- Alt image text
- Internal links
- Authoritative external links
One final note, keyword stuffing in your body text is a tactic you should avoid. Not only do modern search engines overlook such a tactic, the practice is clunky and in-artful for your human visitors to read. It really is best to avoid this strategy going forward.
There’s no denying it. Google loves organic traffic. At their core, search engines are basically popularity contests. And there is no better metric for a website’s popularity than the amount of traffic it pulls in on the regular. Find a way to increase your website’s traffic and you’ll be surprised how fast you catapult to the top of the Search Engine Page Results (SERPs).
So how do you increase traffic? Easy. Quality content. Obviously, this is easier said than done when it comes to generating content about the law. Few people online have an interest in reading dry legal memorandum or pages upon pages about the ins and outs of real estate laws.
While there is no surefire strategy to create quality content for every type of legal practice, one useful method is, again, to place yourself in the position of your prospective client. Imagine what sort of content they would seek out on the web and then try to write about such a topic in the most engaging way possible. Throw in a few high quality images (free-to-use or, if possible, licensed images). Add some interactive graphs and pie charts. Or try to just think outside of the box. Google is getting better and better at understanding whether content is engaging or not, so any edge you can find will likely help you in the long run.
A common strategy our firm has had success with is content based around answering popular questions about our legal profession. In SEO terms, this type of content is called ‘long-tail keywords’. Typically, long-tail keywords mimic questions people frequently search for about a particular subject. A common long-tail keyword our firm SEO’s for is: ‘Do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer?’ By including such a question, along with its more popular variations, into a header or even answering it in an FAQ, we managed to kill two birds with one stone. Not only do we drive additional traffic to our website, but we also help SEO our website for more esoteric search terms.
Keep in mind that as search engines deploy more and more advanced artificial intelligence builds into their algorithms, content will not only need to be of higher and higher quality but smarter, as well. Never forget. Content is king for a reason.
One of the most overlooked online resources for lawyers and law firms are legal directories. From Avvo to Nolo to, even, US News, these directories are an easy way to drive traffic, bolster the authenticity of your firm, and to improve the overall health of your website. Adding your roster of attorneys to the various legal directories and then including hyperlinks to their profiles on your website in the form of badges lets prospective clients know your firm is the real deal. This strategy, also, has the double bonus of providing you with authoritative links which improves the signals your website sends to Google’s search engine.
While these directories push pretty aggressive marketing pitches, insisting you sign up for their premium services, most of them allow you to create a listing free of charge. I can’t speak for the quality of their premium services, but from what I’ve heard in the legal SEM grapevine you’re probably best just sticking to a free account.
Last but not least, I’d like to talk about social media. In particular, everyone’s least favorite platform: Facebook. As more and more people are calling for a boycott of Facebook due to its increasingly questionable business practices, it really is impossible to predict how long the platform will remain atop the social media mountain. For now, though, Facebook is an invaluable and inexpensive tool for law firms.
I, personally, was more than happy to be rid of my own Facebook account years ago (Twitter being my platform of choice). To date, our firm has had very little luck with conversions from Facebook. We do occasionally receive inquiries from potential clients, but they rarely go anywhere or prove valuable beyond brand saturation.
What Facebook is great at, though, is driving traffic to articles and blog posts. For a modest fee, you can ‘boost’ a post on Facebook, targeting any city or location right down to the zip code. From there you can just sit back and watch the clicks roll in.
Granted, clicks from Facebook won’t solve all of your traffic woes. It can, however, get the ball rolling on some of your evergreen and secondary content. By deploying such a strategy, our firm has managed to even obtain a few of Google’s Holy Grail snippets, which are a goldmine in the SEO world if you’re lucky enough to snag a few.
If you focus on the above digital marketing concepts, devoting the necessary time and resources, you will almost certainly see your website improve by virtually every metric. Remember, digital marketing is more of a marathon than a sprint. Don’t expect results overnight. There is no silver bullet to climb to the top of the rankings. Using black hat techniques or paid backlinks will only risk a penalty and, trust me, that’s not a problem you ever want to deal with.
Good luck and happy SEOing.