01 Sep Airo Security Declare: Investing In SEO For Your Law Firm
If you’re in the process of hiring a law firm SEO agency, or you work directly with an SEO provider that your law firm is currently engaged with, this post is for you.
It’s 2020 and most law firms need not be convinced of the value of search engine optimization (SEO). That is to say, most divorce lawyers understand the value of showing up on Google’s first page of results when someone in their city searches “divorce lawyer.”
Nevertheless, law firms tend to be really bad at hiring and working with SEO agencies effectively, as is evidenced by significant churn in the legal SEO space. At my company, Juris Digital, a full 70% of our current clients came to us after leaving one or more previous legal SEO agencies.
While you may be tempted to blame this huge level of churn on shoddy SEO providers (and there are more than a few), I have come to find that law firms frequently get crucial things wrong when they invest in SEO, whether it be their choice of provider, their expectations, their workflow, or their process for closing new leads that SEO generates.
These mistakes lead to frustration, churn, and most importantly, a poor return on their SEO investment.
For this post, I’ve drawn on my 10 years of experience winning SEO business, losing SEO business, and succeeding and failing at executing effective law firm SEO campaigns, to help you hire the right SEO provider, and get out of the way of your own success once you do.
How to Avoid Losing Money on Your SEO Investment
- Hire a legal SEO agency that doesn’t suck.
- Don’t tell your SEO agency what you want them to do; tell them what you want to achieve.
- Treat your SEO provider like a partner, not a vendor.
- Have a system for effectively responding to and signing up new leads.
- Understand that your SEO investment should be made from a position of stability, and your expectations shouldn’t be insane.
- Before firing your current SEO provider and hiring a new one, escalate your concerns.
- Know that you don’t have to spend the same amount on SEO forever.
Hire a legal SEO agency that doesn’t suck
While I was drafting this post I really wanted to skip over this point, because “no sh*t,” but it’s crucial so I had to keep it in.
Here’s a secret: There are a lot of good SEO companies out there who are capable of succeeding for your law firm. One of the central arguments I am submitting here is that, more often than not, a law firm can ensure the success of their SEO investment by avoiding crucial mistakes, regardless of what agency they hire.
Then again, there are some law firm SEO agencies out there that just aren’t capable of getting the job done. To weed them out, look for the following in the legal SEO companies you interview:
- They can clearly articulate what SEO success will look like for your law firm
- They can clearly articulate how they actually generate that success, without using words like “ninja” or “secret sauce” or “juice”
- They take a consultative approach to selling rather than trying to cram you into a one-size-fits-all campaign
- They can provide multiple happy-client references
- They can point you to real-world examples of their work, and you are impressed by the quality
- Their website is of a high quality and ranks well in search engines for relevant keywords
- They have more than a few positive online reviews
- Their prices and promises aren’t too good to be true
This checklist will help you know whether a given SEO agency is up to the task of succeeding for your law firm. However, it won’t help you actually identify quality lawyer SEO agencies to consider.
The best way to find a good SEO company for your firm is the same as the best way to hire an attorney; get a personal referral from someone you know who works with an SEO agency that they’re happy with.
If that’s not an option, use the second best option (hopefully, the option your potential new clients will soon be finding you): Google it. Once you find a few strong candidates, speak and get proposals from them, and then compare your experience with each against the checklist above.
Don’t tell your SEO agency what you want them to do; tell them what you want to achieve.
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Lots of attorneys know just enough about SEO “to be dangerous.” One of the biggest red flags for me is when a potential new SEO client reaches out and tells me what specific SEO work they want me to do. For example:
I want you to build 20 EDU links
I want you to write 30 practice area pages
I want you to build 100 local citations
I want you to optimize my page titles
I want you to write 5 blogs per month
When I go to the dentist, I don’t tell her to do a root canal. I tell her that my tooth freaking hurts, and that I’d like it to stop hurting. Because I’m not a dentist and she is.
I am quite sure that most DUI attorneys wouldn’t be thrilled if a client dictated to them the specifics of what their defense strategy ought to be.
As you work with an SEO partner for your law firm you should get in the habit of communicating what outcome you’d like to achieve rather than attempting to dictate the strategy and tactics for getting there. For example, here are some great goals to communicate with your legal SEO provider:
I want more divorce cases involving business owners
I want more business litigation matters involving shareholder disputes
I want to improve my website’s conversion rate on mobile devices
I want to bring in leads from a new geographic market
Now, this is not to say that there is no room for collaboration with your law firm SEO provider; there is!
If you’re a personal injury lawyer, you know that your client has information that can help tremendously in presenting a compelling argument for damages. You know that open communication and information sharing between you and your client is essential. But you also know that you don’t need them to dictate the specifics of the demand letter or the prose in your closing argument.
The situation is…