We often delve deep into advanced marketing tactics here on our blog. However, from time to time it’s wise to revisit some baseline tips that can form the backbone of any sturdy, long-term legal marketing strategy. As 2017 takes off, let’s review four simple steps and best practices in a few key areas that any attorney can use to begin improving his or her web presence and overall lead flow.
- Master Your Local Domain
Local ranking factors have been steadily increasing in importance for years now, and that will continue to be the trend for the foreseeable future. Your website will likely always be the hub of your online marketing efforts, but you can improve your law firm rankings—and therefore visibility and potential client numbers—by expanding your local presence, too.
Local search is a massive topic that deserves in-depth analysis and effort, but here are a few primary facets that you will definitely want to examine.
- Claim your listings. To start, search Google My Business, directories like SuperPages.com, and other sites that offer business pages. Even if you’re sure that you’ve never created a listing for your firm before, search anyway! You may find a listing that wasn’t created by you, but that you are able to claim and update.
- Be consistent. Ensure that the data you enter on one site gets precisely replicated on your other listings. Google wants to ensure that it delivers accurate results, so encourage it to look at your listings by making them consistent.
- Strive for citations. A citation is a mention of your firm’s name, address, phone number, and other pertinent business information on other areas of the web. Though citations oftentimes do not contain a link to your website, they can help Google verify that your firm exists and that you’re a top attorney in your area. You can typically get citations by creating pages on sites like Yelp or Foursquare, investigating your local city, county, or state bar association website, and so forth.
Expanding your local presence is extremely important and should be a top priority. The interplay between your attorney website and your local listings can have a massive impact on law firm rankings if you pay attention to the process early on.
- Focus on the User
You already know that your firm’s website needs to be optimized. For example, does your site have proper page titles and a coherent link structure? Things like backlink profiles, keyword research, and competitor analysis should all play a part in the initial strategy of building a site and getting it noticed by search engines.
That said, don’t forget that Google is concerned with delivering the best user experience. It wants to provide results that are engaging to humans, not bots.
An overly optimized site will be uninteresting and off-putting to people looking for genuine legal help, so focus on building a portal that can offer real assistance via quality content. A combination of well-crafted articles and educational multimedia elements will always be appealing to those in need of a knowledgeable, trusted attorney.
Google knows how long visitors stay on your site, so give potential clients a reason to explore what you have to offer without bombarding them with bot-centric optimization. If you can convince visitors to spend time investigating your genuinely useful information, you’ll have a better chance at ranking well in the future and improving your lead flow.
- Get Social
If we’re looking for a bird’s-eye view of marketing strategies that could potentially have an impact on your web presence, we can’t forget to talk about social media marketing. While it’s true that the popularity of your firm’s Facebook page won’t directly boost your Google rankings, the indirect benefits of an active social presence can result in more attention being paid to your site by Google.
Let’s revisit the importance of user experience that we touched upon above. The more people you have interacting with your site, the more likely Google will take notice, and search engines seem particularly interested in web traffic resulting from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Therefore, you should definitely put some time and effort into cultivating a unique and interesting social media presence. Try to think of content that potential clients (or even current and former clients) would be interested in, and might potentially share with their own networks. You can blog about these topics and share the posts on your social feeds.
The ultimate goal of your social strategy should be the generation of shares, links, and traffic back to your site, which in turn will help generate leads. Google wants to know that your site is an authoritative, engaging area for users, and a respected social media presence can certainly help you get there.
- Test, Analyze, Revise, Test Again
You wouldn’t set off on a long and arduous journey without a clear goal in mind, would you? Similarly, be sure that you know what you want to achieve with your law firm marketing and measure your results accordingly.
Be sure to have reporting platforms in place to track your web traffic. Where does it come from? Are people searching for “best injury attorney in Seattle” more likely to submit a case evaluation form than those typing “Seattle injury lawyer”? How many site visitors are you receiving from your local listings compared to your social feeds? Why?
While in-depth analysis of this nature is often performed by attorney marketing agencies, you can start today with a free tool like Google Analytics. It’s important to know how potential clients are reaching your site, what they’re doing while there, and which are most likely to become new leads for your firm. Without proper reporting tools, you won’t have any idea.
Once you have results to analyze, you’ll be able to tinker with various strategies and continually improve your suite of legal marketing efforts.
This post was designed purely as an overview of some broad, overarching tips that every attorney should keep in mind for 2017 and beyond. While examining the minutiae of technical legal marketing strategy is absolutely imperative, we can’t forget the basics, either.
Even if you’re just beginning to think about how to improve lead flow to your firm, the steps above should present some low-hanging fruit that can be tackled right away. Remember that attorney SEO and marketing techniques are always evolving, but these basics will be important for years to come.