I was recently speaking at a bar association event when a gentleman asked, “Do people really look for lawyers online? I’m not sure people look for my kind of practice area on the Internet.”
Current LexisNexis research shows the answer is clearly “yes!” In fact, three out of four consumers surveyed said they turned to the Internet at some point during their legal services decision-making process.
A growing number of law firms are turning to the Internet with hopes of boosting their revenues and increasing their leads. For some this has become a reality, but most are still in the experimental stage. All this week, I will be posting about several of the best practices in becoming a rainmaker on the Internet.
In today’s post, I will review Search engine optimization (SEO), the ongoing process of optimizing your website to be found on the search engines (Google, Yahoo!, and Bing are the big three) for the keywords and phrases with which you want people to find you. The goal of SEO is to drive qualified traffic to your website. It does not include pay-per-click (PPC) or paid search. There are more than 30 different components commonly used by SEO experts to help your website rank well. Below are strategies to get you started.
Know the keywords people use to search for your services. There are many tools you can use to find out exactly which keywords and phrases people use. I recommend you start with Google’s Keyword Tool.
In most searches, there are three parts used: geographical location, practice area, and the word “lawyer” or “attorney.” For example, someone looking for a personal injury lawyer in southern California may use “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer,” whereas someone in Chicago looking to file for bankruptcy may search for “Chicago bankruptcy attorney.” However, people are starting to use more and more words to describe what they are looking for: “I was injured in a car accident in Miami and need an attorney.” This is known as long tail search.
Key Action Points: • Talk to your prospects and clients and find out what words and phrases they use to look for a lawyer in your practice area. • Research those keywords and find out how many other people use them. • Make a list of 20 to 30 words and phrases to use in your website.
Use keywords in your domain name. When possible, use the actual words with which you want prospects to find you. For example, Kevin Von Tungeln is a board-certified estate planning specialist in the state of California. His website address is www.estateplanningspecialists.com. Many law firms are still using the traditional method of naming their website the same as their law firm name, which can make it difficult to spell, harder to find, and does not assist their SEO efforts. However, be sure to check your state’s ethical requirements before settling on a new website name; some states do not allow lawyers to use any other domain name than their law firm’s name.
Key Action Points: • It’s okay to have multiple domain names. • Register your own name first, then register domain names with your keywords in it. • Use www.godaddy.com to register multiple variations. Even if you are not going to use them now, you may want them later.
Read more of the series: