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Volume XIII, Number 35

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Does SEO Work for Law Firms? Yes, Here’s How.

It’s no secret that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works for many types of business. From restaurants to retailers to tech enterprises, any company that attracts customers via Google can benefit from SEO.

The same goes for law firms, given that many lawyers generate clients directly through local marketing. If clients are looking for customers in their area, Google is often the first place they go to conduct their search. 

But what are the tangible results of SEO for law firms? How do you measure whether SEO actually “works” for a legal business?

In this guide, you’ll read about real case studies and statistics on how well SEO works for law firms – and how to use these same strategies to your advantage. 

How SEO Works for Law Firms - Statistics 

Recent legal SEO statistics support just how well SEO works for law firms. The proof is in the numbers. More and more, law firms are turning to SEO as an effective marketing channel – and they are reeling in the results! 

SEO was voted the most effective marketing channel for law firms.

A 2022 research study by Brandmuscle found that 79% of law firms consider SEO to be the most effective marketing channel. This is no surprise, given that Google is the primary driver of organic traffic for all types of local businesses.

Businesses that rank #1 in Google see an average click-through rate of over 30%.

The #1 result in Google Search has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 31.7%. This means that about a third of all users click on the first search result. SEO can help your law firm rank #1 and drive more traffic to your website.

Local and organic searches make up 60%+ of all digital traffic.

Milestone Research conducted a study of 500 location-based businesses and found that local and organic searches together make up 69% of all online traffic (Organic Search: 46.5% of website traffic; Local Search: 22.6% of website traffic). Local businesses that employed local SEO by optimizing based on proximity outperformed in bringing in more website traffic.

Organic search generates 66% of call conversion for law firms.

A 2021 analysis by Ruler Analytics found that organic search generates the majority of call conversion (i.e. phone calls) for the legal sector. In other words, users turn to organic search more than any other channel when it comes to contacting law firms directly via telephone.

Directories are a leading driver of organic search traffic for local businesses. 

Directories like Yelp, Google My Business, and YellowPages often appear in the top five organic search results, making them a significant driver of traffic for local businesses. In fact, Yelp appears in the top five placements for 92% of Google searches that include a city and business category.

Benefits of SEO for Law Firms

SEO brings many benefits for law firms – far beyond just Google rankings. SEO is an effective marketing medium because it not only helps generate traffic, but can improve user experience, increase lead generation, earn client reviews, and so much more. 

Local traffic generation

Your potential clients are using Google to find law firms in their local area. As the leading driver of organic traffic, you simply can’t ignore the power of Google. SEO allows you to optimize your website and local listings for the geo- and service-specific keywords your potential clients are using to find law firms like yours. This can help you rank above your local competitors and drive more traffic to your website. 

Phone calls and leads

The Google Map Pack is a section of the Google search results that highlights businesses’ contact information (address, phone number, etc.). This is prime real estate for getting your business noticed and for generating phone calls. If you rank well in the Google Map Pack, you can generate phone inquiries and organic leads directly through your website.

Positive client reviews

SEO helps make your law firm easier to find, which in turn makes it easier for happy customers to review your business. Not only does SEO help give you a platform to generate reviews, but it also showcases these reviews to potential clients. Having positive reviews can be a significant difference maker in convincing clients to work with you versus your competitors. 

Better website experience

The technical principles of SEO ensure that your website provides a positive, interactive, and device-friendly experience for users. SEO empowers you to optimize your website for mobile devices, user experience, fast page speed, and more. By adopting SEO, you are able to offer a better experience than entices users to work with you. 

Social and email traffic

An optimized website makes your law firm more discoverable. It also gives users a destination for conversion via your email and social media campaigns. If you have an email newsletter, post on your blog, share content on Facebook, or use other social channels, your website offers a landing place for this traffic. Traffic from other channels can then be converted into new leads for your business. 

See more: Benefits of SEO for Law Firms

Case Studies: SEO Working for Law Firms Today

These are real case studies and stories of how SEO is working for law firms today. As a law firm SEO strategist, I empower my clients to use SEO for traffic generation, lead gen, reviews, and more. Here is how SEO is paying off for law firms now. 

5x Keyword Placements for “Top Class Actions”

Top Class Actions’ goal was to rank for high value keywords like “lawsuit lawyer”, “class action lawyer”, and other terms related to settlements. The law firm was already reaching millions of consumers, but wanted to rank #1 for more competitive terms. 

First, we conducted an audit to identify and fix technical and core web vitals issues. Then, we adopted a robust content strategy to help the brand perform on a new inventory of competitive keywords. We even moved the brand to the Google Analytics 4 platform (GA4) in order to provide better reporting, automation, and deeper insights into their customer journey. 

As a result of this SEO work, our client went from ranking for 96,000 to nearly 500,000 keywords. We also massively improved the site’s UX and overall website performance. This has resulted in more traffic, leads, and cases for Top Class Actions. 

Discovering the State of Law Firm Website Rankings

What does it take to rank for high-value keywords like “personal injury lawyer” or “DUI attorney”? This is a question many law firms ask – and one we constantly try to answer through data-driven SEO strategies. 

So, to deepen the understanding of law firm digital marketing, we analyzed organic rankings of nearly 16,000 law firm websites. The goal was to identify factors that contribute to how a page ranks for competitive keywords in Google. 

This case study confirmed:

  • The most important factors for ranking (number of entities on a page, entities in title tag, web page user experience, inbound and outbound links, and web page script tags)

  • Top recommendations for improving SEO rankings

  • The most popular law industry website(s) across all locations

  • The impact of Content Management System (CMS) on SEO

  • The impact of word count and content depth on SEO

  • How title tags and use of the word “best” in the title tags may impact rankings

In all, our findings validate most of what we know about SEO – that content is king, backlinks influence ranking, and Google values user experience factors. The findings hint at some of the signals Google pays attention to when ranking law firm websites.

Make SEO Work for Your Law Firm

It’s never too late to make SEO work for your law firm. SEO is one of the most impactful strategies for law firms today. The case studies, statistics, and studies prove this to be the case. Now it’s just a matter of getting started on your own SEO strategy.

Fortunately, I’ve published my guide for How to Plan an SEO Strategy for Your Law Firm. Use this as a framework for your SEO plan and then improve your strategy over time. Whether you take a DIY approach or work with a professional, I am confident that SEO will work for your law firm as long as you use data to your advantage. 

Copyright 2023 © Hennessey DigitalNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 300
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About this Author

Jason Hennessey CEO Hennessey Digital

Jason Hennessey is an entrepreneur, internationally-recognized SEO expert, author, speaker, podcast host, and business coach. Since 2001, Jason has been reverse-engineering the Google algorithm as a self-taught student and practitioner of SEO and search marketing.

702-994-6354
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