So you want to rank higher and get more leads from SEO but aren’t sure what services you need, how much they should cost, or how to gauge the experience of people who provide SEO services.
We’re going to break all of that down for you and provide real opinions from attorneys dominating the rankings on Google.
Common SEO Services for Law Firms
These are the most common SEO services law firms need to rank higher on Google:
If you don’t have someone on staff who’s savvy with SEO and need to hire an SEO agency, ensure they offer these services.
Something to keep in mind is that SEO is not the same thing as web design or web development.
Good design and UX (user experience) are important to the overall success of your website though. So if you need those services as well, make sure the firm you’re working with provides them and includes them in a statement of work.
Website audits aren’t sexy, but they’re an important necessity. They help anyone doing SEO understand what kind of shape your site is in. It’s like getting a work physical to figure out what’s healthy and what isn’t.
Audits come in a variety of forms. It really depends on the agency or SEO consultant performing them. In general, they evaluate:
What you’re doing well
Where your competitors are surpassing you
What things you can currently build upon
What things you can fix on and off your website that impact SEO
Gaps in the market you can fill with a better SEO approach
Local search is important for lawyers. When people are hurt or need to hire an injury lawyer, they’ll search for things like personal injury lawyer near me or personal injury lawyer chicago.
Google knows this and triggers map results of nearby businesses factoring in relevance, prominence, and proximity.
Optimization for local search helps you rank higher in the map pack when that happens.
Optimization of existing citations for NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency
Technical SEO is all about server and website improvements that make it easier for search engines to access, navigate, index (store), and understand your site.
You want to make it as easy as possible for search engine spiders (bots) to find and crawl (navigate) your site so they can index your pages faster.
Some common technical SEO services include:
Ensuring Google can access and crawl your website (e.g. checking robots.txt)
Checking for an SSL (secure socket layer) certificate and setting one up if needed (important for security and user experience)
Ensuring that your entire site is designed in a mobile-friendly way
Creating a sitemap that lists all pages on the site
Optimizing any existing sitemaps
Checking for and resolving HTTP status code issues
Checking site speed performance regularly and optimizing as needed
On-page or on-site SEO involves optimizing individual web pages to improve their quality for both Google and readers, thereby earning you more organic traffic. This includes reviewing and fixing existing pages and developing a plan for optimizing new pages as they’re published.
On-page SEO services include:
Aligning the page with searcher’s intent
Optimizing headings and other visible HTML elements
Optimizing the body content using tools like Clearscope
Standard outreach (to get someone to cite your page as a relevant resource)
Content-led PR (e.g. creating a data study on car crash statistics)
SEO strategy requires careful consideration of your local market and goals. The best lawyer SEO agencies start by learning what they can about the firm and then investigating the local market, using this information to craft a custom strategy.
When a relationship between a personal injury law firm and an SEO agency falls apart, it’s often because of poor communication or a copy-and-paste strategy that just doesn’t work in the lawyer’s actual market.
Does SEO Work for Law Firms?
Most law firms out there have been burned by legal SEO services. Plenty of attorneys give up on SEO because they didn’t get results with past campaigns.
The truth is that SEO does work, but only when it’s part of a strategy created and executed by people who know what they’re doing.
Our team has seen it time and again: spend the right time crafting the best strategy and focus on implementation and communication.
That’s what gets SEO results.
Take a look at what some of our clients have to say:
“Transparency is critical when working with an SEO vendor and the entire Rankings team are just that.”
Andrew Finkelstein, Jacoby & Myers
“I’m going up against competing firms that have multi-million advertising budgets – and we beat all of them.”
Gabriel Levin, The Levin Firm
When Corners are Cut
The graph below depicts the organic traffic of a personal injury firm that started working with Rankings.io in 2017 but left to work with a competitor law firm marketing agency at the end of 2021.
We drove their traffic up from nothing to over 100K visitors/month. After moving to a competitor, their performance fell by over 50%.
Hiring a Law Firm SEO Expert
Most law firm staff or attorneys don’t have the time or interest to maintain the level of work required for ongoing SEO.
That’s why many hire expert firms to handle it for them.
You can’t just Google seo for lawyers and call it a day (though, it won’t hurt our feelings—we rank #1 for it). You need to know how much to budget and how to evaluate an SEO service provider.
At Rankings.io, we start with budget expectations to get everyone on the same page. Many companies have popped up claiming to offer SEO services for law firms in the past decade, but not all agencies are created equal.
It’s critical to find someone with a track record and a proven process; you can’t afford to be someone’s guinea pig as they attempt to figure out how SEO works. It’s far better to go with a team that knows the legal landscape.
A proven process means a return on your investment
Several factors influence cost, including:
Current SEO efforts your firm made before hiring a team for SEO (such as existing organic rankings)
The competitiveness of your local market (such as how many other law firms are competing for similar keywords and practice areas)
How aggressively you want to pursue results
Whether you’ll be focusing on multiple SEO aspects at once or ramping up slowly
Perhaps the most important thing to know about hiring for SEO is that no matter what you pay for, it should be ROI-focused.
Get Referrals to Find Trustworthy Partners
As a starting place for finding best-in-class law firm SEO service providers, look for referrals. A referral from another lawyer, such as a law school colleague or someone you used to work with, can cut down on your research time by quickly connecting you with a top firm.
When seeking referrals from people you trust, be specific with how you talk about what’s most important to you. Getting traffic is a useless metric, for example, if none of that traffic is relevant to your practice area. Leads and cases are the most valuable metrics to measure here, so ask your peers for specifics:
How many new cases did they get?
How many quality new cases (i.e., ideal clients) did they get?
How much of a percentage increase in traffic did they get?
How much in-house time was saved by outsourcing SEO work?
If what you hear from a referral source matches online reviews, that’s a great start.
Make Sure They’re a Good Fit
Possessing the skills to create and deliver on an SEO campaign is only part of finding law firm SEO services. That’s just the baseline. For the best results, qualify an SEO partner by thinking through the following:
Define what a good partnership looks like.
How will you define success?
What services do you need and which ones are not important?
How often do you want to receive reports or updates and in what format?
Verify that a vendor’s offerings and style align with your goals
Confirm they either deeply know your target audience already or have proven systems to capture this information.
Do they have a background in personal injury law?
What customer voice research will you share with them or will they create?
What results have they achieved in similar competitive markets?
Seek out performance-based pricing, if you can. This gives you confidence in the SEO firm and them an incentive to deliver on what they promised.
You don’t want to get locked into a contract with an SEO agency that can’t deliver you the results you want. It’s a waste of money and, more importantly, time. Lost time is an opportunity cost. You’re delayed while the competition keeps moving forward.
Reviews Mentioning Communication Problems
Before you hire any law firm SEO service, do your own research.
Check multiple review sites like Clutch, Facebook, and Google.
If multiple other lawyers remark that they could never get an update on SEO efforts, that’s a big sign to run in the other direction.
There are a lot of agencies out there that are great at selling you on your dream but struggle to provide prompt answers to questions or regular reporting.
You need to know what’s going on with your SEO campaign and it should never be hard to get answers.
A Focus on Vanity Metrics
It doesn’t matter if you get 2,000 clicks a month to your website if none of them turn into clients. Getting to the first page of Google in a town of1300 people isn’t impressive either.
Business metrics matter, not vanity metrics.
Here are some metrics a good SEO company should be talking about instead:
Revenue in the door
Case velocity(leading indicator)
Profit per partner hour
Quality of leads received
Traffic clicks to calls
Keyword rankings for high-converting phrases(leading indicator)
Disinterest in Your CRM or Tracking Results
You live and die by your CRM in your law practice to track all important details about clients.
You shouldn’t have to track and store that information somewhere else just so your law firm SEO experts can track metrics.
If you don’t have a CRM, get one before hiring for SEO services. Both you and your SEO agency should be concerned about mapping results to your actual CRM.
To track those all-important metrics listed above, your SEO agency needs to see data on potential clients who converted from a lead to a case.
They can’t track lead quality or show ROI if they don’t have access to your CRM and Google Analytics.
If they’re not willing or able to do this, that’s one more thing that ends up on your plate—cases matter, not leads. You shouldn’t have to be the one telling SEO experts that, either.
Staying Too Focused on SEO Efforts Only
SEO is one piece of the puzzle, so treating these campaigns separately misses the bigger picture.
Your SEO agency should care about discussing and understanding your marketing strategy as a whole. This will help them develop plans for SEO and can allow all your various legal marketing activities to support one another.
If you’re working with an outside party or an internal team on other marketing services (such as PPC or traditional ads) for your law firm, make sure these companies know how to communicate with one another and what information should be shared.
High Employee Turnover
Why is an SEO agency’s toxic work environment or poor leadership your problem? After all, results are results, right?
High company turnover shows there might be major internal issues with the SEO agency. Since SEO is a long-term investment, it’s best to hire a law firm SEO service agency with a track record of happy employees who stay with the company.
If you spot multiple employees who have worked at that agency for a year or less only to transfer to a similar position elsewhere, there could be management problems.
Those only causes problems for you, such as not knowing who to get in touch with or a turnstile of new people who aren’t up to speed on your SEO efforts.
You don’t deserve to pay the price because an agency can’t manage retention issues.
Check out LinkedIn for employee tenure data and Glassdoor for real feedback from company employees.
No Reviews or Short Term Reviews
Someone without a proven track record raises some red flags, and most law firms don’t have the time or interest to be a test case to figure out if a new agency is the real deal.
No reviews? That’s a problem.
If they’ve been in business for over a year with no one who can say anything nice, it raises the question, “Are people following the doctrine of ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Most lawyers get excited when they see positive results rather than staying silent.
Reviews that mention things like “we worked with them for six months and saw some results” should only bring up more questions.
SEO is an ongoing effort, so either that agency didn’t understand how to structure campaigns properly or got fired midway through. Either way, that’s bad for you.
When someone has a proven track record over the course of years and, better yet, when they can keep those customers over that same period, add that SEO agency to your shortlist.
Overcomplicating Their Offerings
SEO is 80% strategy and only 20% actual execution, so it makes sense that some firms lean a little too heavily into the “Look how smart we are” direction.
They’re trying to earn your business by using jargon or overcomplicating how SEO works. But if they can’t explain it to you before you’ve even started, you’ll always feel like you’re in the dark.
You deserve to know exactly what you’re getting and why when you’re putting your company’s rankings and credit card on the line. Steer clear of anyone trying to make things more difficult than needed.
Tip: As mentioned, this isn’t a problem if they focus on business metrics instead. The language of business is one you can both speak and understand one another in.
There are many options out there when it comes to hiring for law firm SEO services. And it feels like there are new players in the game every day. Plenty of agencies fail to live up to their promises or to provide a great experience for the client.
The good news? Rankings.io has been in this game for years, consistently exceeding our client’s expectations. And we don’t have to brag about it because our clients do that for us!
“Their optimization work has boosted year-over-year organic site traffic by 174%. Accessible and organized, the team fosters an effortless collaboration by hosting regular meetings and showcasing progress. They are reputable SEO experts who know how to deliver results.”
– David Abels, Partner at Abels & Annes
If you’re ready to make an investment in SEO and become our next personal injury lawyer success story, we’re proud to stand behind our best-in-class services and systems.
Contact us today for a consultation about driving more cases and revenue for your law firm.
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