Law Firm SEO Tools
You can’t begin optimizing your site for search until you have the proper tools to do it.
Just like you need the right tools to successfully work on your car, you also need the right tools to analyze and optimize your website to rank well in search.
In the course of our work, we’ve tested many different SEO tools, so we have a great understanding of what works and what doesn’t. We’ve organized them by category below.
Domains and Hosting
For the most part, hosting is a pretty commoditized business. In other words, it’s like buying milk: no matter where you get it, it’s pretty much all the same.
That is true, of course, as long as you are with a good hosting company. A bad hosting company can make marketing your website a huge challenge. After an experience like that, you really learn to appreciate the ones that do it well.
Namecheap is a reliable host with a lot of great features. Founded in 2000, they provide domain name registration, hosting, security and other web-based services.
Here are some pros to going with Namecheap.com
- Extremely inexpensive domain name registration (some are less than a dollar)
- A professional and easy-to-use interface
- The latest services for managed WordPress hosting
- Excellent customer service (a huge plus when it comes to hosting)
- SSL certificates
- Applications that make adding functionality to your website easy
To stand out in the hosting world, companies really have to be on top of their game and Namecheap does that well.
WordPress has roughly 27% market share of all websites on the planet. That is a huge chunk of the internet using their CMS. WP Engine is specifically designed for managed WordPress installations (full disclosure: we are a WPEngine affiliate).
That’s important to point out because that means they know the platform inside and out. WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs on the Internet right now. If you had a site built recently, the chances are good that the person who built it probably did it in WordPress.
WPEngine’s services are tailored to work well with WordPress, meaning they provide the most updated software versions, security settings, and back-end technical support that WordPress needs to run effectively and consistently.
They can also recommend the best plugins and themes, as well as provide the best support for WordPress sites.
SEO Competitive Analysis Tools
SEMrush is an on-site SEO and backlink analysis tool. It is web-based software that you can use to make SEO projects and printable reports. They also can gauge the difficulty of keywords they want to rank for, compare domains, and do analysis on paid advertising. A one month subscription is $79, a recurring monthly plan is $69 per month, and an enterprise version (called Guru) goes for $149.95 per month.
One of the things that sets SEMrush apart from other SEO tools is that you can do some pretty in-depth analysis on PPC related data. For example, SEMrush will show you keyword history as it relates to search ads, average cost for competitive keywords, and the same data for your competition.
Ahrefs is all about link analysis. They have developed a number of other features as well, but their claim to fame has always been the analysis of links pointing at a website. Here are some highlights on why Ahrefs should be your go-to software program for link analysis:
- Get a complete picture of all referring domains to your site including type of TLD, number of unique domains, number of backlinks, dofollow vs nofollow, and even the anchor text used on each backlink
- See trends over time on when links were acquired (a very useful feature for tracking campaigns and also for spotting any fishy negative SEO behavior)
- See broken links that are coming from your website to others, which is great for fixing usability issues
- Some of the newer features at the time of this writing include organic keyword data, keyword rank tracking, PPC keyword analysis, and competitive link analysis tools
Majestic has another take on link analysis. You get all the same analysis touch points that you do with some of the other leading programs, but you can explore domains in a little more depth.
One really nice thing that sets Majestic apart is their Trust flow metric. The source of a link is one of its most influential aspects. Google (and other search engines that rely on linking as a ranking factor) looks at the source of links to determine how trustworthy the target site is.
The more authoritative and trustworthy the site a link is coming from is, the greater the benefit it provides to the target site. Majestic provides reporting on those metrics and places links into topic categories so site owners can see where their most trusted links are coming from. This is extremely helpful when looking to increase topical relevance for practice areas.
Moz Link Explorer
Link Explorer (formerly Open Site Explorer) is a link analysis tool from Moz. Moz is a trusted name in SEO and yet another flavor as SEO tools go. Using Link Explorer, you can get metrics on anchor text, inbound links, competitive analysis, and top pages in terms of links.
Moz is not as robust as some of the competitors, but it is a solid tool for backlink, keyword, and spam analysis.
Onsite Auditing Tools
Lawyers can get a snapshot of what their onsite status is using Screaming Frog’s crawler. It is a desktop software program that can be installed on PC or Mac. With the free version, up to 500 pages can be crawled and the following information extracted:
- Number of pages
- Page titles with length
- Meta descriptions with length
- Meta keywords
- Page status response code messages (like errors)
- SERP previews
- Header tags for each page
- Directives (i.e. redirects, robots tags, etc)
Screaming Frog is a simple onsite analysis tool to get all the nuts and bolts of pages quickly. It can help you identify obvious issues with core onsite elements. We use Screaming Frog for our law firm SEO audits and to inform the initial stages of onsite SEO changes.
This is a great tool for finding duplicate content and broken links across your site. Locating issues like this is nearly impossible without software. Businesses would have to comb through every page of their site, reading content and clicking on links, to find any problems.
Just plug in your domain name to scan your site. Siteliner generates a detailed report showing you exactly where all the issues on your site are.
Free SEO Tools
Google has a vested interest in making sure site owners provide a good experience to their users. After all, Google is only as good as the sites it is able to serve to its own users. All of the following tools are free to use.
One of the most widely used analytics’ platforms is provided by Google and it is completely free. Google Analytics is relatively easy to use and provides site owners with a lot of basic (and some advanced) data related to their website visitors.
For WordPress users, Analytics is also extremely easy to install. There is a fair amount of documentation on the web about how to use the platform for web tracking.
Google Keyword Planner
Google’s advertising platform (AdWords) is accompanied by a keyword research tool known as the keyword planner. With it, you can get data on search volume for any given keyword phrase. Like Analytics, the planner is also completely free.
Google Search Console
Formerly Google Webmaster Tools, Search Console is a tool specifically for technical SEO related research as well as keyword positioning. Search console is also a Google product and free of charge.
Once set up on the platform, website owners can track rankings for pages and the keywords associated with them. They can also get reports on indexed pages, HTML improvements; send requests for Google to fetch pages and more.
Google Mobile Friendly Test
The Mobile Friendly test is a scan provided by Google to make sure a website is mobile friendly. Not only can site owners figure out if their site is mobile friendly in Google’s eyes, but they can also get specific tips on how to fix those issues.
Google Pagespeed Insights
Site owners can plug their domain name into Google’s page speed analyzer to see how quickly the page loads. Page load time is said to be a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, so pages that load slowly may not fare as well as those that load quickly (all else being equal of course). Like on the mobile scan, Google will also provide recommendations to fix page speed issues if they exist.
Google Trends helps site owners identify keyword search volume over a specific time period. Where the keyword planner shows other keyword variations and their search volume, Google Trends provides insight into how users are searching over the long term.
Structured Data Testing Tool
Structured data like microdata helps search engines understand the meaning behind text content. Structured data markup can be tricky to implement, so Google provides a free scan tool that site owners can use to see if their markup has been installed correctly.
Answer The Public
Answerthepublic.com is an amazing keyword suggestion tool that lays out similar terms in different formats like questions, propositions, comparisons, and more. While it does not provide more granular metrics like search volume and competitiveness of phrases, it’s fantastic at generating seed lists of phrases and organizing them based on intent.
Analytics and Measurement
AA is a web-based analytics and reporting tool that can generate attractive, easy-to-read reports on your SEO campaigns. You can import data from a variety of sources, such as Google Search Console, Google AdWords, and Bing.
Lawyers can track things like site rankings, desktop and mobile stats, backlink data, and landing page statistics like bounce rate and pageviews.
The best part about Agency Analytics is the easy-to-read interface. Data is laid out in graphs and charts, making it easy to quickly see how things are shaping up with a digital marketing campaign.
Tracking inbound calls is almost always a must when running SEO campaigns. Callrail allows lawyers to set up a tracking number and apply it to their site. They don’t even have to change the default number that shows on their pages; this allows attorneys to get a truly accurate picture of which people are coming from Google search results and making a phone call vs. those that visited via some other channel.
WordPress SEO Plugins
The Yoast SEO plugin is perhaps one of the most well-known SEO plugins for WordPress. With Yoast, businesses can perform all of the basic on-site SEO tasks to their blog or website by easily plugging in values in text fields.
Yoast also has really helpful content analysis that tells you if the text you wrote in a page or in a post is readable or not. For example, huge blocks of text with no images or other elements can be difficult to digest.
Structured data markup is important for search engines to be able to interpret the text that they read and understand why it may be important to searchers. Adding schema markup (whether in the microdata format or otherwise) can be tricky.
The Schema plugin allows users to easily add schema markup to content on their site without having to know a programming language or guessing which elements should have markup.
Buffer is a social syndication application that allows you to connect multiple social profiles. Attorneys can syndicate content and configure posts all within one dashboard. Buffer makes it easy to connect the profiles of employees, partners, and other employees, so you can syndicate your content without having to log into multiple social profiles.
While Buffer makes it super-easy to push out a wealth of content from one website, it can be challenging to leverage the strengths and advantages of each network through the application.
Staying organized is one of the keys to working as efficiently as possible and generating results. That’s true for us as an agency, as well as for law firms that deal with mountains of information and complex procedures, often for multiple clients at a time.
Trello is a great tool for staying organized in business. It has a visually appealing interface, lots of power-ups and add-ons to improve usability, and the ability to integrate with other services like Google Docs, Dropbox, Calendly, and If This Then That amongst others.
Local SEO Tools
Bright Local is a citation-based tool. It helps law firms spread their business information across the internet quickly and consistently and with far less effort than doing it manually.
Basically, you fill out your firm’s information (including name, address, phone number, website, etc.) and then Bright Local sends that information to a variety of business directories and data aggregators. Bright Local costs $55 annually as opposed to Moz local at $84.
Coming up with content that your audience will love is no easy task. Fortunately, Buzzsumo makes that challenge a little easier. Using a few keyword phrases, lawyers can find other content on the web that has been frequently shared.
You can search on a keyword phrase to see what content has been written about the topic. It can display links built to those relevant pages, number of social shares, publication dates, and snippets of the content from the site it is published on. You can even filter by date, language, country, domain, and content type.
User Experience Testing
User testing can get expensive, but Crazy Egg provides an affordable and easy to use method for usability testing. All website owners have to do is apply a single snippet of code to their website and Crazy Egg will track clicks and display them in a heat map-like pattern on the page.
Even though it is basically just clicks on the page, you can get all kinds of insights into user behavior, such as referral source, time on site, page views, bounce rates, and other metrics, all in perspective of where people are clicking.
Visitor Conversion Tools
Leadpages.net is a subscription-based web page and light box builder. It has a drag-and-drop interface, allowing users with no programming knowledge to build visually appealing landing pages and popups that are already designed to convert web visitors into leads. You can choose from dozens of free and paid templates, host the content on Lead Page’s servers, or use the WordPress plugin to host your creation right on your site.