For an industry steeped in a tradition of client referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations, the digital age has brought about a seismic shift for legal marketing. Personal recommendations are still influential but, according to several recent reports, online research is becoming increasingly important for consumers and businesses seeking out legal advice.
When sourcing legal services, time is of the essence for both consumers and businesses. Ensuring your firm is visible across a range of online channels, and therefore more likely to be discovered, is a critical step for all legal marketers.
With that in mind, here are our top tips when it comes to digital marketing for law firms:
1. Keyword analysis: establishing what your clients are searching for
The rapid online cycle underscores the growing importance of digital marketing for law firms. You can make sure your law firm is visible online in any number of ways (more on this later) but this should be based on thorough keyword analysis which establishes what your potential clients are searching for.
This process should begin by determining a list of potential keywords that are relevant to your firm’s service lines and locations. Legal marketers can then use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush to extend this list of keywords and identify which ones to target. These tools will reveal how many searches there are for relevant keywords, as well as how competitive they will be to rank for.
This insight will enable you to prioritise your digital marketing efforts and put strategies in place that enable you to be discovered.
2. Keywords: informational vs commercial
When you have identified the list of keywords relevant for your law firm you will notice that some are ‘commercial’ whereas others are ‘informational’.
Commercial keywords can be defined as keywords where the user is looking for a specific product/service such as ‘Corporate law firm Manchester’. Informational keywords are when the user wants the answer to a specific question such as ‘How to make a will’.
Securing high search engine rankings for non-branded keywords with either informational or commercial intent ensures early visibility and discoverability for potential clients at the outset.
So, now you have established what you want to be visible for, how do you make this happen?
3. Content marketing: the cornerstone of SEO
Content marketing is a key tactic for law firms looking to boost search engine rankings. Developing content around informational keywords can build trust and credibility, whereas targeting commercial keywords will drive potential clients to your website and key service areas.
Any effective content marketing strategy should focus on producing high-quality, informative assets, such as relevant landing pages, blogs, whitepapers, e-books, webinars and podcasts. Utilising a variety of content formats will help develop your online presence.
Search engines reward sites that are sharing informative content, so by sharing knowledge and expertise law firms will be able to increase their online authority.
4. Local SEO: reaching your local community
Local SEO is a game-changer for law firms looking to attract clients in their immediate vicinity. One of the key methods searchers will use when seeking out legal services is scanning the local area using Google / Google Maps.
Ensuring your law firm is listed on Google My Business and other relevant online directories will help you appear in these searches. Providing accurate contact information, business hours and images will all help to bolster your local presence.
5. Technical SEO: establishing strong foundations for success
Technical SEO is the backbone of digital marketing for law firms. While producing content focused on informational, commercial and local keywords is key, technical SEO ensures that this content has the optimal change of reaching its intended audience.
Optimising your law firm’s website will improve the user experience for visitors but will also improve your chances of ranking highly within Google. Firms should constantly monitor factors including site speed, mobile responsiveness and alt text on imagery.
6. Paid search the power of pay-per-click (PPC)
Paid search ads or ‘PPC’ are another channel that can boost your chances of attracting customers online. While organic search rankings are crucial to target, PPC enables law firms to appear for target keywords at the top of search engines quickly. This is particularly useful when targeting keywords that you have identified are highly competitive or when you are promoting a time-sensitive service.
7. Legal PR: building referral traffic, reputation and authority
While not purely a digital marketing channel, Legal PR is another critical tool for law firms to have in their arsenal. Generating media coverage for your firm in publications that are consumed and trusted by your key audiences is a key to building trust and reputation, but also to boosting your searchability.
Securing coverage in online media can boost what is known as your firm’s share-of-search. Increased awareness and increased online mentions leads to heightened digital visibility vs competitors. This will optimise the chances of being discovered by your target customers.
In addition to this, if these mentions come from media publications with high domain authority that is likely to increase referral traffic to your website and improve your overall SEO performance.
The digital realm has now become a primary battlefield for law firm marketing. Digital marketing for law firms has never been more important and a data-driven, client-first approach should be priority number one.