Search Engine Optimization for Attorney Websites: Be Realistic

You have your first website up and running, and you’ve started educating yourself about keywords, meta tags, and search engines. Or maybe you’ve hired someone to handle that part for you while you sit back and monitor the results. 

Either way, at this point, you probably feel like you’ve done everything right. And you’re probably thinking that there is no reason that your site shouldn’t be in the first spot on Google’s Page One for every search your potential clients could come up with. 

So, um, why aren’t you at the top? 

Well, there are actually millions of reasons. Billions, if you really stop to think about it.

And I think that’s where a lot of lawyers give up on search engine optimization (SEO). They get frustrated that they’ve put so much work into getting their law firm’s website and marketing off the ground, and they’re not seeing a huge change as soon as everything launches. 

But, honestly, they’re getting worked up over something that’s completely normal. And, like anyone that’s new to digital marketing, they’re just not being realistic about how SEO for law firms really works. 

How to Get Realistic About SEO for Law Firm Websites

As your knowledge of SEO deepens, you’ll realize that it’s not as easy as it looks at the start. There are a lot of considerations, and there are a lot of rules that are constantly changing. 
So, the first step to being successful with your law firm’s SEO is changing your mindset:

  • First, you have to think about the fact that the number of websites that are indexed by search engines has grown exponentially over the past few years. You have a lot of competition!
  • Secondly, you have to consider that, if you know a little about search engines, it stands to reason that so do all your other competitors. So, that competition is fierce!
  • You also have to consider the millions of people using search engines all use them in different ways. Someone looking for an attorney might not type the most obvious thing into the search bar. For example, instead of typing “Davenport Iowa car accident injury lawyer,” they might type “car crash.” This could give them anything from a body repair shop to a car dealership to a James Dean fan site. Those popular keywords that you see everywhere can totally miss the mark!
  • And, lastly, since search engine indexing parameters change on an almost daily basis, so do the standings. You might be on the first page one month and on page eleven the next. It doesn’t seem fair, but you could hit rock bottom overnight if Google throws you a curveball.  

So, why is all this happening to you? And why does it have to be so complicated to market a law firm?

Why Is it So Difficult for Your Law Firm Website to Move Up the Rankings?

First off, one of the major problems is that your site is brand new. Every conceivable keyword combination that you can think of has already been thought of by your competitors, and they have been using them on a regular basis on their sites, which have been up and running for a few years. 

Search engines tend to recognize and more readily accept older sites when they index them. If you have practically the same content and key phrases as a competitor website that has been up for a longer period, the search engines will give precedence to the older site. 

As you can probably guess, there isn’t any quick fix to that. You just have to wait it out. 

But, even though you can’t trick the search engines into thinking that your website is older than your competitors’ sites, you can stick with consistently updating your site. Try to make your content as unique as you possibly can, and put it out continually. 

Over time, your site should steadily gain in rankings and hits. If the content is also relevant to your practice and perfect clients, then you should also be growing your revenue and getting new clients from your website. (Here’s an idea of what you need to do to maintain your law firm website for the long haul.)

What it all really comes down to is time and adjustment. And that’s where you need to get realistic. 

Good search engine rankings require constant maintenance and constant updates. It also takes time to see results and interpret those results in truly meaningful ways. Anyone that promises you huge success overnight is simply telling you what you want to hear rather than what is realistic. 

You have to view SEO as an ongoing process and an investment, not a one-time fix. And keywords aren’t even the only thing that sophisticated search engines like Google actually look for! (Not sure what I mean? Check out what Google actually looks for on your law firm website.)

It should also be mentioned that the goal here isn’t just to get to the top of Google, Yahoo, MSN, Dogpile, or whichever search engine you prefer. The idea is to get new cases and to expand your practice. 

This might sound like an obvious statement, but you would be surprised as to how many SEO companies view top rankings as the “be all and end all,” and they treat the quality and relevance of the content as an afterthought.

So, being realistic means giving SEO enough time to work. But it also means not losing sight of your goals by getting too far into the “game” of keywords and rankings. You need to focus on attracting new clients and new cases to your door. 

Search Engine Rankings Won’t Help You If You Try to Game the System

Top rankings mean very little if your content is poorly written or your website focuses on the wrong things. If your homepage is little more than a meaningless jumble of key phrases and redundant content, how much confidence do you think a potential client would have in your services? 
Would it be better to achieve a high rank relatively quickly with sketchy practices, or would you rather achieve high ranking later on with content that reflects your skills, experience, and ability as an attorney? The choice should be obvious. 

Ultimately, getting to the top of Page One too fast is often a sign that a law firm is not playing by the rules and doesn’t care what kind of first impression it’s making on potential clients. And it’s not even the kind of hollow victory that lasts. 

In the end, websites that try to game the system either get penalized by Google or annoy the potential clients that do visit their keyword-stuffed pages. So, maybe they’re at the top of the rankings for the moment, but that alone won’t help them actually grow their law firms. 

There is no magic wand that gives your firm instant high rankings. And, at the risk of dispensing platitudes, it truly is the journey and not the destination that makes all the difference.

Is Your Law Firm Or Medical Practice Website Getting Enough Exposure? Foster Web Marketing Can Help With Our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services  

Are you concerned that your website isn't pulling in enough traffic to keep you swimming in leads? Do you need help with SEO for your legal or medical website? If so, Foster Web Marketing can help! Please contact us online or call our office directly at 866.497.6199 to schedule your free consultation with our experienced marketing team. We have been helping clients throughout the United States and internationally since 1998 and are confident we can help you not only reach, but exceed your goals.

Tom Foster
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