Going it alone with a solo law firm is hard but rewarding. You will have successes and failures, but don’t let one of those failures be your SEO. Let Civille help with our SEO guide for solo law firms in 2023.
Why is SEO Important for a Solo Law Firm?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, but really it’s the science of being found on the Internet. In business, they used to say that it was all about location, location, location. Why did they say that? Because your location is what helps you get found in the world. Though that is still important, most people are going to find you through the Internet. More specifically, through search. In this case, your location is where you rank on the search results page. Properly optimized, you can show up as high as possible for the terms that matter. How do you get there as a solo firm though? You optimize, sure, but what does that optimization look like? We’ll cover it in two sections: On-site SEO and off-site SEO.
On-Site SEO for Solo Law Firms in 2023
What does on-site SEO mean? It means any optimization you do to your website. You may think this is the only place to optimize, but as you will see when we get to off-site SEO, that is not the case.
Make Your Site Fast, Make it Mobile Friendly
When browsing, people want to see a site that’s fast, but there’s more to it than that. Google wants to see a site that is fast too. Even if your site has all the right information, you may find that you can’t compete in the rankings if your site speed is slow. Luckily, you can check this yourself with Google’s own page speed tester.
Desktop page speed used to be the benchmark that sites were tested by, but now it’s mobile page speed. Not only that, but Google wants users to have a similar experience regardless if the searcher is tapping from a phone or clicking from a computer. That means a responsive design that serves up the same content on all platforms and is lightning-fast on all platforms as well.
Much of this is a little outside of your control and comes down to the platform that you choose. Most of the big platforms are unfortunately slow. This includes options in the legal space as well as more general options like Wix and WordPress.
Speaking of the latter, the platform has garnered much love for its ease of use, which is the reason why Civille uses it as the backbone for our platform. With our proprietary enhancements, WordPress is capable of getting the fast load speeds and mobile-friendly designs that you want for your solo firm.
Content is King
If your site is fast, it’s still going to need to have the right content to win with search. This means an optimized homepage that makes it clear what your practice areas are and what physical areas you serve, all while having engaging and unique content. It doesn’t stop at your homepage though.
If you really want to succeed, then you should have content marketing to help drive that digital success. A good content plan can have you ranking for the terms that matter to you. Of course, you want to show up for your firm name and even practice area searches in your city. Do you know what could be even better? Showing up for terms that people are looking for before they start searching for a lawyer.
Imagine you have a Massachusetts law firm that specializes in OUI. How powerful would it be to a potential client if you show up for the term “Massachusetts refuse breathalyzer” in search? Now imagine you show up number one and with a featured snippet.
Not only does this mean that you have to produce an abundance of meaningful content, but you also have to go to work doing the research to find which keywords will have the highest potential of earning you the traffic that you want.
Ideally, this content should get published to your website a few times a month, if not more. You can also mix it up with content that targets your local audience more specifically without the legal focus. We call this local content, and it can provide a wide range of local info including holiday content. It may not get legal leads directly, but it keeps your brand top of mind and it helps show Google that you are an authority in your city or region.
Design and Branding are Important
Google is smart enough to know how useful your site is, but it isn’t directly smart enough to know if you have an engaging design with good branding. Do you know who is though? Your potential clients. And, in a way, Google can see this.
If your SEO is on point, and users are landing on your website, but when they arrive they find a site that looks horrible and unprofessional or just doesn’t feel like a fit, they are going to navigate away and select a different law firm. Google can see these decisions, and it can make changes to your ranking appropriately. If you’re number one, but clicks result in a bounce that leads to the number two option, guess who will soon be ranking number 1? Not you.
You want to build a cohesive site that uses branded colors and patterns that not only look good but are highly functional. Things should be where your users expect them to be and the site should look modern all while still being fast and having relevant content. It’s a difficult balance to maintain.
Off-Site SEO for Solo Law Firms in 2023
As its name suggests, off-site SEO refers to any optimizations that are done anywhere off of your website. This includes everything from listing sites like Yelp to your Google Business Profile and even any links that other sites may have to your own.
Google Business Profile
Too many firms are ignoring their Google Business Profile or GBP. In truth, if your firm is already established, chances are you have a GBP already you just may not have climbed it. Google creates these profiles for businesses that it identifies to help searchers find businesses on maps, look up business hours, find reviews, and more.
You NEED to claim this page or create one if Google hasn’t already done so for you. By optimizing this page with appropriate services, adding smart posts, creating products that relate to your solo firm, and keeping it up to date with accurate info, you will improve your chances to show up in map searches and more.
What’s more, it will give you a chance to cultivate, respond to, and even potentially remove Google reviews. You can almost think of your GBP as a mini website for your company, one that is commonly served up in search on maps and on mobile. Make sure you are in control of it and can make changes and updates when you need to.
Read More: Google Business Profile Guide for Lawyers
Check Your Listings
Much like GBP, many sites out there are going to have listings for your firm and some may even automatically generate those listings. We are talking about places like Yelp, FindLaw, Avvo, Yellow Book, BBB, your state bars, and your local chamber of commerce. You want to make sure that you have access to all of these listings and that the information reflected there is accurate.
If you aren’t listed in these places, then you should be. Having your site linked in more places, especially the places Google expects a law firm to be listed, will help add credibility to your site. This credibility will translate into higher rankings in search.
The More Links the Better
You want your law firm’s site to be linked in as many credible places as possible. This means showing up in news articles, having press releases down, collaborating with local events and businesses, and if your website provider cares enough, they will make sure that one of your backlinks is on their own website.
Backlinks are just another one of the many ranking factors that Google uses to determine your position in search. Not all backlinks are created equal. Some may give you a small boost, others a large boost. It all depends on the authority and relevance of the site with the link.
Backlinks can work in the opposite direction too. This is where the credibility comes from. If you are relying on a site or many sites in which you have to pay for links, then those backlinks could actually backfire and cause you to tumble down the rankings.
SEO and Websites By Civille
With our Civille platform, you can get the website that you want. One that both looks amazing and impresses Google with SEO and speed. You can get the local content, the Google Business Profile maintenance and optimization, and more. We drive it all for you so that you don’t have to.
Civille can help you build a website for your solo firm that will have even the big firms envious. Reach out to us for a free website review today!