Imagine this… you spend thousands of dollars on a glossy new website, but your site gets no traction and you see little return on your investment. This is the reality for many law firms. They put money into creating the perfect website but put no resources into keywords and the search optimization process. What good is a website if it’s invisible to potential clients?
Why Keywords Matter
To understand the importance of keywords, you first need to understand search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process necessary to rank higher within internet search engines. Keywords are the terms that individuals enter into a search engine when looking for internet content. By implementing the right keywords, law firms can optimize their search engine results to best reach their target audience.
To take advantage of keywords and increase law firm profits, law firm leaders need to:
- Identify a specific set of keywords that are relevant to their firm, their website, and the legal services they provide
- Build website content around those keywords
- Build expertise around the keywords
There are three types of keywords for law firms to consider. General keywords are general terms that are commonly searched. For law firms, these would be generic terms like:
- Law Firm
- Law Practice
Because these keywords are so generalized, searching with them will get the user an extremely large amount of results. Without additional keyword strategies, a law firm can get lost in all of these results, which negatively affects visibility and profitability.
Secondary keywords expand on general keywords to give more specificity to the search engine. These are terms such as:
- Criminal Attorney
- Divorce Lawyer
- Estate Planning Law Firm
- Regulatory Law Firm
These terms often include a specific practice area or niche. They provide fewer results than general keywords, but with the crowded field of legal practices, secondary keywords can still net an overwhelming number of results.
Long-Tail keywords are specific phrases and the most productive type for narrowly tailored search results. These keywords may involve questions that potential clients typically ask or the geographic location for the desired service. Some examples include:
- Do I need a lawyer for a bail hearing?
- How do I dispute a temporary restraining order?
- Child support lawyer in St. Paul, Minnesota
- San Francisco DUI law firm
Long-tail keywords tend to provide more specific results, particularly when location-based keywords are included. American consumers commonly use their mobile devices to search out services, so location-based keywords can be particularly useful for these devices.
While law firm websites can benefit from each type of keyword, long-tail keywords provide an opportunity to present additional details about the firm right from the first search engine result. These added facts may be just what the client needs to contact the law office and seal the deal.
Here are some additional examples:
- Child Support Lawyer for Fathers
- Restaurant Real Estate Law Firm in New York City
- Natural Disaster Insurance Attorney in Florida
Using Keywords in Content
Another important part of the keyword strategy is using the chosen words within the content of the law firm website. Keywords and search engine optimization only introduce potential visitors to the site, with no guarantee that they will stay there or follow up with the firm.
Law firm websites must contain enough relevant content to satisfy visitors and compel them to call the office or complete the website inquiry form. If they don’t find the content they are looking for, potential clients will quickly move on to the next search engine result.
An effective law firm website uses various keywords throughout its content to create a funnel to the site. They use general, secondary, and long-tail keywords to provide search engines with an accurate picture of the site’s content.
Finding Profitable Keywords
The most profitable law firm keywords do not just fall from the sky. Finding them requires some effort and research. Considerations such as competition and cost per click help identify those that are most effective.
Fortunately, there are numerous resources to help lawyers find the most popular and profitable keywords for their websites. Available in free and paid options, these services use analytics tools to provide users with accurate and easy to understand data about specific keywords. Some of the websites that offer these services include:
- Moz is a marketing company that focuses on SEO. Their free resources include website SEO metrics and a keyword explorer
- Google Keyword Planner provides free keyword research for law that use their AdWords tool. Entering a single keyword or website address provides a list of related keywords and relevant metrics.
- Google Trends is also a free resource that provides lists of similar keywords and their popularity.
- Term Explorer is a paid option that can provide up to 10,000 keyword options from a single term.
Following up with Keywords Analytics
Once law firms Identify their ideal keywords and incorporate them into website content, it is important to periodically review site analytics to determine how well the keywords are performing. Ineffective keywords are of no value to a law firm because they are not drawing internet searchers to the firm’s website.
Keyword research tools can also help with this task by providing valuable information that evaluates the usefulness of keywords using current well-performing law firm keywords. Attorneys can also use the tools of Google Analytics to gain insight into their keyword productivity. Law firms should evaluate their keywords at least once a year to determine profitability and make necessary adjustments.
Keywords are an essential part of a law firm’s marketing strategy. With a little research and planning, law firms can maximize their websites for greater exposure and profitability.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, Personal Touch Edits, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.