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Some people don’t have the time to work on improving their sites search engine rankings and attracting more clients, so they hire professionals. Other’s don’t have the money, so they try to do it themselves. I will show you ten steps you can take today to drive prospects to your law firms website. This list is going to assume that you have a website and it has at least a couple pages of content on it. A lot of this information is going to apply mostly to Google, since they have the majority of the search market share right now. However, you can apply these to other search engines as well and should see results. Without further interruption, here are ten steps you can take today to drive clients to your law firms website:
1.) Basic On Page Search Engine Optimization
As a core part of Search Engine Marketing, SEO is very effective for ranking your website higher on engines. Some of the things you can do right off the bat would include optimizing your title tags and interlinking your pages within the content. You can find a great article to help with this at SEOmoz’s Beginners Guide to Small Business SEO. Some examples of title tag optimization would be something like this:
Personal Injury Attorney Lincoln, Nebraska | Berginer & Grapes
See the difference? The 2nd title is much better for Search Engines and users. The engines still look at title tags as a direct reflection of the pages content. It is one of the most important on page SEO factors. If they see that title in search result they will instantly know what you do, where you are and the name of your practice.
2.) Get Listed Locally and Get Reviews
Google Local, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp, City Search, Yellow Pages, the list goes on and on. There are two ways to approach listing your law firm locally; The first is to pay for a service like Universal Business Listing that will allow you to place all of your firms info in one location and then they will manually create accounts at each site for you. The second is good old ” do it yourself.” If you choose to do it yourself, then I would suggest starting with the most valuable locations. Below is a list of direct links to the local business centers of the corresponding site:
- Google Local Business Center
- Yahoo Local Business Center
- Bing Local Business Center
- Yelp for Businesses
- City Search (search for your business, if not listed it will give you a link to add it)
- Info USA (This site feeds a lot of local directories and yellow pages)
After you are listed, encourage previous clients to review your business. After all, honest, positive reviews will help separate your firm from the other guys.
3.) Pay Per Click
Google Adwords and Yahoo’s Overture program are highly effective ways to get targeted traffic to your site immediately. If you are not familiar with Pay per click (PPC), then basically, it is an Internet advertising model used on websites, in which advertisers pay their host only when their ad is clicked. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market (i.e. “Criminal Lawyer Naples, Florida”). For more information on pay per click and a quick PPC 101, please visit the Learning Centers at both Google and Yahoo.
4.) Social Networking
Social networking for law firms has become more and more useful. There is Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Ning, FlickR, etc etc. Let’s focus on a more popular networking for professionals, Linked In. Marketing Sherpa has an excellent article on using Linked In to generated business that you can find here. Using their case study and applying it to the legal community would go something like this:
- Join groups related to your area of expertise (e.g., criminal attorney group for a criminal attorney), but focus on groups with a highly engaged audience, rather than simply the largest audience. Look for groups where the discussions have multiple comments from members, rather than just one or two. You can read through recent group discussion posts of groups you have joined to find the most active.
- Freely share white papers and other resources with your group. Don’t do it in a salesy manner. For example, when you promote a new white paper, you could write a message to the group announcing the new title, sharing a link to it on your site, and asking group members to provide feedback paper itself.
- Monitor ongoing conversations to find opportunities to comment on other people’s topics. Link out to your site when appropriate, but often consider just sharing an opinion or giving feedback on other group members’ comments to build trust within the group.
- A more advanced technique could also be used by anyone who is web savy. When providing links to materials on LinkedIn consider creating custom landing pages that specifically address the LinkedIn audience for a more seamless transition.
5.) Press Releases
Befriend the release. Forget about being bashful. Make your firm look like the best firm on the planet. Any award, recognition or testimonial you get that sticks out- write a press release. Not only will it benefit your firms Online Reputation, but it will generate links for your site. If your content gets syndicated this could be incredibly valuable to your website and search engine rankings. Try to highlight specific services that correlate with the releases purpose. For example, if one your firms lawyers were recognized for being a trial lawyer of the year, then drive home the point in the release and how well the firm handles trials and how successful -lawyer x- has been in the time with your firm. A couple places for online press releases:
6.) Start a Blog
One of the best things you can do to increase traffic is to add new content. Most law firms websites will not be dynamic, in fact, your sites content may never change because you offer a service and that service is what it is. To get around that, start a blog and write regularly about interesting, unique and valuable content. The posts do not have to be long, they just have to be valuable. Did a new law just change in your county of practice? Write about it. Offer insights to the new law, why it was passed, what it means, etc.
Starting a blog is very easy. You can either start a blog on a popular site like WordPress.com or Blogger, or you can start a self hosted version and keep it on your website. My advice is to do the latter. Keeping everything on your site will be extremely valuable to getting you content crawled by search engines and users to the actual site. As for setting it up, there are some great tutorials on how to set up a wordpress blog. You also have the option of paying a professional a small fee to set it up for you.
7.) Join the Big Four Directories
This one is self explanatory, sign up for the four big directories and submit your website into each. They each have a fee associated with them except for DMOZ, which is an open directory project and inclusion is dependant on the editor of your category. Here are the direct links to the sites:
8.) Write Guest Posts on Popular Niche Sites
Writing guest posts on popular sites within your niche, in this case, the legal community is a great way to easily get some quality links back to your site (and overall traffic) from the most popular blogs in your niche. Guest posting is completely free, but you need to know how to write guest posts. There are some nice guides that you can find here and here that will help with that.
9.) Usability and Calls to Action
If you don’t have any calls to action on your site, you fail marketing 101. Using call to action phrases like, ” Get Help Now!” or ” Contact us today!” are still effective and should not be neglected on your site. Your site should also be very easy to use. A prospect should be able to go on your site, find out some information about you and be able to contact you without any guess work. Streamline your site to tailor to your visitors. Great websites are intuitive. They reflect serious back-end homework and have been strategically developed to engage specific target audiences. If you want your website to work as it should, anticipate what your prospects and customers are looking for and give it to them.
10.) Build a Return Group of Visitors
Developing a return group of followers will help you brand your firm and allow for user generated content, such as comments on your blog or guest posts by other legal bloggers. Your traffic will continue to grow and your site will earn natural links to help you rank it better in search engine result pages.
If you have any other suggestions or anything that has worked in your experience, please feel free to comment below and we can add it to the list. Also, be sure to check out The Wells & Drew Companies Legal Supplies page for all of your legal supply needs.