If you’re an Attorney and are Not Ranking in the Top 3 Spots on Google, this is for you.
So you’ve made the decision to go at in on your own. Good for you.
Maybe you’ve worked in a firm for some years, are fresh out of school, or have had your practice for a few years and simply need to get more new clients.
Either way, you’re looking at an ocean of experts and advice. Really, no matter where you are with your firm’s history, today’s ways of finding new business can seem very daunting.
But let’s get something straight. Today’s ways aren’t much different, and client referrals are simply still the staple of any law firm.
Now when I say today’s ways aren’t much different, even in the world of SEO, PPC, Social Media, Video or blogging, they aren’t much different.
It still comes down to creating a message of value for your perspective audience. Period.
Creating Trust, Authority, Value & Perspective
This is the definition of marketing from the American Marketing Association.
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved July 2013)” [source: AMA]
This is basically saying to create a message that has value for clients and prospects, and put that message where those prospects are….oh, and make sure it’s a good message, one that has value for this audience.
SEO is just Marketing
The definition of Search Engine Optimization is different by the views of our industry, but here I’m going to show it’s the same.
“Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.” [source:Wikipedia]
Well by this definition, increasing the Quantity AND Quality of website traffic is the same as increasing the number of qualified leads for your firm. Therefore, by increasing where your business ranks in Google, in theory, you will increase the number of qualified leads for your practice.
The process to improve SEOis where these definitions cross, and in fact, are the same.
“Search Engine Optimization can be defined as the activity and process for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for clients, partners, prospects and the community at large. “ [source: Scott Gallagher]
In other words, create a message that has value for clients and prospects, and put that message where those prospects are….oh, and make sure it’s a good message, one that has value for this audience.
The SEO Industry is Ugly
Alright, enough high level discussion of SEO for Attorneys. I’m about to turn it up a notch.
The SEO industry is very defragmented, unregulated, saturated and highly misunderstood. Johny with an internet connection down the street can buy a course for $97 and call himself an expert. I know, my hobby business is selling a course on how to do this, for $97 a month.
I’ve approached the SEO industry with a marketing mindset since 2005….not a cat-and-mouse-reverse-engineers-the-algorithm-approach.
Search Engines Drive More New Leads to a Firm Than All Other Online Mediums Combined
So you have your referral system in place but now needs more new leads. You turn to the internet, and here you are.
Let’s face it, you can throw money at Pay Per Click. Or hire a young social media expert. Perhaps you want to get behind the camera. Maybe your web developers is trying to sell you SEO. Yelp is calling you selling you ads. Your association wants money for an email blast.
It’s confusing as f$%^!!!
But the fact remains the same, a search engine trumps all mediums.
Consider this. Whether you’re a Personal Injury Attorney or a Criminal Defense Lawyer, your clients go through a similar process in deciding you’re their best partner….and it’s unlike most other buying processes your client experiences.
No one wants to hire you!
Well, no one wants to deal with having to hire a lawyer, it’s almost always an uncomfortable situation your clients would rather not have.
But, your clients need you. And at some point, they realize they need you. It starts something like this.
- Problem Arises
- Problem is Researched
- Awareness Arrives
- Solution Devised
They get nailed in a car accident. They go home and research their pain and options they have. They learn they can sue and need a lawyer. The search for a lawyer. They hire a lawyer.
Now I’m About to Explain How this Applies to SEO
You need to be in front of the prospective client during step 2 and step 4. You need to help them during their research stage of their problem and their stage when they research which attorney to hire.
These are two different types of searches on the internet, and Google is going to handsomely reward you if you offer good help to these prospects and clients.
For example, if you’re an attorney in Chicago and someone like myself gets nailed from behind, I’m likely to first research my pain and how to address it.
But next I’ll want to know how those medical bills, my car and insurance situaitons are going to work.
I just to google and start searches like [neck injury car accident chicago]. Try that search, see what comes up. Notice Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at #1 in Google?
The rest of the listings are also attorney blogs that are based in Chicago! In other words, there are a select number of Chicago Personal Injury Firms showing up to help.
Now take a look at the top 3 posts. They are pretty good, aren’t they? They are all well written, they have good length, and they really help someone in need.
Rosenfeld’s post is specific to my search and problem. His posts offer REAL value. This firm is also ranking #1 in ALL OF CHICAGO, and this is only a 3 attorney firm (for now).
Now go do a search for [Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer].
Rosenfield is showing #1 Organically, Local Pack and an embedded local ad. They are cannibalizing 60% of the entire Google real estate.
With 113-4.8 star reviews and this exposure, this firm with 3 attorneys is enjoying picking and choosing their clients. They are turning down more cases than they are accepting. Imaging their bankroll!
Because Rosenfeld is showing up when a prospect is looking for help, Google is rewarding them when a prospect is searching for an attorney for that help.
Do you get it now?
SEO is about helping your prospects before they know they need you.
This is the type of content you should have 80% of your focus on. Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? This is it with SEO. The smoking gun.
Of course distribution of that content is important too. But I’m here to simplify it and give you some direction.
This is What You Need
Need is defined by something necessary. There are just some things you need if your plan is to double or triple the number of leads you currently are getting.
A Website is an important obvious need. Your website should bring your prospect through the journey of answering their questions and overcoming their objections. I’m not here to talk about websites in great detail, so if you want to know more you can go learn more here.
Having a Social Mediapresence is kind of important these days. But you don’t need to be jumping on there every day posting about your day. You’ll want to propagate the content you create to your social channels. Pick your favorite three or four. You’ll want a simple profile on each.
Grab a Zapier account and connect your website blog to each of the social channels. Now you never have to log into those channels when new valuable content is created on your blog.
Business Profilesare equally as important as your website. If you have not claimed your Google profile, you
In about six months, plan on creating Video. This is the best way to convey your physiology to prospective clients before meeting them. Yes, I mean you on camera. If you’re not comfortable with this, there are many alternatives.
In a perfect world, that’s about it. In the world of SEO, propagation is crucial.
InBound Links are Evil
The fundamental foundation of SEO from the first time Larry Page and Sergey Brin created the first Google algorithm was about links…inbound links. Brin had a vision of link hierarchy [source:Wikipedia].
That was 1996. Now in 2019, 2020 and beyond, it’s not just about inbound links. I remember back in 2005, maybe through 2009, we could rank a website practically overnight by sneezing 40,000 links to it.
I had tested almost every way imaginable to fire links to websites. At the end of the day, Google has won that battle and has figured out the world of artificial intelligence to help its algorithm.
The truth is now Google is figuring it out. They are doing a pretty good job at rewarding businesses who help its patrons through the unique buying process of small businesses.
The better business you run, the better Google results you’ll have
It seems simple because it is simple. It’s just not easy. It takes time. A lot of time. Think of it as proving yourself to Google to get that certification….just like how long it took you to prove to your school that you deserved to be an attorney in the United States.
That mountain you’re climbing …. You’ve just reached base camp. Those that reach the summit are farther and fewer between.
Those attorneys that put the time, effort and money into building a competitive practice on the Internet will be greatly rewarded. But you still have to a great lawyer…sort of 😉 McDonalds is still a great business with an inferior product. But that’s a conversation for another time.
It’s Just Marketing
When I first started university, I had intended on two majors, business and computer science. I finished five years later with an honor Bachelor of Commerce and double minor in Marketing and computer science.
My first year in a marketing class, one of the first things we learned was Customer Segmentation. This in simple terms is knowing who you are talking to.
If you’re a Criminal Defense attorney, you have to be empathetic to those arrested for a DUI and understand their problems…from their perspective. Their perception is their reality.
- Create a solid Service based page that answers their most pressing concerns. Just go back to those initial meetings with DUI clients. What were their first and most pressing questions. Answer those on this page, along with conversion optimization elements.
A Family Law Attorneywho works with fathers will want to provide relief that their case is safe with expected results.
- Guide prospects to stories of others, to those who have left reviews or blog posts that discussed several detailed stories of other fathers. You want someone to be able to relate to their situation.
A Personal Injury Attorneywill boast about winning that $3M case against a local drug firm.
- Create a press release about case settlements. Distribute those press releases properly to PR distributions services.
You Can’t Be a General Practice Attorney on the Internet
You can’t be a criminal lawyer and hope to rank for personal injury lawyer. Let’s face it, most attorneys would love to have a prominent PI firm. It’s not going to happen, at least not for a while.
Your best bet is to narrow down on specific niches. If you’re a criminal lawyer, be the best criminal lawyer for misdemeanors, or serious drug crimes…you’re not going to get exposure for both quickly.
Find out what you’re best at, along with what you enjoy most and create content that speaks to that audience. Of course a plan is critical to begin with. We will create an initial 1-yr SEO plan for you if you’d like, check it out here.
Every firms plan would be different. You are different than your next competitor, right? Your plan is also different.
Your Marketing Budget Shouldn’t be Less Than Your Coffee Bill
At $5 a coffee, an average of 21 days, that’s less than some SEO services I’ve seen per month. That can’t make sense.
At $1000 per month, you can expect systematic processes employed or the efforts of rookies trying to decipher the seas of processes taught.
Quality SEO is a big piece of all your marketing efforts. Your communication and exposure.
The average attorney in your shoes spends about 5% on target revenue 12 months from now.
So if you want to bill $500,000 in 2020, your marketing spend right now should be $25,000 this year.
With the median Criminal Defense attorney’s salary at over $200k, their firms are grossing 8 figures.
A $2M firm should be spending $100k on marketing, however this is the magic revenue number where marketing spend percentage decreases. Think economies of scale.
Your Next Step
Now you’ve read this far, it’s time you take this next step and schedule some time with me on the phone. I’ll ask you a bunch of questions about your firm and goals and discuss with you what kind of plan it might take to reach that goal by using the internet.
If you’re interested in learning more about doing the work yourself, I’ve got this video for you below!
(maybe you’re ready to hire us, but want to know more about our process – this video will also be great for you!)