Like all other companies, family law firms are highly dependent on organic traffic from search engines. Ranking on top of search results can significantly increase your online visibility, which helps you generate more family law clients while simultaneously boosting brand awareness. Furthermore, having a well-designed, well-optimized site can improve all other marketing efforts.
In this article, we talk about the benefits of family law SEO. We’ll also share a step-by-step guide that will help you create a perfect SEO strategy for your legal business.
What are the benefits of SEO for family law?
Family lawyers can gain enormous traction by ranking at the top of search engine results. Here’s how a law firm can benefit by implementing an actionable SEO strategy:
- Improved online visibility
- Long-term brand development
- Indirect benefits to other marketing campaigns
- Higher client conversion
The main reason why divorce lawyers invest in SEO is to boost placement within the search results.
Many marketing experts consider organic traffic the best type of online traffic as it provides long-term value. Once you reach the first page of Google, it’s hard for another company to overtake you in rankings. In comparison, PPC benefits will only last while you pay money.
But there’s an even better secondary effect of SEO campaigns. During website optimization, a digital marketing agency will also polish the features of your site, improving user experience. These improvements affect all your marketing efforts, increasing sales across the board.
What are the drawbacks of SEO for family law?
Despite enormous benefits, not every law firm will go for search engine optimization. Truth be told, the marketing approach has a few drawbacks which might dissuade you from investing:
- SEO takes time to kick in
- A divorce lawyer has to share website access
- A bad provider can mess up your law firm’s site
People who are against optimization often cite the long time to experience the first improvements as the biggest obstacle. In most cases, a law firm needs at least two or three months to notice the first bump in organic traffic. Because of that, many companies prefer social media, email marketing, paid campaigns, and other promotional method.
While this can be a problem, especially for attorneys looking to generate quick leads, SEO remains the optimal long-term solution. Organic traffic beats just about any other traffic source serving as a valuable brand awareness tool. Even if you perform optimization for a limited time, you’ll still retain benefits, something that can’t be said for paid advertising.
8 Steps of family law firm SEO
Family lawyer SEO is similar to any other form of optimization. The process starts with a technical audit, during which an expert assesses the state of the website. This is followed by competitive research and target audience analysis.
Once a marketer has a better understanding of the industry, he can start keyword research followed by content creation. An SEO agency can create a perfect message for its user, increasing engagement and conversion. Lastly, the process is rounded up with link building which provides an additional boost to page rankings.
1. Technical audit
Technical SEO is the first thing experts need to do when they take on a new project. During technical optimization, an SEO agency checks the overall state of a family law site, ranging from its architecture, website speed, mobile optimization, and other factors.
These are some of the improvements a search engine optimization agency will make during the audit:
- Improving website architecture
- Boosting page speed
- Making a legal website mobile-friendly
- Giving access and preventing access to certain pages
- Simplifying and hastening indexing
- Eliminating various errors
- Eliminating potentially harmful links
- Adding new security measures
- Adding Schema Markup
- Checking the ranking pages and SEO keywords
SEO audit sets the basis for all other optimization and marketing processes. Given that your legal website is the landing destination for social media and pay-per-click posts and ads, providing a good user experience is paramount for conversions.
Technical factors are negative ranking factors but not necessarily positive ones. In other words, if your family law website doesn’t function properly, it can severely hinder your search engine rankings. However, making all these improvements doesn’t necessarily give you a boost; it only puts you on the same level as everyone else.
While technical SEO won’t necessarily give you a ranking boost, having a slow loading speed or poor architecture will make it virtually impossible to reach top spots for competitive keywords. Among others, this process helps you determine how much work has been done on the site and how many improvements you’ll need to introduce.
2. Researching target audience
Like in every other business, audience analysis is one of the main aspects of marketing. It’s critical to understand the potential clients so you can formulate brand messaging tailored to their needs. With this information, you can create posts best suited for that age group, gender, and education level.
A legal company also has to determine whether it’s catering to B2C or B2B clients. Targeting other companies usually requires a more formal language that utilizes lots of professional expressions. On the other hand, if you’re going for a B2C audience, your posts need to provide clarity and accurate information.
Google Analytics is your best friend in this particular case. This comprehensive tool gives you detailed information about all the users that visited your legal website. Not only does it show demographic data, but it also analyzes their buyer’s journey, showing how they interacted with the content.
3. Competitive analysis
Similar to target audience research, competitive analysis is a process that comes before keyword research and content creation. Besides checking their relative “strength,” link, and content profile, competitive analysis is essential for understanding other brands’ methodologies. Among others, it tells you how reliant they are on social media, email marketing, referral marketing, and paid campaigns.
Competitive analysis can help you in numerous ways:
- Analyzing top competitors helps you understand the target audience a bit better. By checking their top-performing articles, you can see how they communicate their message to readers and what kind of writing style works
- Checking their landing pages can provide information about ideal branding practices. It can give ideas on how to design your site and what the menus should look like. While you shouldn’t use the same site template, you can find something similar to what they use
- Researching keywords helps you understand which phrases you can rank for and which ones are out of your reach (in the following section, we’ll cover this in-depth)
- Performing link profile analysis can serve as the basis for your own link-building campaigns. If you notice that the same sites are linking to your legal competitors, you should try pitching them yourself. Link profile analysis also helps you discover sites that allow guest posting
SEO tools such as AhRefs and SEMRush are fantastic for spying on your competitors as they give you exact data about ranking pages and links. During the process, you’ll also have to visit their platforms, assess their articles, and read online reviews to learn what prospective clients think of them.
4. Keyword research
Keyword research is a process that comes before content creation. During this analysis, you gain additional insights regarding the common industry phrases. Here are the main things that an SEO agency has to consider during this step:
- Keyword volume (number of monthly searches)
- Keyword difficulty (number of competitors’ pages)
- Keyword relevancy (keyword’s impact on your bottom line)
Keyword research is essential for all other processes. If you mess up this step, you’ll just waste time creating content and building links without getting enough in return to justify the investment.
Volume is the main factor to consider. There isn’t much point in writing about topics that can potentially bring 100, 200 unique visitors each month. Instead, you should focus on phrases that can bring at least 1,000 each month.
Like everything else pertaining to keyword research, volume can be a tricky category. Although phrases with more traffic are usually better, you also need to consider their commercial intent and conversion rates. In other words, family law firms should analyze how this volume would affect their bottom line.
The difficulty is usually proportionate to volume; the higher the difficulty, the more monthly visitors for that keyword. Savvy SEO marketers make their money by finding phrases with solid volume but with a difficulty that’s below that of organic traffic.
Keep in mind that the SEO tools’ difficulty scores can be misleading. They commonly assess the total number of pages without taking into account the power of individual pages. The best way to address this discrepancy is by visiting the search engine ranking page by yourself and analyzing top-ranking articles.
Ultimately, pursuing phrases you can’t rank for is a waste of time. That being said, you need to set realistic goals. Smaller legal sites often focus on keywords with less traffic but with significantly lower difficulty and build their platforms by slowly increasing their brand awareness.
As the name implies, relevancy shows you the importance of a keyword for your business. Ideally, you should focus on phrases that are best suited for your target audience. Creating content on irrelevant topics might increase your organic traffic, but this is usually fool’s gold as you’ll never make money out of it.
Although legal sites usually focus on lucrative “money keywords,” such as “immigration lawyer near me,” it’s also good to generate organic traffic through other phrases. Keyword research is often a balancing act where you try to get as much relevant traffic as possible without taking unnecessary risks (pursuing keywords out of your reach).
5. Content planning
Content is the main reason why people visit a law website while looking for legal information and professional assistance. Generally speaking, content shouldn’t be seen as a miracle tool that can bring clients overnight. Instead, we use it as a part of the marketing pipeline that draws leads closer to your brand.
High-quality content is a vital part of on-page SEO, helping increase your authority in the eyes of visitors. It needs to be well-researched and contain numerous expert tips that you can’t find elsewhere. More importantly, it needs to be link-worthy and share-worthy.
Creating marketing funnels
The most successful family law firms create content funnels that slowly guide leads toward conversion. Here’s what the process looks like:
- Top of the funnel content – Most users get acquainted with a brand after interacting with their top of the funnel (TOFU) articles. These pieces provide general information about legal practices increasing readers’ knowledge on the topic. The content helps users realize they have a problem while pressuring their pain points. The most common top of the funnel content is blog posts
- Middle of the funnel content – This type of content is used during the second phase of the customer journey, known as the consideration stage. When going through middle of the funnel (MOFU) content, readers are introduced to more complex topics. By reading these posts, users aren’t only increasing their knowledge; they’re also assessing the company’s proficiency while considering it as a potential provider. The most common MOFU posts include white papers, case studies, and other quality content
- Bottom of the funnel content – By the time a reader reaches the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), they are seriously considering your family law company as a potential provider. In the economy, this is classified as the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. BOFU content includes user reviews, testimonials, and product and service pages
Marketing funnels aren’t perfect. In many cases, readers will skip from one funnel to another without progressing toward conversion. Sometimes, they’ll go straight to your service pages, making a purchasing decision on the spot.
Generally speaking, the buyer’s journey through the marketing funnel tends to be longer depending on the value of the deal. Large businesses usually take their time vetting a provider, unlike smaller B2C family law clients.
Marketing funnel secrets
When creating funnels, you need to follow these rules:
- The transition from TOFU to MOFU and BOFU content should be seamless. The reader should get the impression they’re reading about completely different topics
- Make sure that funnel keywords have enough volume to justify their creation
- Take your time creating each piece; making a mistake at later stages of the funnel can erase all the hard work you’ve done previously
- An SEO agency should also rely on smart internal linking, leaving breadcrumbs for visitors to follow
Creating funnels and clusters is the best way to make an impact with your content. As people rarely buy from brands they don’t trust, you have to create a slow relationship with them that will be based on authority and expertise.
6. Content creation
Once you ideate funnels, it’s time to start creating pieces that can be a part of that funnel. The rules for creating different pages will vary based on the nature of the page. For example, you have much more leeway when creating articles than studies. Nevertheless, they all follow similar basic rules:
- Content should provide unique information you can’t find anywhere else on the net. This is especially true of studies and white papers that require major investment
- Readability and grammar correctness need to be at the top of the list as they affect how users interact with the content
- Formatting is also vital as it makes it easier to read the pieces. Furthermore, clear formatting with lots of headings and bullets simplifies skimming
- Your family law content has to be based on data and scientific findings. Whenever possible, link to governmental pages, historical laws and practices
- The style and complexity need to correspond with the funnel stage. TOFU articles should be easier to digest compared to MOFU posts, slowly introducing a reader to complex family law methodology
- CTAs can ramp up the urgency, thus increasing conversion rates
If you’re still unsure of what’s considered suitable content, you can always check your competitors. Google search engine gives an advantage to articles that have high user engagement (time spent on page, pages per session, and bounce rates). So, by following their model, you can implement similar practices for your blog.
7. Link building
Link building is an off-page SEO practice of getting hyperlinks from third-party sites. Like all optimization processes, there are some rules that can help you achieve more or less with this approach:
- When we talk about links and link building, we usually refer to do-follow backlinks. However, you benefit from just about any online post that points to your platform (as long as the content carries a positive sentiment)
- Quality and relevancy are the two main factors when assessing the power of a link. A link from a large site from your industry can carry a similar value as a hundred irrelevant, low-quality backlinks
- Although you should always strive to acquire more links, some of them can be very harmful. This is especially true of gray industries such as adult, gambling, and cannabis
- Keep in mind that Google assesses your link profile as a whole, so a few bad links will not be a problem. However, you might get a penalty if you overdo it with shady practices. Always try to work within Google Search Essentials (former Webmaster Guidelines)
The good thing about family law sites is that the industry is considered “safe” by SEO experts. In other words, linking back to these platforms should be dangerous for the link giver. Marketing experts can explore various approaches, including guest posting, broken link building, organic outreach, and HARO.
Although no-follow links, like social media and forum post links, aren’t as beneficial as their do-follow counterparts, they can still provide value. Getting a lot of them can send a strong relevancy signal to Google while also increasing direct traffic.
The perfect situation for your family law site is when people start writing about your company without being solicited. The UGC, or User Generated Content, is fantastic for increasing brand awareness and can provide numerous indirect benefits to your search engine optimization efforts.
8. Local SEO
The top-tier family law attorneys know that most of their clients come from the same city. This is why they rely on local searches for their family law SEO strategy. By increasing visibility in their home city or local neighborhoods, family law websites can generate significantly more sales.
Here are the best optimization practices for local businesses:
- Create a Google business profile for your family law firm’s website. This will allow you to appear in Google Maps for related local searches
- By adding your family law practice to legal directories, search engines can corroborate that you’re running a legitimate organization. All information should be the same across the board, featuring the same email, phone, and work hours, to avoid confusing search engines
- The best way for a family law attorney to make a splash is by generating highly-focused local content. You can create separate pages for family law services for every neighborhood you’re covering
- Unlike traditional optimization, local family law SEO strategies revolve around user feedback. Getting a constant stream of positive reviews can help you get featured in Google’s Three Pack, which should be the goal of every local campaign
Although local search works a bit differently from regular optimization, it still hinges on traditional best practices. In other words, your family law site should function properly, have good architecture and speed, and be error-free.
Investing money in law firm SEO services is the best way for a family law firm to make an impact on a highly competitive legal market. With a wise strategy, you can rank at the top of the Google search engine for some lucrative money keywords. More importantly, optimization improves your website performance which helps all other marketing efforts.
For the most part, the success of your optimization campaign is predicated on the family law SEO provider. You need to hire a reputable agency that has experience working with the legal industry and, specifically, family law firms.