Everybody knows more consumers are going online when searching for legal services. It follows that a good way to reach new clients is by showing up in their online searches—and it’s particularly important to be in the top on the search engine results page, or SERP, on the likes of Google, Yahoo and Bing. A child custody attorney in Oxford, Ohio? Then you want your law practice to show up—right on top—when somebody types “child custody oxford ohio.”
When creating a strategy for climbing high in search rankings, it helps to understand what consumers see when they look at a search engine results page:
- Online ads, also known as “paid search” or “sponsored listings”
- Map listings that appear throughout the center of the page, and businesses associated with a lettered pin on the displayed map
- Organic “free” listings that also appear in the center of the page
Your strategy needs to include both paid search and organic results, so consumers can easily find you. Here are some ideas for how to make that happen.
Invest in paid search. Paid search advertising on the prominent search engines is one of the quickest ways to make your practice visible—if you are willing to invest the time in learning and testing terms, and pay the dollars required for the highest page rankings. You can choose the specific search queries you want to show up for, and write the copy you want to show up for those keywords. Securing first-page placement priority depends on how much you are willing to bid.
Claim your practice’s online maps. To show up for map listings, “claim” a map page on Google Plus, Bing and Yahoo local listings. Once you’ve done that, your search results will improve if you add relevant keywords to your descriptions and add appropriate photos. Also, make sure your information is consistent and up to date across a variety of credible online lawyer directories, such as Lawyers.com, Avvo, Rocket Lawyer and Findlaw.
Design your website with organic placement in mind. Search engines use a “bot”—short for robot—to read through the back-end coding of websites to determine the most relevant results for any online search. It’s therefore important to include relevant verbiage in both the visible text and in the code—or the “tags.” For example, a site for an immigration attorney in Austin, Texas, that uses the words “immigration,” “Austin,” and “Texas” in the tags has a much greater probability of high placement than one that does not.
Then Turn Web Traffic into New Clients for Your Law Practice
Make sure your website is designed for conversion—so when people visit your site they are more likely to stay and hire you. Here are just a few tips to get started:
- Make certain all of your contact information is clearly visible.
- Don’t overload readers with too much content.
- Create separate landing pages for each area of law that you focus on.
- Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices.
Court Cunningham is CEO of Yodle, an online local marketing service aimed at small businesses. He has 10 years of experience in leading teams to success in online media and consumer marketing, with DoubleClick, Yodle and CommunityConnect. Follow him on Twitter @YodleCourt.
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