There are a lot of different approaches a law firm can take with respect to how it markets itself to prospective clients, and one of the most up-and-coming examples is search engine optimization or SEO. Getting down to the skeleton of this, SEO is basically the act of optimizing your website for the sake of getting it ranked more highly on search engines. It is a lot more complicated than that, but that’s the most basic explanation. But what is it that makes SEO so effective for law firms and lawyers anyway?
Understanding the effectiveness of SEO for law firms and lawyers
When it comes to search engines, the lower your law firm website is on the search engine results, the less likely someone is going to click on it. Not necessarily because they think that your site is of low quality, or they think that there is no value involved in navigating to it. Rather, the reason is simply that people are usually going to click on the first result they see whenever possible. Granted, that is not always going to be the case, but nine times out of 10, that is what you should expect to happen. If your website is sitting on the second page of the Google search results (which is usually going to be set to 10 sites per page), you are extremely unlikely to see someone click on your link. And undeniably, with each page you go down, the website on that page is going to be that much less likely to be visited.
The best way to rank up your website, if you are a smaller law firm especially, is to execute SEO practices. You may consider paying to have your website advertised under relevant Google search terms, but the problem is, people using Google tend not to click on those as much as they click on websites that get to the top simply through the merit of the website, earning the traffic organically. The big issue with going through with it through paid advertisement is that people tend to view advertisements with some degree of suspicion. When a person sees an advertisement in the Google search results, one of the impressions they get from it is that this website needed to pay Google to be placed higher and that the website simply does not have any merit to it.
Being able to be a website that shows up near the top of a Google search result is a big deal, given the fact that search engines are the most popular means by which a potential law firm customer finds a law firm that they want to work with. And heck, it is not even limited to law firms or SEO either, people generally find a lot of the stuff they experience online through search engines before anything else. But ultimately, even organic traffic cannot compete with the use of SEO for a law firm’s website. Utilizing SEO, especially if done well, significantly increases the chance that your website ranks well in Google search results versus if you just try to get there without any attempt at SEO marketing. SEO, unlike a paid advertisement, also is less apparent to the reader, so long as it is designed with care. Clumsy SEO can be a dead giveaway that content may not be designed with any care.
An SEO campaign is also much more likely to have long-term success compared to what you would with an advertisement. Once the advertisement campaign is over, people will no longer have the opportunity to click on your links in the first place, not without that website rising up to the top of the search result organically. For an SEO campaign, however, the SEO-strengthened article will always exist, and will still be able to rank highly on the keywords that were used to give it more “muscle,” so to speak. Depending on the SEO value of the page, this will be more or less true than other pages.
Honestly, another angle of SEO versus traditional advertisement is that for a smaller law firm, you have to deal with other law firms, potentially, who may have more money to utilize than you do. As a result, you need to be able to compete with them in a way that can stretch your budget as far as possible without sacrificing quality and results. A traditional advertisement could, theoretically, produce decent results, but the big problem is that, as mentioned above, will only really produce short-term benefits. Whenever possible, you need to make sure that your marketing costs have solid results for the long term. If you do not, you may wind up either spending money with no long-term value to show for it, or spending more money over a longer period of time in order to keep those advertisements up, or creating new advertisements on top of them.
An SEO page can even have a solid variety of keywords tied to it, which allows that website to more easily and more affordably be featured on more search engine terms.