If you want your law firm to stand out from the competition online and connect with potential clients, it all starts with keyword phrases. Your keyword phrases are the backbone of any successful SEO campaign.
A keyword is simply a single word that you want to target. Think “attorney.” A keyword phrase is a group of terms, usually two to maybe four terms long. Think “Florida attorney” or “Fort Lauderdale attorney” or “Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer.”
Typically, the shorter the term, the more traffic you can receive. Why? Shorter terms are searched for more often and therefore have more traffic.
However, with more traffic comes more competition for a specific phrase. So while in a perfect world, you would be No. 1 in your city and state for your practice area, this may not be realistic in an initial campaign. This is why we always recommend balancing what is attainable for a client with a chance to rank higher long-term using high-volume, competitive phrases.
Ranking high in search results usually takes more effort than simply throwing dozens of keywords onto your website. Instead of simply dumping keywords like “Florida” and “attorney” into your text, make sure you have a plan. Here are some tips to help you select the best keyword phrases for your law firm — and incorporate them into your website content.
1. Identify Your Marketing Objective
Having a specific marketing objective is essential when choosing keywords for your law firm’s website. Keywords allow your firm to define the type of practice and cases you represent. When selecting keywords, it’s essential that you consider your ideal case or client. Below are some questions to consider when you start:
• Is your practice citywide, regionwide, statewide or nationwide?
• Do you practice in a specific metropolitan area? Does that area have common names?
• Do people in your area search by county, city, ZIP code or area code?
Now that you have this information, you have a geographic area to target.
2. Include Your Practice Areas
While it can be great to target a specific city using terms such as “Atlanta lawyer” or “Houston attorney,” most likely you’ll need to include practice areas. Why? The first reason is competition. There are simply more firms going after broad keyword phrases like those. The second reason is actual marketing. You want to market to people who will use your services.
By including practice areas in your keyword phrases, your firm can improve your lead quality. If your firm only handles DUIs and criminal cases, you don’t want to advertise for a general search term, such as “Florida attorney,” since that could send you clients looking for help with property disputes, dissolutions of marriage, etc.
Consider these questions:
• What are your specific practice areas?
• What type of clients do you aspire to attract to your practice?
• Are there specific terms for your practice areas for the lay public? Most attorneys know what a commercial litigator is, but the public may just know them as business lawyers.
• If you were a client, what keywords would you type in to find your firm? Avoid legalese, and focus on the common phrases that your clients might use to describe their case when searching for an attorney. For example, “cancer from asbestos” might be a better keyword phrase in some cases than “asbestos litigation.”
3. Use Keyword Tools
Now that you have a clear marketing objective and understand the importance of including your practice areas in your keyword phrases, you can compile a list of the best keywords for your firm. There a variety of keyword tools on the market that can help you get started on this.
Here are a few of them:
• Google Keyword Planner
The best way to use such tools is to search for a service that your firm provides and see how other people are searching for the same services — meaning the types of search phrases they use — as well as what the search volume is for the keywords you’re considering. Then, consider how much competition there is for each keyword (many keyword tools will show you this data as well).
This is when having a realistic yet strategic goal is vital. While your firm may want to immediately rank for the most popular keyword phrases, such as “Florida attorney,” sometimes it’s best to start with less popular phrases, such as “Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney,” since there’s usually less competition.
Incorporating Keywords Into Site Content
Once you’ve selected the best keyword phrases, you can incorporate them into your site’s content. Be careful not to oversaturate your site with keywords because search engines not only frown on this but may consider your site “spammy” and skip over it altogether.
Aim to include keywords naturally so that they flow seamlessly within sentences. Use keywords in your page titles, headings and throughout the body content.
When selecting topics for blog posts or other website content, make sure they directly relate to your keyword phrases. For example, if your keyword phrase is “Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer,” here are some possible topics:
• Is it worth getting a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer for your first offense?
• Can a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer get you out of jail?
• How can a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer get your case dismissed?
By publishing valuable content that includes appropriate keywords, you can help optimize your website. Keep in mind that your rankings may not increase overnight — sometimes it can take up to a year or more — but by steadily building your site’s value, you can gain search engine traction and start to get noticed by potential clients.
Remember that keyword phrases are the backbone of your SEO campaign. Make sure you use the best ones in the beginning. You can always revise along the way, but it’s good to start with the best ones first.