SEO Will Help Your Practice Thrive – But Only If You Hire the Right Agency
When it comes to marketing efforts, the most important aspect of any website is arguably the search engine optimization campaign (SEO). SEO turns any website into a client generator, versus just a static brochure. This is especially true for those in the legal industry – one of the most competitive online markets.
Nowadays, law firms invest a lot of money in SEO to ensure they are ranking high, getting lots of traffic, and ultimately, getting new clients and staying competitive. In fact, 92% of users choose businesses that are on the first page of Google’s search results.
Without an effective SEO strategy, your law firm risks losing its competitive edge and visibility to potential clients. It’s so important that hiring a professional is often the key to getting and retaining SEO momentum. In this guide, we go through all the considerations you must make before and during a campaign. We also give you all the questions you must ask in order to hire the right SEO agency for your law firm, and provide our own answers to these questions as well.
Questions to Ask Before You Start an SEO Campaign
Before you start a campaign you have to evaluate, as a company or law firm, your goals for right now AND five years down the road. You have to be able to articulate to your internet marketing team what is important to your business.
Very targeted campaigns for unique or specific practice and geographic areas, receive less inquiries on average. Broad campaigns definitely get more inquiries, but that is dependent on the firm’s practice areas.
If your firm practices in personal injury, criminal, immigration, you can expect more inquiries than an intellectual property firm. The same goes for geographic areas: New York would get more inquiries than Fort Lauderdale.
Asking questions like the ones outlined below will hopefully help guide you in the direction of understanding that internet marketing is about proving, on a marketing level, that you are only the ultimate resource and top authority figure in your industry.
Strategic Questions to Ask Yourself
In your next marketing meeting, throw these questions out to your team, (which we adapted from Rand Fishkin at Moz):
Why are you venturing into internet marketing? What is your overall goal?
What is the benefit you provide clients?
What about that benefit makes your company different from the place down the street?
What is your sales process?
What is your current marketing process (how do you turn visitors into sales)?
Tactical Questions to Ask Yourself
After you have a general answer for the strategic questions you can dive into the technical questions:
What do you want to rank for? Determine a plan to dominate rankings.
How do we get links? Start with the most obvious places for quality links.
How can we improve content? Understand the basics of writing for the web before you start.
How can we improve the design? Small improvements can make a big difference.
How can we improve site speed? Keep customers happy, increase your load time.
How can we improve mobile? Your site must be mobile-friendly if you want to rank.
Are there any penalties? Get rid of bad links if they will result in penalties.
Are there any technical issues? Our checklist can help you determine if there are problems.
How to Run an SEO Campaign for a Law Firm
Now that you’ve got your objectives in place, it’s time to start planning and running your SEO campaign. At PaperStreet, this is our five-step method for achieving SEO and internet marketing success. Many factors and time goes into each of these steps, but this is the overall process:
Research. Do keyword research. Start with the largest possible keyword phrase and work down to the level where you can possibly compete. See our article on how to do keyword research in only 3 minutes.
On-Page Optimization. Make sure your site has proper title tags, content, internal linking, sitemaps, robots.txt, and a whole ton of other checks. Check out our guide for more on this.
Content Planning. Have a plan to publish. Put someone in charge of publishing content. This is the most critical step. Make sure you are publishing regularly.
Authority Building. Have a plan to build links to your site from social media, partners, directories, vendors, articles, other blogs, media, press releases, and more. The more interesting content you produce, the easier it is to build authority. People will link to relevant, quality content for free.
Analytics, Reporting, Testing & Review. Review your site monthly or at least quarterly and improve. Make sure to sign up for Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and a keyword tracking service like SEOmoz.org, RavenTools, or something similar.
How to Know When You Need External SEO Help
Even if you have a great track record and a beautiful website to showcase your achievements, your SEO efforts may be failing. This can be a serious problem both in the short and (especially) the long term. Unfortunately, improving your SEO is not a simple task – it can involve changing your website’s design, your content strategy, and learning new factors that Google uses to rank websites.
An SEO agency can help you monitor changes to search engine guidelines, improve your content’s performance, monitor your competitors, and understand how to use SEO for growth in future content you make. This can save you time and, ultimately, lots of money.
So how can you know whether you need to hire external help? We discuss the key factors below:
Your Conversions Are Low
If you are consistently falling short of the conversion goals you’ve set in your SEO strategy, that’s probably a sign that your SEO efforts aren’t doing as much as they could. Getting a second opinion and expert help will help you make the adjustments you need to reach your goals.
Your Search Engine Traffic Is Decreasing
While no business sees growth in their search traffic every single week or month, if you are seeing a continued drop in visits to your site from organic search, then odds are, you are being left behind in the SEO game.
Your Competition Consistently Outranks You
When your competitors are doing better than you in terms of keyword rankings and authority, that’s a pretty clear sign that you need to be doing more.
You Aren’t Monitoring Your SEO Efforts
Even if you hired an agency to help build your website and get your SEO going, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. SEO is a constant process that must be routinely monitored and improved according to search engine and demand changes.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Firm
If you’ve decided that you could benefit from an SEO agency, it’s important to know what you need from them and what questions you should ask before hiring them. Important considerations include:
What Have You Accomplished?
An SEO agency that is worth your money should provide a portfolio of examples and results so that you can see how they will work for you. And don’t just take their word for it – you should also run a Google search to verify them and their results yourself.
Do You Have Expertise in Law Firms?
You’ll want to hire an SEO agency that has demonstrated experience in the legal field, as this is a particular category that has its own SEO demands and considerations. You will also want to find out if they have a particular area of specialization and/or experience in your specific area.
What Key Factors Do You Consider to Improve SEO?
As mentioned earlier, SEO is a constantly evolving thing. So you must ensure that the agency you’re hiring is up-to-date on the latest SEO trends and ranking factors. Nowadays, successful SEO strategies include not just keywords, but also understanding target audiences and the value of different keywords for different fields or areas. Thus, you’ll want to make sure that the agency shows that they know what they’re doing by discussing keyword nuances based on your area of practice and audience.
What SEO Tools Do You Use?
Another important consideration when hiring an SEO agency for your law firm is what tools they use to conduct keyword research and create a strategy that is tailored to your firm. Don’t just ask what tools they use, but also have them explain why. This will help you understand the benefits of their tools and how effective they might be for your own objectives.
How and When Will You Bring Us Results?
You’ll want to find an SEO agency that doesn’t just focus on optimizing content, but also developing both short- and long-term strategies to increase relevance and authority, such as link building and building relationships.
What Is Your Plan to Improve Our SEO?
While during the interview with the agency, they won’t be able to provide you an in-depth plan, they should have an idea of how to achieve and measure the broader goals you’ve mentioned. They should mention things like website optimization, competitor analysis, and A/B testing. They should also include a discussion of how you will be able to continue to rank high after they have left you – are they going to provide you with the knowledge and resources you need to monitor and maintain your new SEO strategy? Will they continue to be available in case you have questions down the road?
How PaperStreet Responds to These Questions and More
As a law-firm focused marketing company, PaperStreet has plenty of experience bringing immediate results and long-term success to our clients’ SEO. While many of your questions must be tailored to your area of practice and objectives, below we answer some of the most important questions to demonstrate how we can bring you more traffic and conversions.
Can You Show Me Examples Of Your Previous Work and Share Some Success Stories?
Absolutely. Within the FAQ section of our Internet Marketing page, we specifically outline only some of the results that we have obtained for our clients. The work for these campaigns can be seen specifically on each respective website and there are many, many more additional campaign examples that we will happily supply.
Do You Follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
Yes. Of course. Google is the market leader for search engines and this is further proven within the legal industry. Not only do we continually follow Google’s webmaster guidelines, we also incorporate a 90+ point checklist that we follow when working on our SEO campaigns that is based off of Google guidelines. Lastly, we further like to demonstrate our following with Google by pointing out that we are a Google Partner.
Do You Offer Any Online Marketing Services or Advice to Complement Your Organic Search Business?
Yes; in addition to offering free SEO audits, we also offer a whole host of additional internet marketing services that include Pay Per Click, remarketing, social media services, email newsletters, Google Analytics guidance, content and video marketing, podcasts, and online business reviews, amongst many other services.
What Kinds of Results Do You Expect to See, and in What Timeframe? How Do You Measure Your Success?
Google often states: “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google,” and we subscribe to the same belief. That said, we do expect to eventually get our clients top rankings and that is generally the objective for every campaign. The timeframe in which this is accomplished is simply contingent on competition and volume. At PaperStreet, we start off every campaign with a six month minimum, but many campaigns will take longer than that. We are transparent and it is extremely important for the relationship we are about to embark on to set proper expectations. Finally, we measure success by reporting on our campaigns monthly (both in rankings and in traffic) and making sure that the goals are met per campaign.
You may be able to see results in as little as 30 days. However, most campaigns take anywhere from 60 to 180 days for serious results. It varies depending on the competitiveness of the keyword phrase.
What’s Your Experience in My Industry?
PaperStreet focuses largely on the legal industry. We were founded by a lawyer, for lawyers. And our team has several employees that are former attorneys and paralegals. We have also helped 1200+ firms since 2001, mostly within the legal industry.
What’s Your Experience in My Country/City?
Our client base is worldwide. We currently have an active working roster of 110+ internet marketing campaigns all within different states, cities, and countries. We have yet to encounter a situation where we were not able to assist.
What’s Your Experience Developing International Sites?
While we are based in our Fort Lauderdale, Florida office, we’ve created some of the best website designs and marketing campaigns for attorneys in 15 countries in Central America, Europe, the Middle-East, South America, Australia, Africa and Asia.
What Are Your Most Important SEO Techniques?
There are 200+ factors that come into play for ranking a website, yet they all fundamentally boil down to increasing the relevance of your website and improving its overall authority. Thus, our most important techniques are essentially having a strong foundation for the campaign, increasing relevance, improving content and authority, and developing a strong partnership with our clients.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
We have served 1,200+ happy clients worldwide since 2001.
How Can I Expect to Communicate With You?
You will always communicate with us directly. We often explain to our clients that there is generally a direct correlation between active engagement and the success of a campaign. As such, we massively promote and encourage an overall partnership for all campaigns. Many times, we actually need the guidance of a client in order to enact a marketing tactic. We also explain that we will never arbitrarily make changes or updates without direct approval first. This is actually a complete stop-gap within our process and client approval is paramount.
Lastly, we encourage monthly calls with all clients to discuss the progression of each campaign, as well as our recommendations or suggestions to improve. Within these calls or via email, we justify and explain the reasoning and the objective of our recommendations.
While the process varies according to each client, our process generally looks like this:
Research – We will create a detailed research plan in Excel and review that with you.
Content – We will help you organize your website content and produce a content plan for future publishing. We can assist with writing on an additional basis if needed.
Architecture – Once approved, we will edit your website code, structure and content. We will submit that to you for review and approval before placing it onto the website.
Authority – We will begin building quality links from authoritative directories, social networks, article websites, blogs, press releases, news, clients, and anywhere else we can get a quality link.
Audit – We provide a monthly report with an analysis of your website, rankings, and how to improve.
Contact PaperStreet for the SEO Support You Need
There is no law firm-focused SEO agency like PaperStreet. Not only do we have the proven results to make your SEO efforts succeed, but we offer personalized assistance that will ensure your success continues to grow your firm and maintain competitiveness.
Contact us today to get started!