Attorney SEO Guide

7 Steps to More Clients – SEO for Lawyers & Attorneys

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Attorney SEO Guide

  • by Ryan Stewart
  • @HelloWEBRIS
  • @RyanWasHere
  • Ryan Stewart

    I have an unhealthy obsession with being considered the world's BEST internet marketer. This blog is one of the channels I use to demonstrate that. I'm highly active on social media and love a good debate (bring it internet trolls). Click the icons below and fire away.

    Before we get into this, let me make one thing clear: I want you as a client.

    I’m not going to cold call and spam you like other SEO agencies – I’m going to win you over by showing you the exact blueprint to rank your firm’s website.

    Seriously – step by step, the same process I’ve used to rank dozens of attorney sites.

    Thing is, I know you’re not going to read the whole thing. My attorney clients barely have time to answer their emails, let alone read a 3,000 word SEO guide.

    So why did I spend 20 hours writing it? I could’ve written the standard post like every other “SEO expert” in 1/100th of the time.

    I’m not like every other SEO expert. The only way to prove that is to show you.

    This post is my sales pitch.

    If you’re the type that only cares about results, click below.

    They contain screenshots showing the millions of visits and leads I continuously drive for my clients.

    Results One // Results Two // Results Three // Results Four // Results Five

    If you’re the type who likes to do their research, keep reading. This guide is for you.

     

    TABLE-OF-CONTENTS

    This is an actionable guide that I wrote as if you hired me to. I’ve included anchor links to jump chapter to chapter. In this post, you’ll learn about:

    1. Tracking the ROI of SEO
    2. Selecting High Value Keywords
    3. Analyzing the Competition
    4. Creating an Optimal Website Structure
    5. Ranking in Local Search
    6. Creating Content that Search Engines love
    7. Building High Powered Links

     

    CHAPTER 1

    This should be the last chapter but it’s so important I put it first.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – marketing efforts are lost without great analytics. To get there, you need the help of 2 tools:

    1. Google Analytics
    2. Google Webmaster Tools

    If you don’t have them set up, do it now.

    NOTE: There are plenty of resources to help you out.

    I’m going to show you 3 reports to gauge ROI from your SEO efforts.

    1. Analyzing Organic Traffic

    • Tool: Google Analytics
    • How to view the report: Audience > Mobile > Overview
    • Segment: Organic
    • What it tells you: Kills 2 birds with 1 report. It tells you quantity of organic visits and the device visitors are using. It also tells you bounce rate, time on site and goal completion rate.
    • Why you need it: If your organic traffic isn’t increasing over time, the SEO isn’t working!
    Setting Organic Filters in GA

    Step One: Set the filter to organic traffic

     

    Remove All Traffic - Leave Organic

    Step 2: Remove “All Sessions”

     

    Organic Traffic by Device

    Step 3: Set dates and analyze traffic. And yes, that says 2,981,157 visits from organic :)

    2. Analyzing Organic Impressions + Queries

    • Tool: Google Webmaster Tools
    • How to view the report: Search Traffic > Search Queries
    • What it tells you: Two things:
      1. Every time your website shows up in a Google search it counts as an “Impression”. It should be trending up over time.
      2. Right underneath the chart is a list of keyword “queries” your website is showing up for. This chart should be in line with the keywords you’re targeting (more on that later…)
    • Why you need it: It verifies your website is getting increasing impressions in Google. It also verifies you’re showing up for the right keywords.
    GWT Search Impressions

    “Impressions” are how many times your website shows in in Google for a search. This number should be trending up and to the right.

     

    GWT Search Queries

    This report tells you what keywords you’re ranking for, how many clicks they’re getting and the average position in the SERPs.

    3. Analyzing the Value of SEO

    To do this, you need to be tracking Goals.

    We’re going to set it up for form submissions (i.e. when a visitor submits a contact form on your site). It will be under the assumption that your form redirects users to a “Thank You” page.

    1. Click on the “Admin” tab on the top of your Google Analytics screen
    2. Click on “Goals” under “View”
    3. Click the red button that says “New Goal”
    4. Under “Goal Setup” click the “Create an account” button under “Acquisition”
    5. Click “Next Step”
    6. Name the Goal based on the action – if it’s a contact form enter “Contact Form”
    7. Under “Type” select “Destination”
    8. Click “Next Step”
    9. Under “Destination” select “Equals to”
    10. In the open space, type in the exact URL to your thank you page
      1. For example, www.example.com/thank-you/ type in /thank-you/
    11. Click “Verify goal” – if you set it up correctly, you will see a conversion %
    12. Click “Create Goal”
    NOTE: If forms don’t redirect to a thank you page after submission, you’ll need to set up a custom event before turning it into a goal. Read my guide: exactly how to create custom events and turn them into goals.
    • Tool: Google Analytics
    • How to view the report: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
    • Segment: Organic
    • What it tells you: The pages receiving the most organic traffic, associated engagements and goal completions (i.e. LEADS!)
    • Why you need it: Each page on your website should be optimized for a set of keywords. By looking at your conversion rates you’ll know which keywords hold the most value.

     

    Organic Landing Page Goal Results

     

     

    More importantly, you have data telling you how SEO impacted your firm.

    Let’s use the data from the screenshot above as an example. Assuming I spent $3,500 on SEO for the month:

    1. Monthly Cost of SEO = $3,500
    2. Monthly ORGANIC Traffic = 1,782
    3. ORGANIC Leads = 62
    4. ORGANIC Conversion Rate = 3.48%

    Input the data into Excel. Then, add leads converted to clients and the total revenue gained (3 clients, $15,000 total).

     

    ROI From SEO

     

    Simply subtracting Total SEO Revenue Gained – Total SEO Costs = SEO Net Profit.

    That’s great, but you already knew that.

    Here’s whats really valuable:

    • Average revenue for client gained through SEO
    • True conversion rate of your website

    These 2 numbers help calculate the potential of SEO.

    • Average Revenue = Total Revenue / Clients Gained
    • True Conversion Rate = Analytics Conversion Rate * Lead Conversion to Client Rate
      • For my example: 5% * 3.48% = 0.17%

    When you take these numbers and plug them into a simple equation, you get a powerful result:

     

    True Website Conversion Rate

     

    Simply changing the amount of traffic (in the black cell) you can estimate and gauge the impact on your revenue.

     

    Conversion Data 1

     

    The more traffic, the more revenue.

     

    Conversion Data 2

     

    Your firm’s fate is in your hands. The more you put in, the more you get out.

    NOTE: Click HERE to download my spreadsheet with calculations done for you!

     

     

    Chapter 2Good keyword research puts you in the driver seat to control rankings, traffic and ultimately leads. Without it, you’re operating in the dark.

    It’s always easier to illustrate by example. Let’s image I’m doing keyword research for a Miami based DUI attorney.

    Step One:

    Come up with an initial list of keywords based on the core business. For example:

    1. Miami DUI lawyer
    2. Miami DUI attorney
    3. DUI lawyer Miami
    4. DUI attorney Miami

    Step Two:

    Google has a free tool displaying average monthly search volume for given keywords (click here: https://adwords.google.com). Login with your Gmail account, input the list of keywords from step one and click “Get Ideas” button.

    Using the Free Keyword Tool

     

    Step Three:

    On the resulting screen, click the “Keyword Ideas” tab.

    What you’ll see is your keywords with associated monthly search volume, competition and suggested bid. There’s not much we can do here – click the “Download” button to get the data in Excel.

     

    Keyword Planning for DUI Attorneys

     

    Step Four:

    Highlight and delete columns A, C, D, F, H and I – right click and delete.

     

    Keyword Selection in Excel

     

    Next, highlight row 1, right click and select “Filter > By Cell Value”.

    Click the filter in the Keyword column and type your descriptive keyword into the search bar.

    In my case, the descriptive keyword is DUI. If you’re a divorce attorney, type divorce. If you’re a corporate attorney, type corporate.

     

    Keyword Research in Excel

     

    We’re filtering the data because the Keyword tool returns 500+ results. We want to trim them to those containing the most relevant keywords.

    Step Five:

    The final step is organizing keywords by intent. Take a look at the first two keywords in my list for Miami DUI attorneys:

     

    Determinig Keyword Purchase Intent

    1. dui first offense
    2. miami dui attorney

    While both of these keywords are valuable to my site, one query is informational the other holds purchase intent.

    You need to separate the keywords that drive traffic from those that drive leads.

    I do this by simply adding another column called “Intent” and tagging each keyword with “Info” or “Purchase”.

     

    Deriving Keywords by Intent

     

    Sort your list by monthly searches, high to low. The keyword with the highest volume is your main keyword. I’ll show you how to leverage it later in the guide.

     

    Keyword Competition

    Note: In the screenshot above I tallied up the total number of average monthly searches (2,050) and the cost to drive that traffic with Google pay per click ads. The total monthly cost would be $171,117.90.

     

    chapter 3

    Here’s my competitive analysis for Attorney SEO:

    It’s competitive as hell.

    What you’ve got is the perfect storm for online marketing.

    High cost services + High online demand = CRAP load of competition

    It’s really hard to rank an attorney website because any law firm with half a brain is investing in SEO.

    The only way to rank is to be better than the competition.

    Step One:

    First we need to get the tools set up. We’ll be using 2 free browser plugins:

    1. Moz
    2. Majestic

    After you’ve installed the MozBar, click the settings icon and select “Dislpay SERP Overlay”.

     

    MozBar Competitive SEO Analysis

     

    These browser plugins help analyze backlinks of competitors (if you didn’t already know, backlinks are still Google’s largest ranking factor).

    Understanding Moz: The MozBar overlays 2 important statistics in the SERPs:

    1. Page Authority (PA) – How many websites are linking to the page. The higher the PA, the harder it will be to outrank.
    2. Domain Authority (DA) – How many websites are linking to the root domain. The higher the DA, the harder it will be to outrank.

    Understanding Majestic: The Majestic plugin helps us understand a number of factors:

    1. Trust Flow (TF) – Quality of backlinks pointing at that domain. The higher the TF, the harder it will be to outrank.
    2. Citation Flow (CF) – Power of backlinks pointing at that domain. The higher the CF, the harder it will be to outrank.
    3. Anchor Text Ratio – Ratio of link anchor texts pointing at that domain. This tells us if the website has invested in bad SEO. The more diversified the anchor text, the harder it will be to outrank.
    4. Backlink profile – Majestic will display the indexed backlinks of any site you analyze. We need to briefly analyze these for quality and potential opportunities.

    Have I lost you yet? Here’s a chart that will help illustrate the competitive analysis process:

     

    Linking Tiers for Attorneys

    1. Find the top ranking sites for your main keyword (aka your competitors)
    2. Analyze the DA and PA of your competitors’ site
    3. Analyze the TF and CF of your competitors’ site
    4. Analyze the anchor text ratio of your competitors’ site
    5. Analyze the TF and CF of your competitors’ backlinks

    Got it? Good – let’s move on.

    Step Two:

    We need to keep track of our analysis – open the spreadsheet with your keywords and create a new tab.

    Add columns for KW, Result, PA, DA, TF, CF, Anchor, Total Links and Ref Domains.

     

    Excel Competitive Analysis

    Step Three:

    Type your main keyword into Google.

     

    Google Results for "Laywer SEO"

    Find the first organic result. In your spreadsheet, record:

    1. KW – miami dui attorney
    2. Result – www.duimiamilawyer.com
    3. PA – 32
    4. DA – 25

    Google Results for Miami Lawers

    Step Four:

    Click on the first organic result.

    Then, click on the Majestic browser extension (located in the upper right hand corner).

    Using Majestic

    In the spreadsheet, record:

    1. TF – 18
    2. CF – 21
    3. Backlinks – 194
    4. Referring Domains – 17

    Note: Use the URL metrics, not Root Domain.

     

    Analyzing Domains for Links

     

     

    Click on the link at the top (located next to Majestic Summary for:).

    Step Five:

    Scroll to the bottom of the screen and you’ll see the Anchor Text chart. This chart tells you how other domains are linking to a site.

    For example, let’s say I link to www.google.com from this post:

    1. www.google.com – anchor text = www.google.com
    2. Google – anchor text = Google
    3. Best search engine in the world – anchor text = Best search engine in the world

    Notice all the links point to the same domain (www.google.com) but are linked using different text. The word wrapped in the link is known as the anchor text.

    2 years ago, you could rank for whatever you wanted by building exact keyword anchor texts.

    Google got smart. Building too many links using the same keyword will get your website penalized.

    A quality anchor text profile looks as follows:

    1. Naked URL – http://webris.org – 25%
    2. Brand name – Webris – 15%
    3. Business owner – Ryan Stewart 5%
    4. Main keyword – 5%
    5. Other anchor text – 50%

    Analyzing Anchor Text for Links

     

    This domain has a clean anchor text profile. In the Anchor column of my spreadsheet I input “clean”.

    Step Six:

    Click the “Backlinks” tab on top of the screen. Scroll up and down the page looking at the types of sites linking to your competitors’.

    A good link profile will have links from sites within the same niche.

    As you can see, my competitor has links from law based websites. These are high quality links – a sign that this site will be tough to outrank.

     

    Using Majestic to Analyze Links

     

    Click on a few links. Look for:

    1. TF and CF metrics
    2. Link opportunities

    For example, my competitor’s first link is from www.superlawyers.com. The site has good metrics:

    • TF = 64
    • CF = 49

    Another sign that my competitor will be tough to outrank.

    Don’t throw in the towel yet!

    Following the link to the site I see it’s a list of Florida attorneys. They also have a contact page.

     

    Hunting for Links for Attorneys

    Finding Links for Lawyer Sites

     

    I saved the URL in a spreadsheet. I’ll be revisiting it when it’s time to build links.

    Step Seven:

    Repeat this process for every website listed on the first page for your main keyword.

    Yes, it’s a lot of work (now you’re understanding why SEOs charge so much for services)!

    Here’s how my spreadsheet came out for the keyword “miami dui attorney”:

     

    Competitive Analsis Final

     

    Step Eight:

    There’s no calculation to spit out a magic ranking number. As an experienced SEO, I can formulate a good analysis of what it will take to rank:

    1. The top spot is using an exact match domain (EMD). EMDs are only valuable when you offer one service. If my client was strictly focused on DUI services in Miami, I’d recommend an EMD as well.
    2. The top spots are ranking with very few links. I’m seeing this more and more for competitive niches. The key isn’t building 10,000 links – it’s getting high quality, niche relevant links. The top spots have strong backlinks from powerful domains. I’d focus on building white hat links through outreach and guest blogging to outrank.
    3. Almost all of the domains contain “miami” in the URL. For localized searches it’s important to build local signals. Including the city name in the page URL is key.

    I’d estimate this would take anywhere from 3 – 5 months with a heavy focus on content, social engagement and quality backlinks to outrank the top spot.

     

    chapter 4

    It’s important for rankings and user experience to have an easy to use site.

    That means grouping content, navigation and URL structure into organized buckets. Sounds easy, right?

    It gets a little more complicated depending on your firm. Speaking strictly from a website perspective, there are 3 types of law firms:

    1. One service (i.e. DUI attorney)
    2. Multiple services (i.e. you offer contract law, corporate law, criminal law, etc)
    3. Multiple locations (i.e. you have offices in Miami, NYC, LA and London)

    1. One Service

    If your firm specializes in 1 type of law (DUI, criminal, etc), this is how to structure your site:

    • Use exact match domain (EMD) for your website URL
      • Example: www.miamiduilawyers.com
      • I generally discourage the use of EMDs because it cuts down your ability to rank for additional keywords. However, if you only perform one service, EMDs are the way to go
    • Add services pages that drill down into your main niche
      • Example: www.miamiduilawyers.com/our-services/bui, www.miamiduilawyers.com/our-services/criminal-dui, etc
      • By adding these additional services page you’re eligible to rank for niche searches. The more pages/content you create, the more niche traffic you can capture

    One Service Attorney

     

    2. Multiple Services

    If your firm offers multiple services (i.e. criminal law, corporate law, business law and more), this is how to structure your site:

    • Use branded domain – NOT exact match domain (EMD)
      • Example: www.smithlaw.com
      • Using an EMD will send mixed signals to Google. For example, www.miamiduiattorney.com/our-serivces/corporate law/ crosses two service categories. It’s best to use your law firm name as the root domain
    • Add service pages for each offering
      • Example: www.smithlaw.com/our-services/contract-law/
      • How can Google rank your home page for 10 different services? Creating a separate page for each service affords the ability to rank for multiple offerings
    • Add sub-service pages to capture additional traffic
      • Example: www.smithlaw.com/our-services/contract-law/drafting
      • Drilling down further into your services will help to capture long tail searches

    Attorney Website Setup

     

    3. Multiple Locations

    If your firm has multiple office locations (i.e. Miami, NYC and LA), this is how to structure your site:

    • Add city into URL for each office location
      • Example: www.smithlaw.com/miami/our-services/; www.smithlaw.com/nyc/our-services/
      • Most sites with multiple locations add a page for “Locations”. In a competitive niche, this cuts off your ability to rank in multiple cities
      • To rank for local searches, it helps to have the city within the URL string. This requires you to essentially create a new site for each city (within your existing site)
      • This also will require you to rewrite content on your site to avoid duplication penalties
    • Include a menu navigation to switch between cities
      • Example: (see screenshot below)
      • There needs to be a way to inject the city into the URL. Some sites do this via footer, I like to add it above the menu (see below)
      • The way this works is simple – when a user clicks on the “Boca Raton” link, the URL shifts to example.com/boca-raton. This creates the proper hierarchy for search engines to understand your site and rank for multiple locations

    website-navigation-multiple-cities

    Multiple Location Websites

     

    Still with me? Let me drive this home by looking at 2 websites:

    1. An example of how NOT to structure your website
    2. An example of how TO structure your website

    How NOT to Structure Your Site:

    Let’s take a look at another Miami based attorney’s website (URL blocked for privacy) containing a number of architecture issues.

    Their services page is titled “Florida Legal Services”. When clicked, the URL shifts to /practice-areas.html. This isn’t necessarily bad for SEO, but it’s confusing for users.

     

    How to Build a Website for Lawyers

    On this page they list their practice areas. When you click on the first tile “Florida Business Law”, you’re directed to the page seen below:

     

    Website Design Advice for Attorneys

     

    This is where their structure goes to hell.

    1. The URL string goes from example.com/practice-areas to example.com/florida-business-law
    2. Their breadcrumbs go from Home > Practice Areas to Home > Florida Business Law

    This creates orphan pages. Orphan pages rank poorly and are a waste of Googlebot’s precious crawl time.

    How to fix:

    1. Restructure website’s CMS rules NOT to drop URL and breadcrumb strings
      1. example.com/practice-area/florida-business-law
    2. Create 301 redirect for all old URLs into their new URLs
      1. 301 -> example.com/florida-business-law into example.com/practice-area/florida-business-law

    How TO Structure Your Site:

    Our friends ranking #1 for “Miami DUI Attorney” have a great set up.

    Their services page is listed in the navigation as “DUI”. When you click on the page, they’ve listed about a dozen sub services of a DUI charge.

     

    good-website-structure

     

     

    When each of the sub services are clicked, they follow a perfect URL structure to rank for each search. This site is killing it in Google – this is a large reason why.

    chapter 5

    Most of “Local” SEO is covered by the traditional SEO discussed throughout this guide.

    However, there are a couple of additional actions you’ll need to take to make sure your site is optimized for local search as well.

    Google+

    Google+ plays a HUGE role in local SEO. In fact, Google+ page titles get displayed in localized results, not websites:

     

     

    Google Local Results Miami Attorney

     

    For that reason, I pay special attention to Google+ pages.

    Get Verified

    If you haven’t already, set up and verify your Google+ Business page: https://www.google.com/business/.

     

    Google Local Business

     

    Google will send you a post card in the mail with a verification code. Until you verify your page, you won’t be eligible to show up in localized / maps searches. Do it as soon as you get it!

    Optimize Your Page

    After you’ve entered the code, click the big red “Edit” button from your “My Business” screen:

     

    set-up-google-business-local

     

    First, edit the title of your page:

    1. Click the pencil icon next to”Business Name”
    2. Name the page with your main keyword first, followed by your brand/business name
      1. For example: Miami DUI Attorney – Smith / Stewart P.A.

    Edit Google Places Page

     

    This is important for 2 reasons:

    1. It jams your main keyword into the title (huge ranking boost)
    2. It creates a more click-able title for when you’re ranking

     

    Google Local Results Miami SEO

     

    Next, we’re going to edit the description of your page:

    1. Click the pencil icon next to”Introduction”
    2. Write 150 – 200 words about your law firm
    3. Include a description of your services
    4. Link directly to those services pages

    Edit Google Business Title

     

    This creates valuable deep links to your service pages (more on links later).

    Reviews

    Reviews not only help your website rank for local searches, but they pull through valuable stars in the SERP listing.

    I’m not going to cover how to get reviews in this post because I wrote about it depth in a previous guide.

    Read the guide to reputation management and online reviews.

    Local Citations / Directories

    Local citations and directory listings are business profiles on websites like FourSquare, Yelp, Yellow Pages and Brown Book.

    These citations are valuable to local SEO because they’re essentially online phone books that associate your website with a physical location.

     

    Example of a Local Citation

     

    There are hundreds (thousands) of potential sites to build your firm’s listings in.

    It’s a mind numbing process to manually create these listings and it’s easier to outsource.

    We offer this service – click here to view pricing. If you don’t want to use our service, you can find multiple gigs on Fiverr as well.

    CHAPTER 6

    I hope you’ve stuck around to this point – your SEO success hinges on the ability to create and distribute content.

    You’ve heard it before: “content is king”.

    I hate it.

    This buzzword has sites launching blogs with content adding no value. In fact, it’s driving potential clients away.

    Allow me put it in perspective.

    Let’s say you’re in the market for SEO services. You do a Google search for a couple of agencies in your area and you click on the first couple of results.

    Let’s be honest, they all say the same thing. How can you tell the difference?

    Every business’ website claims to be an expert . A great blog proves it.

    You think I enjoy spending hours on end in front of my computer writing?

    I live in Miami. On the beach. Trust me when I say I have better ways to spend my time.

    Great content is why I’m able to live in Miami. On the beach. It fuels my business.

    Assigning Keywords to Content

    Start by heading back to your list of keywords separated by intent.

    1. Use keywords tagged with “Purchase” in “Services” type pages.
    2. Use keywords tagged with “Info” in “Blog” posts.

    Using “Purchase” Intent Keywords

    This is SEO 101 – I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it.

    Keywords with purchase intent should be targeted at sales / service pages. Each page should be themed at one main keyword. Include that keyword in:

    1. The URL
    2. Title of the page
    3. <h1> tag
    4. 1 image title
    5. 1 image alt tag
    6. 2 – 3 times throughout the content (page should include at least 350 words of relevant content)

    I’ll use the keywords from my “Miami DUI Attorney” as an example.

    Main KW: Miami DUI Attorney:

    1. Page URL: www.miamiduiattorney.com
    2. Page Title: The #1 Miami DUI Attorney – Stewart, P.A
    3. Heading 1: Drunk Driving Arrest? Hire The Top Miami DUI Attorney
    4. Image Title: miami-dui-attorney-stewart-pa
    5. Image Alt Tag: Miami DUI Attorney Ryan Stewart P.A.
    6. Content: Write out 500 words on Miami based DUI attorney services. Include 5 – 6 high volume keyword variations as well

    Repeat this on every page for every “Purchase” keyword you’re targeting.

    Using “Info” Intent Keywords

    99% of SEO agencies will stop at “purchase” keywords.

    Thing is, you need more than words on a page to get Google’s attention. You need social shares, brand mentions and a lot of high quality links.

    Why would someone share your homepage? Why would a website link to your services page about DUIs?

    They wouldn’t. I know this. You know this. Google knows this.

    If your website has a ton of links pointing to 1 page it looks like spam and your website is going to get bitch slapped by Google.

    “Info” type content is what generates real shares and links. That’s why you need a blog.

    Let’s go back to the “Info” keywords I generated earlier. Keywords like “DUI trial”, “DUI first offense” and “DUI trial questions” generate a good amount of monthly searches.

    These are the keywords to build content around.

    That’s the easy part. The hard part is creating content people actually care about.

    People don’t care about “10 Reasons to Hire an Attorney”. Give them something they can’t find anywhere else.

    You paid $300,000 for an education – show us what you learned!

    1. In depth guides – “What to do When Arrrested for Your First DUI”
    2. Case studies – “How to Beat Your First DUI Arrest”
    3. Infographics – “Visual Guide to Getting Off Your DUI Arrest”

    Don’t skimp on the details. Prove you’re an expert. Show why you’re worth $300/hour.

    This content drives social shares, links and traffic. More importantly, it establishes your firm as a trusted voice and industry leader for legal advice.

     

    CHAPTER 7

    Links are still the #1 ranking factor. However, it’s not as easy as it used to be.

    14 months ago I could rank a site with click of a button. Literally – it was that easy.

    Unfortunately, those days are over. Now, you need more than a handful of links.

    In competitive verticals, Google ranks sites with authority and trust. Authoritative and trustworthy sites don’t have 1 type of link pointing to 1 page.

     

    Attorney Link Building Process

     

    Building trust with Google is a process. Here’s how I do it:

    1. Social media and forum links to blog content
    2. Link outreach to blog content
    3. Internal links to money pages
    4. White hat link building to money pages
    5. Link buying to money pages

    This is a long process – it takes a lot of time, resources and effort. I promise you – if you do what I’m telling you, it will pay off.

    1. Social Media and Forum Links

    It’s not enough to post links to owned accounts. You’ve got to build a buzz around your site.

    The best way to do start is get your content in groups and forums.

    The mistake most make is pushing content in front of their target audience.

    No one with a DUI is going to share an infographic about a DUI. However, if the content is good enough, your peers will.

    Google+ Communities

    I’ve generated hundreds of vital +1’s and shares on my links from Google+ Communities.

     

    Google+ Communities

     

    I’ve also gotten banned from hundreds of Google+ Communities.

    Moderators are a pain in the butt and will boot you out if they think you’re spamming links. You’ve got to be careful about how and what you post.

    Finding Communities are easy. Head to the drop down menu, select “Communities” and search for your keyword in the search bar.

     

    Finding Google Communities

     

     

    Join a few that are related to law. Interact with people and get a feel for what they’re posting.

    After a couple of days drop an introductory note with a link to your best piece of content (NOT homepage!). Be consistent and active in these Communities and you’ll get valuable social signals you need for your site.

    Quora

    Quora is a high visibility question and answer site. I’ve driven thousands of visits in the last few months alone using it.

    The key to Quora is finding threads related to the content on your blog.

    Let’s say you took my advice and wrote the guide: “What to do When Arrrested for Your First DUI”.

    Start by doing a Google search command: site:quora.com what to do dui

     

    Quora DUI Search

     

    This search brought back 6,350 results. Click through and find questions you can answer with your content.

     

    Quora DUI Attorney

     

    Write a response (150 – 300 words) of advice and drop a link at the end.

    Rinse and repeat.

    2. Link Outreach

    Link outreach is great because you can score high powerful “white hat” links for free.

    Link outreach only works when you’ve got content worth linking to. You can write perfect emails but no one is going to link to your home page.

    I’ve written extensively about outreach in another post: How I Score Weekly Links With Outreach

    3. Internal Linking

    Linking pages internally passes link equity and ranking signals. You can use them to pass that valuable juice from your blog content to your money pages by interlinking them.

    I’ve written extensively about internal linking in another post: How to Set up Internal Links for SEO

    4. White Hat Link Building

    Resource Pages

    These are dedicated pages listing links to useful resources. To find these pages, use Google search operators:

    1. legal inurl:resources
    2. law inurl:resources
    3. law intitle:resources
    4. legal intitle:resources
    5. legal “resource pages”
    6. law “resource pages”

    You get the point. I like to add a city into the search as well. Here’s what I found:

     

    search-result-legal-3

     

    Brought up this result:

    search-result-legeal-4

     

    Bingo! A perfect opportunity.

     

    resource-page-link-building

     

    Reach out with a nice note about your law firm and what you should be included in their list of resources.

    “Borrowing” Links

    Well, not borrowing, stealing. I love this technique because it evens the playing field.

    If you land the same links as your competitors you can neutralize their advantage. From there, all you need is a few additional links to easily push past them.

    It’s extremely easy to do. In fact, you already did the leg work in your competitive analysis. Remember this?

     

    Hunting for Links for Attorneys

     

    1. Google your main keyword
    2. Click on the first result
    3. Run Majestic SEO browser plugin
    4. Click through to the Majestic site
    5. Click on the Backlinks tab

    You’ll now see a list of the website’s linking to your competitor’s. Simply click through on to each site and look for opportunities to drop a link. These usually come in the form of:

    • Blog comments
    • Guest posting
    • Resource pages
    • Link round ups

    The majority of sites will be tough to get links, but the ones you can will give you a huge boost.

    Guest Posting

    I don’t care what Matt Butts says – guest blogging is a great way to build quality links to your site. Use advanced Google search operators to find opportunities:

    1. legal “accepting guest posts”
    2. legal “write for us”
    3. legal “submit guest post”
    4. legal “guest post opportunities”
    5. legal “guest post courtesy of”
    6. legal “guest bloggers wanted”
    7. legal “contributor guidelines”
    8. legal “contribute to our site”
    9. legal “become a guest writer”

    I strongly suggest you write the content yourself – don’t outsource it. It will be a complete waste of your time. Here’s a snippet from a legal website that accepts guest posts:

     

    Guest Blog Example

     

    Any website worth posting on will have high standards. Read through their articles, get a feel for what they publish and replicate it.

    Local Press

    I’ve been using this technique for a while but have yet to share it.

    SEO agencies have been taking out “press releases” for clients for years.

    These are merely syndicated statements on sites like PR.com that have little effect on SEO and zero effect on traffic/PR because nobody sees them. They claim that they get sent to real news sites, but never do.

    I go straight to the source. Newspapers make money from 2 sources:

    1. Subscriptions
    2. Ads

    Since more people turn to the web for their news, revenue models have shifted towards selling ad space.

    I’ve landed dozens of links on MiamiHerald.com by reaching out to their advertising team. You can find contact links in the footer:

     

    Links from Real Papers

     

    CALL them, don’t email. Email responses generally get ignored or they tell you they don’t offer that service.

    When you call them directly you can negotiate with a sales person. Simply tell them you’re with XYZ law firm looking to drum up online PR and you’re not interested in traditional media buys.

    Everyone has a price – it generally ranges in the $400 – $600 range.

    It’s expensive, but you get a high quality link, traffic and exposure for your firm.

    Additional Link Resources

    Link opportunities are everywhere – you just need to know where to look. I have a ton of resources on this site that tell you exactly where to get them.

    1. Complete guide to scaling link outreach
    2. Every single white hat link opportunity and how to acquire it
    3. End to end link building training 

     

    Closing

    Still think you can do SEO for your firm? Still want to?

    SEO is a bitch and it’s only getting harder. However, it is the most important investment you can make for your law firm, offline or online.

    If you’re going to do it, do it right. You know how to reach me.

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    7 Steps to More Clients – SEO for Lawyers & Attorneys
    Description
    SEO agencies are vultures. I put together a complete guide to optimize your law firm's website to rank in Google. 100% value, 0% sales pitch.
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    18 Comments

    1. Interesting post Ryan, Thanks for sharing

    2. Awesome post Ryan. Thanks for sharing real tactics that have been proven to work-not just rehashing Google’s “best practices” which should be taken into account, but will limit results if you take their suggestions literally.

      • Ryan Stewart

        Thanks David. When I wrote the post, I got a lot of feedback from fellow SEOs that the post was TOO in depth for attorneys. I told them that’s kind of the point!

    3. Ryan,

      thanks for the tips, I am currently helping law firms in Europe with their holistic digital marketing and SEO.

      I will put your method to work this side. Quite positive it will help my Legal clients rank – up to the top!

    4. Ryan,
      Thank you for your time in creating this great article. I have a couple legal clients who will benefit from these tips. I do have a followup question: I happen to have an English degree and law degree, so I can draft good content for my clients in the legal industry in order to focus on those “info keywords.” However, for some industries, I do not know where to begin and have no success in convincing clients that they need to blog regularly and blog well. In fact, most are just bad writers if they even try. Any suggestions?

      • Ryan Stewart

        head to industry specific blogs and contact the writers with freelance offers. they will usually respond well and you can grab some high quality content.

    5. This is a really really in-depth article, and one that delivers the message in a very clear framework – thank you for sharing this!
      I have a couple of questions:
      1) I don’t understand the benefit of calculating the analytics conversion rate and the lead->sale conversion rate – I’m not clear on why this calculation should be used, because the one metric calculates visit->lead (someone who signed up on a form) and the second is lead -> sale – does this metric really measure the conversion of the entire sales funnel from visit to sale? I feel like there are missing steps along the way… so, i guess i’m just trying to figure out the logic behind this number
      2) you talk about the conversion rate from organic lead to client – do you not agree that most clients do not know which marketing channel generated which sale? Yes, we can see the leads in analytics, but how do we ‘help’ the client document to which marketing channel to attribute the sale (i’m having a lot of trouble with this, any ideas would be helpful)..because once the sale is closed offline, some data is lost…

      Thanks!

    6. Very Nice Post Ryan.Great guide.No doubt it is the most important investment for any law firm and beneficial too.

    7. Really good article, nice to find an easy to read article with so much information.

    8. I once paid someone $600 a month to get an 1/8 of this information little by little….Mind blown – time to get to work!

    9. Recently started following you. Truly enjoyed the article. Thanks for taking so much time to educate. Its nice to see someone digging into the nitty gritty. Its unfortunate that the whole concept of SEO has been bastardized by too many “web marketing” agencies who cut corners for a quick buck. Your content is very refreshing. Keep it up.

    10. I thought in Google My Business Page, You not suppose to use City Keyword in business name unless your business name is with that city keyword.

      • Ryan Stewart

        According to Google, you’re not. This post was written about a year ago, but it still works.

    11. This site really has all of the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    12. Ryan you nailed it men, It’s the most comprehensive and complete guide I have ever read and at first glance an idea popped up in my mind to write a post but not on the same niche and not similar like yours.

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