The legal industry’s digital space is growing tighter as law firms are experiencing volatile and vigorous shifts due to mergers and the roaring floodwater of competition. This coming year will see an usurp in digital marketing for law firms, and legal agencies staking out the highest positions in online visibility that take the time to invest their dollars in savvy marketing strategies designed and executed by true industry vanguards. The best digital marketing agencies in America are already prepped and pumped-up to meet the massive demand 2017 will present to organically rank legal firms above local and national competitors, while driving an ironclad inbound marketing strategy that will see an influx in conversion. If your law firm is embarking on the arduous journey to find an online marketing agency with the chops to take your team to the top of the SERPs, be sure to drill them relentlessly during the interview process over these three vital must-haves for digital domination.
One – SEO and its Tailored Fit into the Legal Leeway
Self-proclaimed SEO agencies that put on a big show but bring zero results are as common as personal injury ambulance-chasing attorneys (hey, we have our quacks too). First, make sure the marketing company you are interviewing truly understand SEO. Any top SEO agency will be educated in these considerations, and they will know how to craft digital marketing for law firms that is customized to their market, and the legal industry:
- How SEO has evolved over the years, and what caused these changes
- How Google’s constantly-changing algorithms impact SEO, and the steps the agency takes to stay one step ahead
- Understanding how new algorithms like RankBrain dictate on-site SEO best practices, and what these means for digital legal marketing strategies
- How present and future consumers search for legal aid, and the factors that convert lookers to clients.
Here is an example of a digital marketing agency that has sub par search engine optimization account managers, and one that offers the best SEO services for law firms in the country:
Considering that more than 97 percent of all online searches are performed on mobile devices, and of this massive cohort 92 percent use Google, SEO agencies understand the need to optimize their clients for mobile search. Your garden variety vanilla marketing agency will make sure your site loads quickly on mobile devices, has the right citations to trigger local searches, and has all the right keywords in place. Then you have an award-winning Google partner digital marketing agency that understands how mobile voice search is the most frequent way people seek legal assistance, and from there a SEO campaign is put together that ranks for long-tail search queries that mimic natural human search language while appeasing Google RankBrain’s hybrid artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithm that grades and rates law firm sites based on their ability to offer the best online user experience. Sure, they have their keywords, link strategies, and site architecture tuned to perfection, but the art and science of SEO is truly at the heart of a winning strategy, and this is where vapid marketers always drop the ball before true experts pick it up and throw it in for a touchdown.
Two – Wise Content is the Right Content
Content marketing and SEO go together like a closing argument and those charismatic metaphors that make memorable impressions in the juror’s minds. In fact, that’s what the right kind of content should do for law firm sites approaching a reboot in 2017:
- Keywords – They still matter, a lot. Use long-tail keywords that are directly related to your short forms.
- Content that Pleases Machine Learning – RankBrain reads and loves content that teaches its algorithms how to make smarter choices when pairing search queries with the best answers.
- Artificial Intelligence – Your content should read like an emotional human wrote it. RankBrain’s AI component looks for user intent embedded within content, and it is able to pick up on sense of urgency, present emotions, and decision-making factors. Digital marketing for law firms must humanize to attract clients.
- Write FOR Your Audience Versus To Them – When people perform Google searches for lawyers, things likely are not hunky-dory. You need to consider what the searcher’s mindset is when looking for your services, and provide content that draws them in. For example, someone looking for a DUI attorney or a criminal defense lawyer is likely feeling scared and desperate, whereas a someone looking for a tenant lawyer or a slander and defamation attorney is likely feeling angry and victimized. While one type of client seeks salvation, the other seeks justice (and some even vengeance). Write in a nimble, precise manner so the reader can get the sense that you already understand his peril.
Finally, If your law firm has any branded messages, weave the core values in and out of the content. This will increase your brand identity while allowing your firm to make a huge impact on the reader’s subconscious.
Three – Digital Marketing for Law Firms Fueled by Inbound Marketing
If you seek an SEO agency focused on digital marketing for law firms, be sure they offer a complete inbound marketing strategy. A large percentage of people looking for lawyers aren’t necessarily ready to make contact, or they are experiencing various hindering emotions such as intimidation, fear, or extreme discretion. There are also people who know they will need to hire a lawyer, but not right away. For example, someone who may want to file for divorce may need to wait until certain financial arrangements can be made to protect assets before making that call and sending out a divorce petition. A solid inbound marketing campaign will turn these people into your clients, and leave them promoting your law firm when your services are completed. Inbound marketing does the following:
Attracts – Your on-site web content, blogs, keywords and other publishings attract both people who are ready to pull the trigger, and those sitting on the fence.
Converts – This is where the person performing the online search clicks on your firm due to clever SEO titles and meta descriptions that contain a successful call-to-action layered with emotional empathy that takes them to your landing page.
Close – Now the visitor becomes a lead that transmogrifies into a paying client. This happens through a detailed process run through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy in which your digital marketing agency analyzes customer interactions and life cycle data with the goal of giving clear, concise information the client wants while providing a vivid sense of need. Email marketing, educational assets, and various workflows make this possible.
Delight – You have won your client’s case, and now your inbound marketing efforts can motivate him to market your firm. The best SEO agencies that offer comprehensive inbound marketing campaigns use social monitoring, surveys, and specific content showcasing your high praise. Then past clients (and present clients) are presented with this content in a manner that inspires them to broadcast it for the whole world to see. Not only will this place good PR in front of future clients but from a SEO perspective the social signals will help improve your website’s organic ranking.
Evolve or Dissolve
2017 is just around the corner and with it comes new innovations in digital marketing necessities for law firms. Look at it this way, imagine how lawyers worked their craft back before court reporters, recorded depositions, video depositions, deposition-transcript software, geolocation software, blood typing, and forensic investigations existed. Innovations in the courtroom have had huge impacts on legal proceedings and the roles lawyers perform. SEO is no different. If your law firm is using an archaic website built back in the day when Hootie & the Blowfish performed for large crowds of unshaven Liberal Arts students, and your SEO is just as stagnant, you are destined to fizzle and dissolve into search engine obscurity while your slick competition builds up their client portfolio.
Don’t let your clients put you on trial for having an antiquated website with stock-quality content crumbling through a sleepy funnel. Contemporize your digital marketing for the new year, and avoid the negative feedback, “Objection, Mr. Lawyer, your firm’s website is incompetent”!