Gone are the days where law firms survived, and flourished, on the merits of television and radio advertising. Even further gone are the days where you could rely strictly on personal recommendations and word-of-mouth promotion to spread the word of your firm. Instead, the digital age has firmly stated that the savvy modern attorney must engage in digital marketing to establish and grow a law firm.
The Importance of Search Engine Marketing
Marketing a law firm to an audience of potential clients can take several forms—including developing strong content, building a social media presence, and more—but arguably, the most important of these is appearing in search engine results. Think about it this way—when a potential client has a legal question or needs to find a nearby attorney, they are most likely to turn to an online search engine to find answers and suggestions. It’s in your firm’s best interest to appear prominently.
Making an effort to appear first among similar law firms when a user searches for keywords relevant to your practice area is the most crucial step in search engine marketing. For law firms, as with any other business, you can go about increasing this visibility in two major ways: search engine optimization and pay per click advertising.
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, focuses on increasing both the quantity and quality of your law firm website traffic as it appears organically while users search the web. This is primarily achieved by making changes to your page to improve both the way live users access and experience your website and how search engine crawlers rank your page for important key search terms. Common SEO strategies involve including relevant keywords your most valuable audience often searches for, within your web copy, blog content, title tags, and more.
Each search engine utilizes an algorithm by which it ranks results for organic searches, including the page’s backlink profile, page speed, mobile performance, keyword relevance, and more. Making changes to your firm’s website and optimizing resources like Google My Business to align with these algorithms increases your rankings and brings more potential clients to your page, which is the primary goal of an ongoing SEO campaign. Users who find you organically in this way are likely to request more information and convert into clients.
What Is PPC?
While appearing at or near the top of a search engine results page (SERP) is the primary focus of both SEO and pay-per-click marketing (PPC), PPC approaches the goal differently. PPC campaigns operate on a paid basis, placing an ad that looks much like a natural SERP result at the top of the page and charging you a predetermined rate each time a user clicks to navigate to your law firm’s website.
Before placing your ad, you’ll determine which keywords are most relevant for potential clients seeking legal information from an attorney in your practice area. You’ll then bid on a choice set of keywords and pay Google (or another search engine) each time your ad results in a click. When your ad appears for a user searching for that term, you’ll ultimately appear at the top, or alongside another relevant ad, thus boosting your visibility.
Should You Invest in Organic SEO or PPC?
So, which is the better investment for your law firm? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t clear cut and depends on your budget, your firm’s needs, competition, and even the practice area your firm specializes in. Perhaps most important, you’ll need to determine your firm’s ultimate marketing goals and how both strategies may help you achieve them. Consider these important questions:
- Do you need results over the long term? Although it takes time to develop a quality SEO campaign that situates your firm at the top of the SERP, the results are well worth the effort. Once your website link is prominently placed, your ongoing content and optimization efforts can keep your law firm in front of the eyes of your most important audiences for the near future.
- How quickly do you need results? While a well-developed SEO campaign can take weeks or months to show the kind of traffic increases (and corresponding new cases) you’d like to see for your law firm, PPC is generally much quicker. After you purchase a PPC ad for a relevant keyword, your page will appear at the top of the SERP.
- How carefully are you willing to hone your campaign? Embarking upon a PPC campaign requires a careful balance between spending and increasing your visibility to the right group of users. Utilizing a PPC marketing firm with a deep understanding of law firms and the efforts necessary to craft a specialized campaign can help net you the right audience that is likely to become paying clients.
- How much do you need to focus on finding local clients? A well-planned SEO strategy focuses on local searches and ensures users near you access your contact information, location, and digital content. Choosing to optimize your local SEO will likely place you within the map’s results for relevant keywords, increasing your visibility to those nearby—a great option if your law firm depends on clients in your geographical area.
Most Effective Search Engine Marketing Strategies Include Both
While your law firm’s unique needs and goals will ultimately determine what you choose to do with your marketing budget, the vast majority of law firms incorporate both SEO and PPC within their search engine marketing campaigns. Combining the two can ensure you maximum exposure for a wide variety of crucial keywords—sometimes even appearing twice for the same search. In this way—along with many others—SEO and PPC can work together to increase your law firm’s website traffic.
As your firm grows and changes, its marketing needs will, as well. Moving forward, you can choose whether to budget for long-term SEO growth or quick PPC boosts as your firm’s needs dictate. Throughout the process, the best strategy is to discuss your needs with an established digital marketing firm and work together to spread your marketing budget between both SEO and PPC.
Are you ready to start developing a search engine marketing campaign to make your law firm more visible? Trust the digital marketing experts at RizeUp. For more information about our SEO and PPC services, reach out to RizeUp Media today.