Law Firm Marketing: Strategies in SEO
I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the way that lawyers market themselves around Phoenix. There are a few top players in the search engine game, but most of the attorneys in Phoenix are way behind on doing what it takes to rank well in the search engines.
Here are some mistakes I think law firms make when marketing online:
1. Using FindLaw for your website design and hosting needs is ridiculous.
How can an attorney trust FindLaw to market their law firm?
It is mind-blowing to me that attorneys, who are mostly a left-brained, logical group, don’t understand how using FindLaw is fundamentally illogical.
How can a company promise you the world, offering “SEO” packages, promising you results and hits…and all the while, they are doing it for every other attorney that comes along? It’s like they are cheating on you. If I had two clients and they were both Phoenix defense attorneys and I told both of them that I was going to do my best to see them rank #1 in Google, I’d be lying to one of those clients.
FindLaw has a lot more than two clients who are defense attorneys in Phoenix.
If you are an attorney and you’d like me to help you with marketing your law firm, I will not “practice” SEO for any other law firm, in your area, for 365 days after we terminate our relationship. If you want me to maintain your SEO, which is something that is absolutely necessary- (maintenance that is, not using me necessarily)- then I would never work for anybody that practices what you practice. To do otherwise is totally unethical, in the eyes of The SEO Guru. In fact, if you are a Scottsdale defense attorney, I just took a client last Thursday and I can’t help you.
There’s your proof. In fact, I can’t help any defense attorneys in Mesa, Tempe– and now, Scottsdale. I can’t help any family law attorneys in Arizona at all.
I would love to help everyone, and deceptively tell them that they are the only law firm for me, but then I would be like FindLaw.
2. Put a little more effort into good design. Just above, in point number one, I wrote that attorneys were a left-brained group. While paying FindLaw to cheat on you isn’t very good evidence of the logical side in action, the poor design I see I many law firm sites is a good reminder.
Most attorney websites look the same, because most are done by FindLaw. You’ve got a header, a bunch of keyword stuffed content, a sidebar with a video, and a footer with the same thing written on every lawyer’s website.
This is an extreme example of boring design, but check this out: https://www.keytlaw.com/leasinglaw/azevictions.htm (It’s not a FindLaw site though.)
Mr. Keyt is not a client. You won’t find me linking to any of my clients here. I’m not about the anchor text spam. I’m also not into making it known who my clients are, except for the very occasional and very necessary testimonial. Even then, I may not feel comfortable. I’m not going to put a footer link on your website that says “Phoenix SEO Consulting” either. I find that unprofessional.
Now granted, Norm Keyt is the kind of attorney that has a lot of long-time clients- landlord-tenant attorneys have many landlords on retainer and they handle evictions in bulk. The landlord always wins in Arizona, so there’s no real reason to ever fire your landlord-tenant attorney. So maybe there’s no real reason for him to market online.
Law firm sites are getting better, but they still all have a similar look and feel. And why not? The same two or three companies take care of most attorneys in the U.S.
3. Most of the content is so boring, it’s making me sleepy thinking about it. Much of it is clearly written for search engines and not humans.
Pick an attorney site, any attorney site, and read it. Especially a FindLaw site, where the content isn’t often written by the attorneys themselves, but rather, professional content “writers.” The reason I know it’s not written for humans is because I’m a human and I can’t read it for five minutes.
Attorneys, especially good attorneys, are often just too busy to write content. I get that. But instead of hiring a national company to spew out this boring crap- page after boring page- why not hire a law student to write on your blog? Or even better, an undergrad?
Writing original, relevant and easy-to-read content is extremely important for marketing your law firm online.
Did you finish reading this article? Are you an attorney?
Then this is the kind of content you need, isn’t it?