If you have had the doors of your solo or small firm practice open for any time at all, then you already know about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In fact, you more than know about it; you probably eat, drink and breathe SEO right now. Part of making your practice successful is being accessible and visible in the world of online searches and social media.
The trick is getting your practice to be among the top few (well, let’s be honest, the topmost) names that come up in a Google search for personal injury law or criminal law or family law or whatever your focus may be. Sadly, this is easier said than done, but not impossible. Following these few simple steps can increase your online visibility and help your practice’s name become one of the top ranking sites in any online search.
Content and Language Matters
If you want your site to be used, you have to make it useful. Whether you write all your content yourself or outsource it to other employees or professional writers, your content needs to be applicable to potential clients. Your content should offer clients and visitors information, tools, and advice on the things they need to know. Tell them what services are offered, provide user-friendly tools for them to calculate costs, and offer instructional videos.
Logically, it follows that the way in which you present that content must also be applicable and accessible to those potential clients. Make your site as user-friendly as possible, always keeping in mind that your readers are not lawyers (at least not typically). Present this content in laymen’s terms, using language that they use every day, not legal jargon that means nothing to them.
Site Navigation is a Make-or-Break Deal
How easy is it to use and navigate the features of your site? I know that when I am trying to find a service online, there is nothing more off-putting than a website that is not logical and easy to use. Make sure your tabs and pages are neatly and logically laid out. Your future potential clients should not find themselves lost in a web that they can’t extricate themselves from just by clicking on your links.
Your site should allow users to smoothly find and access information. It should be laid out without a lot of distracting and useless information, images or icons. A good rule of thumb is to include what is only strictly necessary and useful to your readers and your business. Keep it simple.
The Small Details Really Do Matter
By small details, I am referring to the essentials of any website. Make sure your name, address and phone numbers are updated and easily visible on the site. In that same vein, make sure your correct information is updated and accessible in various other directories and online searches. There is nothing more frustrating to online users than to find two or three different numbers listed for a business or service; without fail this will cause you to lose business.
Update, Update, Update
Never become complacent about your website. You don’t necessarily need to look at it every day, but the more often, the better. The legal field is ever-changing, as are most things in life, so you will always find the need to update policies, procedures, and prices. Just as you need to keep abreast of the changes in your profession as a legal practitioner, your potential clients need to have the most recent updates and tools available in order to find your site helpful.
Don’t Forget to Check in Now and Then
Since you will hopefully be continually updating your site, this last word of wisdom really shouldn’t be necessary. Alas, the reason I am including it is because the advice is needed from time to time. That advice is simply this: don’t forget to check in on your site periodically to make sure it is still up and running.
Many a lawyer or entrepreneur has visited her site after several weeks away from it only to realize that it has crashed, making her information unusable and costing her business. By keeping up with your site, you can catch bugs and issues early on or even right away, which allows you to seek help from various Google tools such as uptime monitoring service and Google Analytics and Google Webmaster to help fix the errors and get your site running again.
There is no guarantee that observing any or all of these steps will make your site the topmost searched site in your field, but it will certainly get you a place in the top five and speed you on your way to having that top ranking that you are probably obsessed with achieving, and with good reason. Having a higher rank makes your business more visible to potential clients. Being noticed by potential clients means that they have the chance to become current clients. Signing clients means increased revenue for your practice, and the cycle goes on. So take the time to work on your site today; it can make all the difference to your success.
Jared Pierce hung his own shingle right out of law school and has spent every minute since then discovering the joys and difficulties of chasing success. Anyone who has ever met Jared will tell you h