How Attorneys in the USA Approach SEO and SEM

Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) play a key role in online visibility for attorneys. Newer firms have a lot of competition, with seasoned firms already ranking high in the search results due to years of marketing.

Attorneys in the United States can tackle their own SEO and SEM to a point.

Most firms will hire a marketing firm to handle their SEO and SEM when their budget allows. If a firm is just starting out, they can tackle some of the marketing on their own.

Site Optimization and Speed

Optimization and speed are key in the legal industry. Statistically, 96% of people use a search engine first when looking for legal advice. United States lawyers use this information and focus on customer experience.

You can do the same.

When a potential client lands on your site, it needs two main elements:

  1. Optimization for all devices, including mobile, desktop and tablet
  2. Site speed

On-page optimization is something an attorney can read about and start to implement. 

Today, people expect sites to be responsive so that they work on all devices and screens. People want to have the same great experience on their smartphone as they do on their desktop. 

Attorneys have updated their sites to follow the best responsive practices to meet these user demands.

Experience also relies on speed. Google shows that 53% of mobile users will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Optimizing a site to load in under three seconds will have an impact on user experience, ROI and conversions.

“We’ve seen significant improvements in rankings, traffic and new client intake by focusing on our site’s speed,” explains Fleming Law, P.C..

SEM Approach for Fast Results

SEM allows for fast results because it incorporates pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and SEO. When an attorney needs to generate leads and new customers, PPC is preferred over SEO. Attorneys will use a larger portion of their marketing budget to spend money on:

  • Advertising on YouTube
  • Pay-per-click advertising on Google
  • Pay-per-click advertising on Facebook

SEM is often thought of being PPC, but it’s really a practice of combining PPC and SEO. When firms combine the two, they can leverage the quick leads that PPC advertising delivers while also enjoying the organic traffic that SEO offers.

An SEO campaign can take months or years to improve rankings to the point where a lawyer’s site will receive the same visibility as PPC.

Firms are using SEM to maximize their exposure.

Placing ads is easy, but tracking and optimizing ads is time-consuming. Firms need to incorporate A/B testing, multiple ads and track their ROI to ensure that their ad campaigns are paying off.

Attorneys will start with site optimization and speed, but Google has over 200 ranking factors. Domain factors, page-level factors, site-level factors, backlink factors and a lot more are involved with how Google ranks a website.

Over time, when an attorney’s client list grows, it’s best to work with a marketing team that knows and understands how Google ranks sites. These teams can focus on the firm’s marketing, allowing attorneys to focus on their clients.