Hundreds of companies offer SEO services for lawyers and law firms. And as you’d expect, they range in price and quality, and many companies look identical from the outside. Your average lawyer doesn’t know much about the SEO services industry, or what makes a good SEO services company. This post will highlight the most important qualities in an SEO services company for a law firm’s website.
1. Content and Link Building Plan
When it comes down to nuts and bolts, SEO services for lawyers is like SEO services for any other website. As we mention in our SEO Guide for Lawyers, the two most important factors in SEO are content creation and link building.
If your SEO company doesn’t have a plan to consistently add content to your website (even through a third party content producer), then the company is not right for your firm. In order to get to the coveted first page of Google, you should be aiming for one new post per week, using relevant keywords for your practice area.
Similarly, your SEO company should be working to build your presence online by getting backlinks from authority websites. We mention some lawyer-specific suggestions in our guide, but you want to cast as wide a net as possible. If the SEO company insists that link building is not part of their system, they are not worth using.
However, link building has the potential for some shady elements, which brings us to our next point:
2. Following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
Google has its own rules about what is and is not appropriate for your website to rank. For example, a common inappropriate practice is paying for backlinks from high-ranking pages in China. The backlinks will boost your website ranking significantly in Google’s algorithm, but if Google finds out about them, they will penalize your website for it. Even the largest company in SEO services for lawyers can run afoul of Google’s guidelines.
Ask your SEO company if they follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, or if they’ve ever been penalized for violating them. This will be a good indicator if the company follows the rules or cuts corners. You don’t want to hand your firm’s website to anyone that could get it penalized.
3. Working for Your Competition
Some companies refuse to work with multiple competitors in a given area, while others do not. If the company already represents five of your competitors, you’re not likely to rank above them ever, since they are using the same ranking methods on your competitors.
If your firm is in a highly competitive metropolitan area, it’s important to ask if the company also represents any other law firms in the area, or if they have a policy against representing multiple competitors in a given practice area.
4. Fixed Contract
I would be skeptical of any company that forces you to commit to a one-year contract. Especially if you’re paying this company thousands per month, an extended contract means an enormous financial commitment, as well as the inability to switch to a better company.
If an SEO company stands by their service, they should be willing to work on a month-to-month contract. This does not mean that you should expect to be on the first page of Google within a month. However, after dealing with the company for a couple months, you’ll be able to get the feel for how serious they are, and how they treat their clients.
5. Case Studies
Who has this company worked with in the past? How did they do, and how long did it take? The best way to predict your firm’s SEO future is by looking at the SEO company’s past.
Companies providing SEO services for lawyers will tell you about where your firm will be in 6 months or a year with their company. But by that point, they’ll have quite a bit of your money. Make the SEO company sell you on their service by showing where it’s been successful. For further information, you can reach out to those law firms to see exactly how satisfied they really are, or if there were any problems.
Where Can I Find Good SEO Services for Lawyers?
Now that you know what makes a good company, where do you go to find one?
Most lawyers will go straight to Google, where hundreds of SEO companies are fighting for the first page of Google just like you are. Don’t assume they are right for your firm. Just because the company ranks in Google does not necessarily mean they are providing the best work. Similarly, don’t trust the lists out there of “Best SEO companies,” even if it looks like it’s from a reputable site like thebestSEOs.com. Many of these sites offer SEO companies a top slot on their list in exchange for a fee.
The best way to find a good company is through referrals. If you can find a personal recommendation from an authority you trust, it will serve you better that searching the results on Google.
Similarly, I would recommend reading detailed or personalized reviews of the SEO company you’re considering. Try typing “[SEO company name] review” and see if anyone has reviewed their services. Read all the reviews you can. Small Firm Legal Marketing will be doing its part by reviewing as many lawyer-centric companies as possible, including those providing SEO services for lawyers.
How did you find your firm’s SEO company? What are other great qualities to look for? Please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below.