Lawyers have dealt with competition on the front page of Google search for almost 20 years now. Every year it is something new. As of August 2015, in the top 10 spots there are ads, local search results (map results), and 10 available spots to rank.
In practically every niche, in every city, you can Google X city X lawyer type (eg: Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer) and you will see these big, nationwide sites which are taking up 3 or 4 of these precious 10 spots. The main sites bugging lawyers right now are:
This issue is not unique to attorneys; real estate agents, for example, deal with redfin, realtor.com, loopnet, zillow, trulia, etc, etc. the list goes on.
Why are these sites so powerful?
Practically every law firm in the US is linking to these sites. Links are still the #1 ranking factor when it comes to Google search. All the inbound links to these sites give them massive authority.
How do I compete with these sites?
Please read this section carefully. And, click here if you need SEO and content for lawyers.
Many lawyers have simple 10 page websites. These sites can rank on page 1 for their desired key phrase, if they get enough powerful inbound links. The problem is lawyer marketing companies and SEO companies are still selling lawyers the myth that links will make them rank. This is a half truth. Some links improve ranking, some do nothing, and some are detrimental. In LA there are attorneys with links from Forbes and CNN and those sites will be tough to beat. Simply spamming legal directories is a waste of time.
Content, content, content. I work with firms who have over 2,000 pages on their website. Lawyers like this don’t even need to be on page 1. I have poured over Google Analytics accounts for firms like this and I can tell you first hand that attorneys with a lot of content are getting 2,000 – 10,000 hits a month, compared to those sitting on page 1 for 1 key phrase who get a couple hundred click-throughs. Which would you rather have?
Solution: you need both links and content. Content has been the reason people visit your online presence since before search engines existed. But you also need the right kind of content. It must be structured in a way that search engines like and answer people’s questions. Simply adding content to your site such as fluffed up articles like “wear a seatbelt” is completely useless. Unique content boosts rankings and I have examples of this to show people privately. Good links also help. The best way to get links is to be active in your community and network with other professionals. I have endless link ideas for law firms which are proven to work. I work with newbies, very large firms, and I have references in multiple countries, and all of them will tell you that this article is spot on.
If you have an “SEO Expert” trying to rank you by tweaking your breadcrumbs and playing with image ALT tags, fire them immediately. This is stuff that hasn’t been a big factor since the late 1990s.
I am not against AVVO, Yelp, Thumbtack, FindLaw, or Lawyers.com, and in many cases I actually recommend that people use some of these services if their budget allows.
Lawyers want cases, not rankings. Would you rather have great cases or great rankings? Would you rather have 2,000 hits a month or 200?
Great articles, about injuries for example, get 5 – 20 reads a month; this stuff doesn’t happen overnight. A great strategy is to create content while waiting for “money pages” to rank. I have worked with people and gotten them front page rankings in 30 days and for others it takes 24 months – each case is very different, and, it isn’t even an option for everyone.
Why do I know so much about this? I provide SEO & content and have for ages. This page is all about my personal injury SEO and content creation services.