This article discusses the role and potential that SEO has to take a small law firm from being a player in the local community to competing for both on the national and international stage. It also lays out the argument for why it is very possible and how to go about it.
The one thing that is common to every lawyer, entrepreneur, or business owner is the concern that they have about the growth and sustainability of their business, or the lack thereof. It is safe to say that any business owner that invests the necessary resources in time, money, and personnel into their business has a fair chance of being successful.
The definition of this success will differ from one business to another and the length of time it will take to achieve the desired level of success will also, no doubt, differ. In recent times, especially since the advent of, and increasing popularity of the internet and the world wide web, it has become exceedingly clear that one of the best and fastest ways to take your law practice from where it currently is to where you want it to be, or from being a local player to a national or international player, is to invest considerably in one or more of the digital marketing channels like social media marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and content marketing.
Starting and running a law practice can be a very hard undertaking as there is usually a whole litany of tasks that need to be performed on an ongoing basis. Once you have done the basics like forming an LLC or any other appropriate organizational structure, to begin with, then there is the need to have a good product or service. After this there is the designing of an effective organizational structure, ensuring that your product or service is of a high standard and quality, the provision of consistently good customer support, and even going as far as to retain the services of a good business attorney for legal advice and representation in the event of a business dispute, among several other tasks.
When all the above has been taken care of, which in many ways can be seen as the basics, the real work and challenge of growing the business then begin. Growing a business can, in many ways, often be harder than the initial phase of establishing it. In all likelihood, it will require a significant amount of effort, financial resources, time, personnel, and more to grow a business. As if that wasn’t enough, many of these resources are scarce and are not always easily accessible to small businesses.
However, the one resource that is not only readily available but also has immense potential to help take your business to the next level, while also being relatively affordable is digital marketing in general, but more specifically, Search Engine Optimization (SEO.)
Using SEO to Grow a Small Law Firm
SEO is an aspect of digital marketing that is concerned with improving the rank or position of a website in the Search Engine’s Results Pages (SERPs.) By improving the visibility and position of a business’s website in the search engines you will also significantly increase the chance that more people will get to visit your website and, therefore, become aware of your services.
The importance of SEO in particular, but digital marketing in general, cannot be emphasized enough. For example, according to research conducted by Brightedge, as much as 51% of all the traffic on the World Wide Web comes from organic search. I.e. the organic results of a search engine’s results page. It, therefore, stands to reason that there is a high probability that many of the people who are the target audience or potential customers for lawyers will use a search engine like Google or Bing whenever the time comes that they need your service. What SEO does is to increase the possibility that your website will be presented to them whenever they perform this search.
Dominating Your Local Market
One tactic that can often be used in a bid to grow your law practice nationally is to first dominate the local market and to ensure that yours is a well-known brand in the local community. There are a few advantages and reasons for doing this. First and foremost, there will almost certainly be smaller competition at a local level than there would be at a national or international level. Secondly, your local community can often be used as an incubator to fine-tune various aspects of your practice so that it will be able to stand up to the potentially increased pressures of going national or international.
When it comes to dominating your local market, fortunately again, SEO can play a critically important role. This is because of the existence of specific products created by the major search engines that cater to local markets in the form of Google My Business (in the case of Google) and Bing Places for Business (in the case of Bing).
Various available research tells us that in some cases, as much as 46% of all online searches have a ‘local intent.’ In other words, the searchers are looking for products, services, or information, or the results thereof, that are local to them. Local SEO, which is a subset of (organic) SEO is one of the most important tools that has the most potential to help you dominate your local market.
Of course, local SEO should not be the only toolkit in your playbook to dominate your local market. Social media and the many groups that have a local affinity, participating in and sponsoring community events and other offline forms of advertising should not be neglected.
In the long run, the combination of organic and local SEO, good quality service, and great customer service will make you a force to be reckoned with on the local scene and in no time yours will be a favored and well-known brand to locals.
Going From the Local to the National (and International) Stage.
The great thing about digital marketing is that each type or category usually feeds off and works in synergy with others. This synergy is evident, for example, when it comes to the symbiotic relationship between local SEO and organic SEO both at a local and national level.
The relationship is this: More often than not you will find a relatively close correlation between the rank of a website in the local maps results and the organic results of a SERP. Equally important is the fact that the rank of a website on a results page in a particular location, will, more often than not, be mirrored almost identically (+/- a slight variation) from a different location.
In other words, if someone in Los Angeles types in the words “criminal appeals attorney” and sees your website in position 4, chances are high that someone sitting in their office or living room in Dallas, Texas who types in the same search phrase might see your website +/- about the same position.
This is the advantage and opportunity that SEO presents to your business if you use and do it properly. In one breath your business would have gone from being accessible to potential clients in your community or at a local level as a result of your investment in local SEO, to being found by people looking for the same product or service in various other states in the country, and possibly, internationally too. Such a reach can have a tremendously positive effect on the growth and sustainability of a business.
To further solidify and extend the reach of such a business on the national or international stage, paid advertising (both on social media and in search engines) with its amazing geographic targeting capabilities can be added to the arsenal of resources at the disposal of your business in a bid to help grow it.
Kanayo Okwuraiwe is a startup founder and digital marketing professional. He is also the founder of Telligent Marketing LLC, a digital marketing agency that provides lawyer SEO services to help law firms grow their law practices. Connect with him on Linkedin.