Off-Page Optimization: What You Need To Know
Does the latest talk and terminology regarding search engine optimization or SEO feel like a foreign language? For sure, it can be complicated at first glance, but it’s a fact that nothing works like SEO to grow a local – or even a national law practice.
To put the SEO acronym in simpler terms, it’s all about getting your law firm’s website to show up on the first page of Google for people who search online for an attorney in your city (you can hire a lawyer SEO Expert). By understanding the basic principles, it becomes easier to see SEO’s potential to bring your practice to a whole new level.
We are seeing more legal firms making bigger commitments to bringing in more leads from online search. Obviously partnering with a proven lawyer SEO expert is the best way to achieve that goal. In fact, a recent study revealed… law firms that bring in 60% or more of their leads on the web are twice as profitable as those who generate less than 20% of their leads online. Attorneys that regularly show up on Google’s Page 1 in response to searches from these ready clients have a number of features in common. These characteristics serve to create trust for visitors, provide authority information in their practice area, and link them to other relevant websites. Following these proven strategies can move your website on to Page 1 as well.
On-Page and Off-Page SEO — What’s The Difference?
To understand SEO, we can start off looking at a simple 3-part framework.
On-page optimization refers to how well you write, organize, and format your actual website content, including text, images and videos, as well as how you have utilized keywords relevant to your practice area. Is your website clear and informative, attractive, and user-friendly? Does it use key search terms effectively?
Technical SEO covers aspects such as schema markup of microdata, page-loading speed, and improvements that enable “search engine spiders” to better “crawl” your website and identify your content for their databases. Moz has a great technical SEO tutorial for beginners if you’d like a basic introduction to the topic.
Off-page optimization involves creating inbound links to your site from other respected websites relevant to your practice area, which increases the credibility of your website for the Google search engine.
How Does Off-page SEO Help My Law Practice Website?
Research shows that inbound links from reliable sources affect up to 50% of a website’s Google ranking-weight factors. Securing and building these links is called “backlinking.” It makes a lot of sense that if your website is connected to other known, trusted sites, the credibility of your website and practice is enhanced. The search engines of today want to offer optimal results to their users, and are programmed to select the web pages that are connected to other reliable sites and social media. You can learn more about how off-page SEO is factored into our search engine optimization process here.
How Do We Score These Reliable and Authoritative Backlinks?
Here’s how the three types of backlinks work:
Natural links are those that connect to your site with no action on your part. For instance, if a client feels that you have offered great legal service that met their needs, they may give you a great review or create a link to your firm’s site on their webpage.
Manual links are those created by intentional link-building, usually done by an SEO professional, since this is not the easiest task to master. Creating new and informative content and then asking others to share it or link to it is one way to encourage these links.
Self-built links involve building your brand by creating backlinks in the name of your firm or with keyword anchor text, and placing these in niche-related forums, directories, and blog comments. Connecting with social media or YouTube influencers with large followings is another effective way to create some buzz around your firm. Writing press releases and contributing articles to local news media also helps to increase links to your website.
Regardless of which type of backlinks you obtain, the ones most valuable to you will be those from trusted, popular sites featuring timely and quality content, with strong links themselves that demonstrate their strength and reliability.
Along with this, natural links and endorsements on sites such as Yelp and Facebook from satisfied clients or web visitors who have found your site informative and helpful are some of the best advertising you can have. These work like personal referrals that bring you new clients. Don’t discount the human factor.
What Results Should I Look for With Expert Off-Page SEO?
Are you thinking about working with an SEO expert and wondering how you will know if it’s working, and how to choose the right professional to work with? You should see visible results in:
Ranking and Traffic: Your SEO should provide you with weekly or monthly reports that document your site’s progress towards Google Page 1, as well as figures on your web traffic. Depending on the size of your city and the number of attorneys in your practice area, this could take from a few months to one year to reach your goal. Upon reaching Page 1, you can expect about 40% of people searching for your main keywords to click on and view your site.
New Clients: Recent studies show that for every person who clicks on your site, 2%-5% of those will move on to become clients.
Snowball effect: Once your firm is visible on Page 1, the growing number of users who click on your site and check out your content will keep your webpage in that prime spot and set you up as the go-to attorney in your city.