It wasn’t that long ago that social media was just a way for friends to connect and share their lives through stories, pictures, and maybe the occasional joke or meme. Now, social media is about so much more than just friends connecting. Many businesses quickly realized the potential to market their products and services on social media.
When billions of people are using Facebook and countless others are on other platforms, you can’t possibly ignore the potential impact social media can have on your law firm’s business. But does a strong social media strategy impact search engine optimization (SEO)? That has been a hotly debated subject. It’s time to cut through the confusion.
There is a right way to use social media to help your law firm SEO efforts. Although you’re not likely to gain direct SEO benefits from social media, there are some indirect impacts that you shouldn’t overlook.
How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Law Firm SEO
Social media engagement can impact your law firm’s rankings, website traffic, and leads in several ways. The key is understanding how to use social media to attract visitors to your content and website.
Social Media Means More Engaged Website Visitors
When your firm engages with people over social media, you are allowing consumers to get to know you and what your law firm is all about. Through the stories you share, the information you provide, and other helpful tips you post—with links back to your website’s content, of course—you are connecting with people and giving them a direct line to your website.
Many people who read an engaging article or piece of information shared on social media will move directly from that article to the website linked to it. When that happens, your website is getting more visitors, which is something Google and other search engines will take note of.
The more traffic your website receives, and the longer people stay on your site and the more articles they read, the more Google may think your website is valuable and increase your rankings for key search terms. So, even if that person who read your article doesn’t hire your law firm, he or she just boosted your SEO by visiting your website and clicking through several articles for more information.
The Golden Ticket: Backlinks
You may already know that links on other sites that connect to your website will boost your law firm’s SEO. There are many ways to get these backlinks: You can simply hope someone will link to you, or you can spend hours writing guest articles for legal blogs.
Or you can get them with minimal effort using social media.
Here’s how it works: The more you engage with potential clients and your community on social media, the more likely it is that a content creator like another business, a blogger, or a journalist is going to come across your content and link back to your law firm’s website in content on his or her site.
When you’re active on social media, more people will have the chance to share your articles, and more businesses that are similar or somehow connected to yours might link back to your site to help their readers. Google sees these links to your site and assumes that they mean you’re an authority in your field. That translates to higher rankings when people search for terms related to your law firm’s services.
Dominate Branded Searches
When someone searches for your law firm or an attorney at your firm by name, you expect to be the top result in Google. You should be. The problem is that your top result might be followed by other firms in your area—your competition. You’d probably like a way to push competing firms a little farther down in the search results.
With a sound social media strategy, you can do exactly that.
If you search for almost any major brand by name, you’ll get the brand’s website and its Facebook and Twitter profiles in the top five Google search results. You can do the same thing, moving your Facebook and Twitter profiles up above your competition.
In order for you to achieve this, Google needs to understand that your social media profiles are connected to your firm and its website. In your profile descriptions, include relevant information about your location, services, and practice areas—and make absolutely certain that you use your firm’s full name and include your address.
Google Isn’t the Only Search Engine
Google has repeatedly said that social media doesn’t directly affect rankings. The above strategies apply to Google and can yield indirect benefits, of course, but Google isn’t going to be looking at how often you post on Facebook and boosting the rankings of your law firm’s website.
As much as Google would like us to think that’s the final word because Google is the only search engine that matters, we can’t ignore the fact that there are countless other search engines out there. And some of them hold significant portions of the search market.
For instance, Bing has more than 3 percent of the search engine market share worldwide, according to StatCounter. To Google’s 90 percent, that doesn’t sound like much, but it still translates to millions of people who use Bing on a daily basis.
And Bing’s rules aren’t the same as Google’s rules. The search engine has confirmed at least once that it does examine the “social authority” of users, and that factor has an impact on rankings.
In other words, target Google users, but don’t forget that social media could bring direct SEO benefits on other search engines.
Law Firms Should Take Advantage of Social Media
In a competitive legal market, law firms can’t afford to overlook any potential method of getting clients in the door. SEO is a well-recognized and extremely important marketing method, and social media can play a part in a well-rounded attorney SEO strategy.
Although SEO is complicated and relies on many factors working together, social media can help you achieve your end goal: more clients knocking on your door. Tom Desmond