When a law firm reaches the decision to hire an SEO marketing agency, there are several things to keep in mind when choosing the right firm. Every marketing agency is different – some specialize in one niche area while others are generalists. So, let’s take a closer look at 8 things to look for in an experienced SEO agency before hiring them.
Characteristics of an Experienced Legal SEO Agency
When done properly, search engine optimization, or SEO, can put the spotlight on your brand and direct potential customers to your website. But what level of experience is enough for true success in the SEO world? Here’s a list of agency characteristics that can help you decide which agency will work best for your law firm.
1. Possesses Many Years of Experience in the Trenches
A great team has years of experience working in the digital marketing field, with a specialty in SEO. Keep in mind that all digital marketing is not the same – an agency that designs attractive brochures or websites might not have the expertise to drive up your rankings on a Google search page. Ask an agency for a list of past clients who are pleased with their services and then research their performance. Check out an agency’s star ranking and read their client reviews. Beware of SEO agencies without any positive reviews, or worse yet, a ton of negative feedback.
There are dozens of tools available for every SEO task, and a strong SEO firm will know when to use which tools. An agency should have their own preferred digital toolkit and know how to leverage every platform.
2. Focuses on Your Niche Industry
A niche focus allows SEO agencies to truly understand an industry – whether it’s legal, technology, healthcare, or any other field. An SEO agency that tells you they can do all industries equally well should be approached with skepticism. To get the best results, you’ll want to look for marketing agencies that specialize exclusively in the law instead of companies serving businesses across multiple industries. A legal marketing firm will tailor your SEO strategy to the unique needs of your law firm. They will know how to research relevant state and federal statutes, write compelling content that makes complex legal issues understandable to laypeople, and focus a strategy on each practice area you serve. They’ll be prepared to pivot when market conditions change and match SEO efforts to the size, focus, and goals of your law firm. SEO is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
3. Spots Trends Early and Leverages Them to Your Advantage
Google regularly changes its algorithm in a never-ending effort to improve its search results. As they do that, SEO agencies must change their tactics to align with Google’s ever-evolving guidance. If they don’t, outdated SEO efforts will fall flat, causing their clients’ search rankings to go into freefall.
To avoid this, you need an SEO agency that watches for Google rule changes and proactively adjusts their approach to match them. Agencies must revisit their tactics at least monthly – sometimes more often — so your web pages continue to rank as high as possible. They should also keep all their clients well informed about the algorithm changes by sending out detailed reports on a set schedule.
4. Creates a Unique SEO Plan and Strategy for Your Firm
Gone are the days of simply stuffing SEO keywords at precise locations in the text to achieve favorable ranking results. Google has gotten increasingly sophisticated, and the algorithm can spot websites that try to take shortcuts – like keyword stuffing. Nowadays, ranking high on Google means paying close attention to your site’s overall user experience (UX).
When potential clients visit your law firm’s website, they want answers, and they want to be able to find them quickly. If users have to work too hard to find information, they’ll simply bounce to another site – usually your competitor’s. Your site’s navigation, content, architecture, and metadata should all be part of a comprehensive SEO plan and strategy designed to engage potential clients, meet their needs, increase their time on the page, and convert them into active leads. Every digital element is focused on getting users to make that phone call or send a chat to your law firm. Your strategy needs to revolve around both on- and off-page search engine optimization elements to achieve the best results. After all, if a user feels lost or confused on your site, they’ll simply go to the law firm down the street for answers.
5. Provides Ongoing Performance Measurements to You
A good legal SEO agency should provide you with status reports showing (in great detail) how your website and SEO efforts are performing. This could include a monthly conference call in which they review site analytics with you showing the number of users who visited your site, how your Google rankings have moved up or down based on practice areas and keywords, and what future efforts will be taken to produce positive performance. Data doesn’t lie. You should insist on receiving consistent analytics updates that assess the progress of your digital campaign and SEO expenditures.
6. Offers Digital Services beyond SEO
When choosing an SEO firm, look for signs that they have a diverse skill set that goes beyond search engine optimization alone. Many marketing strategies demand a multi-faceted approach including digital design, content creation, and coding. A legal SEO agency should know PPC, social media, and other surefire tactics that allow them to promote your firm’s success. An SEO agency should be able to answer all your questions and resolve your concerns before you sign on the dotted line. Also, their account management, communication, and client service should be attentive, fast, and seamless.
7. Focuses on Quality Over Quantity
When it comes to creating web content and an SEO strategy, more is not necessarily better. A website with 1,000 pages doesn’t always perform better than a website with 400 pages. What’s critical is the quality of your content, design, navigation, structure, and strategy. Quality is the difference between shopping at Walmart and shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue. The same is true of choosing a law firm SEO agency. The lowest bidder offering a huge amount of “stuff” is not necessarily going to get you the Google search rankings you’re looking for. You want a pristine, targeted approach to SEO, not a throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach.
8. Enjoys a Track Record of Success
The best SEO agencies have a long track record of success in promoting their clients’ brands. You should be able to research any of their clients to see their efforts in action. Their clients’ websites should rank for the leading industry keywords, including local phrases, plus provide a memorable user experience on every page. As you analyze their efforts, put yourself in their customers’ shoes and see how well their sites work for you.
Ask an agency if they’ve won any design or SEO awards, which means they’ve been recognized among their peers for outstanding work. How many awards has the agency won? How prestigious are the awards? This will tell you a lot about an agency.
Don’t stop there either. Directly ask the agency about their successes to see what they have to say. They should easily provide a list of their wins and point to where they excel the most. If pressed, they should even point to potential areas for improvement and provide insights on how they plan to overcome challenges. Look at their Google My Business profile to learn about their company. Then, go to their website and read their content. Does it answer all your questions? Do you feel well-supported and understand what they can do for you? Is the content easy to read, well-organized, and engaging enough to keep you on the page? Want to go one step further in this research? Ask them what tactics they use to promote their own site and how they would use similar tactics to promote your law firm.
Let’s Have a Conversation About an SEO Agency for Law Firms
An SEO Agency with Proven Results makes All The Difference.
Now that you know what to look for in an experienced legal SEO agency, you can start searching for your perfect marketing partner. To do so effectively, look for law marketing agencies that seem to have the right level of experience, insights, agility, and customization. Then request a quote and a conversation with each one. Compare and contrast. You need a company that will pull out all the stops to promote your law firm while proving easy to work with every step of the way. By searching for this winning combination, you will get an SEO journey that feels wholly rewarding and provides an excellent return on investment. At Gladiator Law Marketing, we would welcome a conversation with you about your SEO agency needs.