A Step-by-Step Guide to SEO for Law Firms
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for law firms looking to drive new business and grow their brands locally. Recent data from BrightEdge’s 2022 Legal Marketing Statistics report shows that 34% of legal marketers rank SEO initiatives as their top area of focus.
However, many small legal practices in Sarasota don’t have big marketing budgets to hire an agency. The good news is that you can make tangible improvements yourself with some fundamental on-page optimization best practices. This article will walk through exactly what to focus on, from site hierarchy to blog content and technical elements.
Set Up the Right Internal Site Architecture
Before diving into writing content, make sure your website’s information architecture sets you up for SEO success. Structure is critical for search engines to correctly index and value pages.
- Organize top-level site navigation by core practice areas like personal injury, estates, family law
- Use subpages to house individual legal guides, attorney bios, location info
- Link to individual service and lawyer pages from relevant sections
- Overly nest content like blog posts in hard-to-find areas
- Create complex site maps that confuse search bots
Study sites ranking well like examplelawfirm.com for structures optimized for rankings and conversions.
Craft Keyword-Focused Content
The content you publish is the primary way search engines understand your firm’s focus areas and expertise. Optimize it specifically for Sarasota and the practice types you want to rank for locally.
Blog several times per month incorporating relevant, targeted keywords.
- Feature keyword phrases in titles and URLs like “sarasota dog bite injury lawyer”
- Break down posts with H2 subheads using long tail versions like “statute of limitations on personal injury cases in florida”
- Embed internal links to related lawyers and services
- Only reference your city generally in state-wide posts
- Neglect location-based keywords specific to ranking locally in Sarasota
Legal Guides & Location Pages
Create dedicated pages targeting buyer keywords around specific practice areas and metro area information.
- Include city names in titles/H1s such as “Tampa Divorce Lawyers”
- Populate content with related questions, statistics, lawyer bios
- Interlink guides to location pages and visa versa
- Give every location identical, vague content that feels spammy
- Repeat the same basic details without unique value
Again, evaluate the static page content models of firms already performing well. What secondary and tertiary keywords are they targeting beyond head terms?
Optimize Technical Elements On-Page
Dialing in key HTML elements provides additional signals to search engines on relevance. It also improves click-through-rates (CTRs) from results.
Page titles and meta descriptions won’t directly influence rankings but play a crucial role in getting searchers to click.
- Keep titles under 60 characters, Meta under 155
- Feature primary keywords up front
- Describe page purpose clearly
- Craft vague titles like “Best Lawyers”
- Duplicate the same meta descriptions across all pages
Headers & Body Copy
Proper on-page content hierarchy clearly signals to bots what the page focuses on.
- Start with H1 featuring the primary keyword
- Create a descending order of H2, H3 tags reinforcing relevance
- Break up thick paragraphs for skimmability
- Jump straight to H3, H4 headers
- Leave huge chunks of unbroken text
Images & Media
Adding visual elements boosts engagement but also provide optimization openings.
- Fill out descriptive alt text summarizing contents
- Include geo-targeting captions like “car accident law firm sarasota”
- Embed calls-to-action to landing pages in videos
- Leave image alt text blank
- Ignore chances to reinforce keywords
Implement Schema Markup
Schema markup uses code to label specific data like addresses, business info, events etc. This clarifies your relevance for the ‘Knowledge Graph’ info boxes.
Common schemas recommended for law firms include:
- Legal service
Consistency matters so work with your web developer to deploy structured data across all site pages and key content types.
The Bottom Line
With a thoughtful strategy combining strong architecture, optimized content and technical enhancements, Sarasota law firms can improve local organic visibility themselves without paying thousands a month to an agency.
It does require hands-on effort but the tactics outlined above work if executed diligently. Make time each week to churn out fresh blog articles, location pages, structured data and keyword updates across the site.
Evaluate competitors who come up for your core law search terms in Sarasota and borrow what aspects of their on-page SEO are working then make it your own. The firms ranking the highest locally strike the right balance of relevance and authority. You can get there too by following their examples combined with this best practice checklist.
Now that you know what really moves the needles algorithmically, where will you start? Identify 1-2 priority pages or content areas you want to optimize first then knock out impactful changes piece by small piece. Let organic growth quietly build momentum week-to-week until you begin climbing for your target search terms.