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Webinar Recap: Get More of the Right Law Firm Clients

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Law Firms

Search engine optimization, digital advertising strategies, and reviews are powerful legal marketing strategies on their own, but especially when used together to increase your law firm’s business. Each of these tactics make your firm more visible while enhancing credibility.

In the Scorpion webinar “How to Get More of the Right Clients,” a team of Scorpion’s experts shared best practices and expected ROIs for each of these strategies while also showing how they work together to create more business opportunities for law firms.

Moderator and Scorpion Director of Vertical Growth Andrew Adams was joined by Scorpion Chief Data Scientist Matt Bentley and Scorpion Senior Vice President of Advertising Ashlie Kim in a discussion about SEO, digital ads, and reputation strategies for law firms.


The Foundation: Law Firm Websites

Considering that 75% of consumers say they judge a business’ credibility by their website, it is important that your law firm website be professional, informative, and well-structured, the Scorpion experts agree. This is especially true when you’re investing in strategies like SEO or digital ads that are designed to send potential clients to your website.

Clients want to see a law firm website that discusses your practices and credentials while providing contact information easily. “If you're spending money on certain keywords, and then when they land on your website and it doesn't say anything about your practice, it’s kind of a red flag,” Adams said.

In addition, a website that is easy to navigate, attractive, and useful helps with SEO, Bentley explains. “Google looks at things like when someone clicks through from the Google results to a page, and they say, ‘Oh, that’s ugly,’ and they immediately click back to the search engine results. Or they say, ‘Wow, this is a good-looking site. Google has all that data… so, in that sense, our website goals and our SEO goals are perfectly aligned.” Bentley concludes.


SEO and Law Firm Growth

SEO is the practice of using keywords so that your law firm's website is found by search engines and ranks above other results. Google reports that it receives almost 300 million searches per hour — akin to nearly everyone in the U.S. conducting an online search every 60 minutes. Importantly, nearly half of those searches are for local businesses or services, including law firms, and about 28% result in a purchase or hire.

While ranking high on search engine results pages boosts your law firm’s visibility, it is also an endorsement from Google. As Bentley explains, potential clients see your law firm’s website at the top of the search results and equate that to Google finding it to be helpful, valuable, credible, and popular.


Organic vs. Paid SEO: Making the Right Investment

As an investment strategy, SEO has varying options depending on your law firm’s budget, your market’s competitiveness, and your goals. For instance, organic SEO focuses on optimizing a website through keywords and design techniques to naturally rank higher in search engine results without paying for placements.

Meanwhile, paid SEO involves purchasing advertisements to appear at the top of search engine results. This includes pay-per-click advertising, where you bid on specific keywords. You may also be weighing the costs of hiring an SEO expert, like Scorpion or trying to maximize SEO yourself.

“A pattern that we noticed is that the gap between people who invest in SEO and are actively doing SEO and those who are not is actually growing,” Bentley points out. “It used to be about the same, and you could expect about the same level of traffic growth.”

Studies show that traffic for those not investing in SEO declined over the last three years while those who are investing in SEO experienced increased traffic, he notes. “It's becoming more competitive. It's becoming more saturated. And the importance of really being serious about SEO as something that you have to proactively do rather than just ‘Google's going to give me all of this because I'm a great company’ — that's really kind of evolving and changing.”


Keyword Strategy

Once your law firm has decided to invest in an SEO strategy, there are best practices to ensure a great return on investment. For example, Bentley says that law firms wanting to rank higher on search engine results often make the mistake of bidding on one or two keywords associated with the law firm’s main practice area and geographic location. “Those tend to be the most competitive keywords that there are because they are the obvious ones that everyone is going after,” he adds with a recommendation for looking at your website analytics to see where most of your traffic is going and what keywords they are using in searches to get there. Then, focus on building an SEO strategy around those areas.

Bentley advises law firms to “cast your net in proportion to the size of your business.” This means law firms that are already established and have a good internet presence will have an easier time getting results on the broader, more competitive keywords. Newer, smaller firms or firms in a more competitive, larger market will likely want to narrow down the keyword scope to “better dominate the results,” he says. Then, once SEO is working, “you can expand,” he adds.


Artificial Intelligence’s Growing Role in SEO

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is increasingly showing its worth in SEO, Bentley notes. While human SEO specialists play a critical and unreplaceable role in SEO, law firms that incorporate AI analysis uncover specific and effective opportunities to rank better and grow traffic, he adds.

For instance, a law firm in Springfield, Missouri, asked for Scorpion’s help to rank higher in local searches for personal injury law. What AI uncovered was that, when searching for personal injury attorneys, people used the state, not the city, as a keyword in that market. That piece of intelligence led to a keyword focus adjustment by Scorpion and great search results for the law firm, Bentley says. “Those kinds of subtle details are different for every market. They're different for every practice area. It's thousands and thousands of data points.” He continues, “An AI system can pour through all of those and identify the best specific opportunities.”


Digital Advertising

Digital advertising costs are increasing due to higher demand, Kim said. While there are many strategies to ensure an ROI on digital ads, one of the most effective is diversification. Like a stock portfolio, Kim advised that your law firm’s digital ads be spread across multiple channels so that you can monitor what’s working, what’s not, and make adjustments as needed.

Law firms that advertise on new or emerging channels, like local directories or professional and industry apps, will likely enjoy less competition and a better ROI, he adds. This is a tactic Scorpion employs for clients with success. “The key is it's not just generating leads, but it's also generating the right lead at the right ROI for you,” Kim said.


Digital Advertising Budgeting

A large part of your law firm’s digital advertising strategy is deciding a budget by weighing the cost of the digital ad against the value of the client it is targeting. For example, let’s say you’re paying $500 per click for a digital ad that promotes your motor vehicle personal injury practice. Knowing that your average motor vehicle personal injury lawsuit settles for $2,000, you must weigh if those click costs are worth it for these cases, Ashlie explains.

Digital advertising takes some strategy and monitoring, but it pays off, Ashlie says. He shared details from one Scorpion client’s experience: a small bankruptcy law firm that persevered, even during the COVID-19 economic shutdown, because its digital advertising continued to drive business to the firm. This law firm followed Scorpion’s advice by using client data to inform the digital ad strategy, made smart keyword bids, and diversified by advertising on channels other than Google, Kim adds.


Reputation, Credibility, and Reviews

Adams opened the discussion about reputation management with some statistics:

  • 82% of law firm clients report checking reviews before hiring a lawyer
  • One disappointed customer will share their negative experience with 10 to 15 people
  • 89% of consumers read companies’ responses to reviews

“In the legal world, it used to be a lot of word-of-mouth, which is essentially an offline review,” Adams says, noting that such information is shared on a limited basis. But with reviews online, they reach a wider audience and last forever. “These online reviews are becoming more and more read and important,” he adds.


Reviews and SEO

In terms of SEO, Matt explains that Google wants to give searchers results that they like — which means businesses with good reviews. To do so, Google looks at two data points: review velocity and average review rating.

Review velocity is the number of reviews a business receives during a period of time. Consistent and recent reviews get better rankings, Matt says. The average review rating is just as it sounds — the average numerical ranking across all the customer’s reviews of the business. While Google favors its own platform, Matt says it does consider reviews on other sites, such as Yelp! and Facebook.


A Satisfied Client is Great Advertising

While review velocity and average review rating also contribute to how digital ads are ranked, the reviews themselves are valuable digital advertising tools, Ashlie adds. “A great review or a series of great reviews gives you a lot of credibility as a law firm,” he says.

Of course, there are rules for lawyers around soliciting reviews in many states. Andrew advises that you check your state bar’s business and ethics rules before beginning any campaign to collect reviews for your website or other online channels.


Let Scorpion Help You Grow Your Law Firm’s Business

Scorpion’s experts want you to get the right clients to grow your law firm. Feel free to reach out with any questions about how SEO, digital advertising, and reputation management can help you meet your legal marketing goals! To watch this webinar in full, click here