Full disclosure: we’re a little biased here. After all, you’re reading an article about choosing the best attorney SEO provider, and it’s written by… an attorney SEO provider. (Spoiler alert: we do think we’re the best.)
But in today’s article, we want to give you a concrete list of things to consider when shopping around for an SEO agency. (And we do expect you to shop! We know we aren’t your only option.)
Our hope is that you’ll see the practicality in each of the nine factors that follow — and that they’ll help you find the right fit for your firm.
The First Step: Run a Google Search for Attorney SEO
If an attorney SEO agency claims it can get your law firm to the top of Google, it stands to reason that the agency ought to do pretty well on Google itself, right?
So as a first step, put them to the test. Run a search for attorney SEO… are they at least on Page One?
Granted, we’re particularly partial to this test at Black Fin because, well, we have the #1 Google result for attorney SEO, and we’ve had it for a long time. While search rank doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about your SEO provider, we think it does attest to our ability to do what we say.
You might choose a few other search terms to try out too. Ultimately, what you’re looking for is some evidence that the agency does understand how to put sound SEO principles to work.
Now, Google Their Clients
We realize, of course, that you don’t care so much about the agency’s ability to get itself a great result on Google. You want them to put you and your firm on Page 1 with as high a rank as possible. So the next thing you need to do is find out how well the agency’s clients are ranking for relevant search terms. There are two ways to do this:
- Simply ask them. If it wants your business, the agency should be able to demonstrate what it has done for other clients in your field — ideally, at least three other clients.2. Google their clients for yourself. Most reputable law firm SEO agencies will list some firms they work with on their website. Check them out. Visit their websites. Run a search that includes their city to see what kind of local traction they might be getting (e.g. “Cincinnati real estate lawyer,” if the shoe fits).
Find Out What Their Strategy Is. Then Recite It Back to Yourself.
There is no magic formula in law firm SEO, nor is there any fast track to success. Incidentally, law (and especially personal injury) is the single most competitive industry in terms of SEO, and it’s very hard to make big gains these days. But it isn’t impossible. Here’s the only way to make it happen:
- An in-depth understanding of SEO, and• Up-to-the-minute awareness of trends, changes in Google algorithms, evolving best practices, etc., and• Tireless commitment to monitoring and aggressively tweaking your online presence to beat out the competition, and• A commitment to doing what it takes to win the SEO game.
Those goals don’t achieve themselves. Your law firm SEO agency should have a succinct, comprehensible, and practical strategy for demonstrably boosting your bottom line.
Moreover, they should be able to explain that strategy clearly enough that you personally understand it, agree with it, and could turn around and explain it to someone else (even if in non-techy layman’s terms).
Only Consider Full-Service Law Firm SEO Agencies
You wouldn’t eat at a restaurant that only works with one ingredient, and you wouldn’t go to a hairstylist who can cut your hair but not shampoo it. Attorney web marketing requires a multi-pronged approach, and the best law firm SEO agencies will provide a suite of services that complement each other to make the most of your SEO efforts.
Specifically, look for an agency that provides at least the following services in addition to attorney SEO:
- Website design
• Mobile-responsive web design
• Pay-per-click (PPC) management
• Social media management
• Local search & Google Maps SEO
• Content writing
Ideally, the agency will offer you a choice: services a la carte or tailor-made packages that give you just the services you need. (Even if you aren’t interested in a particular service at the moment, it’s still wise to work with an agency that could handle it later, should the need arise.)
Narratives Are Better Than Puffery: The Importance of Case Studies & Testimonials
“Puffery” is one of the best words to come out of contract law, and if anyone know what it looks like, it’s lawyers.
You’ll find plenty of puffery when shopping for an SEO provider for your law firm. Look past that, though, and search for substance. Real narratives about the agency’s past successes will tell you so much more than the promises they make on their site. Ask them for:
• Case studies
• Authentic success stories
• Awards and honors from credible, recognizable third parties (not the kind that the agency can pay for!)
Don’t be afraid to ask an agency to prove itself before you hire them. If they can’t, that’s a red flag!
The Practiced Preacher Test
Does the agency practice what it preaches? For instance, if they talk up the importance of a nice-looking, fast-loading, mobile-responsive website, does the agency’s own website pass that test?
If they tell you that you need webpages and blog articles with longer word counts to thrive, are they implementing the same on their site?
Are they active on social media?
Size Matters: Research Their Roster
How big is the agency’s profile? While you don’t necessarily need to work with a massive agency, you might also have a hard time meeting your needs with a two-person operation working out of a utility closet.
Does the agency employ enough people (with enough diversity of expertise) to capably offer the services it’s promised you?
Is the agency willing to work with outside contractors, such as attorneys, to bring in the expertise you need? (This latter question is especially important for law firm SEO, because some legal web content simply needs to come from an attorney’s hand — and you and your firm’s attorneys probably don’t have the time to write it all yourselves.)
Focused on Law Firms
There’s a big difference between an agency that could market a law firm in theory (because, hey, they’ve marketed all kinds of companies!) and an agency that concentrates primarily or exclusively on law firm SEO.
Legal services is the most crowded and competitive market for search engine optimization, so it requires a sharper, more strategic approach. Experience in this area really matters. Make sure your agency knows what it’s doing with your law firm.
Are They Cool with Your Commitment Issues?
Not ready to sign a 12-month contract on day one? That’s understandable. You might be new to the SEO universe, and/or you’ve yet to see evidence that the agency can make the kind of impact you need. You don’t want to over-commit without first realizing some ROI.
Be wary of law firm SEO agencies that insist on long-term contracts. The right agency will expect you to hold them accountable, and they’ll deliver clear, measurable results each month to demonstrate that their services are worthwhile.
Naturally, success in SEO does not happen overnight. It’s a long-term proposition. You shouldn’t expect to see a miracle in the first few reports. But any legal marketing agency should be ready to illustrate the efforts it’s making (you know, the efforts you’re paying for) — and be ready to be fired if they fail to deliver.
Consider Black Fin as Your Law Firm SEO and Web Marketing Agency
If you’re looking for an agency to handle every aspect of your online presence in a way that ultimately brings you bigger cases and better clients, we hope you’ll consider hiring Black Fin.
We practice what we preach: we got ourselves to the top of Google, we’ve done the same for many of our clients, we don’t require long-term contracts, and our record of success speaks for itself.
Black Fin is a team of experts who are passionate about what we do — and as it happens, law firm marketing is the only thing we do. Our entire company is dedicated to marketing attorneys online.
Find out why so many of our clients give us rave reviews. Drop us a line to learn more about how we can help your law firm grow.