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How does Google affect law firm marketing?

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Why you need to love Google and why Google needs to love your website (aka law firm SEO)

How did you find this piece? Via social media? On our website? Via email? In all probability it was via Google, because Google and law firm SEO accounts for the majority of your web traffic and ours too.

The medium is the message

How you got here tells you something about our relationship with you.

Maybe you arrived at this article via a LinkedIn post or a Tweet that we issued on our Twitter account. That means you’ve chosen to follow us or Link with us or you found the article on one of those sites and you just couldn’t resist clicking through. Around 15-20% of you came via this route, if we had to guesstimate.

Maybe you came to the article via an email we sent you. Email means we’re even more likely to know you or have done business with you in the past. In the days of GDPR we’re not crazy enough to just buy in marketing lists, so odds are you gave us your email address at some point. A good slug of you will have come in via email – maybe 10-15% of you.

And then there’s the front door. Did you go to 2BD.ME and click onto blogs and then select this one? If so, you’re a rare one. Only 5% or so of our blog traffic comes in this way. Still, if you did, you probably knew us from somewhere. Maybe a word of mouth recommendation? A business card? Sounds like there’s probably a connection there somewhere.

So what about the rest of you? Well, if you didn’t come in from someone else’s website with a link to this article, then you probably came via a search engine, and if so, probably via Google.

Why is Google our overlord?

Google dominates web search. It handles well over 60% of all search engine (in addition to the searches it handles on YouTube which it also owns, and which often ranks second for worldwide search volumes.)

It quite literally ‘owns’ the audience you don’t yet know. If you subtract all the ways you have of reaching people direct through digital (email, social, web) then Google dominates the remainder of the people who do or could come to your article or website.

These people are your cold targets. And as someone who works in a law firm, you know that you need a pipeline of new contacts coming in in order to grow your future business.

What are the stats behind Google’s dominance of search?

Of the total daily web searches, Google handles 3.5bn. That’s one for every other person alive every single day. That’s two for every person on the internet.

Now, of those 3.5bn daily searches, around 57% of them click on the top three results. Not the top three pages. The top three results.

That excludes the adverts which appear above search results.

Fourth place on Google accounts for around 5% of all traffic. The difference between ranking fist (33%) and fourth (5%) is colossal. Almost 7 times as many people visit the top ranked result. That directly impacts on your sales leads.

What does this mean for law firm marketing experts?

Well, it means that we need to play by Google’s £rules”.

Google loves mobile friendly websites because users use their phones for more than half of all web views now. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, you need one or you won’t get ranked. No ranking = no traffic = no new business for you.

Google loves pages which answer questions. Look at this article. The sub-headings are almost all questions. Why? Because people type questions into Google and Google rewards those pages which answer them most accurately with a higher ranking. How does it do that? Well, Google’s algorithm allocates a score based (among other scoring criteria) on how many people read the page, how long they read the page for, and whether or not they share the page on social media (which is another sign that they trust the content). The three we highlight here are scores you can help to influence.

The most important bump in your google rankings comes from using the right keywords in your page url and in your H1 title. In WordPress, this is easy to see. The tools we have plugged in to our website remind us to optimise these terms. Do yours?

Finally, law firm marketing people, and law firm partners and fee-earners should use Google+ more often. The only thing Google rewards more than user behaviours is its own social media, Google+. You literally get a bump in your article’s rankings if you have shared it on G+.

Google’s algorithm is thought to have around 200 ranking criteria. You can read a long list of those ranking criteria here.

Do we need to respect other ranking criteria?

Yes, of course. Google is not the only player in town. However, respecting Google’s rules will help you get ranked elsewhere. There may be regional nuances e.g. the need to rank highly on Baidu in China, but well written articles which answer real people’s queries will get better read and inspire people to contact your law firm to make an enquiry.

You need a highly ranked website in order to run successful campaigns and to ensure that you’re getting your message across when it comes to challenges. You may also like to read this article on “the ten most important questions to ask if you’re building a new law firm website“.

If you need any help with promoting your website on Google, just call us on 0117 2872099 or email Simon.Marshall@2BD.ME

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