Why Doesn’t My Law Firm Website Rank?

Law firms face one of the most competitive spaces online (especially personal injury law firms) that can be found. Lawyers realize that they face a unique marketing problem, that their customers are not typically looking for their services until that very specific time when they need a lawyer. This is not something that a person usually needs every day, or even every year. That means your firm must somehow figure out how to be remembered at all times, even though your customers are typically not looking for you. You have to be there and be remembered at the precise moment that a person needs a lawyer, even though they may have never looked for a lawyer before. It is a tall order to say the least.

The typical way that lawyers market themselves is to spend as much on advertising as they possibly can, so as to continually be presented to their local population. This probably involves billboards and television commercials, radio ads and full page spreads in local magazines or newspapers. Some lawyers will also try less conventional methods like having their own talk shows on television or social media stunts that will attract attention. All of this is in the hopes that when someone gets hurt or needs a lawyer, they will remember those ads and call you. Needless to say, being presented to everyone at all times is going to cost a lot, when it comes to marketing.

You probably heard of this thing called SEO (search engine optimization) where companies manipulate your website in order to make you come up higher on search engines when someone searches for a lawyer. This is the best form of marketing for a law firm, because the websites that are returned in those results are being shown directly to someone who is pro-actively searching for a lawyer right now. They are going to a search engine and specifically looking for something like “personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas” because that is exactly what they need, and they need it right now. They will be presented with a list of law firm websites that all look pretty much the same and say pretty much the same things. They will generally choose from the first few results that are presented to them by Google on the first page, and call the ones that look good. Statistics show that more than 50% of people searching on Google will only click on the first result, and that number goes down with every position lower. 25% of searchers will click the second result. 12% will click the third result and down from there. By the time you reach the sixth result on the page, the websites are getting less than 1% of the total search traffic. This is why it is critical to be in the top six, and even more important to be in the top two. Those are the law firms that are getting the calls, and the ones getting clients who are searching on Google for a lawyer.

You probably get a ton of email solicitations from web companies every month, and see a lot of ads for web companies in magazines and online. You probably answered one of those solicitations from a company claiming to be an expert specialized in “SEO for law firms,” or one specialized in building law firm web sites. Their resume probably looked very impressive because so many other law firms are also using them. You had them build you a website and do SEO for you, and unfortunately you probably didn’t really understand what SEO is, or how it works. They built you a nice website and put it online, but it never got to the first page of Google in your city when someone searches for “lawyer in (fill in city.) Even though they say they are doing SEO, it doesn’t seem to be getting you to the first page, so what is wrong? Unfortunately, in many cases you chose the wrong company.

There are several big companies that specialize in marketing for law firms, and building websites in particular. Everyone knows that if nobody finds your website it is essentially worthless, so they say they do SEO as well “to get you found.” They show you a bunch of nice templates for websites that you can choose from, and then they personalize that template with your firm name and logo, as well as pictures and colors. They make it look good using a standard type of method, essentially making it look like most law firm websites. They then tell you that you can use the “content library” to fill in the crucial content that will be necessary to rank on Google. They might fill it in for you, building tons of pages on your website all filled with great content on the topics that make sense for your firm. You read online that “content is king” on Google, and that is how rankings are developed. So you got real busy choosing articles from their professional writers in the content library, and putting those articles on your website. You create a huge amount of pages all with content, and yet nothing seems to push your website higher in the rankings. The reason is that the content you are using has no value.

“Wait, I thought you needed content to rank on Google?” You do, but the problem is that your content is not unique. Many years ago when content began to be the primary factor that Google was looking for when ranking websites, SEO companies developed ways to steal it. Stealing is cheaper than having it done yourself, so they developed software that would scour the internet looking for content about different topics. When it found content that was right for your site, it copied it and pasted it into the client website. This was called “content scraping” and it worked really well. Google does not want people who steal other people’s work to benefit from it, so they changed the system to only give the benefit of content to the first website it finds that content on. Every website that has the same content is then viewed as stealing, and is punished by pushing them down in the rankings.  This is the point where you are probably saying “wait, I am not stealing anything. The company said that I could use the content as in exchange for a monthly fee.” Google has changed over time, and realizes that you are not doing anything malicious when you use content from libraries. They do not give you any benefit for it either. This means that the content that you are putting on your site in order to improve rankings is actually doing nothing at all to improve rankings. It is literally a waste of space on pages that could be used to develop rankings. No customers are reading that article on “car wreck lawyer” and choosing your firm because of it. The only reason it is on your site was because someone lead you to believe that putting it there would help your rankings go up. We are here to tell you that it doesn’t.

SEO is a process of convincing search engines that your website is the authority on a topic. This means that the content must be valuable and unique. If you go to any page on your website that was built for you and copy a few lines of the text, then paste that text into Google you will understand how SEO works. The results you will be shown are going to be the sites that Google finds most important for that text, and if you see a bunch of other law firm’s websites but not yours that means that someone else already got credit for that text. That other website is considered the authority and yours is not. Stop wasting time and money chasing SEO strategies that do not work. The content on your website has to be the most important ideas on the internet in order for you to rank higher, or at least within your geographic location. Using big companies who “specialize in law firms” usually means that you are getting pre-built websites that are filled with pre-built content. None of those things are going to get you higher rankings, or new clients.

If you want to explore effective search engine optimization for your law firm, contact us at 702-767-4637

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