SEO is somewhat of a holy grail for local businesses. If you do it right, you show up as the top result in Google searches and get targeted website visitors for free. For this reason, a top tier SEO company can be worth its weight in gold. However, there are also a lot of questionable SEO companies out there taking advantage of unsuspecting business owners, charging many thousands of dollars per month while providing minimal value in return. But they pretty much look identical, and they all advertise on the internet with the same promises: improve your law firm’s Google rank, get more clients, make more money. So how do you differentiate between the bad SEO companies and the ones that are actually worth the investment? This post will explain the major do’s and don’ts for how to hire a good law firm SEO company.
What NOT to Do When Hiring a Law Firm SEO Company
When you are approaching a serious business decision like hiring an SEO company for your law firm, it’s very helpful to know where the potential pitfalls are ahead of time. Here is what you shouldn’t do when looking for a good SEO company.
Don’t Just Use the Top Result on Google
You might assume that the top Google result for “law firm SEO company” would be the best SEO company to hire. After all, they are at the top of Google, right?
The problem is, when you search for terms like “best SEO company for lawyers,” the first result is actually probably not even a real SEO company that you could hire. It’s more likely to be an SEO-optimized page with a list of “top 10 companies for SEO” or something like that.
The websites they list are often named something like “the-best-seo.com” or “top-seo-for-lawyers.com”. They sound very on point with what you were searching for, but you probably won’t recognize the companies behind them, and for good reason.
The top 10 lists usually just give the highest positions on their lists to the highest bidders, and they have not vetted these companies in any way. SEO companies understand the importance of being the top result of any list, and they’re willing to pay for it.
The listing websites do not select these companies based on the quality of their services or their reputation, so it is highly recommended that you avoid them.
Don’t Use An Ad from A State or Local Bar Publication
Similar to the online SEO lists, ad space in a bar publication is paid for by SEO companies. Your bar association is not an expert at SEO, and they do not necessarily know anything about the quality of SEO services being provided by these advertisers.
Since the quality is unknown, you should exercise caution when using these companies as well. Just because someone is paying for advertise does not automatically mean they are a reputable SEO company.
How to Hire A Good Law Firm SEO Company
Now that you know what not to do, here are some tips about what you should do when looking for the right SEO provider.
Learn the Basics of SEO
You don’t have to become an SEO whiz by any means, but it’s important to know what SEO is and how it works. There are many resources available online, but for lawyer, you can check out this specific SEO for lawyers guide.
Understanding the basic terminology and how SEO works will make it much easier to evaluate SEO companies. You’ll know what questions to ask and get a better idea of what the company’s strengths and weaknesses are.
Most importantly, you’ll be able to understand what the company is doing and exactly how the company is improving your SEO.
Ask about The Company’s SEO Strategy
There are a number of ways to approach SEO. If you’ve learned the basics, you can ask the company about their SEO strategies.
Do they focus more on link building or content creation? How often will they add content to your blog? Will they add your site to legal directories as well?
The more you learn about the company’s SEO strategy, the more you’ll understand what to expect from their services. SEO is not rocket science; you should be able to understand exactly what the company is doing to improve your law firm’s ranking, which will help you evaluate the results they deliver.
Find Case Studies and Testimonials
If the company promises big results, you want to be able to see proof for yourself. Search the internet for reviews of the company’s services, or ask the company if they are willing to give you the names of some reference clients.
Every SEO company will make big promises of the SEO improvements of their clients. But the clients themselves will tell you the real story of their experiences, for better or for worse.
Ask about the Contract
Each SEO company will have different contract terms. You’ll want to know if the company has a policy against working for any of your competitors. You’ll want to ensure that they follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines and have never been penalized for unethical SEO practices. You’ll also need to know the minimum contract duration.
Some SEO companies lock you in to a two year contract. If you’re unsatisfied with their service after a few months, canceling the contract would incur additional costs. Be careful about these kinds of terms, and avoid committing to any kind of SEO contract for more than 6 months. That should be enough time to assess the company’s service.
The surest way to find a good SEO company is through another law firm’s recommendation. Ask your local bar association if any members can recommend a good SEO company, or reach out to another firm in your city but outside of your practice area that is ranking high on Google searches.
If you’re looking for my personal recommendation, you can also check out this list for the best law firm SEO services. Each SEO company has its own pros and cons, so be sure to do your due diligence and find the one that works best for your law firm’s needs and budget.
Selecting the right SEO company is a big decision. You owe it to your firm to find the SEO company that best meets your needs. Getting to the first page of Google may seem like an unreachable goal now, but with a good SEO strategy, you can start getting clients from organic searches in only a matter of months.
Maxwell Paderewski is is a personal injury attorney in Washington D.C. He is an active blogger at Small Firm Legal Marketing, a resource for attorneys to improve their legal marketing strategies and find the right products for their firm. You can follow him on Facebook at @smallfirmlegalmarketing or on Twitter @SmallFirmLM.