Law Firm SEO Case Study

A small law firm’s attempt to succeed online was frustrated by a series of bad decisions and neglect from the multi-national company they hired to provide marketing expertise.  The attorneys were not SEO experts, they were busy in their practice, but they did know that every time they looked in the search engines, all they saw was their competitor – who seemed to be everywhere.

This law office asked our company to provide an expert second opinion and ultimately became a client.  The firm’s website has become their primary source of new business.  Here’s their story:

1. Law Office Background Info

  • Upstate New York
  • Three locations
  • Each location is in a small city of approximately 10,000 people
  • General law practice with multiple practice areas

2. Former Marketing Partner

This firm used the services of Hibu, a multinational directories and Internet services company operating in the UK, the United States and Spain. Hibu is formerly the Yell Group PLC, which originally dealt in yellow page phone book advertising.

3. Client’s objective

The main objective was to do well enough in the search engines that their website would generate results.  It wasn’t generating any results at that time.  A more specific objective was to do better than one particular competitor who was not only highly visible in the search results, their office was also visible – you could see it by looking out the window!

4. Issues (Uncovered in our Audit)

A. Website Essentials Issues

  • The firm didn’t own its website – it only owned the content
  • Unable to access their website
  • Website updates were costly
  • No statistics – nothing was being tracked
  • Domain name ownership was in the hands of a third party
  • High monthly website fee but their website was
    • not accessible
    • not mobile friendly
    • not secure

B. Website Content Issues

  • Content focused on general law, not specific practice areas
  • Insufficient volume of content – more like an online brochure
  • Only one of three offices represented on the firm’s website!

C. Local Search Issues

  • Zero #1 positions in search results for any of the practice areas, or general law keywords
  • Conflicting local search information
  • Google info panels for attorneys, not firm
  • 2 of 3 offices represented in Google index
  • Incorrect information – a trail of outdated information online from former partnerships, addresses etc.

D. Technical Issues

  • Proprietary Content Management System, unavailable to the firm
  • Dozens of minor issues – broken links, page not found errors, incomplete meta tags etc.
  • Website not mobile friendly making it difficult for over 40% of website traffic to navigate or view
  • Website not secure (HTTPS)

E. Advertising Issues

  • ZERO return on investment
  • Ads directed anyone who clicked on them to a defunct website!

If statistics had been collected, it would have quickly been apparent that the advertising was not directing anyone to the correct website.

5. Solutions

A. Essentials Solutions

  • New website – owned by the firm
  • Domain name owned by the firm
  • Google analytics installed with automatic monthly reports

B. Content Improvements

  • Website content improved according to keyword research
  • Focus changed from general law to specific practice areas in all locations
  • The website includes all three office locations

C. Local (Map) Search Solutions

  • Created resources to enable the website to reach the top of the search results in each practice area in each city.
  • Eliminated errors and contradictory information in Google, Bing, Facebook etc.
  • Consolidated multiple info panels for the same location
  • All three offices are indexed by Google and have accurate, complete info panels

D. Technical Solutions

  • Mobile friendly website
  • Secure website (HTTPS)
  • Hosting and maintenance included
  • No extra charges to keep it up to date
  • All technical issues resolved

D. Advertising Solutions

  • Canceled Adwords advertising due to negative ROI
  • Created reserve fund advertising campaign to supplement organic listings if necessary

6. Summary

  • The law firm went from being fourth best in one community to top first page results for each of its locations and every type of law practiced.
  • The change in focus from general law to specific practice areas drove qualified traffic to the website
  • The firm reduced its overall expenditure for website performance, saving several hundred dollars per month and received much better lead generation performance in return.
  • The firm was sufficiently successful in the search results that the reserve fund for Google Adwords advertising has not been required to supplement the results.
  • Website’s content remains completely up to date.
  • Biggest surprise – most traffic comes from searches that include “near me” like divorce lawyer near me, or injury attorney near me.  Success in Local (Map) search results was crucial to success.

7. Privacy

We would disclose the name of this firm to anyone that asks. We don’t publish that information on this web page to protect the firm from spam and excessive cold calls.