Legal marketing has dramatically changed in the past decade and the quicker firms adapt and identify the opportunities that now exist, the sooner these firms will reap the rewards of SEO trends in digital marketing. In the past, it’s legal marketing was all about getting the best spot for your billboard or advertising on local news stations, but the times have dramatically changed and simply put, these strategies are not as effective today.
So, how should you approach your legal marketing in 2020? How can you generate more potential clients and grow your legal firm? Here, we will discuss 8 legal marketing and SEO trends to follow in 2020. Let's get started.
1. Growth of Social Media Importance
Being a fairly ‘serious’ niche with more tendencies towards B2B interaction, it’s no surprise that the legal industry has been fairly slow in adopting social media practices and social media marketing. However, more and more law firms are now looking at social media marketing as essential with 70% of surveyed law firms admitting that social media is now a part of their strategy.
It is, however, understandable that it can be difficult for legal firms to justify the investment in social media marketing. What is the real benefit of building a social media presence for your law firm? Is it tangible? What kind of posts and content should you develop?
Different firms might have different answers to these questions, so it’s important to answer them for your own firm first.
LinkedIn is an especially great platform for lawyers and law firms since it’s a great platform to establish thought leadership by publishing long-form content related to the legal industry. By posting content and distributing it to your target demographic, you will be able to show your expertise in the space and become known as the 'go-to' expert in your space.
There are ways you can test into social media marketing with limited resources and time investments, so if you haven’t already, it’s probably a good time to start.
2. The Continuing Reign of SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is still one of, if not the best way, to get found by potential customers. Close to 100% of potential clients look for their legal options on search engines and especially Google.
So, if your firm is not listed on the first page of the SERP (Search Engine Results Placement) or the top 3 of Google Maps results, you are going to miss out on a huge potential market. Only 0.78% of searchers click a link on the second page of the SERP.
While SEO is a pretty deep subject and it won’t give it much justice discussing it here, here are the three key areas to focus on:
- SEO is about relevant content: Only share content that is applicable to what you offer. Yes, it might be tempting to use your blog or social media account to comment on the recent developments or political events, but remember that the purpose of your content is to bring in potential clients to your practice.
- Optimize your website: At the very least, make sure your website is: mobile-friendly/mobile-responsive, has fast enough loading time, and has an optimized structure. Also, make sure the information on your website is concise and consistent. Obviously, optimize your content according to your target keywords.
- Create and optimize a Google My Business profile: Since legal firms are technically local businesses targeting a local audience, improving your presence on Google Maps is very important. Make a Google My Business account, make sure it’s verified, and drive as many positive reviews as possible to the Google My Business listing. Make sure to provide complete and accurate information like opening hours, NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number), and well-taken phones.
3. High-Quality and Relevant Content
Google BERT, Google's latest algorithm update launched in October 2019, is focused on understanding the searcher’s intent and also the context of a search query and website’s content.
Since, as mentioned, SEO is the number one source of getting more potential clients to your firm, quality, and relevant content will become the key to ranking your website in Google’s SERP.
In general, here are some tips on how you should approach your content in 2020 and onwards:
- Focus on establishing credibility and thought leadership. Aim to build your website as a one-stop resource where people can look for information related to legal advice according to your firm’s expertise.
- Check out the questions your potential audiences are asking in your practice area. Aim to provide better answers than your competition, and examine their content carefully to check where you can improve upon.
- Create in-depth content about your practice area. If, for example, your firm is specializing in bankruptcy, you can create long-form content explaining all the potential steps and what they should expect in a bankruptcy proceeding. If a potential client learns a lot from this content, they are more likely to come to your firm than your competitors. This type of content is often referred to as cornerstone content. Check out how to create effective cornerstone content.
4. The Dilemma of Featured Snippets
Featured snippets, is Google’s search results that appear above the organic results, and often called “position zero”.
A key aspect of these featured snippets is that the searcher wouldn’t need to click on the search result and go to any website to find the information they are looking for with their search query. So, this condition is creating a dilemma.
If you can get featured as this rich snippet, your website and your firm’s name will appear on top of the SERP above everyone else, but at the same time, it won’t drive traffic to your website and so capturing these searchers as leads can be difficult.
Featured snippets are also very competitive, and so legal firms should consider whether it’s worth targeting keywords that feature position zero results or to look on other opportunities.
5. Voice Search in 2020
Still related to the above, many featured snippets are also featured as voice search results. Also, in 2019, 60% of smartphone users have used voice search at least once, and 55% of teenagers are using voice search daily. Since voice search is often used to find local businesses (including law firms), optimizing for voice search will be more important than ever in your legal marketing strategy.
Also, remember that the results for voice search aren’t the same as traditional search, and the queries are also different. Voice search queries tend to be more conversational and longer than typed queries.
6. Professional Looking Legal Website
Your website and your social media profiles are now your firm’s sales representatives and might be your most important marketing asset.
At the very least, your website should be:
- Visually appealing: yes, we do judge the book by its cover. Your website must be aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and everything should be easily findable even on mobile devices.
- Fast: your site should load in less than 3 seconds, or you’ll risk a bounce from a site visitor. They can simply visit your competitor’s site, in this case.
- Mobile-responsive: your site should be optimized for mobile devices, simply because a lot of people are now using mobile devices to look for legal help.
- Findable: no matter how good your site is, it won’t bring any value if people can’t find it. So, make sure your site is findable via SEO.
7. Honest Branding and CSR
Your brand should honestly communicate the purpose of its existence. Yes, as a legal firm, your number one objective should be about solving legal cases (and making money in the process), but what’s more? Are you aiming to help your clients improve their lives? Are you going to help businesses in executing more ethical business practices?
Transparency of your purpose is very important nowadays. 80% of surveyed people say they are loyal to a business that helps the lives of others, and also in helping various issues like poverty, social injustice, climate change, and so on. Social responsibility is very important in the legal industry since you are essentially selling trust and credibility.
So, find an authentic purpose of your legal firm. What’s the biggest contribution your firm can make? Remember that it has to be authentic or it may backfire in the future.
8. Mobile-First Marketing
Your potential clients are likely going to be searching for and communicating with you via a mobile device. Today, 10 countries are searching more on mobile devices than desktop devices, including the U.S., and we can expect this to grow even bigger.
So, not only you should ensure your website is mobile-optimized, but you should also optimize various channels like text messaging (including iMessages, Messenger, and WhatsApp), social media, and other mobile channels.
Final Thoughts About Legal Marketing
Although there are more legal marketing and SEO trends that are worth mentioning in 2020, the eight we have discussed above are the most significant. We’d recommend your law firm to focus on these trends in 2020, which can act as a great foundation for your other marketing channels.
Legal marketing is continuously moving to the digital realm and improving your online presence will be extremely important if you want to stay competitive in 2020 as the start of the new decade. So, revamp your site, improve your social media presence, and level up your content marketing game.
Thank you so much for reading 8 Legal Marketing and SEO Trends to Follow in 2020. We really appreciate it! If you have any questions about our article, or can suggest any other topics you think we should explore, feel free to let us know.
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.