2020 has been a year nobody could have predicted, with the COVID-19 pandemic dominating all aspects of our lives. These unprecedented times lead to severe changes in the way we conduct business and how consumers search for services. That being said, digital marketing has been one of the most effective tools for Law Firms that want to be proactive, with a long-term strategy for growth, and SEO is one of the vital elements for success.
In a previous article, we went over PPC (Pay Per Click) and some of the essential topics covered in 2020. Now that the year is almost over, we’ll continue our recap series, with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the hottest topics of 2020. We won’t only recap, but we’ll keep an eye on the future, trying to identify what’s here to stay and how your Law Firm can start making the most out of the points we’ll concentrate on. What were the most critical SEO news, updates, tools for Law Firms in 2020?
- Google Core Update January 2020 & Google Core Update – May 2020
The year started in January with the first Google core update. It was an algorithmic update with a (so-called) temperature close to the previous ones, in 2019. The most affected verticals were health services, family & community, beauty & personal care, financial services, and telecommunications. Legal services were also among the top 10 affected verticals, with notable changes in rankings. It was an update towards the general direction of Google policies for original content, enhanced user experience. A few months later, and amid the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic wave, Google proceeded to its second annual core algorithmic update. This time, health services providers were positively affected, and we saw more volatility on offline events, hospitality, and retail shopping. News outlets and directories were also among the top winners of the update. We noticed here that thorough link building strategies, with proper internal and external linking, helped websites on the winning side. On the other hand, thin and common content lost ranking on the SERPs.
What can you do to stay on top of future challenges?
- Create unique and original content for your Law Firm’s website. Don’t copy but instead, write about your own experiences and conduct your analysis.
- Create a solid link building strategy, both internally and externally. Avoid buying links from lists.
- Optimize your website speed across all devices.
- Run periodical audits for broken links.
- Work on your website structure and taxonomy.
- Don’t disregard the US Hispanics. SEO for your Law Firm in Spanish is equally important, and it could help you attract one of the most significant untapped opportunities.
- Citations & Local Search
Citations have always been important for Your Law Firm’s presence in the online world. They help your discoverability, and when done right, they signal for a substantial presence across all possible outlets. That can help with your SEO performance and user experience, as on the one hand, Google will understand that all your data is correct and up to date. On the other hand, prospective clients will get the same accurate information no matter where they look you up.
- General: These are all the major platforms that you can list your Law Firm. The most critical is Google GMB, this should be your first step, and you should treat it as part of your daily routine with updates and products/services.
- Legal-Specific: These are all the directories specific to the legal vertical. Finding them and getting your Law Firm listed can be slightly more complicated than the general ones. It is worth your while, though, as it can help your Law Firm get valuable links and potential traffic.
If you don’t already have a local citations management strategy in place, we’d suggest you look into it as soon as possible. We expect it to stay among the most critical components of local SEO in 2021.
We already mentioned link building above, but it’s worth devoting a separate point to one of the most controversial yet vital components of SEO for Law Firms. A strategic approach to internal and external links has been critical in 2020, and it will keep being that way in 2021. Ensure that you build all your content with the best practices in mind and avoid links from illegitimate sources. As we early wrote above, avoid buying links from lists at all costs. Google will eventually notice, and your pages might end up being penalized, or in the best case, your link will have no value, and you’ll end up wasting part of your digital marketing budget. On the contrary, legitimate links will require time but will eventually come your way when you create unique, original, and informative content.
Tip: Revisit your older content and create internal links, leading to related pages of interest on your Law Firm’s website.
If you are already investing in SEO for the US Hispanic market, you understand the importance of transcreation. Translating your content is simply not enough—neither from a user-experience standpoint nor an SEO perspective. Transcreating your content will allow you to create cultural connections while enabling you to get on top of the SERP rankings. Google will eventually understand and prioritize your content over translated content that might include grammatical errors. If you didn’t follow our tips in 2020, it’d be an excellent idea for your first SEO steps in 2021.
SEO is all about getting the top spot on the SERP, and oftentimes this is the featured snippet. We see this as a trend that will continue in 2021, with Google adding more options for searchers to find what they are looking for without leaving the SERP. If you manage to capture their attention with your snippet, you increase your chances of a visit, or at least of noticing your Law Firm’s brand name and keeping you on top of mind for future needs.
For a year now, experts have singled out voice search as the future of search. Assistants gain ground across all devices, and they’re becoming more influential on the way prospective clients search for the services or products they need. That being said, voice optimization for your Law Firm’s website isn’t just a trend that’s worth mentioning in a 2020 recap. We encourage you to add it to your priorities for 2021, as we see it among the top trends that will keep being around, with increased value, in the years to come.
We talked about unique and original content. We’ve talked multiple times about how Content Is King, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll create one type of content, and that’s enough. First of all, you need to combine it with all the best SEO practices for Law Firms. Additionally, you have to look into different content types. But what can you do amid COVID-19? How can a Law Firm shift its messaging and tools to create various types of content?
- Revise your practice area pages.
- Create or revise your FAQs.
- Come up with a video strategy. Yes, videos can help you with your SEO, they can attract users, offering them direct replies, and the Search Engines will appreciate it. You can try them for your QnAs.
- Images. That’s a component that we could even dedicate a full point, but add image optimization in your strategy. It can do wonders for you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated SEO for Law Firms in 2020 (and every other business). As we are in the second wave, the impact is still apparent, and you have to find ways to stay on top of the challenges. Our recap of 2020 SEO highlights for Law Firms allows you to go back and understand what you did right, what you can change, and what you have to start considering for 2021. Keep notes of the trends, and keep an eye on our tips; we believe them to be crucial for your long-term success with SEO.