The landscape of legal marketing has steadily become more treacherous each year. Lawyers face ballooning budgets along with competition from other lawyers in their field. The budget for legal advertising reached $892 million in 2015. It should now be well over $1 billion in 2017.

There has never been more options for lawyers to use in terms of bringing in new clients. Beginning with the Yellow Pages and evolving to directories, Google AdWords and search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is usually viewed as the most important part of a legal marketing strategy. It can revolutionize law firms and organically increase their rankings.

Ideally, the website of your law firm should be the focal point of lead generation (instead of any print, radio or TV advertising). If you choose to go down the path of SEO, you have to decide between an agency or a consultant. Asking the best questions can help you identify which will give their all in terms of helping your business and which ones will ultimately set your business back with their effort. The questions you ask should help you feel comfort knowing that the marketing agency or consultant is the right fit for your law firm.

1. Have You Worked in My Field of Law?

Common areas of law like criminal, personal injury, family, and bankruptcy use SEO. Many nuances exist in law. For example, most criminal lawyers might not pursue traffic infractions. Some personal injury lawyers might not engage in medical malpractice and worker’s compensation. As law firms become more specialized [in terms of using legal SEO for business-to-business (B2B)], phrases like “We do that all the time.” start disappearing with specific legal specialties such as appellate, or corporate law. You might find yourself cooperating with a firm that produces all its content for foreclosure and bankruptcy for the debtor’s side when, in actuality, you’re on retainer for the lender.

2. Do You Work With Nearby Lawyers and Law Firms?

When large marketing agencies work multiple law firms in your area that handle the same type of law as your own practice, why would the agency do any more work than it already does for your competition? There’s also no logical reason for the agency to not bring in another firm while you’re working with them.

3. Will There be Reporting?

Although seeing progress is important, don’t get distracted by numbers that aren’t necessary to your business’ growth such as Instagram likes or getting more visitors reading your blog about cherry blossom festivals. Solid data can produce solid results. Besides an increase in lead generation, the most important metrics are:

  • Increased keyword rankings after already being researched for viability: not random “spam-like” keywords
  • Increased total online visibility:  monitored by Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console) presented as impressions.
  • Increased organic traffic to your website in addition to your landing pages targeting important keywords.

4. Will Results Take a Long Time to See?

The norm for seeing results is three months for the main city area for populations less than 250,000. If the population exceeds that number, you might want to add 3 more months. Six months for the main state area, and a year if you’re trying to go national, but nothing is guaranteed. You shouldn’t wait months and months to rank higher and get qualified traffic for just one keyword.

5. Do You Know the Ethics of My State?

From state to state, ethics become more distinct. Obvious things like promising results, not providing terms and conditions, omitting disclaimers with any results, exclaiming that you’re “the number one agency,” making the location of your business different from what it actually is, or claiming false awards are universally considered unethical.

6. Are You Going to Write Content for My Site?

Some SEO experts will tell you “content reigns supreme,” but for law firms, there is heavy reliance on well-written and well-researched content. Although non-legal websites might do just fine with minimal content, that might not be the same for legal. Legal content needs to be high quality, and your marketing agency or consultant should hone in on that fact.

7. Can You Help Me Get on the Map?

These days everything is optimized for mobile devices. Lawyers are reaching new heights by being in the three-pack (instead of seven, google now shows 3 results). With this change, you definitely need to get your business on the map.

8. Have You Worked With Lawyers Before?

Lawyers are driven, hard-working, passionate, and motivated. Working with them provides a unique experience like no other. They expect their marketing consultants and agencies to be the same. Working closely together to achieve a common goal should be a legal marketer’s primary objective.

Because legal marketing can be highly competitive and difficult, you shouldn’t jump into a long-term SEO relationship with an agency without a background check. At Market My Market, we use years of legal marketing experience to increase the rank of many lawyers and law offices. Visit our website or contact us at (800) 954-9441 to see if we’re right for you and the goals of your law firm.