Small businesses are in constant competition with bigger brands to make a mark in Google search results rankings. Research on different types of businesses in major towns such as Sidney and Melbourne in Australia shows that the legal services sector has the highest competition among brands in the same industry with the SEO strategies employed in this sector being more costly as compared to other sectors which raised the question of the tactics employed in coming up with a competitive SEO strategy for a legal services website.
The above findings formed the basis of a study so as to establish and identify working SEO strategies that can be employed when dealing with the Legal Industry so as to remain on top of the competition. This study can be of paramount importance to anyone seeking to come up with a legal services related SEO campaign.
The steps highlighted below were used;
- Identification of non-brand keywords and isolation of the non-brand keywords from the branded keyword without relevance in the local searches
- Identification of areas with high number of law firms to ascertain the probability of high competition in the regions
- Analysis of the Websites appearing in the search engine results page for the keywords identified above
After the above process it was concluded that the legal niche was a very competitive market as per the figures, when compared to the ecommerce market. The comparison showed that the Ecommerce market had a slightly higher amount of income generated from sales as compared to the income made from the legal services firms despite the ecommerce traffic share figures being four times more that the traffic of the legal services websites an indication of the legal services being very profitable. These finding can also be used to conclude that that the success of Legal Services SEO strategies depend heavily on the understanding of how the legal industry operates. Below are some of the major challenges faced by the Local Legal businesses.
Challenges faced by local legal businesses
Domination of Local search engine results page by established online legal services businesses
Research has shown that many people have ditched the traditional methods of visiting law firms or scheduling appointments to meet with lawyers in favour of seeking legal services online. Google keyword planner reports clearly show that there is a very high number of searches relate to the legal services niche.
Report on the analysis of the websites which appeared top during the search exercise shows that the website belonged to global online legal service businesses. This shows that it was very hard for local legal companies’ websites to future in the first page of the organic searches due to the online legal services businesses having the merit of appearing first in organic Search engine results pages.
Google does not prioritize local legal businesses in its search results
Figures show that over 80% of the search engine results pages constituted of global and online firms with the remaining percentage taken buy a few local firms. This indicated that for a local website to appear on top of the search engine results pages needed a huge brand recognised by Google, an exemplary SEO capability and working back links so that it could challenge the websites of global and online legal services websites.
Google local pack rankings
Google local pack programme can be an effective way for local legal firms to make a mark online despite the local organic search engine results pages being taken by established online legal firms’ research shows. An Analysis of the results from a recent research which was aimed to determine websites that appeared on the local park in Australia when a search term related to legal services was used showed that local legal firms had the highest number of searches appearing on the local pack as compared to other websites from other regions. The analysis also showed that for some regions of Australia it required more effort to feature in the local search results than other regions a trend that every SEO expert should know and willing to exploit for a successful strategy.
A firm can appear on a local pack even though it has no website
Although a huge percentage of the search engine search results appearing on the local packs during the research had a website, it was noted that it was possible for a firm to appear in the search results even though it had no website. However the likelihood of the firm attracting clients was low considering most people would turn down an otherwise competent firm due to a lack of a website citing it to be untrustworthy and unprofessional. It is important for a firm to hire a competent web designer and SEO expert because a professional and appealing website improves the firms’ credibility to Google and potential clients.
Website reviews do not form the basis of Local Pack ranking
During the exercise it was also noted that the number of reviews of a website were not in any way related to the ranking in local packs. It was noted that some of the websites topping the local pack ranking had fewer reviews as compared to other websites that were way below in rankings on the local packs.
Established Legal online firms have really benefited from web traffic in expense of the local and developing legal firms. This has denied the local firms websites from appearing at the top of the SERPs. This shows for developing legal firm to make a mark online and compete with the established legal online firms they will need to partner with an expert SEO professional company to ensure an ideal SEO strategy is put in place to curb completion from the established Legal companies’ websites.