Finding the best agency to help your law firm with SEO can be a bit tricky. After all, there is no agency that can help everyone effectively. Finding the best legal SEO agency for your firm really depends on your marketing goals, budget, timeframe, and how you measure success.
So how do you start your search?
You should start your search by defining your goals.
The first step to finding the best agency for you is to define the specific goals that you want to achieve by investing in SEO and online marketing. Once you have your goals you should define measurable key performance indicators (KPI’s). This is critical because it allows you to measure whether the agency you choose is actually making progress towards your goals.
For example, if you start with the goal of signing 10 new cases a month and you have historic performance data you can reverse engineer this to specific KPI’s. If your firm has a 2% conversion rate from website visits and has a close percentage of 50% you could reverse engineer that and find that:
1,000 Website Visitors at a 2% conversion rate will account for 20 new website leads, 50% of which you sill sign. That will account for 10 new cases.
Knowing your goals up front and sharing them with your agency is critical to your long-term success.
Define your budget & know that SEO is an investment
If you have a $1,000 per month marketing budget you’re not going to be able to work with an agency that has a $10,000 per month minimum. Defining your budget will allow you to easily narrow down agencies who can work with you.
Any investment in SEO is exactly that. It’s an investment. Like with any investment you should be able to track your return on that investment and have some set expectations on this.
Timeframe for results
One of the biggest issues I hear when lawyers are selecting an SEO vendor is not being given a realistic timeframe for results. If you’re starting from scratch with a new law firm website and engaging in local and organic SEO, you need to realize that legitimate results are going to take 6-12 months.
If faster timelines are important for you then you should explore pay per click services. Anyone who is promising otherwise is likely going to be a huge disappointment a few months into your campaign.
Just like it’s important to have KPI’s, it’s also important to make measurements against them. If something isn’t working you can pivot or change the strategy before it becomes a problem that went on for way too long. The best agencies will work with you to measure your success.
So how can you find the best agency?
To find the best agency you really need to do your due diligence and avoid taking shortcuts. Sometimes I wish Juris Digital could help everyone solve their SEO problems, but the reality is that we can’t.
Interviewing potential SEO partners to see how they operate, what their style of communication is, and how they will fit into your organization is essential to your project’s success.
Here are the questions you should ask prospective legal SEO agencies
Do you work exclusively with Lawyers?
Does the firm you’re looking to work with work exclusively with lawyers? While this may not be a deal breaker we have consistently found that the firms dedicated to their client’s niches perform the best. You will also typically avoid pitfalls such as ethics violations when you’re working with a company dedicated to helping attorneys.
How many clients do you work with?
This innocent question will tell you how much attention you can expect to get from your partner and vendor. If they’re already helping 500 legal clients it doesn’t mean they’re doing a good job, it means they have a cookie cutter process. Google does not reward cookie cutter strategies and you’ll find yourself playing catch up later. You should also find out how many clients your project manager will be working with.
Will I have a dedicated account manager?
Is it important for you to have a dedicated account manager? We think so. Having one person who is in full control of the operations ensures things don’t slip through the cracks. You can also ask to speak with the project managers on staff and see who might be the best fit for your organization. If your account manager is also handling 100 other accounts, you can expect about 1.5 hours maximum of attention to your project on any given month.
How will you get me results?
If your vendor responds to this question with “SEO Magic” you should run for the hills. Any reputable SEO agency will be transparent with the work they’re doing for you on a monthly basis. Feel free to ask specifics on the work they’ll be doing, what that entails, and how they do it. If they can’t answer these questions or they mention black hat or unethical techniques you need to step away from them.
Have you won any awards?
When people do great work it get’s noticed. Don’t be afraid to ask a legal SEO company if they’ve won any awards. If they have, can they back that up and show you?
Do they have client examples?
One of the best ways to get an idea of how a project is going to pan out is by looking at previous work the prospective SEO agency has done. While some work may be protected by NDA’s, they should have solid examples to show you. If not, it’s a red flag.
Do they have client references?
You really can’t conduct proper due diligence without client references. Ask your agency if they have references you can talk to. Once you get their contact information you should reach out to them and ask them point blank questions such as “are you happy with the service you’ve been getting?” or “what have your results been?”.
Do you provide KPIs?
It’s always nice to get a monthly report, but if you’re trying to accomplish certain goals then you should track KPI’s. Is the agency willing to track those for you? With today’s technology it’s easy to report on the number of phone calls, clicks to call, live chat’s contact forms, newsletter sign up’s and pretty much anything else you want to track.
Will I own everything I pay for?
Sadly, over the years we have heard plenty of horror stories where clients were sold websites with content only to find out that the website was built on a platform not commonly supported and the content was only leased. Everything you pay for you should own. This includes your domain name, website, content, and everything else. If you have a website built make sure to go with WordPress or a non-proprietary CMS.
Do you offer exclusivity in my market?
Offering exclusivity is very important for Organic SEO. With the search real estate shrinking, how can one company effectively market several clients on the first page of Google? The answer is they can’t do it effectively with organic or local search. Having exclusivity not only provides peace of mind but ensures your competitors won’t be getting your strategies to compete against you.
At the end of the day…
At the end of the day the trick to finding the best legal SEO agency is finding the vendor who you feel you will work the best with and will provide you with the highest return on investment. When you compare SEO companies you need realize that not all companies are created equal. Understanding what you’re getting and the direct benefit is essential to any long-term relationship.