SEO Myths and Misconceptions in Legal Marketing

SEO Myths and Misconceptions in Legal Marketing

Effective search engine optimization (SEO) is important for law firms looking for online success.

But the best SEO tactics and strategies vary depending on what source you read or what SEO specialist you talk to. This is especially true for legal marketing. These misunderstandings can lead to tons of missed opportunities, leaving money on the table.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most common SEO myths that we hear from our clients in the legal marketing space. We’ll also explain why they’re untrue and give you tips for what to do in their place.

Myth 1: Keyword Stuffing Boosts Rankings

One common myth in legal SEO is that keyword stuffing — the practice of overloading web content with excessive keywords — improves a website’s search engine rankings.

This belief comes from outdated SEO practices where search engines prioritized keyword density over content quality.

Here’s an example of obvious keyword stuffing.

example of keyword stuffing
(Image Source)

But search engines like Google have evolved since then. Their algorithms now focus on other factors like the relevance and quality of content rather than just keyword frequency. That means web pages that sacrifice readability in favor of stuffing terms like ‘personal injury lawyer’ or ‘divorce attorney’ are likely to perform poorly.

The best approach for law firms is to focus on creating valuable content that addresses the audience’s needs. Keywords should be integrated naturally, where they enhance the content rather than overpowering it.

Related – Keyword Research for Lawyers: A guide to keyword research for lawyers and law firms.

Myth 2: More Links, Better SEO

A belief that many specialists still hold true is that accumulating a large number of backlinks, regardless of their quality, will significantly boost a website’s search engine ranking.

This idea (once again) comes from the early days of SEO, where the quantity of links was a predominant factor in ranking algorithms. This would translate to a race to get as many links as possible, with people resorting to purchasing links or participating in link exchange schemes.

But today’s search engine algorithms have become much more sophisticated and now prioritize quality and relevance of backlinks over quantity. This means that a few high-quality, authoritative links from respected industry sites are far more valuable than hundreds of low-quality or irrelevant links.

Search engines like Google can penalize websites with an unnatural link profile, which includes spammy or irrelevant links, potentially harming the site’s visibility and credibility.

So, focus on earning high-quality backlinks. Here are a few ways to do so.

  • Create authoritative and engaging content that is valuable to others in the legal field, increasing the likelihood of it being linked to.
  • Network with other law firms to build relationships and potential link-sharing opportunities.
  • Guest blog on legal websites to establish authority and gain quality backlinks.
  • Actively participate in online legal communities to increase visibility and chances of acquiring backlinks.

Myth 3: SEO Results are Instant

Many of our clients come to us expecting immediate results from SEO. They often expect quick gains in search rankings and web traffic soon after hiring a law firm SEO specialist.

The reality is that SEO is a long-term strategy. Google uses complex algorithms to rank websites, and these algorithms prioritize sites that demonstrate sustained, consistent quality over time.

Take a look at the graph below, illustrating the organic traffic of one of our clients over the first year they worked with us.

graph showing organic traffic of a law firm website

You’ll notice that significant improvements in search rankings can take months.

Immediate results are rare in the legal market as law-related keywords are often hyper-competitive.

Law firms should approach SEO with the expectation that it could take six months to a year to see stellar results. SEO requires you to regularly update your website with high-quality content, maintain a user-friendly site structure, and gradually build a reputable backlink profile (among other things).

Over time, these efforts compound, leading to improved search engine visibility and higher rankings.

Myth 4: SEO is a One-Time Task

A common misconception about SEO is that it’s a one-time task — a set-it-and-forget-it marketing strategy. Many lawyers believe that once they start bringing in traffic through organic search, the SEO work is done.

This misconception stems from the notion that SEO is a static strategy rather than an ongoing process.

SEO is dynamic and requires continuous work. Search engines frequently update their algorithms, and what works today may not work tomorrow. This means consistently monitoring and updating SEO strategies to stay on top of best practices.

That’s the reason why law firm marketing agencies charge a monthly retainer for SEO — it requires ongoing, monthly maintenance.

Here are just a few of the things they do every month:

  • Content Review and Optimization: Regularly update and refine website content to stay relevant, accurate, and aligned with current SEO best practices. This includes revising old content and adding new, keyword-optimized material relevant to current legal trends and client queries.
  • SEO Trend Adaptation: Stay on top of the latest SEO trends and search engine algorithm updates. Adjust SEO strategies accordingly to make sure the law firm’s website follows the newest guidelines and techniques for optimal search engine performance.
  • Site Performance and User Experience Improvement: They continuously improve the website’s speed and overall user experience. A fast, user-friendly site not only ranks better in search engines but also keeps visitors engaged, reducing bounce rates and improving conversion opportunities.
  • High-Quality Backlink Acquisition: Actively seek out and acquire fresh, high-quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant sources. This improves the website’s credibility and authority in the eyes of search engines, leading to better rankings.
  • Local and Mobile SEO Emphasis: Prioritize local and mobile SEO optimizations, as these are crucial for law firms targeting specific geographic regions. Ensure the website is mobile-friendly and optimized for local search, including accurate and optimized Google My Business listings and localized content.

Myth 5: Social Media Does Not Impact SEO

Something that even SEO experts believe is that social media has no impact on SEO. This misconception leads many law firms to underestimate the value of a social media presence, viewing it as separate from their overall SEO strategy.

The myth is rooted in the belief that since social media links are typically ‘nofollow,’ they do not directly influence search rankings.

The reality is more nuanced. While it’s true that social media links themselves generally do not directly contribute to SEO in terms of link equity, the indirect benefits of social media on SEO are great.

Active social media engagement can amplify content reach, drive traffic to the firm’s website, and increase brand visibility and recognition. These factors indirectly boost SEO by signaling to search engines the relevance and authority of a website.

An effective social media strategy should be an integral part of your overall SEO plan. This includes regularly posting high-quality, engaging content on social media platforms, interacting with followers, and encouraging sharing of their content.

Related – Social Media for Lawyers: A guide to social media for lawyers and law firms.

Myth 6: The Legal Field is Too Niche for SEO to Yield Significant Results

A myth in legal marketing is the belief that the legal field is too specialized or niche for SEO to be effective. This misconception comes from the assumption that SEO strategies only benefit broader markets or more general consumer products and services.

Some lawyers may underestimate the value of SEO, believing it won’t yield substantial results for their specific practice areas.

In reality, the niche nature of the legal field can actually make SEO more impactful. Specialized markets have specific, often highly targeted audience segments searching for precise information and services. For law firms, this means that well-executed SEO strategies can connect them with individuals actively seeking their specific legal expertise. These people convert at higher rates than normal.

By focusing on relevant keywords, including those specific to certain legal specialties or geographic locations, firms can attract a more qualified and relevant audience.

Stay on Top of SEO in 2024

The best law firms outsource their marketing to experts, leaving them to focus on practicing law.

If you’re looking for help with your law firm marketing, reach out. We have a team of specialists ready to help.