Over 20X ROI! Boutique NYC Law Firm Dramatically Increases Qualified Leads with SEO
May 24, 2021
If You Can Make It There: How We Helped A Boutique NYC Law Firm Become A Star
Meet the client: a boutique entertainment law firm that had been working with a different search engine optimization (SEO) company for five years —who didn’t specialize in law firm SEO— without seeing any of the promised results.
Instead of giving up, in January 2019, this firm contacted 9Sail to see if we could improve their domain authority and increase the number of qualified leads coming from their websites (spoiler alert: they were getting less than 20 each month).
When COVID-19 hit, entertainment stopped. Which meant entertainment law also stopped. Our client made the smart decision to increase their business, litigation, and employment practice groups so they could stay relevant.
But now we were facing two challenges:
- We had to drive traffic to their site
- And we had to do it in industries that weren’t previously the primary focus of the firm
In situations like this, where a global event makes a business quickly pivot, it can be tempting to throw a million solutions at the wall and hope something sticks. This is especially true for our clients who thought they were doing things right and had spent a lot of time and money on SEO services without seeing results.
But there’s a reason that “go back to the basics” is a saying. The basics work. And the basics are what we’re good at (paired with in-depth expertise to bring it all together). We focused our efforts on:
- Better content
- Improved Domain Authority Ratings
- Reputation Management
Your Content Should Prove You’re an Authority
Our client had very short copy on all of their practice area pages, which is one of the most common SEO mistakes businesses make.
And listen, we get it. There is nothing worse as a consumer than clicking a link thinking you’ve found the answer to your important question and instead finding a word salad of 4,000 words like “and you’ll be shocked by what happened next!”
But your company’s service pages aren’t where you should go for brevity. People come to those pages with very specific questions, and you only have a few seconds to convince them you have the answers. Thin and vague copy does nothing to differentiate your business.
Boost Your Street Cred
Domain authority (DA) is a measurement of backlinks (links to your site from highly reputable sites) that is used to determine whether your site has credibility as a reliable source of original, timely content.
Basically, it tells you what your online street cred is on a scale of 1–100. And getting to 100 is nearly impossible—even major news websites have scores in the 80s and 90s, with most law firms seeing scores between 10-25.
This client came to us with a DA of 8. (That’s not great.) We got them to 38 with a tailored attorney SEO strategy.
Protect Your Rep
Good online reviews on sites like Google & Yelp go a long way in convincing search engines that your site is a trustworthy, recognized authority. Reviews alone will not boost your search engine results page (SERP) rankings, but when combined with the other processes we put in place for this client, they made a big difference.
Curious how we did all that? Keep reading.
How We Turned The Basics Into SEO Magic
You’re a Trusted Advisor. Make Sure Your Content Proves It.
The first thing we did for this entertainment law firm was help them understand the important role service pages play in a sales funnel. We created detailed outlines for each of their practice area pages that allowed the firm’s attorneys to write in-depth 1,500–2,500 word posts, establishing them as knowledgeable and answering the actual questions people were typing in their search bar.
Our partnership working with this client as their trusted law firm SEO agency started in January 2019. Since then, they’ve experienced:
- 53.5% growth in new users
- 54.7% increase in page views
- 10.5% increase in session duration
The chart below shows the massive growth in organic traffic brought in by these updated practice pages.
Once we got the practice area pages straightened out, we moved our focus to constant content creation. Senior partners understood the importance of content: it demonstrates timely thought leadership for their industry. Management made content creation part of the firm culture, which made all the difference. We provided training on how to write good, SEO-friendly web copy, and now all employees are required to contribute content on top-of-mind business law issues on a regular basis.
Their website is now an informational hub for searchers with a high-quality, broad content library. New, organic traffic users increased almost 106% between 2019 and 2020 as we built out their original content.
Here’s a real-world example of how this worked: as COVID forced the firm to focus more on employment law, we targeted content development on specific keyword clusters they knew would be popular. In less than one year, our efforts have landed them on the first page of NYC results for wrongful terminations. That’s an outcome that has not only resulted in more consultations for wrongful terminations but also increased market penetration for general employment law.
Three Ingredients That Helped Us Succeed
1. Getting Bossy
It’s worth noting that we also improved the calls to action on this entertainment law firm’s website.
A call to action (CTA) is an invitation to your reader to do something you want them to do, in this case, to contact you for more information or to book a service. Good CTAs inspire readers to act immediately because they feel confident in your ability to help them. Writing a good CTA takes almost the same amount of time as writing a boilerplate one, so it’s worth the few extra minutes to grow your sales funnel.
We made sure they had strong CTAs in multiple places on each page to drive conversion rates.
What worked especially well: a “Book Now” CTA. It made it easy for people to schedule and reduced the drop-off rate that’s unavoidable when you have to email or call someone back to get them on the calendar.
2. Build Your Street Credibility
Improving domain authority ranking is one of the most time-consuming, difficult parts of improving your SEO.
Yeah, it’s hard. But it’s not impossible.
The first link-building effort we took on was increasing the number of white-hat links by using our network and contacts to get the firm’s lawyers quoted and linked in high authority articles specific to the services towards which they were pivoting.
By engaging our network of legal journalists, we were able to place our client on multiple relevant, high-authority websites. Our placements use SEO-friendly content that mimics the receiving website’s guidelines and provides useful information on the subject at hand—instead of focusing only on sales. This approach results in a higher placement success rate.
These efforts paid off, earning our client links to over 100 new domains, including Yahoo!, Jotform, Kickstarter, Business Insider, US News, Business News Daily, E! Online, Backstage, NBC New York, Legal Zoom, and Zenefits.
But link building doesn’t have to be just chasing big sites down and convincing them you’re worth the click.
All the attorneys at the firm are members of professional and community organizations. We had the attorneys contact leadership of those organizations and offer to write a guest blog, provide commentary on current issues, partner on projects, etc. so we could get links from these organizations as well. These geographically relevant and industry-specific links delivered an immediate boost to local SEO scoring.
When all is said and done, the SEO work we have completed for this law firm has boosted their DA score from 8 to 38 in less than 18 months. While there is still room to grow, that is a dramatic improvement that directly translates to more qualified leads in their funnel which, in turn, means more revenue as those leads convert into paying clients.
3. Protect Your Reputation
Before they came to work with 9Sail, this firm only had 40 reviews because they had no process built around acquisition review.
Our team of experienced law firm SEO strategists worked closely with the client to create a review acquisition strategy and process that allowed them to confidently request a review at the closure of each case. We also provided education on the importance of these reviews, ultimately connecting review acquisition back to the firm’s culture and to their belief in the work that they do—a framework that will help them break the 200 review mark in 2021.
They now have over 160 Google reviews, a 5-star Google rating, and appear on the first page of results for many of their keywords.