Top Four SEO Challenges and Solutions for Small Law Firms

Date: October 25, 2022

Major SEO hurdles that small and mid-sized law firms encounter — and sound ways to overcome them

The one thing that we count on when it comes to Google is this: It changes constantly. With the search engine’s ever-evolving ranking algorithm and shifting SEO best practices, it can be difficult for any business to efficiently optimize their online presence to be found through organic search. 

SEO for law firms can be even more challenging, especially since their survival depends on reaching potential customers and creating a sense of reliability from the start.

What is the best way for your law firm to get noticed by people on a regular basis, specifically online? Rank higher in your audience’s relevant search results.

Leveraging successful SEO practices for your law firm can help keep your business’s name top-of-mind, create community recognition for your firm through local SEO, and help website visitors connect with your message and understand your expertise with ease, turning leads into clients. 

However, climbing the ranks of search engines doesn’t come easily, even for law firms. Like any small business, solo practices and smaller law firms face very particular SEO challenges when looking to expand their online presence.

Here is a look at the four major SEO challenges law firms face, along with ways to overcome them.

Finances are tight

Problem: This may be the primary reason that SEO is harder for startups or smaller law firms. You have less money than larger conglomerates, making the “you have to spend money to make money” adage especially difficult for budding firms with lower levels of expendable income. Larger companies have beefier budgets that they can use to optimize their SEO returns. Smaller law firms aren’t always granted that luxury.

Solution: If you want to maximize the outcome of your SEO efforts but your law firm has a small budget to spend on marketing and advertising, allocate funds for an SEO budget right from the get-go. To help define an SEO strategy and budget, you’ll need to determine your specific SEO goals — like how much traffic you want to drive or which keywords you want to rank for — right from the start. That way, you’ll know how to properly distribute your earmarked funds to things like content creation and SEO research tools. 

In addition, consider the practices at your law firm that would benefit most from SEO support. In many cases, narrowing down your SEO agency’s scope of work to just those business lines that are struggling to generate leads in the traditional business development environment can help to minimize your spend while having a major bottom-line impact. 

Your team doesn’t have the time

Problem: This is another common SEO challenge within smaller firms. Less money means fewer bodies in the building, and when you’re a member of a lean team, everyone is responsible for wearing multiple hats. While multitasking is a common dynamic for a close-knit law firm, nobody on a thinly stretched team has the capacity to focus 100% of their time on any one thing — including SEO. When you are unable to make SEO a priority, your site will be under- or poorly optimized, and you will end up with poor rankings. A poor ranking will make it harder for your law firm to connect with the people who need your expertise the most.  

Solution: To avoid Google penalties or having to climb your way out of a low-rankings hole down the line, allocate a portion of your SEO funds to hire an SEO consultant. These partners will help you conduct proper research, strategize, and even execute some of the more time-consuming SEO tasks like writing quality and engaging content. 

Google prioritizes larger companies

Problem: While the favoritism that Google shows to large companies may seem unfair, almost everyone is consciously or unconsciously guilty of the same thing. Google ranks larger companies higher in the search results because users statistically click on names that they recognize in some form or fashion. In addition, many of these large companies have been doing SEO longer, so they already have overcome many SEO challenges to find what works and what doesn’t.

Solution:  When competing with big companies for SEO rankings, it will behoove you to take more of a niche focus. Pour your efforts into a small handful of keywords and long-tail keywords instead of trying to rank for a wide range of keywords. You may sacrifice some ranking potential by foregoing extremely popular keywords, but you’ll be gaining maximum ranking potential and driving more qualified search traffic with less-searched but more specific keywords and phrases. 

Low brand recognition means fewer backlinks

Problem: Well-known law-firms are often well-known because of their positive reputation; when reputation positively precedes you, it can be nearly effortless to score backlinks. When outside websites link back to a website, they’re communicating to Google that they publicly vouch for you. This results in major SEO brownie points for many larger companies, especially as other  people, companies, or outlets with notoriety speak about their accomplishments or partnerships. 

Solution: To help build your link portfolio, regularly create highly shareable content. Infographics, for example, generate high levels of search traffic because they are easy to understand and easy to share. And when other companies want to feature your infographic, they should include a link that leads back to your site. You can also offer to be a guest blogger or find opportunities for interviews within your niche with reputable third-party sites. This will provide you with opportunities to share your knowledge with a new audience, as well as to link back to your law firm’s website. Lastly, you can donate to nonprofit organizations in exchange for sponsorship mentions and backlinks.

If you’re a startup or small law firm, it’s important to remember that SEO challenges are natural and a normal part of building and maintaining a digital strategy for your brand. The important things are to stay focused, create an iron-clad SEO strategy, and never be afraid to seek professional guidance to find solutions for your SEO challenges.

Need help creating and executing an SEO strategy for your law firm? Drop us a line.