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My experience with SEO for lawyers

Does SEO for lawyers work?

As a lawyer, I would like nothing more than to spend all of my day going to court, investigating cases and crafting defenses for my clients. Having a law practice, however, is just like any other type of business. I can only be a lawyer so long as I am able to attract new clientele. Attracting new clients means that I have to market my firm.

My office receives phone calls every day from different companies trying to attract our marketing business. We are solicited for advertising in newspapers, radio, local magazines, fundraisers, but the single most common call we receive is from SEO companies.

It seems these days everybody and their brother is an SEO expert promising page one of google. The pitches are all a little different. Some companies want a lot of money upfront and small monthly contracts, some companies want a lot of money on a monthly basis but no set up fees.

The alternative to SEO is google adwords. While I can’t speak to the effectiveness of google adwords for all business, I can tell you that google adwords for lawyers is unbelievably expensive. One click for your local dui, criminal defense or personal injury lawyer could be hundreds of dollars. If you don’t have a five figure monthly advertising budget, google adwords for lawyer is not for you.

Because of the expense of google adwords, paid SEO would seem like an affordable alternative. Instead of paying $10,000 – $15,000 a month in pay-per-click, it makes better sense to spend $2,500 – $4,000 a month for organic SEO.

In five years of having my practice, I have spent close to $100,000 on advertising. I have tried all forms of advertising you can possibly think of. There is not one single type of advertising that I have found, no matter how many thousands of dollars I have spent, that results in an influx of business.

Last April, I decided to sign a six month SEO contract focusing solely on DUI’s. This company held themselves out as specializing in lawyer SEO. After calling several of their references, we agreed on a 6 month contract at $2,500 a month. I was a little incredulous, as this was the first time I had ever done business at this level with an out of state company that I had never met in person.

With not having the highest of expectations, I was somewhat surprised to see the company get started almost right away on reformatting my site in an effort to increase google crawling. Within about two months, I was seeing significant improvements in my rankings.

By month three, I was both on the local map and page one for two highly competitive cities.   But there was just one problem. My phone was still not ringing. How could this be?? At the end of my six month contract, I looked at my google analytics and found that on average, I was receiving about 1,000 visitors to my site each month. Even after achieving page one of google for a highly competitive city, that particular page of my site was only receiving 1.7% of my monthly clicks.

I always thought page one of google would mean overnight success. I was going to have to hire more assistants, maybe even an associate, I was going to have to look into larger office space. I was going to have all of these good problems. My experience couldn’t have been further from my expectation. Page one of google was not all that I tought it would be.

So for me, back to the drawing board. Looks like I’ll break out the credit card and keep looking for the next big marketing opportunity.