Whether yours is an established estate planning practice or you’re in the early stages of building your firm’s clientele, no doubt you’ve ventured down the rabbit hole that is website development, quality content, and SEO for Estate Planning Attorneys.
If you’re like many small to midsize law firms, you struggle mastering a specific SEO for Estate Planning Lawyers strategy. It’s not that you don’t understand SEO. But it requires time, effort, and above all else, consistency.
Some of the challenges are also attributable to your specialty. Estate planning is a distinctive field in the legal world but also unexpectedly broad in scope. It can prove arduous trying to resolve for individuals searching across a wide spectrum of terms for your services.
You want to capture and retain clients, and you want to ensure your SEO provides a solid, reliable, and lasting foundation for doing just that.
The good news is you don’t have to be an SEO expert to build and implement a strategy that works. You do need to recognize a few essential aspects of how to approach your digital marketing efforts if you plan on expanding your legal practice.
Let’s explore the finer points of a positive approach to SEO to ensure your estate planning legal practice is moving in the right direction.
Shore up your foundational SEO
We’re not going to bore you and rehash the classic “What is SEO” mantra. If you’ve got a website representing your law firm, you already know about SEO.
What matters now is how do you build upon the foundation of your current SEO for Estate Planning Attorneys strategy?
You start by looking at what you’re currently doing and make sure nothing is lacking in your basic SEO structure.
Let’s start with the most vital of SEO attributes – keywords. Keywords are critical – or should we say key – to your SEO strategy. For estate planning, keywords are of particular importance thanks to the variety and combination of words that a user might tap into a search engine.
Just consider some of the more popular searches for power or attorney:
- Power of attorney
- General power of attorney
- Temporary power of attorney
- Medical power of attorney
- Health care power of attorney
- Durable power of attorney
- Financial power of attorney
- Limited power of attorney
- Real estate power of attorney
- Health Care proxy
- Living wills
Of course, you can swap attorney for lawyer, reorder the words, combine the phrasing, or toss “near me” to the end of any of those to accommodate how people really search.
Now do that same exercise for the following:
- Estate planning
- Asset protection
- Community property
- Post-nuptial agreements
- Prenuptial agreements
- Special needs planning
We probably could list a few more, but you get the idea.
You want to avoid overindulging in your keywords and focus more on how you use them. The context is critical to the ranking; dialing that in can make a huge difference.
Researching keywords clients use to find estate planning services inform your content strategy. Pepper your content and web pages with these vital words and phrases. Some of the most critical spots for SEO for estate planning attorneys include:
- Page Titles
- Headers and Subheaders
- Meta Descriptions
- Content (use keywords or phrases contextually, don’t repeat them over and over)
- Images (use in file names, image titles, or the image description aka. alt-text)
As you pinpoint the right keywords employed by your users, you’ll vastly improve your organic traffic.
Sturdy homes are those with a stable foundation and solid framing. If that home is poorly constructed, it develops cracks in the walls, a sagging roof and becomes unlivable.
Your digital infrastructure works the same way. It supports your website, from how it looks to how it loads to how easily Google can find it. Poorly crafted or neglected infrastructure will lessen the user experience to the point that they’ll abandon your site for one that functions better.
Poor construction will also wreck any chance your SEO for estate planning lawyers strategy has at succeeding.
Also referred to as technical SEO, Google heavily weighs usability in its algorithm. It’s equal to if not more important than credibility in certain respects. Tighten up your website’s usability and win favor with the Google search engine by solidifying these four pieces of digital framework:
- Speed: A top 10 Google ranking factor, your site should load in less than two seconds. Always check your site regularly – and from different devices – to ensure it’s never lagging. Google’s page speed insights analyze any potential shortcomings. https://pagespeed.web.dev/?utm_source=psi&utm_medium=redirect
- Security: Secure sites are trustworthy sites. And Google loves sites it can trust since security is one of its top ranking factors. When was the last time you verified that your site’s security certificate is current?
- Architecture: A site with a structured hierarchy is easy to navigate and find. Review yours to confirm that it’s following best practices and isn’t unknowingly dragging down your site’s performance.
- Duplicate content: We touch on content more in the next section, but you should periodically review your site for duplicate or repetitive content. Once a quarter is optimal, but every six months is fine. Also, if something changes with estate planning laws or requirements or new insights, it’s a great time to freshen your site’s content.
If you find any of the above are lacking, work with your web developer to seal up any cracks in the walls.
There’s no secret here. Hundreds of blog posts about SEO say the same thing repeatedly – great content makes for a great website. Nowhere is this more true than with service-oriented businesses such as your estate planning practice.
Users seeking out your services do so because they want expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. You’ll sometimes hear this referenced as the E-A-T concept.
It’s not simply about your website. As wonderful as it is to achieve your strategic SEO goals, it’s far more important that your firm casts itself as a definitive source of knowledge in its field of expertise.
You’re already producing well-developed, professionally written articles extolling the finer points of estate planning (if you’re not, that should be task number one). As part of you tying up SEO for estate planning attorneys loose ends, evaluate your current content. Are you following best practices, such as:
- Posting regular and relevant high-value content
- Optimizing images
- Adding header tags
- Fixing broken links within your content
- Using outbound links to other authoritative and well-respect estate planning sources
- Employing more than just words in your content with video (with a page on YouTube, as well), infographics, FAQs, or even producing a podcast
- Social media engagement by posting on Google My Business
Remember that with content, the higher the quality, the happier your audience, the more favorable Google will view you, and the better your SEO plan will perform.
Google’s indexing and ranking protocols look at the mobile version of a website first, instead of the desktop version. That’s all anyone needs to hear to ensure their website isn’t just optimized for mobile devices but created as a mobile-first website.
Your firm’s desktop site may be awesome – it still needs to look and act even better on small screens. Check out your estate planning website regularly via smartphone or a tablet. Is it fast and responsive? Does the design enhance the user experience, even though you’re viewing on a small screen? Do images load quickly? Resize properly? Are your text and graphics clear and easy to understand?
If you answered yes to the questions above, great. If you answered no, reach out to your web developer to quickly address the issues. You absolutely must think mobile-first, and everything else second.
Local SEO and Google My Business
Is your estate planning practice helping clients in San Diego? Perhaps yours is a smaller firm, hyper-focused on a suburban market outside a major population center. Maybe you serve major cities in Texas, including the Austin, Dallas, and Houston markets?
No matter where you deliver your legal expertise, your efforts are highly localized. Your practice will suffer if your SEO isn’t set up to reach that audience.
Location informs user search as they seek services relevant to their needs. Remember all those keywords we listed earlier? For local searches, they now look like this:
- San Diego power of attorney
- General power of attorney San Diego
- Business continuity for Dallas and Houston
- Who creates real estate power of attorney in Dallas
- Estate planners in Austin
- Living wills attorneys near me (where location service kicks in based on where the user originated the search)
When a geographic location is part of a search, local SEO works to connect local users with the local services they need.
Local SEO moves beyond basic internet searches thanks largely to the prevalence of mapping apps from Google and Apple. Optimization for local SEO is similar to general SEO. The technical setup and infrastructure requirements are the same.
However, as most estate planning services are, in fact, local, your keywords and content should reflect the area or areas you serve.
In addition, if you have yet to claim your Google My Business (GMB) page, do so immediately. Otherwise, you are missing out on an extremely valuable piece of SEO that can enhance your standing among local search results.
Even if you’ve claimed your GMB, you’ll want it fully optimized. Treat it like another website and populate it with as much information as possible, including:
- Completing every section within your GMB page
- Accurate and up to date contact information
- Describe your firm’s primary legal focus, but include a detailed listing of everything your firm specializes
- Take the “from the business” description seriously – as if it were your mission statement
- Keep it fresh with frequent posts and photos
- Engage users by answering questions, allowing comments or Google reviews, and then responding to them
- Comprehensively build out the service section
- Add products with keyword rich descriptions and images
Effectively, GMB provides your estate planning firm a free profile designed to connect with clients searching for local attorneys. Even if you do nothing more than claim the listing and add your contact info and areas of expertise, it will put you on the map – literally.
Advanced SEO strategies
The above represents the basics of SEO. Necessary guidelines that assist your practice with getting its digital marketing efforts off the ground or helping to refine your strategies if your site is long-established.
Once you’ve solidified the foundation for your SEO, with a solid technical framework and amazing content, consider these next step SEO tactics:
Create content hubs
Ideal for law practices with multiple points of focus, content hubs take a single keyword or phrase and give it a dedicated page explaining what it is, how it works, why it’s important, and so on. It’s your wiki for your estate planning services. It benefits you by boosting your SEO with keyword focus and internal links and creating content that keeps users on your website longer.
Consider comparison keywords
When you move beyond basic keywords, you target an audience searching for specific services or answers. For example, “power of attorney” is a straightforward keyword. “Power of attorney versus health care proxy,” on the other hand, reflects someone in more immediate need of attorney services. Create content that centers around the difference between similarly related services to capture this user group.
Find content partners
Speaking of similar content, build relationships with other attorneys or legal experts to share content and put your roster of services in front of a new audience. For example, estate planning and family law share some commonalities, but they are distinct areas of the law. A guest blog post or video created by you discussing wills or trusts would prove highly valuable on the site of a firm that specializes in divorce. It’s a win-win as you earn external links and face time with a new set of potential clients, and your partner gains content for their site. Reciprocate the exchange to strengthen the network.
Include supplementary content
Bulleted lists, charts, pros and cons lists, service comparisons, or summaries are all considered supplementary content – items that enhance or provide more context or information for your primary content. Be careful not to overdo it (it must serve the content it’s referencing, not be the main attraction), but thoughtful inclusion of these elements will set your content apart for users and Google.
Optimize for a new year
Users are constantly searching for the most up-to-date information, especially those seeking the services of an attorney. Capitalize on the need with hyper-relevant “current year content.” For instance, simple blog posts such as “Changes in Real Estate Tax Law for 2022” capture the “current year” keyword. It distinguishes your post from others without it. It also furthers your standing as the more definitive, current authority on the subject.
There’s no overstating the importance of SEO to your estate planning law practice.
To guarantee your firm’s success, you need to generate traffic, acquire solid leads, and then convert them into clients.
As long as you possess a basic understanding of SEO – mastering content development on your end and communicating your technical needs to your web developer – you’ll prove an expert at estate planning SEO, with a growing client base to prove it.