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HIRING AN SEO AGENCY DESERVES PROPER DUE DILIGENCE

The average sales cycle in the agency business is 1-3 months. It amazes me when I speak with a law firm for the first time and they want to hire an SEO agency within a week. That tells me they aren’t doing their due diligence. It doesn’t come as much surprise when they tell me they have gone through three agencies in as many years.

These law firms are treating the process like buying a car. In a way it makes sense — after all, many firm’s marketing budgets are roughly the cost of a new car. But when you begin to consider the impact this decision will have on the business, it should be more like buying a house. You don’t buy a house on a whim. You shouldn’t hire an SEO agency on a whim, either.

Law Firm SEO

WHAT DOES AN SEO AGENCY REALLY DO?

One of the questions I always ask a law firm prospect is, “What is your current agency doing?” The most common response I get is, ‘I don’t know.’ That presents both strategic and tactical problems.

On a strategic level, you need to understand what an SEO agency is trying to accomplish beyond ranking your law firm’s website. So…What does an SEO agency do?

An SEO agency will make changes to a website’s design, programming, content, or promotion in order to best satisfy the search engine algorithms. A substantial portion of time is spent understanding those algorithms.

This brings us to the tactical level and how we spend our time. This can be broken up into production and research. Production is when we are actively working on your website’s rankings in some capacity. Research is staying up to date on the search engine algorithms so that our production work is effective.

Law Firm Advertising Agency

EXAMPLES OF SEO RESEARCH

Search Query LengthGoogle is constantly making updates to its algorithm. In fact, these updates are happening every second, because Google now uses artificial intelligence to make real-time updates. When it comes to major updates,MOZ shows that Google has been tweaking the algorithm enough for people to notice it every one or two months. What this means is that your law firm should be updating its SEO strategy several times a year.

The problem with keeping your strategy up to date is that Google doesn’t provide much useful information about how its algorithms work. The only way to figure out what is working is through trial and error. We keep our clients ranking through these techniques:

  • Monitoring the law firm’s competitors
  • Monitoring other agencies
  • Reading industry blogs and newsletters
  • Conducting A/B testing
  • Monitoring announcements from Google or its employees
  • Collaborating with other industry professionals.
Lawyer SEO and Content

Gladiator Law Marketing

EXAMPLES OF SEO PRODUCTION

Our evolving industry knowledge drives the type of production work we perform. How we allocate our time is largely dependent on budget and how well the website is developed. We customize the strategy to the unique needs of each client.

  • Writing new content
  • Re-writing old content because we have found a better way to write
  • Making programming adjustments to increase the speed of the website
  • Adjusting meta information to better inform Google what the page is about
  • Adjusting the page title or meta description to improve the click-through rate from the search results page
  • Adjusting key wording on the page to increase the conversion rate of the website
  • Find promotional opportunities to increase the website’s popularity/strength
  • Improving the architecture of the website so its content is better organized.

Law Firm SEO

HOW MUCH DOES AN SEO AGENCY CHARGE?

A well-established SEO agency will charge between $2,500 and $20,000 per month.

The cost is almost entirely dependent upon your unique market. The two main components of your market are the target geography and practice areas.

  • Geography – Denser populations are more competitive. Major metro areas will be more expensive than rural areas.
  • Practice Areas – All practice areas are relatively close in cost except for Personal Injury.
  • We would like to impart one word of wisdom: You cannot spend a little and get a little with SEO. It does not work that way. If you cannot afford to be a major player, find other marketing strategies to pursue.

SEO Agency

WHAT IS A GOOD ROI FOR SEO FOR A LAW FIRM?

A good ROI for SEO is a 5X return. If you spend $1,000, your campaign should generate $5,000 in attorney fees. The range our clients see is 3X to 10X. There are four stakeholders that dictate the return your law firm may experience.

  • The SEO Agency – Some agencies perform better than others.
  • The Law Firm – Some intake departments are better than others. How picky the firm is with the cases they will accept can also play a factor.
  • The Competitors – More competitive markets will cost more, thus a lower return.
  • Google – The search engine can be fickle at times. It is possible to do everything right and still not perform to your satisfaction. I would be remiss to not mention this risk.

Lawyer SEO Agency

WAYS WE HAVE SEEN LAW FIRMS GET BURNED BY SEO AGENCIES

Many law firms just don’t realize what to ask or look out for. I hope the list below helps identify a few things to look out for. Oftentimes the agency may have a good reason for doing what they do, but that still doesn’t mean it is in the best interest of the law firm.

  • Ownership of Work – Some agencies will retain ownership of the design, content, and other work performed. This is a way to increase the cost of leaving an agency which handcuffs you to them. Once it is paid for, your law firm should own the work.
  • Content Management Systems – The most commonly used system for lawyers is WordPress. Some agencies will use a proprietary system which only they know how to use. Some agencies may use other systems like Drupal. Our experience suggests that the benefits do not outweigh the costs of using anything but WordPress. This gives your firm the most control over your own website.
  • Ownership of Google Accounts – Some agencies will use their own Google accounts for analytics and ads. This means your firm doesn’t own the data used to run your campaign. Google makes it easy for the law firm to have their own account and share access with an agency. Be sure the agency does work on the law firm’s accounts.
  • Transparent Pricing – Pricing for agencies is tough, because what we do can change month to month based on the needs of the campaign. We do a good job of itemizing our proposals, but this takes considerable effort on our part. At a minimum, your law firm should have some way to hold agencies accountable for performing work, not just performance. This means your agency should consistently report on work completed.
  • Performance-Based Agencies – Many agencies want you to believe they are paid for performance. Are you giving them a cut of your attorney fees? That is unlikely, given the model rules. Some agencies will try to skirt this by charging per lead. The problem is that bad leads are extremely easy to come by, the cheapest to obtain, and thus they have the highest margin for agencies. Good agencies aren’t paid on performance; the legal industry has too many things that won’t allow for it.
  • Cheap Services – SEO is mostly manual labor. When law firms pay less than $1,000 per month, they are usually getting automated services. If the agency is transparent about it, and you value those services, then so be it. But don’t expect to see SEO results from it.

WHY IS GLADIATOR LAW MARKETING THE RIGHT AGENCY FOR YOUR LAW FIRM?

We practice what we preach, and our results speak for themselves. We have one of the highest client retention rates in the industry. Our clients stay with us because we produce results and they like working with us. It’s a winning combination. A few things that make us stand out are:

  • Geographic Exclusivity – We won’t work with your competitors, because we believe that is the right thing to do.
  • Legal Specialization – All we do is law firm marketing. You won’t be starting from scratch, because we already know what is working.
  • Transparent Business Model – We make the extra effort to keep you informed of both production and performance. We also ensure your law firm retains ownership and control of the work we perform on your behalf.

HIRING GLM AS YOUR SEO AGENCY

If your law firm is in the market for an SEO agency, we would love the opportunity to work with you. Our first step is a phone call which allows us to gather the necessary information to put together a proposal. All of our proposals are customized to the individual firm; it usually takes us a few days to a week to put one together.

Gladiator Law Marketing can help your law firm improve your Local SEO visibility. Talk to us today – no obligation – to learn how your practice can sign more cases from local search. Call 1-888-683-3212 or contact us online for more information.

SEO Agency for Attorneys

Questions & Answers

How much time is going to be required of the firm?

That depends on the preferences of the firm. If the firm does not want to be involved, they don’t have to be. But the firm needs to be willing to let us do our job. We prefer to at least have scheduled reporting calls where we can get feedback from the firm. There are some things that we just can’t tell from the analytics. I can tell you that firms that have an active interest in the campaign tend to perform better.

How long does SEO take to work?

I have seen campaigns take as little as three months or as much as several years. It largely depends on what the firm is starting with and how competitive the market is. If you can’t afford to wait, PPC may be a better option.

How much does SEO cost?

There are fewer firms competing, but the amount each firm is spending is increasing. This is problematic for firms that are entering the market. SEO is not cheap, and the last thing you want to do is bring a normal hammer when you should have brought a powered jackhammer. Our services typically start at $2,000 / month; our average client spends close to $5,000 / month; and large personal injury clients in major metro areas have SEO budgets of $20,000+ monthly. ( This does not include PPC ad spend. )

How is a SEO budget determined?

We look at the competitors in the market and determine how much content needs to be created, how much link-building will be required to catch up and beat your competitors, and how much maintenance to the strategy/site will be needed. Understanding the competition is a crucial step in knowing what will be required to be competitive. Remember, search engine optimization (SEO) is a competition – there are winners and losers.

Do we require a long-term contract?

We ask our clients for annual agreements, because SEO takes time and we don’t want to start campaigns that we won’t have time to produce results for. SEO is also extremely labor intensive, and these agreements ensure we will not only have the dedicated resources in place to serve your firm, but to meet the needs of all our clients. Annual agreements help the entire collective.

Does the law firm own the work GLM produces?

Yes. The only parts of our SEO work that the firm will not directly own are third-party software tools we utilize for all our clients. For example, this would include our professional subscriptions to services like AHREFs, that is part of our SEO suite.

All website design, content creation, link building, profile development, et al., are always the property of the law firm.

Will the firm need a new website?

We will not take on a client who has an existing website that we believe will not work. However, if the website is built on WordPress and is on par with other local competitors’ sites, we can use what you have. Sometimes we can make a ‘facelift’ to the website to get it more competitive and last just a little bit longer. We will always advise, in detail, what is in your best interest and the reasons behind any recommendations we offer.

SEO For Lawyers – The Gladiator Way

Be Strategic. Invest. Outperform.

Tools are only as useful as the people who wield them. With over 50 years of experience, our team of experts use the best and latest in marketing technology to help our clients succeed online. Our fully integrative approach is both personal and professional. Personally, we get to know you, your firm, and your market through exhaustive research. Professionally, we integrate your unique goals with our extensive repertoire of SEO methods and practices.

The reason our retention rate is 95% is that we legitimately care about our clients and the campaigns we run. When Google makes a huge update to the algorithm, we work tirelessly to evaluate what changes we need to make and have a sense of urgency to get those changes live. SEO isn’t easy, but we try to make working with us as easy as possible.

Are you ready to stop getting buried by your competitors on Google? Do you want to see what happens when a team of experts brings all their strategic and creative resources to bear on your success? Then pick up the phone and give us a call today.

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