Does SEO For Lawyers Ever End On A High Note?

Josh Brown - SEO Consultant

Written by: Josh Brown

The thought of optimizing your law firm’s website for search engines may be overwhelming and cause anxiety. It’s understandable to wonder if it’s even worth the effort. However, it’s time to face the challenge and find a reputable law firm SEO agency.

If you’re skeptical about the effectiveness of SEO for lawyers, you’re not alone. Many law firms struggle to see tangible results from their SEO efforts. One possible reason for this is that some SEO agencies prioritize their profits over the success of their clients.

As Josh Brown put it, “Agencies are optimized for profits; not clients.” This means that some agencies may implement strategies that generate revenue for themselves, rather than achieving the desired outcome for their clients.

Despite this concern, there are reputable SEO agencies that prioritize their clients’ success. It’s important to do your research and choose an agency that has a proven track record of achieving positive results for law firms. With the right agency and approach, SEO for lawyers can be a valuable tool for growing your online presence and attracting new clients.

Is Your Law Firm SEO Agency Falling Short?

Law firm SEO agencies can be slow, profit-driven, and overwhelmed. It’s possible that you’re tired of this business model.

Do their staff have the necessary expertise?

Have you ever heard a colleague say, “My contract with ‘lawyer SEO agency X’ ended well!”? It’s doubtful.

The purpose of this article is to guide you on how to survive your existing SEO agency contract or explore other options available.

It’s important to note that trust is crucial in any business relationship, including with your SEO agency.

We’ve Got A Problem

I’d like to address an issue we have with lawyer marketing agencies. While I won’t waste your time explaining the benefits of law firm SEO, it’s clear that you already understand its effectiveness over other digital marketing channels.

The problem lies in the fact that these agencies often don’t follow through on their promises. Specifically, they tend to fall short on their commitments to communication, deliverables, rankings, traffic, and leads. This seems to be an institutional issue and not a reflection of the character of agency owners, as many of them genuinely care about their clients.

However, at the end of the day, good intentions aren’t enough. Results are what truly matter, as they’re what allow businesses to thrive financially. As a veteran of the lawyer marketing industry, I believe it’s time to openly discuss these problems with lawyer SEO agencies.

A Little Bit About The Author

Hello, I am Josh, the founder of Josh Brown Consulting. With over ten years of experience as a high-level SEO operator at prominent lawyer marketing agencies, I have gained extensive knowledge about the industry.

I understand that what I am about to share may be new to you. There is a tacit agreement among agency owners to withhold certain information from law firm founders. You may be curious about how I gained so much knowledge about the processes of these top law firm SEO agencies. The answer is simple: I helped to build them.

Throughout my career, I have successfully ranked some of the largest personal injury firms in the country and transformed small and solo practices into multi-location powerhouses. However, I have observed that many clients become dissatisfied with their agencies. This observation motivated me to create something better.

It’s Time To Lock & Load

Let’s switch things up. Forget about sitting in your fancy executive leather chair, holding your weighted pen and finest linen notepad. Instead, let’s put on a camouflage ghillie suit, crawl into the weeds, and dive deep into the world of agency SEO!

Here are five survival tips for you to consider when searching for the next lawyer SEO expert. Take note, counselor.

I. The Forbidden Fruit

It’s time to confess.

Every top law firm SEO agency buys links.

Every.  Single.  One. 

That’s right. 

We don’t just buy a few links, we buy enough to break the bank. Millions are spent every year in attorney SEO on backlinks for the sake of rankings.

Some people might say that content is king, but let’s be real here. While good content is important, links are the foundation of SEO. They’re like anabolic steroids to a professional bodybuilder.  If that’s the case, then most top ranked law firms are positively jacked on the sauce!

Unfortunately, agencies often try to cut costs to maximize profits. Cheap links are like stuffing an amazing physique with shady homebrew anabolics made in some weirdo’s kitchen sink. A fully optimized website needs the best digital assets to compete and sustain its dominance for years.

Link building is a serious, high-level skill that separates the experts from the specialists. Onsite SEO is fairly simple, but link building requires heaps of skill.

If you’re working with an agency, it’s important that your monthly execution summary include the Domain Rating and estimated monthly traffic of each link placement for auditing purposes.

It’s also crucial to ensure that links, especially guest posts, are properly vetted for abuse and toxicity.

To achieve top position in search rankings, you not only have to meet your competitors’ existing link achievements, but also beat their current link acquisition in real time. Other agency owners may curse me for saying this, but it’s essential to never stop building quality, relevant links. Your competitors certainly won’t stop.

II. Don’t Expect Miracles Overnight

As an author, I’ve been critical of SEO agencies, but I understand that they aren’t solely responsible for lackluster results. The SEO industry suffers from a significant shortage of talented professionals, both domestic and foreign. If you knew the caliber of people working on your campaign, you’d be shell shocked.

Many agencies outsource accounts to operators who may lack the skills or the dedication to become true experts. As a lawyer, I’m sure it’s a safe bet to say you understand the level of commitment required to achieve expertise, and it’s not an easy feat.

It’s rare to find individuals willing to devote a 10 plus years of their life to mastering SEO. And those who do often end up becoming founders or CEOs rather than remaining as employees.

Compounding the problem is the fact that many agencies assign operators to handle 15 or more clients, which can lead to incomplete tasks, delayed responses, and stressful environments.

If you’ve ever wondered why tasks aren’t completed on time or why your operator seems disorganized, it’s likely due to the factors I’ve mentioned.

My recommendations are simple: be patient, be reasonable. If you’re in a low to medium competitive location and have some link equity, you may see results sooner. However, success in SEO takes time, and expecting too much too soon can lead to disappointment.

In conclusion, managing your expectations and being realistic about what an agency can achieve is vital to success in SEO.

Here’s another reality no one wants to acknowledge in our space:  not every campaign will be a winner.  That’s right.  No matter how flawless the campaign progresses, there is a chance it could flop – even if it’s run by a law firm SEO agency that uses secret PBN networks.

 III.  Come Heavy or Don’t Come At All

Money plays a significant role in SEO. It not only talks, but it also moves it. I strongly believe that one gets what they pay for in the legal marketing SEO industry. The cost of SEO is considerably high, and taking action now matters the most. The present moment is the most affordable and easiest time to invest in SEO, which will likely become increasingly difficult and expensive in the future.

Local Service Ads are expected to increase in price. Competitors are also investing substantial amounts of money to secure top Google Maps and organic placements. So, there is a reason why SEO costs money – it pays in the end.

As a lawyer, investing in SEO is a wise decision. It’s important to treat it as an investment and not just an expense. It’s crucial to work with an agency that doesn’t cut corners on content or links.

If you are a personal injury firm and cannot afford a $5,000 monthly engagement and cannot wait 9-12 months for results, SEO may not be the right option for you at this time. Paid options, such as LSA’s, may be a more suitable alternative, and you can build up your resources before investing in an evergreen solution.

For those located in more competitive areas, engagement prices will be much higher. If a lawyer SEO agency offers a lower price, it’s essential to be skeptical. They may be cutting corners, especially with links.

It’s important to keep in mind that you’re working with an agency with significant overhead costs that may limit their abilities, depending on the company. On average, SEO agencies spend only 10% on marketing, whereas consultants operate lean and can afford to invest more.

Think sumo vs ninja.

 IV.  Beware The Buzzword Sorcery

In my opinion, it’s not necessary to build a new website for a law firm unless there’s a need for it, like improving conversions or making the website SEO-friendly. Some lawyer marketing agencies might push for a new website to increase their profits, but that’s not ethical.

If an agency suggests building a new website, ask for compelling reasons. If there are none, consider investing in content or link building instead. It’s essential to use resources efficiently.

Lastly, I recommend owning all digital assets, including the website, that you pay for. Beware of agencies that use “Custom CMS” as a code word for owning the website until you part ways.

V. I Have A Secret – I See Scammers

As an agency, I understand the importance of transparency in reporting. That’s why I provide my clients with rank tracker reports, analytics access, and a dashboard to keep them up-to-date on their marketing progress.  However, I believe there is more to management than reporting.  We need to be there for you!  If that means taking a call at 11pm because you’re nervous, then we take that call. 

I believe that there’s nothing to hide when it comes to marketing. Our industry has seen enough “SEO voodoo” for a lifetime, and I’m committed to being accountable for the results of your marketing efforts. If we’re not seeing the results we want, I believe that it’s important to work together to figure out how we can improve.

Remember one thing:  When your listing gets into Google Maps’ Top 3, that means someone loses and drops out.  That transaction could cost them millions.  What we’re engaged in here is very serious, and should exceed a typical “client-vendor” relationship.  We’re an alliance.  You deserve someone who believes in you as much as you believe in them.  Ask yourself, if the going gets tough, and I need a temporary reduced rate on my retainer, will they oblige?

The answer might be sobering.

What’s The Difference Between Agency vs Consultant?

As a consultant, I want to be transparent that not all SEO for lawyers agencies are bad. Some can deliver great results for their clients. However, there are differences between working with an agency versus a consultant. Agencies often work with many clients, which can lead to potential issues and breakdowns in communication.

In contrast, as a consultant, I work with a select few clients, allowing for a more personal and dedicated relationship. My level of expertise is often higher than that of a base employee.

On the other hand, there are benefits to working with an agency. If you prefer a hands-off approach to your digital marketing, an agency may be a better fit. They can handle a high volume of requests that may tax a consultant’s infrastructure. Additionally, there are agencies that can work with you if you don’t have a large budget.

I recommend that you consult with both an agency and a consultant to determine which is the best fit for your law firm.