The Law Firms Doomed To Fail ?

Every day 12.2 million Google searches are carried out worldwide. People are searching for everything, including solicitors and law firms.

Every month, on Google alone, there are 3.5 million searches using words and phrases associated with finding a solicitor or solicitor’s services. Every month…..

Among the most popular phrases people searching according to the Google keyword tool are:

  • Solicitors 2.4 million a month
  • Lawyers 1.8 million a month
  • Conveyance solicitor 27,100 a month
  • Employment solicitor 33,000 a month
  • Family solicitors 33,100 a month

How Do People Find Solicitors

Nowadays people often use search engines to find a solicitor. Unless they have an existing relationship with a local firm, they will probably search online. Whether you’re making a will, have been unfairly dismissed, buying or selling a property or for many other reasons they will search online and in particular Google.

Solicitors are clearly in demand but the way people find them has changed

When using search engines to find a solicitor very few people use the name of the firm. Typically they search by the geographical area and/or the type of service they need, for example:

‘solicitor London’ ‘party wall solicitor’ ‘injury lawyer Liverpool’

Where are all the solicitors?

The majority of solicitors do not appear prominently in Google searches, unless people search using the name of the firm rather than the service they need. This is all very well if thousands of people know your firm’s name but what if you are trying to reach potential clients who do not already know your firm?

Are people searching for ‘help writing a will’ or ‘need to know if I can claim for clinical negligence’ rather than Gordons Law or Saunders solicitors going to find you?

Directories, local magazines and local papers

These forms of advertising do not work nearly as well as they used to. Directories used to be widely used for finding law firms but nowadays very few people look in directories or local newspapers, they search online using smartphones, tablets, PCs or laptops.

Local magazines are appearing everywhere, selling advertising space at inflated prices with no guarantee of a return on investment. Solicitors are advertising for the sake of it. Some solicitors are told that have to advertise because their competitors are, but this isn’t the case! Why advertise with no guaranteed return on your investment?

Law firms websites

The problem with many law firm’s websites is that they have not been designed with search engines in mind, so they don’t appear highly on the results page when people search for a law firm. This is because most websites focus on the firm’s name rather than the services they provide, because they’ve been built by web designers, friends or even the owner who may not understand how search engines work.

Some firms do not even have a website, and many have small websites with hardly any information. Many firm’s websites are out of date, with broken links and grammatical errors. Would you trust something as important as making a will to a firm that has an error strewn website ? A firm’s website is the equivalent of a shop front and needs to be impeccable.

Search engines perspective

Understanding how a search engine works is key to getting results. A search engine crawls the Internet to read webpages and get information, which it stores on one of its many servers. When somebody performs a search it tries to find the most relevant results from the information it has stored. In this case, people type solicitor and a town or the service they need, and will be presented with results relevant to that phrase/search term/search query.

We hear a lot of people say that they have tried search engine optimisation (SEO) and it hasn’t worked. It can and does work, but few companies understand how SEO works and how to choose a good SEO company.

The Internet is evolving and the way search engines operate has also changed drastically.

Solicitors Marketing costs

Firms also say they cannot compete with large firms and their marketing budgets. In fact, search engines create a level playing field for everyone!

Advertising online getting your website ranked highly on search engines need not be expensive. You can advertise for as little as £100 per month with a guaranteed return on your investment. With some forms of online advertising, you only pay when somebody clicks through to your website.

If they do not, you don’t pay. This is markedly different from advertising in the newspaper or a directory stuffed with competitors. A search engines main function is to provide the end user with the most relevant search results, not the biggest solicitor or most heavily funded.

If someone is looking for a solicitor in Birmingham, or a solicitor specialising in wills and probate that is what they should find. If you want your website to be high on the list of results, the search engine has to be able to see that it is relevant to the users search terms.

TV Advertising For Law Firms

We have seen an increase in TV advertising with the referral fee ban coming into play. Larger law firms and claims management companies are jockeying for places on our screens. Quality solicitors have run a TV campaign during peak hours. Will it work, we all await the outcome. TV advertising starts at around £25,000 for that you could have 12,500 targeted people looking at your website!

When people or businesses look for a solicitor it is invariably a distress purchase. That is why so many people are looking instead of waiting to see an advertisement on TV or in the newspaper. They need a solicitor now so use a search engine to find one. Even if they have seen an advert they will still Google the phrase injury lawyer or Quality solicitors or solicitor from the TV!

Local Search results

Search engines give people local results whenever possible. They understand the end user’s browsing patterns and where they are, so if someone types in ‘solicitor’ they will be presented with local search listings: somebody in Leeds who searches for a solicitor would get a different page of results from somebody performing the search in London.

Web designers, PR companies and marketing agencies

The world has seen an explosion of people trying to get to the top of search engines in their areas of expertise. When people finally realise that their website can generate them income by being highly ranked by search engines, they naturally go back to the person/people who built it. However, this often turns out to be a fatal mistake!

A lot of web design agencies are seeing that they can earn monthly revenues from solicitors for ‘SEO services’ but often they lack the knowledge and resources to carry out SEO successfully. They understand how to build great looking websites, unfortunately the only people that will ever see the websites are the people who have been directed there: mainly existing clients or people within the firm.

As well as not fully understanding how search engines work, web designers often lack marketing skills and commercial awareness. To be able to sell a product or service is an art in itself, from creating attention-grabbing copy to designing a website that gets clients to pick up the phone and talk to you.

Many SEO providers focus on getting visitors to your website, and that is only half the battle. You have to keep them there and give them a reason to contact you. To convert in to paying clients.

The Internet marketers who are changing the world

When you type a phrase into Google or another search engine do you ever wonder why the websites on the first page are there? Why are they at the top, and what do you have to do to get your website there to compete with them?

A lot of the time- especially in the legal sector- they are there by chance! How many times have you seen a website on the first page that turns out to look terrible, or a directory highly placed for a search term like ‘solicitor London’ ?

It’s probably there because the search engine simply hasn’t found anything better to put in its place! Or the website is an internet marketer who understands how to make money/rank a website online. A lot of marketers own websites for competitive phrases and then sell the leads back to companies or sell the websites lock stock and barrel. Not just in this industry but hundreds of others. These people are building search engine friendly websites that convert into happy customers/clients/users etc.

So everybody is happy, Google has people building websites that are helping people, companies are getting clients and clients are finding services. The only problem is that it should essentially be a solicitors firm people are finding instead.