I know we say it all the time, but lawyers and accountants can no longer live on their reputation alone. The internet (and, more specifically, the search engines) is now a primary work winner and if your website is going to deliver the results you want it to, you need to make sure you are doing everything you can to improve your law or accountancy firm’s online presence.
You need to make sure your website explains not only what you do, but also why the way you do it is better than your competitors.
You need to make sure you are ranking as high as possible within the most relevant search engine results.
You need to make sure that once you are found, you have everything in place to make getting in touch for more help as easy as possible.
If you feel you could be doing more to deliver these objectives, the following 6 tips may help you organise the next steps you’ll need to take to improve your law or accountancy firm’s online presence:
1. Invest in SEO
Good search engine optimisation (SEO) will push your firm up the search engine results. Given most people no longer look beyond page 1 to find what they’re looking for, your ‘findability’ are going is to be key to your marketing success.
In fact, it’s arguably more important than ever today given how much more research we’re doing online whilst working at home.
In terms of improving your SEO you could try:
– Getting more backlinks to your content by making it easier to share and interact with the articles and blogs you post.
– Adding more external links to your content. For examples, if you’re talking about the stamp duty holiday why not link to the relevant pages Gov.uk or to MoneySavingExpert.com? Or if you’re writing about the future of commercial property, why not link to a relevant article in the Estates Gazette?
– Doing more keyword research so your content contains the right words in the right order.
– Adding (and this may be one for the marketing department) alt-text tags to your images. This is a very small tweak but something Google wants to see and will reward you for.
– Starting to use SEO plugins like Yoast to make sure your page is fully optimised at the point of publication.
2. Create pages for all your services and all your markets
Every law and accountancy firm will have a page for each of its practice areas, but an umbrella page is no longer enough.
You need to break each practice area down into its constituent areas and have a separate page for each.
You then need a page for each sector you serve that explains specifically how your services directly benefit each of those groups.
For example, if you are an employment law team you don’t just look after “all aspects of employment and HR law”, you will draft and review employment contracts, manage disciplinary procedures, assist with tribunals, draft covenant agreements and negotiate settlement deals for senior members of staff.
Similarly, the points of reference your retail clients will be searching for will be different to your hospitality clients, your manufacturing clients, your healthcare clients or your third sector clients.
3. Emphasise your client value proposition
All too often law and accountancy firm’s websites look like they have been drafted by a number of different authors and from a range of different perspectives. This is because they have been.
However, good marketing is about consistency.
You need to promote a single message that clearly articulates why you are the best choice for your audience – your client value proposition to use the marketing term.
Your proposition can be tailored to meet the demands of any practice area, any sector focus, or any audience but it needs to be consistent. Visitors need to immediately grasp what you offer and how it will benefit them (and see you are one firm, not a collection of sole traders).
4. Make your site sticky
You want people to keep coming back to your site and even recommend it to their networks. Offering a regular flow of relevant, valuable, strategic, and practical content is a key component in establishing your site’s ‘stickiness’.
This doesn’t mean producing reams of technically perfect academic tomes. Improving your law or accountancy firm’s online presence means taking your clients’ most frequently asked questions and answering them in plain English in short, sharp, and totally useable blasts.
And it means remembering people want to absorb information in different ways. Not everyone wants words.
Some people like pictures so try flowcharts and infographics.
Some people like to listen so try podcasts. Some people like to watch so try video and animations.
Google will react best to a steady mix of content that employs different formats as well as different topics.
5. Write for the search engines not for your peers
The other benefit of using FAQs as heading is they tend to be what people actually search for. This means if you get your headings right, you will be much more likely to be found and, by extension, your content will be much more likely to generate what you want it to – enquiries.
This will become even more important as voice-activated searching (Alexa, Siri) become more prevalent.
6. Encourage reviews
Add links to Google, LinkedIn and Trustpilot to make sure it is as easy as possible to leave an online review after you have concluded a matter. New prospects take reviews seriously and will be more likely to get in touch if they can see you have a high score.
You can also publish these reviews on a client testimonial page on your website to establish even greater credibility (and give you another trust-building link to promote via social media).
You can even use these testimonials to bolster tender, marketing, or pitch materials (as long as you have each clients’ permission).
If you would like to discuss how we can help you improve your law or accountancy firm’s online presence by producing more unique content more easily, creating the specialist service and sector pages you need or improve your SEO rankings please get in touch and we can find a convenient time to chat.