A Breakthrough Plan to Ensure Your Law Firm’s Survival. With or without Google.

By now, most of us are aware that Google likes to change its algorithms frequently. Those changes have often made a dramatic impact on websites. But this year, there is way more going on underneath the hood than your typical ranking changes. Recently, at a cutting-edge Internet conference, the burning topics raising concern with marketing experts were Zero-Click Searches and Google’s Wall.

Google is Stealing Your Clicks and Building a Wall Around Your Potential Clients

Have you noticed while using Google on your mobile phone that the organic results are pushed further and further down the page? That’s not an accident. Google’s goal is to keep people on their properties, many of which you are familiar with, like Search, YouTube, Maps, Android, and Google’s blog.

Google has taken it a step further by building features into the search engine, like “People Also Ask,” that are designed to answer your questions right in the search without the need to go to a website (See Image1). When a person doesn’t click any site, this results in a “zero-click” or “no-click” search. Why click a website for Sunday’s NFL lineup when Google gives you the answer right in the search?

You may already see why this could be a dilemma for your firm: Fewer people clicking your website equals fewer clients. This trend won’t be going away anytime soon. Zero-clicks are already capturing over 50% of all search results, and experts are predicting that it will grow exponentially in the next five years, with mobile affected most.

That’s Just Organic Searches, Right? What About Paid Searches?

At first glance, the numbers for paid clicks look good. The number of people clicking ads is going up. The problem is that you are paying more for the same amount of clicks compared to previous years. This paints a scary picture. You will either get fewer clicks or spend more money to get more paid clicks.

Social Media is Taking a Chip Off the Ol’ Block

Just like Google wants to keep people on their properties, so do social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They want you to stay on their platform because it means more advertising dollars for them. To do this, these social media giants have limited the organic reach of posts containing links that lead a user away from their platform. According to a recent talk given by Rand Fishkin, the founder Moz and Sparktoro, his agency tested this theory by split testing an identical post – Post A included a link to a website, and Post B had no link. After the test, the post with no link, Post B, had a much higher organic reach and engagement. The results were the same with repeated testing. The message is clear – all these Internet platforms are building a wall that is hurting your website traffic.

What’s a smart lawyer/marketer to do? 

If you are asking yourself if that new website you just paid for was a waste, or if SEO has finally bitten the dust, the short answer is: No. However, SEO, as we know it, is changing. You will have to find ways to influence potential clients outside of the traditional click.

5 Tips to Optimize for Zero-Click:

  1. Optimize Your Google Properties – Focus on improving your Google My Business account and your YouTube account. They take up quite a bit of real estate on page one and are the most customizable for your business.
  2. Aim for Featured Snippets – We recommend using SEMrush to see what your website ranks for. You can do this by exporting your organic keywords and looking at the numbers. What legal questions do you organically rank highly for? Run a report on your competitors. What featured snippets do they own? See if you can steal a snippet. We recommend focusing on page speed, media attachments, and answering the question well.
  3. Target Pages with High Clickthrough Rates – Compare your highest search queries from Google Search Console with your top landing pages. Improve the user experience and quality of those pages.
  4. Align Your SEO with PPC – Use the data from your Google Search Console and line it up with Google Ads. Find keywords on Google Search Console that you rank well for organically that are worth bidding on and start bidding! On the flip side, if a paid keyword phrase is performing well, start targeting that keyword organically on your website.
  5. Diversify Your Traffic Sources – Google may be King, but it isn’t your only resource for traffic. SEO and PPC are a good start, but smart social and video campaigns can widen your reach to more potential clients.

 Let Google Push You To Be a Better Law Firm

The truth is, even if you are perfectly optimized online, most people don’t hire you after seeing one Facebook post or a single commercial. Instead, it’s a long journey of seeing ads, reading your well-written articles, watching your videos, and seeing your firm in the community that gets your name to stick in their minds.

It’s never been more important to diversify your traffic sources and invest in growing your firm’s brand in the community. Focus on a blended marketing approach, much like keeping your financial portfolio diversified. The payoff is far more lucrative than purely focusing on whether you come up for “accident lawyer” or not.

Our best advice is that you broaden your reach with strategic SEO, PPC, Social Media, email, and community events. Doing so will ensure your law firm’s survival, with or without Google.

* Data from 40M+ browser searches on mobile and desktop devices in the United States, courtesy of Jumpshot and Sparktoro