Lawyers often question whether they should invest marketing dollars in search engine optimization (SEO) for their website. This is particularly true when lawyers want quick results to justify the money they are spending.

The problem is SEO is not a quick fix, even if your website already has some domain authority and quality backlinks. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want fast results, you should focus on other strategies, like paid search. You can always revisit an investment in SEO when you have the adequate time and budget to commit to it.

This blog explains some of the reasons why it takes time for SEO efforts to pay off. If you have questions about SEO, paid search, TV advertising, outdoor or other law firm marketing strategies, contact PMP to find out how our experienced team could help your law firm. We have more than 15 years’ experience helping law firms across North America reach more potential clients and sign more cases.

What Is the Average Time Frame for SEO Results?

Every law firm is different, so it is difficult to say how long SEO is likely to take without analyzing a variety of factors. That said, it could take at least three to six months to start seeing momentum from your SEO efforts. Most law firms start to see more substantial results after a year. However, it might take between one to two years before SEO starts to steadily deliver cases each month.

Timelines vary based on your goals. For example, if you want your main practice area page to move up to number one in organic rankings, it could take a year or more to see those kind of results. If you want to increase organic traffic to your website, consistently publishing new content could help you to see results within a few months.

The bottom line is that if you are looking to increase your case counts over the next few months, other strategies besides SEO are going to be much more effective.

Factors Influencing the SEO Timeline

There are numerous factors that influence how long it may take to see a return on your SEO investment:

Budget and Resources You Commit to SEO

Limited resources make it harder to generate results. Larger budgets enable law firms to diversify their SEO efforts.

If you devote most of your efforts to a few aspects of SEO, your timeline is likely to be longer. For example, if you spend a lot of time on technical issues but do not regularly publish blogs on your website, it will be harder for you to move up in search engine rankings.

Limited budgets hurt your ability to invest in the tools needed to evaluate your website and find out where you need to make improvements.

Your Overall Strategy and How You Implement It

Strategy and consistency are pivotal to the SEO timeline. For instance, if you do not set a schedule for creating and posting high-quality content and stick to it, you will struggle to generate results. Regularly publishing new content helps Google to index and rank your website.

SEO is not just one thing. There are numerous aspects, including:

  • Keyword research
  • Content creation
  • Link building
  • Local SEO
  • Internal links
  • Site speed
  • And more

If you have a clear strategy with achievable goals and you stick to it, you should eventually see results.

The Competition

Law firm marketing is highly competitive, but each market is different. If you are in a more competitive market, it is going to take longer to move higher in organic search results.

Some keywords are more competitive than others. For example, it may take a while to rank higher for practice area keywords, but in a matter of months, you could see some of your blogs move onto the first page of search results. This is because many blog keywords are much less competitive than shorter keywords.

The other point to remember about competition is that it requires law firms to expend more resources to generate results from SEO.

Age and Domain Authority of Your Website

Generally, an older, more established website will help speed up the SEO timeline. However, it depends on the general health and optimization of the site. If the website is slow and out-of-date from a technical standpoint, it may take significant time to address all those issues. Even if your website has been around a while, it may not have much domain authority, and that takes time to build.

If you have a brand-new website, it is going to take a while to build up domain authority. Your site is probably one of dozens of law firm websites in your local area, and many of them probably have a more established history.

Technical Issues

The general health and optimization of your website is another factor that contributes to your SEO success.

Additional factors that could hurt your ability to get SEO results include:

  • Your website is slow to load
  • The user experience on your site is poor
  • Technical issues prevent Google from indexing pages on your site
  • Your site is not mobile friendly or fails to work on popular mobile devices

These issues are not things that you resolve once and ignore. You need to continually monitor the site to find errors and correct them quickly.

Backlink Profile

While Google continues to say content is king, backlinks are a huge factor in Google rankings. No matter how informative and useful your content, without backlinks you will have a tough time improving your SEO. You can think of a backlink as a vote of confidence in the credibility and authority of your website.

If you have a strong backlink profile and the rest of your SEO house is in order, SEO results could come relatively quickly.

The key with SEO is to think long-term. While SEO can be a highly effective part of your marketing mix, it is a long-term strategy. SEO is not going to generate results overnight or instantly result in a flood of new clients to call your law firm. However, SEO can be a durable investment that can benefit your law firm for years to come.

Contact PMP to discuss your marketing concerns and customized solutions to help you bring in more clients.