As more and more people head online to find legal services, solicitor firms need to make sure they have a strong online presence. Cordelia, the digital marketing manager at Fitzalan Partners  answers some key questions and gives practical advice.
What is “organic search” and how can I help get there?
This refers to the search results, not including adverts, which appear when you type something into a search engine like Google. As legal services are often searched for within a specific location, the most important piece of advice I can give is to check your Google Places entry.
On the maps area of a search engine, your office should appear. If you haven’t already, you should “claim” your business and add some key information. The local results don’t even need a good website – you just need to be on there to be seen.
How can I improve our firm’s website?
Organic search looks at relevant websites, full of information which people will read and engage with. An “engagement” could be someone completing an online form, or spending a long time reading articles.
A top tip would be to have a look at the structure of your website, to see how you can change the layout to best highlight your services. Is it clear what you offer on your homepage? Have someone outside of the business look at your site and give their honest feedback.
What is PPC and should I be doing it?
PPC, or “pay per click”, describes the adverts you see when you search online. In the legal world, as with many service professions, competition is fierce, and costs are high. You can easily pay in the region of £5 a click for a generic term such as “conveyancing quote”.
There are of course ways to make the clicks cheaper, for example by bidding on longer keywords, targeting by location and building up your Quality Score. Before you get started with PPC however, make sure you have a website that allows people to find what they are looking for – otherwise your money could be wasted.
Should we use lead generation websites?
Many solicitors sign up for leads that come from other sites, ones that perform well in search results. This can be beneficial for both the solicitor and the client, however the solicitor still has to contact each lead in order to convert them into confirmed instructions.
This can be time consuming, and can prove expensive if you don’t have the resource to contact each lead. Websites such as Homeward Legal  work in a different way, taking away the burden of converting leads – so the solicitors and conveyancers only receive confirmed instructions.
Can our website generate business?
The situation is different for every solicitor firm, and not everyone will want their fees public, however there are ways that you be more transparent with potential clients. There is a tool called The Conveyancing Exchange, which allows conveyancing firms to set their own fee structures, and place a quote engine on their own website.
You can even opt for a sales team to address the leads that come through, so that you only receive confirmed instructions. This type of tool can help to bring in new clients, and retain online visitors looking for a quick quote.
Should we be giving out our fees online?
More and more, people expect to be able to see costs upfront, and may even look at a competitor’s site if they can’t see clear costs on yours. The trend of comparison sites and quote engines means that clients expect to get the information they need – instantly.
Becoming part of a new comparison site like The Solicitor Finder  means that you can appear for relevant searches people make within the site, based on factors such as location, price and ratings.
Where should I start?
A great way to get new conveyancing instructions through websites that already perform well online would be to join the Fitzalan Partners panel.
To find out how we help solicitors with their marketing, get in touch with PJ Singh on 0203 137 9599 or complete a short form here . You can read reviews from conveyancing solicitors on the Fitzalan Partners website .