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Attorney Marketing 101: Branded Searches

When you set out to market your law firm to potential clients who use search engines, there are a nearly infinite number of keywords and phrases that you can target. The ones that you aim for should be at the center of the content that you write in your legal blog.

Among these targeted keywords and phrases, though, should be ones that incorporate your law firm’s name. These are branded searches, and ranking well for them is a relatively easy, but often overlooked, aspect of online search engine marketing.

Branded searches get the warmest leads in online legal marketing
Photo credit: Anne Worner

What is a Branded Search?

When someone gets onto Google or Bing and puts your law firm’s name into the query field, the result is a branded search. They are using the search engine not to find the websites that are relevant and important to their particular query, but to bring them directly to your firm’s website.

From the user’s perspective, this is a navigational query, and accounts for around 10% of the total number of online searches.

From your law firm’s perspective, this is a branded search.

While the branded searches for each law firm will be different, all will include the firm’s name and the synonyms or permutations associated with it. For example, the branded searches for the Williams & Thomas Law Office would include:

  • Williams & Thomas Law Office
  • Williams & Thomas Law
  • Williams & Thomas Law Firm
  • Williams & Thomas lawyers
  • Williams & Thomas attorneys
  • Williams & Thomas

One of the first goals in marketing your law firm on search engines is to dominate in your branded search.

Here’s why.

Branded Searches Produce Hot Leads

When someone types the name of your law firm into a search engine and hits enter, they are looking for you, by name. Many of these people are interested clients who want to make the connection with your firm. There’s a good chance that they want to hire you.

In online marketing, leads don’t get much warmer than this.

If you’re firm is not at, or very near, the top of the results, the warmth of that lead will chill. If they have to scroll very far or, heaven forbid, go to the second page, you might lose a very interested client.

Fight Competitive Keyword Advertising

Getting to the top of the rankings for a keyword or phrase involves lots of work… Or you can just buy a pay-per-click advertisement (PPC) and skip to the front of the line. Sure, your website will be flagged as an ad, but it’ll still be the first thing that a searcher sees.

But now imagine one of other local law firms in your practice area buying PPC ads for your branded searches. Suddenly, people getting on Google specifically to find your Williams & Thomas Law Office are suddenly seeing ads for the Adams Firm across the street, splayed out across the top of the results!

This trick is called competitive keyword advertising and, while there are pending lawsuits over whether it infringes on a business’ trademark, is still a legitimate legal marketing strategy in most states.

Dominating the rankings for branded searches, though, minimizes the impact of competitive keyword advertising by making your site visible to anyone looking for it.

Dominating Branded Searches is Relatively Easy

In many cases, getting to the top of the rankings for a branded search is relatively easy because every unique page of content you’re adding to your law firm’s site or legal blog should have internal links to your homepage and should signal to search engines what your website is all about. Basic use of anchor text and a blog post’s call to action will improve and then bolster your ranking for your branded searches, and will do it all naturally.

Unfortunately, some branded searches are easier than others. The Jones Law Office will have a harder time of it than Kender, Obsidian, Howitzer & Anachronism, simply because of the length and complexity of the names.