Legal services search trends analysis 2021
The legal sector is going through some rapid changes due to various recent market disruptors, and digital plays a big part in the evolution of the sector and its future. The UK legal market is valued in excess of £37 billion and as the market grows more competitive, the digital marketing tactics law firms choose to implement is paramount in attracting and retaining clients.
The COVID-19 crisis has been a catalyst for change for digital trends, online user behaviour, and expectations. Our search marketing analysts have looked at the latest search trends in the sector to uncover some interesting insights about the landscape for law firms.
What are search trends and why are they important?
Search trends are the analysis and patterns of the top search queries across regions and languages. The dominating search engine is of course Google. Google owns around 93% of the search space, making its algorithms, tools and guidelines pretty much gospel for digital marketers that want to gain visibility for their organisation and drive quality, relevant traffic to their website(s).
Search marketers (SEO and PPC experts) typically use Google Trends data to gather insight into popular keywords and queries in a specific time frame or location to help inform their marketing activity. This is what we’ve done for the legal sector in this article.
The most popular law firm search terms
We looked at search queries specific to the legal sector in the UK for March 2019 (pre-lockdown), March 2020 (start of lockdown) and April 2021 as restrictions start to lift. The results correlate to the wider political and economical environments. For example, the searches for ‘conveyancing solicitors’ was steady prior to lockdown, but as COVID-19 started to impact jobs, relationships and government policy, searches rapidly peaked (as shown in the graph below). Soaring from 9,900 UK monthly searches in March 19 and 20, to 33,100 in March 21.
Digitally savvy law firms that were paying attention to this trend responded quickly to this with PPC ads to quickly get their organisation at the top of page one of Google. They implemented display advertising or paid social ads to drive a huge influx of traffic to their organisation’s website.
Law firms that were already on the ball with implementing digital transformation prior to the pandemic and understood the value of good SEO marketing, may have already had a content strategy in place. Perhaps a series of optimised content for conveyance related terms that would already dominate the top spots of Google’s search results and see the benefits of increase organic traffic.
Typically ‘divorce solicitors’ search queries will fluctuate in the same months of the year where relationships are likely to go under strain, for example just after Christmas, when the majority of people have spent an extended amount of time with family, with financial pressure and then have a moment to reflect on ‘new beginnings’ in the New Year. Lockdown had a similar impact, but unlike Christmas, this was a lot less predictable as restrictions were yo-yo-ing for months.
If we look at January 2020 and January 2019, there’s the usual dip found after the holiday season. However, after a month in national lockdown we see a huge spike from, 2900 monthly searches in April to 4400 in May 2021. A year on year increase of 800 searches for that period. This goes on to climb to 5400 monthly searches and remain at a high volume only until February 2021 when we see a drop again.
Again, these figures coincide almost perfectly with government announcements of reducing restrictions, places of employment and entertainment venues beginning to open again.
A category that saw one of the biggest increases in search volume since COVID-19 hit the UK was, ‘employment law solicitors’.
After entire industries were forced to close and the UK population was forced in complete lockdown for the first time in our lifetimes, many people were left out of work, working reduced hours or remotely. The government announced the furlough scheme in the first weeks of lockdown (March 2020), this was contested and amended several times due to the lack of support to self-employed people and smaller businesses. The huge increase in search volume for employment law solicitors in this period reflects this uncertainty and lack of clear messaging at the time.
How can law firms learn and benefit in the future from search trends?
Search marketing, Google specifically, is based around intent, what the user is looking for and the most relevant content to answer their query. Creating a portfolio of content that is driven by search trends data is a smart and effective way to capture current online traffic, but also position your brand for likely reoccurring trends. It can also be used with legacy content that can be updated and re-used when you can anticipate traffic will peak again.
Search trends can help inform content activity across a wider integrated strategy, covering local SEO, international SEO or specific channels like:
- PPC (Google Ads)
- Social media / Paid social
- Video marketing
- Website content, whether its FAQs, landing pages, services or blog content
Getting more from digital marketing for your organisation
Auditing your digital marketing activity takes time and resource, but in the long-term getting it right can save budget and boost revenue. We are BBI, an award-winning integrated marketing agency based in the North-West of England. We have been helping businesses achieve their digital goals and grow since 2011 and are proud of the great work we do for our wide range of clients. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together to help your organisation, or take our quick, free test to find out if your current strategy is set to scale.