Standing out online means spending time and energy learning how to implement proper search engine optimization (SEO) practices.
SEO is a set of guidelines to help your law firm rank better organically (meaning: not through paid online advertising) on Google and other search engines. Website optimization gives you a competitive edge over the thousands of other law firms on the internet and is essentially a long-term investment that strengthens your position online.
Aspects of Law Firm SEO
1. Great Content
Some aspects of SEO are technical, but it all boils down to your content’s quality. Content is a general term for articles, blogs, white papers, podcasts, videos and other content types found on websites.
There are three important factors to consider when writing content for SEO on a law firm website:
- The Content’s Value. People visit your website looking for answers to legal questions. They expect to find these answers in your content. Additionally, Google expects your content to be resourceful and helpful. As such, focus on your content’s value in addition to ranking for popular keywords.
- Competitor Analysis. Always Google your chosen keyword before writing content based on it. You will notice that many top-ranking websites on the search engine results page (SERP) feature similar articles. Ask yourself what value you could bring that your competitors aren’t. What can you expand upon or add that is not already there?
- The Content’s Technical Structure. Google ranks content and websites based on a set of algorithms. These algorithms do not read content like humans. For example, they rely on title tags to differentiate the content’s title from its body. A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. That title is also what will appear on the SERP. It is important to include these technical details in your final copy before uploading it to your website.
2. User Experience
User experience refers to the user’s perceived quality of your services. Google measures this (in part) through engagement metrics such as how long users spend on your page and whether they continue browsing your site.
Google and other search engines have guidelines about a website’s user experience. To rank well, Google wants content to be helpful. Google also looks for websites to have a neat and organized layout, making it easier for users to navigate. Other requirements include fast loading speeds, secure connections and fresh content. All of these contribute to the engagement metrics Google uses to determine the quality of user experience.
It is easy to create SEO value without considering human value. However, a bad user experience will compromise your website’s ranking, regardless of how well you implement the technical SEO guidelines. So you need to have a healthy balance of both.
3. Website Structure
Google recommends websites with a neat layout. The idea is to structure your website in a way that makes it easy to use.
Consider a website that crams all of its content on one page, from start to finish. Let’s say it includes content from the Home Page introducing visitors to the website’s services, the About Us page familiarizing them with the firm, the blogs and everything else—all on a single page. Imagine how cumbersome it would be to navigate.
In contrast, a good website structure is defined by features such as a navigation bar providing links to the different pages. The content should also be neat and relevant to the page. Ideally, new visitors shouldn’t have a problem finding what they are looking for. This website would be easy to navigate and would attract and retain more visitors. It would also rank better on SERPs.
Nike ranks number one on Google for the keyword ‘sneaker’ despite not having much text on its landing page (the first webpage you hit when clicking on the link). The reason is that Nike’s brand is considered to be authoritative. It is an authority in its industry and Google recognizes this by giving it a high ranking when searchers have questions about sneakers.
Authority in this context means being the best at what you do—and letting everyone know it. You can be authoritative offline by winning more cases than your competition. You can be an authority online by providing resourceful content that answers your visitors’ questions. Bottom line: Be the best at what you do and success (and good SERP rankings) will follow.
Final Thoughts on Law Firm SEO
You don’t need to be a programmer to leverage the benefits of small law firm SEO. All you need is helpful content, a neat website, a good reputation (both online and offline), and a website that is generally easy and enjoyable to use. These are the four essential elements of attorney SEO and they are a long-term investment that ensures your law firm’s website stays competitive.
Solid SEO also requires an efficient intake system to turn visitors into clients. Check your intake system’s efficiency using our client intake scorecard to ensure that your SEO practices pay off.