Learn about 8 tips to improve your website’s SEO. Increase your law firm’s ranking in search engines. Use targeted keywords, website optimization, and blogs to increase SEO.
8 Must-Read SEO Tips for Law Firms
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) maximizes your law firm’s visibility in internet searches. You want your firm’s website to appear on the first page—ideal in the top four listings on the page—of results when a client searches the web for a lawyer. SEO techniques include creating content that identifies you as an expert, ensuring your website’s code plays well with the search engines’ algorithms, and other technical tasks behind the scenes. SEO can be a significant investment, but the results can more than pay for themselves. This article discusses 8 critical SEO tips that can help put your firm on the front page.
Tip 1 – Keyword Research
Keywords are words and phrases in your website content by which search engines determine how well your page responds to a user’s search request. The goal of keyword research is to identify the keywords people typically use to find a firm like yours. For instance, if you are a personal injury firm, you need to know which keywords cause competing firms’ listings to appear ahead of yours in search results. You want to incorporate those same keywords into your website so you are at least on equal footing with the other firms. You then want to determine differentiating keywords that will set your firm apart from the others to raise your listing higher in the search results. For example, the keywords “personal injury attorney” puts your listing against every other personal injury firm in the world. But if you add “personal injury attorney in Seattle,” you just pushed your listing above thousands of potential hits for clients that include “Seattle” in their search.
Tip 2 – Website Optimization
The way the pages of your website are organized and how the content appears on those pages determines whether your site is search engine-friendly. Navigation of your website should be left-to-right and top-to-bottom, with the most important and compelling pages in the top-left section of the navigation menu. Increasingly extraneous information appears more to the right and toward the bottom of the site hierarchy. For best SEO results, your firm’s services should be the left-most item in the top navigation bar, and the About Us and Contact Us links should be in the right-hand menu options.
Tip 3 – Optimized URLs
Your keyword research should determine the names of the pages of your website as they appear in the URL or address bar. For example, if your personal injury practice handles both motorcycle accident and automobile accident cases, you want to combine the keyword “attorney” with the keywords “motorcycle accident” and “automobile accident” in the URLs of the respective pages like this: www.mylawfirmname.com/motorcycle-accident-attorney and www.mylawfirmname.com/automobile-accident-attorney.
Tip 4 – Blogs
Maintaining a blog is an important aspect of your SEO strategy. The Google search engine includes a “freshness” ranking. Your site ranks better if its content is updated frequently. You probably won’t have new information to add to your pages about your services or your contact information, so a blog is where you can post new information regularly to keep your site “fresh.” Your blog is also a great place to multiply your keywords. For example, you may write a series of blog articles about motorcycle accident cases and include the keywords “motorcycle accident” in the titles and throughout the articles: “5 Tips to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident”, “What to Do If You Are in a Motorcycle Accident”, “What If You Are Not At Fault in a Motorcycle Accident”.
Tip 5 – Page Speed
The slower your web page loads on a user’s device, the lower your ranking will be in the search engines. This is true for both desktop users and mobile device users. If your website can manage it, sub-second page paint speed is ideal. But it really depends on how your competition performs. If a competitor’s site responds in 5 seconds (which is typically poor performance), your site only needs to respond in less than 5 seconds—4 seconds would be good enough (although that is still pretty poor performance from an end-user perspective).
Tip 6 – Links
In the Google search algorithm, the more links it finds to a particular page, the more “votes” that page gets, and thus the higher its ranking in the algorithm. The more unique links that lead to your page, the more authoritative it appears to the search engine. As an analogy, the more other people quote you, the more important your statement seems to be and the more weight it carries. Many rules determine the quality of a backlink. To extend the analogy of a quote, if the Attorney General quotes you, your statement rises in importance. On the other hand, if a convicted felon quotes you, your statement may not get much notice.
Tip 7 – Content
Longer and more in-depth content tends to rank higher than short, fluffy pieces. To rank well in Google, for instance, content must be topically relevant (i.e., appropriate for the audience), the headings and body of the text must contain the target keywords, the content should include links to other authoritative sources, and the format should increase readability by using bulleted lists, headings, and images. Your firm’s website should include a landing page that overviews all the services you offer with links to individual pages for the details of each of your services and specialties.
Tip 8 – Track Results
Once your website is optimized for search engine results, it can take six to twelve months for the optimizations to boost your website to the first page. In the meantime, you can measure your website’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) visibility. If your website is moving steadily upward in the ranking, you may want to invest just a little more effort into SEO tweaks to try to increase the rate of your rise. On the other hand, if your website is losing ground, you may need to pour a lot of effort and resources into improving your optimizations. SEMrush is an example of a tool that measures SERP.