Most potential clients use search engines to find an attorney. This makes it important to make sure that your firm’s website is ranking high on Google.
SEO guide for law firms
Along with a clear understanding of what you really want, you would need to put in a lot of time, hard work, and dedication to get your SEO strategy in motion.
It is important to note here that these search engines do not reveal their search algorithms to the general public. But since we can make out the important factors that would affect each one’s ranking, we can optimize our content based on that.
When developing an SEO strategy for any law firm, the following are few of the important factors that should be taken into consideration.
Your domain plays a very important role when it comes to determining your position in search ranking of a search engine. There was a time when having a domain name relevant to your keywords played a part in determining your rank in the search of search engines. This is not the case anymore. With the new algorithm, Google has eliminated or at the very least reduced its importance.
There are other attributes it pays more attention to now that will help decide your position on the search page.
- Age of registration: Websites that have been around for longer are given preference over the ones that are new. So having the same website address for years gives a slight SEO edge.
- Future registration: Instead of renewing your website every year it will be beneficial for you to pay for some years in advance. Google likes websites that are here to stay. Having a website that has been registered into the future will boost your position.
- Domain history: A domain whose owner keeps shifting or is not decisive about what contents he wants in it is not something Google will ever promote. It will also not give a positive boost to the domains whose owners have been fined for something in the past. If you own something, be proud of it. This is will surely give you an SEO boost with Google for your website.
Having content that is SEO friendly is important in giving you an SEO boost too. Having keywords in the contents, words or phrases people that will help people find your site will give you a great SEO boost. A sites’ contents, heading, titles, tags, and even URLS play an important role in optimizing it for search engines.
Some “Don’ts” for SEO based content
Google continually changes its search criteria algorithm. This means that there are some changes that are always occurring.
- Do not cram your content with keywords. This will not work anymore. Google doesn’t like cluttering and is quick to catch on it. Content that is stuffed with keywords
- Stick to few basic keywords. There may be many words or phrases that would go along with your feel of content but do not try to fit them all. So no matter how tempted you are to use all, stick to the few basic ones only.
- Build pages for each practice area. A single page listing all of your services is fine, but each service should link to a separate page with more details about that specific service.
Do’s for SEO based content
- Scatter all your keywords uniformly throughout the whole content. Add one or two, in the beginning, few in the middle and some along the end.
- Try to give your content or articles on your site URLs that match the keywords used. Incorporating keywords in the URLs will help give an SEO boost to your site.
- Add titles and headings to your content relevant to the law firm and its practice area. In fact, using the keyword in the title and H1 header will be a good practice for optimal keyword search.
Having links in your website that refer to other sites and making sure that yours are linked to others as well creates good SEO signals. These inbound and outbound links help the real users to navigate easily around the web.
However, when using linking to generate traffic keep the following points in mind.
- Update your outbound links frequently. Do not have your site promoting broken or outdated links. Google views it as a bad sign.
- Link your website carefully. Make sure that the sites you add links for in your content are good and relevant to your content.
Search engines rank you higher based on your traffic. Time on site is also an important criteria. Generating traffic to your blog or page is even more important than you think. And keeping your visitors on site is best done by compelling, interesting content. The same rule applies to social media. Having more followers of friends gets you more noticed in Google’s search criteria as compared to not having many likes or retweets. Search engines give more priority to accounts that have been around for a longer time and have a lot of social following. So an old twitter account is of more worth than a new one. BUT, it is not all about followers-the most important criteria is engagement. You need to engage with your audience to stand out to the search engines, especially Google.
It is important to have sharing options on your site or blog for all social media platforms. Have buttons so that your page can be shared on Facebook, can be retweeted by prominent accounts on Twitter, can get +1s from other accounts and can be noticed on LinkedIn as well. Let your words travel freely in the social media. The more likes, retweets, shares, Google+1s will get you more authority resulting in higher rankings. Remember, Google is looking for subject matter experts. You obtain that “status” by publishing quality, informative content. Be a thought leader. Others will follow you and Google will notice.
User reaction to your site
You might think that the relevant keywords will get you a great SEO boost but they don’t. Google’s latest algorithm is smart and takes into account a lot more than just these keywords and phrases.
Every time a user searches for something, Google keeps a count and a check on the user’s experience for a particular link he clicked. Too short a stay is not good because it indicates that the content was not relevant to the search. Too long of a loading time, page views are kept in count too. If Google feels that a site may rank high based on keyword search but in reality it is of not much use to the user, it will bring it down.
So instead of focusing on the keywords, work to make sure that the site addresses all users’ queries and has engaging content to grasp their interest. As a law firm, add in engaging articles in the site/blog, contact information for lawyers, legal information, user-friendly interface and above all create interlinking on your site to increase time-on-site for a user.
Having said all that, it always pays to have ever-green content for your site. Your content should be so well written and evergreen that no matter what the search criteria is for Google, it should rank well.
If you have good content, it will be relevant to fit any SEO criteria because it will have all the above-mentioned factors in it already. It will be good enough to be shared on social media and get appreciation in forms of likes, shares, and retweets. It will be engaging enough to grasp the user’s attention and have them on-site for a long time, higher page views and a greater number of click-thrus. All important factors in ranking.
Here are few take away tips for you.
- Google favors longer content to shorter ones. Keep your content size appropriate; not too long and neither too short. Over 500 words and lately, we see Google favor the 1,000+ word articles.
- Make sure that your content is relevant to the topic. Don’t focus on keyword stuffing. Write for your audience.
- Keep your content original and evergreen. Do not copy/ paste contents or use contents from other sites.
- Update your content regularly so that it is up-to-date and fresh.
- Make sure your content’s readability is high and is easy to read.
- Make your site interesting by using interactive content in forms of videos, images, graphs etc. Google loves video…use it! You may find your video ranks higher than your website for the selected keywords. Video needs its own SEO so don’t just post it in YouTube and expect it to rank.
- Keep a check on the spellings and grammar of your content from a usability perspective.
So focus on writing good content for your website and blog. And give your content a boost by reaching out to your social channels (syndicate your blog content). Create an online digital marketing road map and stick with it. SEO is NOT instantaneous. It takes time and effort. It will pay off in the end when you dominate your local search results. If you need help, we can provide a free website audit to get you started.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)