Digital marketing has revolutionized the way people shop for goods and services – including how people search for lawyers. By some estimates, 51% of people searching for a lawyer in 2021 started their search online. What helps bridge the gap between your prospective clients and your website? The answer is search engine optimization (SEO for short).
Can lawyers do search engine optimization? Absolutely! The basics of SEO for law firms involve investing in website infrastructure, auditing website content, fixing broken technical elements, and looking at your site’s backlink profile. By following these four steps, you’ll be on the path to legal SEO greatness. Not sure what any of that means? Read on to find out.
1. Upgrade Your Website
Your website is the most important part of your marketing, and it’s also an incredibly important factor in your success with SEO. Search engines don’t just randomly decide which results to show. Not only do they want to give searchers the most useful results, but they also want to showcase safe, well-designed websites that are accessible to everyone. We’ll discuss technical stuff in a second, but for now, let’s talk about what makes a website “good.”
Think back to the most broken or confusing website you’ve ever used. You probably got frustrated and gave up trying to find the information you were looking for, right? Having a website is good, but having a poorly designed website is not. A poorly designed website can be actively detrimental to your business. While it’s easy to think you can manage this by yourself, there are a lot of easily-overlooked factors to good website design. For example, your site might look and work perfectly on a desktop, but what about mobile? According to this research, up to 57% of internet users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website. The way your website looks and responds to different types of devices and browsers is incredibly important. Don’t just assume your website is good – getting it right is important to your business and your brand.
Website security is often overlooked but can be actively detrimental to site SEO. Most search engines have a base threshold for security that sites need to meet – remember, they want to serve users results that are safe. Google first started requiring HTTPS encryption back in 2014, and since then, the link between website security and search rankings has only grown. Sites that are missing a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate or have vulnerabilities as a result of outdated CMS systems or plugins will be penalized by most major search engines. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here either, as every website is built differently and utilizes different hosting and content platforms. And with the constantly changing nature of the internet, these requirements change frequently, so monitoring your website must be done routinely and not just once.
2. Don’t Neglect Your Technical SEO
There’s a saying in the SEO world – “content is king.” While that may be true, the best content in the world is still easily crippled on a website with poor technical elements. For search engines to rank you, they must be able to read the content on your website efficiently. This is referred to as “crawling,” and it’s easy to accidentally make it difficult for a search engine to accomplish. Your website needs to have straightforward architecture by way of subfolders and URLs that make sense. It also needs to come with a map – a sitemap, to be precise. As the name implies, a sitemap tells search engine crawlers how to get around your website.
The way you tag your website URLs is also important. Using these tags to redirect, disavow, or consolidate duplicate content is great when done properly. When done incorrectly, it can make a complete mess of your website, and make it impossible for site crawlers to rank you. While many technical elements can impede your SEO, these are some of the most common.
3. Publish Fresh, Trustworthy Content
The main goal of your website is to tell people what you do and how you do it. Your website content is how you accomplish this goal. It helps convey what makes you different and why your clients trust you. Establishing trust through authoritative content begins with having a page for every service you offer. These pages should answer the most common questions that clients have. The other important aspects of website content include an “About” page with all of your hours, locations, and contact information listed, as well as a contact page where users can find all of your contact information. Adding case studies and testimonials from your clients or starting a blog will help fill in any gaps in your website content, as well as establish you as a thought leader in your industry.
4. Consider Your Backlinks
Also known as “inbound links,” a backlink is simply a link on a website that links back to yours. These links are seen as votes of confidence to search engines, and play a big role in how a website ranks. A common misconception in SEO is that having a lot of backlinks is the most important factor to get a website to rank highly. While backlinks remain one of the most important ranking signals to search engines, it’s more about quality than quantity. A single high-quality link is worth more than many backlinks from low-quality sites.
How do you know if a backlink is high-quality or not? Well, good backlinks share some qualities:
- They come from sites with high domain authority scores. Think big, well-established organizations like The American Bar Association.
- The anchor text (that’s the text a user clicks on to be taken to a site) used to make the backlink includes a keyword that’s relevant to you. If your page about family law gets linked to using the phrase “family law,” this is a positive sign.
- The site linking to you is topically related to your site. A telltale sign of a backlink that’s spam is a site that has nothing to do with the content on your site.
- The backlink is the first time a site has linked to you. Multiple backlinks from the same site aren’t as valuable as a single link.
If you’re seeing lots of low-quality backlinks coming to your site, disavowing them is the easiest way to stop them from impacting your site’s rankings – and you may need to enlist the help of a professional. Monitoring your site’s backlinks is something that should be done relatively frequently. The truth about SEO is that it’s just not easy – it requires a lot of research and expertise. With over 20 years of experience serving law practices, MyAdvice can help you bring your SEO to the next level. Click here to see how we can help you with your legal marketing strategy.
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We enjoy building success stories, as we believe that your prosperity is an indicator of our success. At MyAdvice, we love to see your business grow. We’ve been on this journey with thousands of businesses across hundreds of specialties. If you are looking to take your SEO for your law firm to the next level, schedule a demo today!