The basic goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is pretty straightforward: enhancing your brand’s online presence primarily by raising where it comes up in searches by Google and other engines. There are proven techniques that can accomplish this, and these include simply publishing content online that makes you and your brand look good as well as utilizing the best possible coding and structure for your website.
Good SEO is both an art and a science, and it takes an investment of time and money. Perhaps you have someone on site who can take on the challenge, or maybe you will need to turn to a professional. In either case, understanding some basic principles will help ensure you get a good ROI.
Law Firms and SEO
When it comes to law firms and SEO, it’s key to get the pages on your website indexed in the proper manner so that they show up as high as possible in Google search engine results pages (SERPs) in particular. Google uses a complicated and changing algorithm to determine results pages order, and you want to design for that algorithm while at the same time making sure your website is easy to read and intuitive for users; getting people to your site doesn’t help if they’re confused and annoyed by what they see once there.
Competition can be a major hurdle to companies that are late to the SEO game. Implementing a successful strategy takes time and effort. Those firms that got a head start are at an obvious advantage and already have a strong SEO presence (take a look at Harrell & Harrell’s Areas of Practice as an example).
Finding the right keywords is crucial, and this may be something you want to outsource to a specialist. You want keywords that are not too general or specific. For example, the keyword “attorney” is going to be competing against all the other websites that contain the same word, but “medical malpractice attorney” is going to be competing with far fewer.
Keywords can have commercial intent, for example, someone entering the phrase, “Can I sue a doctor,” or they can have research intent as in phrases that start with “why” or “how.” Once you’ve determined the keywords you want to use, you can design your SEO campaign accordingly.
It’s important that your website be responsive, meaning that it downloads quickly and displays well on the enormous range of devices that people use to access the Internet today including mobile phones, tablets and, of course, traditional laptop and desktop computers.
Once someone is on the website, responsive architecture is critical in order for them to be able to go quickly to where you want them to go. For example, on the Harrell & Harrell personal injuries lawyers website, the services section is at the top left of the navigation bar because when it comes to law firm websites, people tend to click on the services section first and then to the pages with individual attorney profiles looking for compelling stories.
URLs need to contain your keywords, but you don’t want to overdo things and stuff them with keywords that aren’t germane to specific pages. Having said that, call in the experts before changing URLs because Google may have already indexed them and alterations can possibly set you back.
Blogging is always a good idea, and topics can reflect keyword phrases that you haven’t covered elsewhere. You are not only trying to attract potential clients with your entries but also industry peers and anyone who has an interest in your content even if they will probably never pay for your services. If you have content that is engaging, fresh and reflective of your expertise, it attracts all kinds of interested parties to the site and creates an online buzz, which in turn brings you visitors who will be potentially be hiring you.
Design for speed. If your pages are taking too long to download, people aren’t going to wait. Consumers are spending hours every day on their mobile devices, so there’s a lot of competition from other sites.
If you have multiple office locations, then you need to have an optimized page for each one of them on your website. If this is done correctly, then your offices will show up in the highly prized Google “three pack” of search results where the top three offices in a location search are displayed on a map.
Building links help connect your website to others and ultimately drives traffic your way. Links can be outbound, meaning that you are linking somewhere else, or inbound, meaning that someone else is linking to you. There are apps available that give you sophisticated analytics on how well your website is linked to the rest of the Internet, and a good way to get quality inbound links is to have your practice registered in online directories of attorneys.
At some point, you want to have feedback in the form of numbers as to how well your SEO campaign is doing. Google Analytics can give you these as can the Search Console. From there, you can create reports to share with your team and adjust your campaign accordingly.