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The 4 Most Critical Factors for Law Firm Website SEO

— August 11, 2020

If you use proper SEO tactics for your law firm website, you’ll be able to rank higher on the search engine results page and get those leads you deserve.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is incredibly important when it comes to generating leads. If you appear within the first few results on Google when potential clients are looking for a lawyer – or even if you appear anywhere on the first page – you’re going to have a much better chance of garnering new business. 

According to Neil Patel, 75% of people never go past the first page when searching on Google. Additionally, the no.1 result on the page could receive as much as 31.7% of all the clicks according to Backlinko. 

If you use proper SEO tactics for your law firm website, you’ll be able to rank higher on the search engine results page and get those leads you deserve. Here are four factors that weigh into ranking and will help you move up on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

1. Website Structure

Google favors websites that are simple for users to navigate, are well structured and are safe. Your site should have an intuitive layout and not be overly complicated. Having too many menus or just too much in general going on on the page will cause users to leave your site quickly and hurt rankings. 

In terms of security, you should have HTTPs in the URL. This means your site is secured with an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and can encrypt and authenticate information, thus protecting your visitor’s information. While most law firm websites don’t actually make use of this technology, this is something that Google has identified as increasingly important. Most hosting companies offer SSLs for $50-$100 annually, many offer it for free.

Your website also needs to load fast; you can increase speed by minifying your code, compressing JavaScript, CSS and HTML files, allowing for browser caching and compressing your images. If all this sounds complicated, you should know that most website themes and simple plugins can take care of most of this for you, but not always. Additionally a fast loading website does not ensure rankings, just like a slow loading website does not guarantee failure. There are tons of websites ranking on page 1 that fail Google’s PageSpeed test.

Since so many people use their mobile devices to surf the web, Google prioritizes pages that are mobile responsive, or fit the screen of the device the user is viewing your page on. Website loading speed also helps people who are browsing from a mobile device while not on WiFi. The text should be big enough to read for mobile users and the images should be big and clear.

Smartphone with stylus; image be Steve Johnson, via
Smartphone with stylus; image be Steve Johnson, via

On your pages and blog posts, you should be utilizing H tags, like H1 to show a heading on your website and H2s, H3s and H4s to break up blog content. Any blog posts you publish should have a “meta description”, which show up on Google and describe what your post is all about. They need to be around 155 characters. However, even if you don’t have this Google will pull out the most relevant description of the page from the content. You should also publish content that includes links to other relevant pages on your site (internal links). 

Some helpful tools for optimizing your site include PageSpeed Insights, which will measure how fast your site is, a meta description character counter and this free law firm SEO audit, that my company provides to help determine the authority of your website and it’s ranking capability.

2. Content With Depth and Breadth

Content is king when it comes to SEO. However, you can’t just produce content for the sake of getting ranked. Your content needs to be valuable to potential clients. It must be easy for them to understand since they may not be familiar with certain legal terms and procedures. Producing content on a regular basis will help to increase your content footprint – aim for putting up a meaty post with good information at least once or twice every month or so. Remember to break up the content with images, bullet points and H2s, H3s and H4s, which will make it easier to read. 

Another important part of optimizing content for your law firm blog or practice pages is to include relevant keywords, phrases and subjects that are semantically similar within the content. You should utilize this effort in your headings, meta description, the introduction to your piece and throughout your piece. However, only add them in naturally and don’t artificially stuff your piece with them, since Google will be able to detect that and it may not have a beneficial impact.

You can find relevant “legal” keywords and law firm blog ideas by using Moz’s free Keyword Explorer tool. They also offer a paid version, which will give you more in depth information as well as additional keywords and phrases to target. 

3. Quality Backlinks 

Backlinks are critically important, since the more backlinks a site has from credible and relevant sources, the more Google will trust the website, the better it will rank and thus the more organic traffic it will receive from Google. You should aim to get backlinks from sites like news organizations, well-ranked legal blogs and high quality legal directories. You can submit your information to legal directories as well as pitch news stories to media outlets and write guest posts for blogs to possibly garner backlinks.

One great resource you can use to earn backlinks is Help a Reporter Out, also known as HARO. If you sign up, you’ll receive daily emails that list reporters and bloggers who are asking for sources for stories. Respond to these emails swiftly and you may just end up in a story with your quote and a link to your website.

4. Local Citations 

Links from citation sources like Yellow Page-type websites, Yelp, Google My Business, Bing and other business directories can help with your local search engine rankings. On each site, list your contact information including your firm name, address, phone number and website address (also known as “NAP”). You could encourage customers to leave reviews for you as well.

You may also wish to maintain a spreadsheet of all the logins to all profiles you create to help keep yourself organized. This will also help you if you decide to move or hire an SEO company in the future.

There’s a Lot More to Do!

Just because we’ve given you some pointers on critical SEO tips for you law firm, don’t think for a minute that this is all there is to it. These are the main factors that will give your firm’s website a foundation to build upon, you’re by no means finished. 

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