Law Firm SEO: Don't Forget the Basics

There is a lot of talk about the need for law firm SEO, and there is a good reason for that. Using the proper techniques can significantly increase web traffic and, consequently, new business. Despite the awareness of the need for advanced SEO, there are still a lot of law firm websites that are lacking in the basics.

Fixing this problem is not rocket science, and it is the key to improving the performance of many law firm websites. The biggest challenge I’ve noticed is that most websites lack the basic fundamentals and must be reworked from scratch.

Do Keyword Research First

Before you take any steps toward reworking your website, you will want to make sure that you have done your keyword research. Don’t skip this part. You have to know what you are targeting before you can determine the best keywords to use.

Here is why.

A lot of law firms focus on generic keywords that are way too broad and are therefore difficult to compete with.

  • Too broad: Examples of keywords that are too broad include such phrases as “tax attorney” and “personal injury attorney.” If you are a small firm that is based in a specific area, for example Oak Brook, IL, you will not benefit much from traffic that originates from outside your geographical proximity, for example Sioux Falls, SD. Not only are you unlikely to be board certified to practice in that area, these potential clients are unlikely to have an interest in your firm.
  • Too difficult to compete: Keywords that can put in you’re a category in which it is too difficult to compete can include “Chicago bankruptcy attorney” and “criminal attorney Illinois.” If you try to compete with all 23,380 lawyers in the Chicago metro area, you have to be either really good or have very deep pockets—or both.

Write Descriptive Web Copy

There is always room for improvement on your firm’s home page and key practice-area description pages.

To address the new search algorithms included in the recent Google Hummingbird update, when you update the pages that deal with your key practice-areas, be sure to include content that focuses on themes, rather than on individual keywords.

Also, make sure your copy is informative. Think about what might be going on in the prospect’s mind and what sorts of problems they may be trying to solve. Then, in a conversational manner, address their problems by offering solutions. Let the visitors to your page understand what they can do and how you can help them do it. This will add relevance to your pages.

Develop Compelling Titles for Each Page

Titles describe what the page is about. When you write your page-titles, think of them as headlines in The New York Times. They should serve to both describe the page and grab the reader’s attention.

For best results, titles should be fewer than 60 characters in length (including spaces) and should focus on the primary keyword. Including just the primary keyword or keyword phrase will usually do. It’s never a good idea to stuff your titles with keywords.

Remember, when you are listed among the search engine results, there are many other websites that will be competing against you. You want your listing to be the one that is clicked on anda well-written title can help you achieve this goal.

Example:

<title>Title that Is <60 Characters and Focused on the Primary Keyword</title>

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Write Attention-Grabbing Meta Descriptions

The meta description is another element that can be used to describe your page and prompt the searcher to visit your website.

Write your meta descriptions with the intention of extending the article title and grabbing the attention of those who read it. These descriptions will be shown below the article title in the websearch results.

You should try to keep your meta descriptions at 150 characters or fewer. Include one or two keywords within the copy. No more than that. Remember, your goal is to describe and grab attention.

Example:

<meta name="description" content="Meta description, which is <150 characters and includes one or two keywords in the copy. It is written so well that there is no way you can ignore it.

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Optimize Your Headings

Headings are <h1> tags that describe each section of the page. When you structure your content with proper headings, you improve the readability of the content. Without the inclusion of headings, visitors to your page may see it as too information-dense and leave without bothering to read the copy.

If you don’t have headings on your page, try to break the copy into short paragraphs and add headings. If you already have headings in place, rewrite them to incorporate one or two primary keywords whenever possible, but try not to over-use the same keywords in your headings.

This will help both your SEO results and the readability of your content.

<h1>A heading that breaks up the content into readable pieces</h1>

Improve Internal Linking and the User Experience

Yes, I’m talking about those good ol’ fashioned, blue underlined links on your pages. When they link to other pages within your site, they are referred to as internal links. Internal links can be used to improve the focus on the topic at hand while leading readers to other important pages on the website

People want to be lead. Be a leader and let them know where to go by interlinking relevant content on your pages.

Once again, think themes, not keywords. Think about other pages within your site that would supplement the page you are optimizing. Also, think about other pages within your site that you want to emphasize. Internal links can add “link juice” and help your other pages from an SEO perspective.

<a href="http://www.mywebsite.com/relevant-page">Relevant page</a>

Final Thoughts

If you are considering engaging in any advanced marketing, do the basics first. Should you do this yourself? Depending on your level of expertise, this may or may not be a good idea. Here is some other marketing information you may want to think about.

What is most important is that the basic SEO groundwork is in place on your website.

Which part of this article did you find most useful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.