On-Page SEO Checklist for Law Firms
12 Tips Lawyers Can Use Today To Improve Their SEO
Law firm SEO is really no different than SEO for any other business or organization--with one small exception:
A law firm using SEO understands specifically how potential clients find lawyers and search for legal information.
This understanding shapes the law firm’s SEO strategy from day one. It’s arguably the most important information in any law firm’s SEO campaign.
It’s these two concepts (how clients find lawyers and how they search for information) and the 12 basics of On-Page SEO below that lay the foundation for a quality rank. So let’s explore them.
1. Create SEO-Friendly URLs
Your page’s URL should be short and keyword rich.
Avoid unfriendly SEO URLs like jangostudios.com/tabid=123 or long URLs like jangostudios.com/seo-for-law-firms-is-the-best-way-for-lawyers-to-get-more-clients.
Instead go for URLs like jangostudios.com/law-firm-seo or the example below.
To date (2015), keyword rich URLs still matter. We’ve seen sites jump in page rank just from including keywords there.
2. Start Title With Keyword
Your title tag is one of the most important factors in on-page law firm SEO. And assuming you’ve done your research and selected the right keywords, this isn’t too difficult.
In general, you should focus on one primary keyword phrase per page and place this keyword or phrase as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible.
If you’re trying to rank in a competitive space, keyword placement can be significant. Google gives more weight to the first three keywords in the title tag than any other words, so move those keywords up.
3. Reduce Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the rate at which new visitors leave your site instead of sticking around and visiting other pages. You want them to stay as long as possible, click links and browse your site; you want a low bounce rate.
Among other things, Google uses this metric to determine how relevant your content is to a visitors search term. And that can ultimately impact how your site ranks.
Reducing bounce rate involves making your content interesting enough to stick around for.
Hubspot’s visual content survey shows 86% of buyers showed interest in visual content. Interesting images, videos and infographics can reduce bounce rate and increase time spent on your site.
5. Use Simple Language
Always, always, always use language your potential clients use. Be conversational, and don’t talk over them. Using language your potential client’s use guarantees your content will be more relevant to their search terms.
Cut out legal jargon, speak simply and avoid wordiness.
Content that’s easy for visitors to read and understand will lower your bounce rate, increase dwell time on a page and improve conversion rates. So for bold, clear writing, aim for writing at a 10th grade level or below.
Not only will visitors thank you, Google will reward you, too. Google factors readability into their ranking algorithm.
Try using the hemmingwayapp to simplify your writing.
6. Place Target Keyword in First 100 Words
Your keyword should appear in the first 100-150 words of your pages content. This helps reinforce the meaning of the title to Google. It also ensures your page looks relevant to the title you've given it.
4. Outbound Links
Link to other reputable websites containing relevant high quality content.
This tells Google that your page is a hub for quality information. It also helps Google understand the topic of your page.
7. Internal Links
Create internal links to relevant pages within your website. By giving readers more information to related topics elsewhere on your site, you’re encouraging them to spend more time with you.
Content silos are a great way to ensure that your internal links create the strongest relationship between different pages throughout your site.
Law Firm SEO Content Silo
A backlink is an incoming link to your site. If someone else blogs about you, for instance, they may link to your page.
Backlinks are a often times a natural bi-product of quality content. People want to link to quality content from their website. Just as you link to high quality sites, others link to high quality sites too.
Our Take: There are a lot of rumors online that suggest backlinks are becoming less important in SEO. Maybe so. But based on our experience, backlinks still matter and have a huge impact on your law firm’s SEO ranking. In addition, links can send readers over to you that wouldn’t have found you otherwise.
8. Place your Keyword in an H1 Tag
The H1 tag is a special html tag that informs Google about the topic of the page. Make sure your target keyword is in the H1 tag and that you only use it one time on the page.
SEO for Lawyers
9. Social Sharing
It appears that social signals play a role in Google rankings, and good law firm SEO encourages social shares to get your content in front of more people. The more people that see your content, the more likely they are to share.
So include social sharing buttons on your site -- but not too many. Too many choices may overwhelm a visitor and cripple their ability to make a choice.
10. Long Content
If you’re gunning for an extremely competitive keyword then long content is your friend. A study by serpIQ found that longer content ranks higher on Google.
But make sure you balance this with readability. You want Google to find you, but don’t want to send readers packing with a boring post. Make it interesting, break it up with visuals and engage the potential clients visiting your site.
10. Latent Semantic Keywords (LSI)
Good SEO for lawyers includes LSI keywords throughout the content. Google uses them to determine what a page is about. LSI keywords are words related to your target keyword.
Chances are, you’ll use LSI keywords naturally throughout your content. This is especially true if your word count is 1,000 words or more.
You can discover LSI keywords by performing a Google search and scrolling to the bottom of the screen to see related searches.
11. Load Time
Users won’t wait for your page to load. Google won’t reward you either. In fact, Google has stated on the record that site load speed is an important factor in SEO. So be sure your website loads fast--4 seconds or less.
Use Google PageSpeed to check your site load speed.
12. Broken Links
From time to time scan your website for broken internal links. We’ve witnessed sites dropping from a pagerank of 1 to 10 on Google.
Let’s say you have a 50 page website that contains just 1 broken link in the footer. In the eyes of Google, you have 50 broken links.
You can use the W3C Link Checker to scan your site for broken links.
One more thing...
Law firm SEO is always changing. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms so that they can provide better search results. So it’s important for SEO agencies and competitive law firms to stay on top of current trends and continually monitor their site for best performance.
Has your site dropped in pagerank? Are you losing clients because they can’t find you? Would you like help with your law firm’s SEO? Use this form to get in touch.
FREE: 5 Website Blunders 99% of Attorneys Make that Cost Them Clients
…and how to get your phone ringing by avoiding these mistakes.
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