[author: Noreen Fishman]
Potential clients are on Google searching for your law firm. Some of them will search by your firm name – for example, if they’ve been told about your law firm by a friend. But more of these individuals will use unbranded search terms such as “Cleveland personal injury attorney.” To show up on Google for valuable search terms related to your law firm’s practice areas, you’ve got to continuously optimize your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). To help you do that, we’re sharing 19 actionable tactics that you can implement right away for increased visibility and higher rankings on Google.
1. Make Sure Your Website is User-Centric.
Always ask yourself “What’s in it for the client?” Make pages easy to navigate and easy to read. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and use images to break up text. By focusing on creating a positive and seamless experience for your website visitors, you not only improve user satisfaction but also enhance your website’s chances of performing well in search engine rankings. Google can tell if your content is helpful, and visitors are more likely to return.
2. Ramp Up Your Website Speed.
A painfully slow website really turns off visitors, and page load speed makes a real difference in Google’s ranking factors. Enter your URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how your website performs so you can determine whether or not you need to address speed issues. If you do, Regularly audit and optimize your site’s performance to ensure it meets the evolving expectations of both users and search engines.
3. Focus on a Client Journey When it Comes to Keywords.
You likely know about head, body, and long-tail keywords, and they certainly have their place. It can be more effective to try to reach people where they are in their search by focusing on user intent. Consider queries such as “How do I get traffic ticket points removed?” instead of just keywords. Also, remember that when people move into the evaluation phase they might search for terms like “[Your law firm] reviews” or other information that can help them make an actual decision.
4. Practice Area Pages are the Most Important.
Other than the home page, the best place to share relevant, helpful information is on your practice pages. Make sure they are content-rich but with short, easy-to-read sentences, subheadings, and images. Develop one unique page per practice area. See: 5 Ways to Optimize your Law Firm’s Practice Area Pages.
5. Optimize the Home Page.
This is the most valuable area of your website, and your law firm’s SEO strategy should reflect that. Ensure you’ve optimized for competitive keywords and that you’re highlighting social proof (such as positive reviews), as well as linking to other internal pages and adding more “sticky” content like videos. Keep your home page content fresh and up-to-date. Regularly update information and consider adding new elements to keep visitors engaged.
6. Develop Unique and Authoritative Content.
Creating unique and authoritative content is a fundamental aspect of successful SEO. High-quality content not only engages your audience but also establishes your website as a valuable resource in your niche. You have plenty of expertise – put this to work for you by developing videos, how-to guides, checklists, etc. Make sure you focus on the quality of the content before keyword inclusion. In the future, websites will be ranked more on the performance of this type of topical authority vs. keywords.
7. Remember that YouTube is the Second Largest Search Engine.
Video content is crucial. Add videos to your homepage to increase user engagement, and add videos to your YouTube page to help your visibility in Google. Try answering legal FAQs, sharing how-tos, or featuring a case study on client outcomes. Remember that YouTube’s search algorithm considers factors like watch time, engagement, and relevance. By aligning your content with user interests, optimizing for search, and fostering viewer engagement, you can enhance your presence on YouTube and tap into its vast audience base.
8. Create a Polished “Google My Business” Page.
Start by creating a Google account, then adding your business, entering your information, and verifying your business. Then, optimize for locations, add images, and get some reviews and you’ll start performing better in local searches. This information displays in the “local search results” section of Google so it’s important that you’ve added the type of information that you’d want people to see.
9. Think of Reviews as Corroborating Evidence.
People want to see proof of your success and why they should trust you. 85% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, so it’s key that you highlight your best testimonials, case studies, etc and use a plugin to highlight your star rating on a search page. Actively manage and leverage reviews. Respond to both positive and negative reviews promptly and professionally. Show that you value customer input and are committed to resolving issues.
10. Leverage Other Websites for SEO.
Leveraging other websites for SEO involves building a strong online presence beyond your own website. Look for opportunities to guest blog for reputable websites, and create strong profiles in legal directories. Remember, the key is to build a diverse and natural online presence. Quality is more important than quantity, so focus on building relationships and providing value to your audience and the websites you engage with.
11. Develop a Backlink Strategy.
In SEO, authority is partly measured by the quantity and quality of the websites that link to your website (called backlinks). Think of these links as “digital votes”, and the firm with the most votes wins. Establish relationships with other websites and influencers in your industry. Networking can lead to natural link-building opportunities.
Building backlinks is a science in itself, so check out our past post on how best to do so.
12. Make Linking a Two-Way Street.
Don’t just try to obtain backlinks – share some on your website. Add links to helpful and reputable resources or non-competitive firms. Make a point of linking to other websites that will help your readers better understand the subject matter of your website. Always prioritize the quality of backlinks over quantity. Focus on building a diverse and natural link profile that reflects the authority and relevance of your website.
13. Pay Attention to Security.
A Secure Socket Layer (called an SSL certificate) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. Security is becoming increasingly important to online users and demonstrating this will put their mind at ease. Not only that, representatives from Google have mentioned that if all things between two competing sites are equal, this may be the tiebreaker.
14. Check for Mixed Content.
Mixed content presents a security risk for your website and its visitors. Mixed content problems happen when a secure page (loaded through HTTPS) also contains styles, images, scripts, or other linked content served via an unsecured HTTP connection. Make sure that all links on your HTTPS site, as well as redirects and canonicals, point to HTTPS pages directly.
15. Citations Give You a Boost.
Links are not the only things that matter for law firm SEO. Citations are crucial for local SEO, as they help search engines validate the legitimacy and relevance of your business. Having citations in reputable and reliable sites, such as online directories, can also contribute to ranking factors. The best citation sources are prominent legal directories.
16. Optimize for Voice Search.
Optimizing for voice search is becoming increasingly important as more people use voice-activated devices like smart speakers and voice assistants on smartphones. Many people leverage voice search to find what they’re looking for: “Google, find me the nearest personal injury law firm”. Voice search is essentially asking a device to find results for a user. Optimizing for voice search involves understanding how people speak and the context in which they use voice commands. Following best practices for optimizing for voice search will help you perform better in search results.
17. Focus on Mobile Usability.
Mobile usage has surpassed desktop usage since 2016. At the end of 2021, mobile devices generated about 54.4% of website traffic. Make sure all pages display well on all screen sizes and create forms that are easy to fill out even on a phone. Ensure your website is touch-friendly for mobile users. Buttons and interactive elements should be appropriately sized for easy tapping.
18. Monitor Your SEO Efforts With Google Analytics.
Monitoring your SEO efforts using Google Analytics is crucial for understanding how users interact with your website and gaining insights into your site’s performance in search engines. The most important part of your law firm SEO strategy is where you measure, report, and analyze metrics so that you can make data-driven changes for future performance. Focus on indicators like rankings, traffic, engagement, and leads.
19. Run an SEO Audit of Your Law Firm’s Website.
SEO audits are an important component of keeping your law firm’s SEO strategy up to date. Every year, search engine criteria and ranking factors change so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the ways in which your website is affected. Click this link to run a complimentary SEO audit of your law firm’s website.
SEO is an essential part of any law firm’s online marketing strategy and these are some of the most important law firm SEO tips and tricks you can focus on to get better results. If you follow all of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to increased visibility and higher Google rankings.