SEO for Lawyers
What’s one of the most important things to include on an invitation? The location, right? Your address on an invitation allows your guests to find you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is like the address on an invitation. It allows those searching for you online to find your website.
These searches take place through search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN or Bing, etc. If your website hasn’t been optimized to perform well in search engines, prospective clients won’t be able to find you. You might have the best-looking website in the legal profession, but if you don’t have visitors, you won’t have much of a party.
How SEO Works
Search engines face competition as any business does. They must do good work, by providing relevant search results, or Internet users will leave and go use another search engine. So, as the Internet has grown, and more and more pages have been added, search engines have refined their processes adjusting their algorithms to return excellent search results for every search imaginable.
Search engine algorithms use a variety of factors to determine rankings for any particular search. We know what many of these factors are, but we don’t know exactly how they are weighted in the algorithms, which can change daily. The factors that go into search engine algorithms are broadly classified in three categories. These are: site architecture (how a site is designed and built, technically, functionally and visually), content (information on the site), and links (links pointing to your site from other sites).
In order to have your site performing well in searches, just take care of those three areas—site architecture, content, and links, and your site will do just fine.
Good site architecture has well organized information that is easily navigated by both human user and search engines. Its pages are organized and labeled in a way that makes sense to the user. Code, images, and CSS are streamlined so that pages load quickly. Its design is easy to use and intuitive, allowing the user to find what they want and perform desired functions easily.
Be sure your pages use the right keywords. In other words, the words that your users are searching for. You can do the research yourself. Start simple, with one or two keywords, then build to long tail keywords that are more specific to your specialty. A long tail keyword example might be “DUI attorneys who speak Spanish in Dallas”. Are the keywords you’ve identified producing the correct results? If your competitors are showing up, you’re on to something. Be sure not to overlook any. Make sure your keywords appear in the page titles, H tags and links on each page.
Over twenty (20) years ago, Bill Gates famously stated that content is king. It still is. One way to help remain relevant in light of algorithm changes is by creating high quality, unique content. Copying content from another website won’t get it done. Blogging, white papers and frequently asked questions are all good examples of quality content that will help search engines know exactly what your website is all about.
Links are a third important factor in search engine rankings. The links that point at your site from other sites send signals to the search engines that your content is valuable. They are votes of confidence from other sites that say that your site is an authority figure on its subject matter. Good quality content, as mentioned above, is very important to getting external links. Internal links are important too, so be sure your site has a good internal link structure.
SEO isn’t a one-time endeavor
Successful SEO isn’t a set it and forget it proposition. It requires steady monitoring. Keywords that once worked may no longer produce the desired results. And content needs be fresh and relevant. The success of your SEO efforts will correlate with the amount of time you’re willing to give it.
According to a fifteen-year-old American Bar Association study, 100 percent of law firms with 50 or more lawyers and 85 percent of smaller firms had websites. And that study is fifteen-years-old! That 85 percent is probably close to 100 percent by now. And that’s exactly why Search Engine Optimization is so important. Why have a website if clients, either current or prospective, can’t find you?