Search engine optimization, also called SEO, is not a button that you can turn on to magically get your law firm website to appear in the first page of Google for your practice area, although a lot of companies offering law firm SEO services claim to have cracked the code.
Okay, so what does law firm SEO really entail?
SEO is the same for lawyers and law firms as it is for restaurants, books, dentists, and everything else. Companies that offer law firm SEO services are involved in a process where they leverage their knowledge of Google’s search engine algorithm to employ tactics that make their law firm clients’ websites more appealing to Google’s algorithm, and therefore get their website placed as a more prominent search result. In this article, we’re going to go over some of these tactics that you can employ on your own to help boost your law firm website’s visibility. The end goal with SEO is to get your law firm website to appear on the first page, and as the first result, for specific keywords that your prospective clients are typing in to Google. What do I mean by keywords? For example, while you would think that the terms “Houston bankruptcy lawyer” and “Houston bankruptcy law firm” should come up with the same exact search results, they don’t. This is because the law firms that appear have SEO’d their websites more effectively for one keyword over the other.
Are those shaded boxes in Google SEO?
Law firm SEO Tips
Have a mobile-optimized website
This is a new one for 2013. With Google’s recent algorithm update, Google said that with the growing web traffic coming from mobile devices like phones and tablets (estimates place mobile device-based web traffic as 40% of the world’s web traffic), Google will penalize websites that do not have mobile-friendly websites. What does this mean? Check out your law firm website in your favorite web browser. Now make the browser window much smaller. If your website is mobile-optimized, your entire website’s contents should fit on the screen without having to scroll horizontally to see the left and right sides of your pages. You should be able to just scroll down to see all of your site content. This will also apply if your device is viewed in a tablet or mobile phone browser. If you have to scroll left or right to see everything on your page, it’s not mobile-optimized.
So how can you get a mobile-optimized website? First, ask your web designer. If they use WordPress as the content management system for your website (and they should), your site can easily be made mobile-ready inexpensively. If they say it’ll cost a fortune, you may want to get a new website designer for your law firm.
Focus on specific keywords, but don’t overdo it
It used to be that you could have a page filled entirely with keywords like bankruptcy, bankruptcy lawyer, bankruptcy law firm, and Google would promote your website to the top. Not anymore. Google’s algorithm is very smart. It can tell if you are keyword-stuffing, that is, inserting every relevant keyword onto your pages over and over again to try to game Google. This hasn’t worked for several years now. But, that doesn’t mean your website shouldn’t contain relevant keywords. Your homepage, for example, should spell out what your law firm’s practice area is and what city or state you’re serving. If you’re a Houston bankruptcy law firm, your site should have a tagline reading “A Houston bankruptcy law firm” and on that page you can have several paragraphs telling visitors about your practice, using the keyword “Houston bankruptcy law firm” several times throughout the page. However, one caveat is that your language shouldn’t seem unnatural. If you’re just saying “Houston bankruptcy law firm” over and over again, no one will read your page.