SEO for your Law Firm and Legal Business
In this post, we will be talking about how to get your law firm or other legal business to the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for Google and other search engines. If you’re not too familiar with what SEO is, you can check out our previous blog post: What is SEO? Let’s start by talking about when you should use SEO strategies for your website.
Table of Contents
When should law firms use SEO?
The short answer? Always!
SEO is all about getting a higher quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic (i.e. non-paid) search engine results. SEO can benefit every business, including yours. Many of the features that optimize a webpage or website for search engines tend to benefit sites and businesses in other ways as well. In short, if you want to reach your law firm’s target audience and provide a good user experience, SEO is for you.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click ads) and SEO
Many businesses choose to do paid ads (Pay Per Click). This can be a great approach, but if you do decide to go this way, keep in mind that your law firm’s ad campaign will still benefit from SEO!
Google Ads does a great job of explaining the difference between these two approaches. Many businesses combine these two strategies to reach their target audience, along with things like Social Media Marketing (SSM) and Direct Marketing (DM).
PPC is a whole world onto itself, and we won’t cover it in any detail here. Whether you’re looking to get started, to hone your ads, or to measure the success of your ad campaign, we invite you to get in touch!
The world of SEO is ever-changing…
Search Engines then and now
In the early days of SEO, websites could cheat the system with something called keyword stuffing, and businesses were stuffing their keywords into everything from meta tags to backlink anchor text and written content, hoping to get an advantage on SERPs by the sheer volume of times keywords were used on a page. But the internet is always changing, and search algorithms are no exception.
These days, keyword stuffing is dead. Over the last two decades, Google has rolled out update after update to its search engine algorithms, making it harder to cheat the system with old tactics like keyword stuffing or low-quality backlink creation. In fact, these black hat SEO techniques can lead to search engines penalizing your law firm’s website, not to mention a poor and misleading user experience.
So, with all of this in mind, how do you get your legal company’s webpages to the top of the search results?
On-site and Off-site SEO
Put simply, SEO happens in two places: on your pages and off your pages.
On-site SEO is all about your website, content, and code
On-site SEO has to do with everything that is on your law firm’s actual webpages, whether it’s visible to humans or not. This includes not only your text content and images, but also any HTML, Plug-Ins, or schema markup that may be present on a page. It also includes things like sitemaps and page performance.
Off-site SEO looks at the bigger picture
Off-site SEO it includes things like link-building, social media marketing, working with search engine webmaster tools, as well as how your website fits into the bigger picture.
At Case Space Media, we can help your law firm with both on-site and off-site SEO. Read on to learn more about what we do (and what we can help you do!)
Tried and True – SEO for your legal business
Google is looking for websites that can provide authentic content which is optimized and marked up. Google’s search algorithms consistently favour websites that perform well (especially on mobile) and are secure, well-structured, and connected to other sites via links. At Case Space Media, we can help you meet all of these criteria, and help your business get seen.
Authentic, useful & original content
Over the last decade or so, many of Google’s updates to its algorithms had to do with finding and delivering content that is authentic, useful and original. In other words, Google’s search algorithms won’t send people your way unless you have something to offer.
Who is your audience? What are their needs? What kind of content are they looking for when they’re searching online? Whether you’re providing a free resource, giving a public update about your firm, or writing about recent changes in your industry, what you write and how you write it is one of the top ranking factors for Google.
And don’t forget that you are writing for humans: writing genuine material will not only make for a much better user experience, but also it’ll also (thanks to newer algorithms) mean that your legal business webpage will rank higher in Google’s search results.
At Case Space Media, we can help you craft content that highlights the ways your business stands out from the rest.
Many SEO-savvy businesses will use a keyword strategy to distribute different keywords throughout their website in order to reach a target audience. This usually involves focusing on one keyword per page, centred around search intent. We recommend this approach, and can help your law firm apply it to all elements of a page. See this list below for some of the on-page elements that can benefit from SEO.
Title Tags are an HTML element that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs). This is what folks usually *click* to get to your webpage. A good title tag should be meaningful and clear, and contain your keyword whenever possible.
This is a short description that will appear on search results for your page. This is also a great place to include your keyword, either in its entirety or broken up throughout the description. Meta descriptions should be under 155 characters, use the active voice and include a call-to-action. Include any technical specs when appropriate, and make your description a good match to the content of your page.
A slug is the part of the URL that points to a particular page on your site; it’s used both by users and search engines. Keep your slugs short and try to include your keyword for your given page. Words are best separated by hyphens, such as www.example.com/this-is-a-slug/. Try using a pretty URL whenever possible.
Optimize your written content
Keyword stuffing is dead, but authentic keyword integration is in! There are countless ways to incorporate high-value keywords into your written content and to amplify those keywords with meaningful content. Ask us how!
Images are a must-have
Even if you don’t think you need an image for a particular webpage, you should use an image anyways. There are a number of high-quality sites that provide CC0 licensed images that you can use to keep things visually appealing. Looking for custom-made images? We do that too! Having an appropriate image size and file type will help your page performance. Using the right image metadata, such as alt text and title text will help highlight the relevance of your image to search engines.
Headers in descending order
Google’s search algorithms are going to be looking at your site and trying to make sense of it. Depending on your content, you may need as many as 4 or more different types of headings. Make sure they always appear in sequentially-descending order, and that they give a clear picture of the content below.
Audio, video and other non-textual elements
Multimedia website? Perfect! Just make sure to surround any non-textual elements with relevant text, to use the proper code when handling any non-textual elements, and to incorporate markup language to point to this content. For a brief intro to mark-up language, see below.
Mark it up! Schema markup and your website.
Schema is a markup language that makes it easier for search engines to read and understand your page. Implementing it on your site can be as straight-forward as adding the HTML markup on your page code, but it can become more complicated in cases where pagebuilders are employed.
Not only does Schema markup help give more muscle to your search engine snippet, it also helps search engines better-understand the relationships between elements on the page for a deeper understanding of the way your site fits into users’ search intent.
So far we’ve looked at your on-page elements and how to optimize them for search engines… but your website overall can also benefit from optimization. Below, we look at Page Speed, Site Structure, and Security.
It’s no secret that Google is obsessed with page speed. With countless tools available for diagnosing and solving page speed issues, there’s no excuse for having a webpage or website that takes ages to load. With Google zeroing in on what it’s calling Core Web Vitals, web developers around the world are rushing to improve the three page speed measurements that Google is flagging as important: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
Other traditional page speed issues are still worth dealing with, of course. For example,. images can be optimized for size and file type, and unnecessary metadata removed. Large font files or other clunky resources should be reassessed. Take a critical look at your webserver, consider a smart caching strategy, and make use of a Content Delivery Network. Anything that’s slowing down your page speed is costing you clients.
Mobile-friendly sites have been a hot topic for a few years now. In July 2019, Google made a huge change in its methodology for indexing and ranking websites that turned mobile-friendly sites into an absolute necessity. Mobile-first indexing means that Google now looks at the mobile version of your website first when it indexes and ranks your site, rather than the desktop version. This means that mobile sites should not just be an afterthought for your web development team, but one of your main measurements of performance. Luckily, various desktop-available analytic tools take the guesswork out of what makes a good mobile site. Want to know how well your site performs on mobile? Drop us a line!
Site structure is an often overlooked aspect of SEO, but many law firms would benefit from putting even just a few hours into making sure their sitemap, indexing and duplicate content is all dealt with appropriately. In this section, we touch on those aspects of site structure, as well as on link-building.
Sitemaps are something that is useful for both search engines and humans. They come in two main flavours: HTML (mostly for humans) and XML (mostly for search engines). In short, setting up both of these types of sitemaps on your website will help make your website easier to navigate and index. Google Search Console is a great tool for making sure your XML sitemaps are doing what you need them to, and for checking the index status of your pages.
Duplicate pages are beyond the scope of this article, as there are many different reasons that pages may be duplicated. In short, just make sure you’re dealing with duplicate pages the way that is recommended for your given situation..
Security & Privacy
If you work for a legal business, we probably don’t need to tell you about the importance of making sure your website is secure, and that anything that’s meant to be private on there stays private. But what we can tell you is that small and midsize businesses are prime targets for cybeattacks. Read more about website security for law firms in this post.
Links & Social Media
Links play a significant part in SEO, as they help search engines understand the relationships between different webpages and websites. Links can be broken down into three basic categories:
- Internal Links, between your own pages
- External Links, from your pages to an external source
- Backlinks, from other websites to your website or webpage
If you want to get serious about SEO, your law firm’s website should have all three types of links. There are proven strategies involved in making, maintaining and leveraging these links for SEO purposes, as well as in using them to engage more human users of your site and build business relationships. Speaking of which, ask us what we can do for your social media channels.
SEO is the ongoing process of optimizing your website for both search engines and human beings. What’s more, our traffic and performance analytics make it so that you’ll never have to guess or wonder whether your SEO strategy is working. Looking for detailed reports on a monthly basis? We can do that too!
SEO has a lot of moving parts, but by thinking about them in terms of categories, these seemingly disjointed parts become components of a machine. By leveraging the power of these components, Case Space Media can help you bring your business to a whole other level.
Ionatan Waisgluss, SEO Technician
Ionatan is Case Space Media’s SEO Tech. He brings his passion for systems thinking, computer science and languages to the company.
His skills come from a wide array of work environments, professional roles and life experiences. Ionatan has worked in radio production, print and radio journalism, science education, ESL instruction, ecology research and waste systems, to name a few.
His hobbies include mountain biking, stand-up comedy, and backgammon. Ionatan is a GSAR certified Search and Rescue volunteer.