Search Engine Optimization
Improve Your Visibility Through Robust SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of structuring information on a website to provide contextual background for search engines. Websites benefit from SEO when search engines are better able to parse and categorize their content. Additionally, SEO can influence the placement of websites within the organic listings of search engine results pages.
The foundation of a strong SEO campaign is high-quality original content. Your content should represent your law practice. It should demonstrate your attention to detail by being free of spelling and grammatical errors. It should also convey your communication skills by being readable and understandable by your typical audience.
Having original content is important because search engines value original content over duplicate copies of the same content. Because preparing original content can be time intensive, we offer a fee-based content drafting service that can provide practice area descriptions, attorney biographies and other website text for law firms who would prefer to invest their time more on the practice of law.
Every law firm website should have content focused on the firm’s practice areas and locations.
How a law firm describes its practice areas will determine the quantity and quality of visitor traffic that it attracts. A website with a cursory description of all its practice areas on one page will not fare as well as another website that offers pages of substantive legal analysis and in-depth coverage for each of its practice areas.
For example, personal injury law firms should consider explaining legal concepts, such as strict liability, standard of care, or comparative negligence. They may also want to write about legal issues that arise in common scenarios, such as side-impact collisions, MRSA infections in hospitals, or adverse drug reactions. When a law firm provides strong content in these areas, it will have an opportunity to rank well for those keywords. Likewise, potential clients who have questions about their situations will be more likely to contact the law firm if the website answers their basic questions and invites them to call for a free consultation.
Law firms focused on criminal defense can follow a similar approach by discussing the different types of criminal cases they handle. They can explain the elements of various crimes, the standard of proof required, or the plea bargain process. Even for a specific crime, such as drunk driving, law firms can expand their content to cover field sobriety tests, blood alcohol tests, or penalties for repeat offenders.
By expanding the breadth of your content, your website will match more search engine queries submitted by potential clients. While you need to write for search engines to secure visitor traffic, you also need to write for your visitors so that when someone does land on your site, your content will impress them enough that they will contact you to retain your services.
To rank for a geographical location, a website must have the name of the location somewhere on the website. Developing content that targets each location will be more effective than just listing the cities that you serve.
A targeted location may include the name of a state, county, city, town, village, district, parish, or borough. The specific locations you choose to target depend on the reach of your practice and geographical considerations. A common strategy is to target the largest nearby city, as well as the surrounding suburban communities.
HTML tags are used by browsers to format and structure text on a webpage. These tags may be used to emphasize certain text by making them appear bold or italicized. These may also be used to indicate the relationship between text, by identifying titles or subtitles, as well as to organize text into lists or tables. Finally, tags may be used to associate certain text to a particular type of data, such as phone numbers and addresses.
Search engines also use HTML tags as a signal to determine the subject matter of a webpage, as well as which keywords should be weighted. If a website has tagged addresses and phone numbers, search engines may rank the website better when returning business and map search results. At Justia, we optimize your content for readability by your visitors and for comprehension by search engines.
As your website grows, the challenge of organizing your content increases in scale. To make your website easier to navigate for search engines and users alike, consider logical categories for organizing your content. For law firms, the usual categories are attorney profiles, practice areas, testimonials, and news. Of course, these can and should be tailored to your individual law practice.
The design, navigational elements, and organization of a law firm website should support the content of the website. The color palette, fonts, and layout should make the text pleasing to read. The navigation elements should indicate how the website is organized and allow the visitor to easily traverse the website and locate the desired information. If you have a large amount of content, organizing it in a logical and consistent manner will help your potential client understand your firm better.
Law firms should present original content on their websites. While copying content from another website may seem to be a viable shortcut, such behavior carries significant risks. First, taking someone else’s content without permission may violate copyright laws. Additionally, search engines disfavor websites that present duplicate content. They want to present their users with 10 unique results, and not 10 copies of the same result from different websites. Accordingly, a best practice in content development is to invest the time needed to draft your own content.
A natural tension exists between writing for search engines and writing for users. A successful website will strike the right balance between these two competing interests such that the website attracts the traffic that it seeks and is able to convert visitors to being paid clients. When a law firm develops content for its website, it must keep this in mind.
Certain keywords and phrases must be incorporated in the content to help the search engines understand the meaning of the page. However, if the law firm overloads a page with too many of these keywords and phrases, the content may appear dense and unnatural, as well as off-putting to potential clients. The search engines might also rank lower in their organic rankings content that overuses keywords.
Submitting your website to directories and databases may help your placement in search engine results pages. However, these should be directories that exercise a degree of editorial discretion. At Justia, we will submit your website to free, high-quality directories and databases. These submissions should help your website in organic searches, as well as in map and business listings.
Law firms can take advantage of social media to cross-promote their content. Besides listing your website and blog on your social media profiles, you can also share blog posts to help your rankings in organic search results and on business listing pages. We help law firms set up social media profiles and show them how to automate the sharing of content in social media where appropriate.