Search Engine Optimization Suggested Reading for Lawyers
The lawyer SEO ranking and conversion protocols should aim to place you in the top 3 for 100-plus high traffic search phrases so you can benefit by having a massive and constantly growing set of prospect entry and conversion points online.
However, most lawyer SEO campaigns are plagued with technical, content, and law firm website design issues that kill ranking and conversion opportunities and result in missed leads, clients, and future referrals. These problems represent a significant burden for all law firms in terms of future growth and stability.
Top Seven On-Page Lawyer SEO Elements Google Uses to Determine Relevance
For this example, we’ll use “LOCATION Car Accident Lawyer” as the focus keyword. These rules apply to any and all phrases: “LOCATION DUI Lawyer,” “LOCATION divorce Lawyer,” “LOCATION bankruptcy Lawyer,” etc.
Any time one of these seven elements is missing or sloppy, you decrease your chance of being in the top 3 for the intended phrase. When we see any of these elements missing in your competitor’s sites, we know we can surpass them in the search engine results pages (SERPs), and grab the top spots and, subsequently, the best cases.
1. Page Titles
Page titles should be as simple as possible. In fact, we get the best ranking and conversion results by adding the focus keyword (KW) to the far left and adding “free consultation” or “free case evaluation” after the pipe. For example, adding “LOCATION Car Accident Lawyer | FREE Consultation” not only helps rank your page for its keyword, but it also increases the page’s click-through-rate (CTR).
Your most competitive phrase should appear directly with the domain, like this: www.law-firm-domain.com/LOCATION-car-accident-lawyer/. We have found that adding the entire phrase in the URL, including your location and the word lawyer, gives your page a boost in rankings.
3. Heading Tags (H-Tags)
Some SEO companies say H-tags do not affect rankings, but our extensive testing shows that placing the raw keyword “LOCATION Car Accident Lawyer” in the Heading 1 (H1) yields the best results. Heading 2 (H2) tags are best used as article-style headers with buzz words to lead the reader down the page, keep them interested in your law firm website, and provide additional commonly searched words for Google to scan. For example, “Auto accident victims in LOCATION ask what to say to police at the scene of the collision.”
4. Page Content and Keyword Density
Top-level keywords should have between 800 to 1,300 words and a 2 to 3 percent KW density (e.g. – mention a permutation of the phrase sixteen times for 800 words). We like to make certain the phrase is in the first and last paragraphs of the page. Re-optimizing our client’s sites after running the rank checkers has become an important part of our winning process.
5. Supporting Pages with Proper Folders and SILO Structure
Adding fifteen to fifty pages of relevant legal content to your SILOs—if done properly—is a powerful lawyer SEO strategy with the following benefits:
- These fifteen to fifty longtail-phrase pages climb into the top spots quickly and bring in targeted visitors. (Our tests show that many of your visitors will come from these longtail searches.)
- Providing content that perfectly matches the issues your website visitors are having is the best way to increase conversion. Why would they look elsewhere when all of the answers are right in front of them?
- Adding fifteen to fifty relevant pages to your SILO (folder) will strengthen your top-level page and give it a boost in the search engines. Google prefers sites that have strong SILOs filled with relevant content.
For example, “LOCATION texting while driving accident lawyer” is a good phrase for a supporting page. In this case, the proper folder/URL structure is this: www.law-firm-domain.com/LOCATION-car-accident-lawyer/texting-while-driving/
Notice that all of the words of the phrase are present in the URL, yet nothing is repeated. Each supporting page should be added to the /LOCATION-car-accident-lawyer/ folder, similar to the texting-while-driving page. Each page within the SILO gets the car accident custom sidebar and links to and from the other pages within the SILO.
6. Custom Sidebars
Google’s goal is to promote the webpages that provide the best and most relevant information for their users. Having a custom sidebar filled with links to supporting pages built on commonly searched/related phrases is the best way to accomplish this.
Plus, we know that visitor bounce rates go down (a very good thing) when we remove all off-topic links from the page, because your prospects are looking for a specialist, not a generalist. If we’re focusing on car accidents, we’ll keep your slip-and-fall, dog bite, and construction accident links out of your car accident sidebar.
7. Internal Linking
We always link up to the top of the SILO (your top-level keyword landing page) from each child page within that SILO, and we link into all pages of the SILO from relevant blog posts. Think of this like the human nervous system, properly wired up and sending all messages to the brain.
Note: Choice of anchor text (the text of the on-page links) is very important. Exact-match anchors need to be around 3 to 4 percent.
Top 3 Off-Site Lawyer SEO Elements Google Uses to Determine Relevance
What other tools can assist in lawyer SEO efforts?
We’ve already discussed on-page lawyer SEO efforts, but there are a few off-site tools that can greatly boost your law firm’s rankings and relevance, as well. Here are the top three off-site elements to increase your website’s relevance and authority.
Backlinks are when another site links to yours. Not everyone understands the full power of the backlink. For starters, good backlinks can lend authority and credibility to your site. When Google sees a well-respected site linking to yours, it will automatically treat your site as more important or relevant, which gives it a boost in the rankings.
The more websites you have linking to your site that have good metrics and high trust scores, the better off your website will be. For example: If you have a legal directory linking to your site that is well-known and respected by Google, you will be given boosts every time that site links to yours.
There is a balance, however, in that backlinks can also hurt your site. If you have sites that are poor in trust flow and authority metrics, this can actually hurt your site.
For instance, when many SEOs realized how much backlinks helped boost rankings, they all started scrambling to get backlinks to their sites. However, they ended up obtaining spammy backlinks, or backlinks from sites with poor metrics. These backlinks can actually do great harm to your site.
Additionally, if you begin adding links too quickly, Google might become suspicious of your backlinks and penalize you in the rankings for it. In other words, if you dump a bunch of backlinks all at once onto a page or website, this won’t look like natural website progression to Google, and you will actually be harming your SEO efforts.
That’s why our team finds only the best backlinks with quality trust scores and excellent authority. We understand that backlinks can help, but only if you get the right ones. We also add backlinks carefully over time so it doesn’t flag Google and result in a penalty for your site.
2. Social Media Activity
Being active on social media can boost your rankings and authority. It works like this: When you share posts on social media and engage with your audience, they will share the posts. This will likely bring more traffic to your website, which lends you more authority. Google will take notice and boost your rankings accordingly.
3. Guest Posts
We’ve already discussed how backlinks can help you, but guest posts can help you in other ways, as well. You can share important information, such as sponsorships you are participating in, or projects you are undertaking in your community.
Your traffic will increase and more people will begin to recognize your brand. This will eventually translate to rankings boosts and relevance on Google.
As you can see, there are some great tools, both on-page and off, that can assist you in your end goal—getting more leads through higher rankings and traffic to your website.
Ready to get started? Schedule a consultation or call 212-960-8584 now.