Law Firm Website SEO Checklist

If you’re like most lawyers, you probably know that search engine optimization is incredibly important to your firm’s online success.

There’s a digital content explosion going on right now. Everybody has a website (it’s true; there are more than 14 trillion websites online), and that means you have to claw your way to the top if you even want to compete with the other firms in town.

Forget about getting the lion’s share of clients and worthwhile cases unless you’re coming out on top.

Established lawyers have a few things going for them: past clients’ referrals, other lawyers’ referrals, and brand-recognition. If you’re the new guy – or even if you’re just newer than the oldest guy – on the block, you need to do something to grab a corner of the market. (Even if you’re the oldest firm in town, you can’t afford not to compete. The new guys will pass you so quickly that you won’t even know what happened.)

Lawyer SEO: Do You Have what it Takes?

Lawyer SEO is a world away from any other type of search engine optimization. It’s not because the search engines treat law firms’ sites differently; it’s because there’s so much competition and there’s so much misinformation going around.

Google is constantly updating their algorithms so that they can deliver the best possible results to searchers, and law firms are frequent victims. It’s not uncommon for a law firm’s website to be launched out of the search engine results pages entirely – and that’s exactly why you need a way to protect your site.

There’s a huge laundry list of things that have the potential to harm your site in the SERPs, including:

  • Poor usability. If Google sees that your site is difficult to navigate, you’re running the risk of Google pushing your site down a few ranks… or even a few pages.
  • Outdated SEO. If your SEO strategies haven’t changed since the early 2000s, you’re begging for a penalty. In fact, if your strategies haven’t changed since last year, when there were two major algorithm updates and dozens of minor ones, you’re in trouble.
  • Thin content. Google loves rich, informative content. If you don’t have it, you’re going to be outranked by someone who does. That’s because Google is in the business of making searchers happy, not business owners; it turns out that searchers actually want to take something valuable from websites they visit.
  • Bad backlinks. When Google is trying to determine how much a site will be worth to its searchers, it looks at several metrics. One of those metrics is the number of reputable, related sites that are linking into yours. Google figures that if reputable sites think your site is valuable, searchers will too. That’s why you need to have a healthy backlink profile that includes links from high quality, related sites.As a side note, hundreds or thousands of backlinks from sites that aren’t related to yours, or from sites that are considered spammy link directories, can actually hurt your site in the SERPs.

All of these things are part of a strong SEO strategy that lawyers absolutely need to employ. The competition is tough. Even if there isn’t another lawyer doing what you do within a 50-mile radius, you’d better believe that they’re willing to come to your area and take cases that should be yours… especially the high-dollar cases.

Is SEO Black Magic?

While many people want you to believe that SEO is some sort of complex black magic, which may or may not require crazy incantations by the light of the moon, that’s just not the case. SEO is largely a numbers game – especially for attorneys.

There are must-have formulas that you need to succeed, and those formulas include using the right keywords, the right balance of anchor text, and backlinks from the right sites. You also need to have the ideal landing pages and effective link SILOs, which help funnel authority between your pages so that they’re even more likely to shop up in the SERPs.

Are all of these acronyms and all this talk of math giving you a headache yet?

If they are, you’re not alone. Most lawyers don’t have the time or the inclination to sift through thousands of pages of SEO advice online… or to separate things that might work from the advice that’s extraordinarily bad (there’s no shortage of terrible SEO advice online, that’s for sure).

You don’t have to have all the answers, but you do have to understand the basics if you expect to come out on top. We all know that the firm that comes up in the top spot on Google is getting the bulk of the cases coming through the area, and it follows that they have a higher bottom line than everyone else does – so why aren’t you clamoring for the pole position?

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