Search engine optimization (SEO) is incredibly complex and always changing. That can make it hard to know which information is accurate and which is incorrect. As with many myths, some of these SEO myths had a nugget of truth behind them at some point. Whatever the cause of these SEO myths, law firms are better off ignoring them. Instead, make sure to simply focus on your reader and play fair with search engines.
1. Focus only on quality content, not keywords.
This is a nuanced one. Of course you need quality content – law firms should develop unique thought leadership content no matter what. But that doesn’t mean that content will help you rank on search engines. You always need to pay attention to keywords and phrases.
2. If you keyword stuff, Google will unlist your site.
This one is tough to prove because it’s hard to prove what keyword stuffing actually is. If a keyword is mentioned several times in otherwise good quality content, you’re probably fine. Again, just focus on the reader experience and the rest will come naturally.
3. Search engines penalize for duplicate content.
For law firms, this isn’t that much of a concern. It’s more of an issue for large e-commerce companies who are forced to come up with varied product descriptions. If you have some repeat text across several pages, you’re safe. If you’re worried, check out the Domain Authority Tool on Moz for tips on how to rank better.
4. Putting keywords in the footer helps to boost rankings.
This technique doesn’t work as well as it once did several years ago when footers were simpler. That’s because search engines simply don’t value keyword-based text or links as much when they’re among highly repetitive website elements like primary navigation.
5. You need to limit SEO page titles to 60 characters.
Though the design of Google search engine results pages (SERPs) dictates how much of the page title will appear, Google hasn’t shared information on how many characters it collects from page title information. It really comes down to the value of the words that might be cut off from your title, if that happens.
6. Google doesn’t like exact-match domain names.
In 2012, Google made a change to penalize a small percentage of domains that clearly went overboard with domain keywords. Keyword-rich domains may not help as much as they once did, but it’s unlikely Google opposes them.
7. SEO is a one-time thing.
If you follow along on this blog, you know we don’t view it as such. SEO is an on-going, long-term practice you must keep up with. To consistently work on ranking, law firm marketers should visit key ranking factors regularly. It’s important to constantly try different approaches and base your tactics on results. Here’s a simple SEO checklist you can follow.
8. Meta Tags don’t matter.
Even though Google doesn’t technically use this information in page rankings, these descriptions are still relevant and worth spending time on. They make your search results more attractive, which can only lead to more clicks.
9. Long-form content equals better rankings.
It’s true that long-form content can improve search rankings, but it’s not as simple as that. There are many factors that contribute to search rankings. When developing long and short-form content, value is essential. In actuality, if you want to rank higher, it’s more important to focus on the audience’s intent and try to gain editorial links.
10. Visitors will be sent away by linking to authority sites.
It’s a fact that linking to other sites will send your visitors there. You should have confidence that if your content is useful, practical, in-depth and persuasive, visitors will come back even if momentarily redirected. The benefits of linking to relevant websites outweighs the risk of traffic leaving.
The web is a dynamic platform, and it can be difficult to discern fact from fiction. These SEO myths stem from outdated information, but consistently researching the latest trends and algorithms can help law firms make the most of their ranking efforts. For more SEO best practices, download our free eBook: SEO for Law Firm Websites.
Contact us today if you need assistance developing a comprehensive SEO strategy that will improve your search visibility and increase the number of visitors to your firm’s website.