SEO is an essential part of any law firm’s digital marketing. The challenge with SEO is that it’s always changing. Between complicated algorithms and technical components, there is a lot that can go wrong when it comes to optimizing for search, and that’s challenging for a lot of firms. We wanted to give our audience some assistance in this important area – so here are 5 complex law firm SEO problems and how to fix them!
1. Slow page speeds (particularly mobile)
One of the easiest ranking factors to check is page speed. Most people are familiar with the basics of page speed and follow best practices, but it’s always good to do a check up. Particularly as mobile sites become more critical in search ranking, it’s essential to make sure the mobile version of your site also loads quickly. Begin by using Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool to get an overall idea of your website’s speed and tactics for improving it. You can assume that doing things like getting rid of any excess comments, formatting, unused bits of code, and compressing all of your images for the web will be a good start.
2. Overcrowding with keywords
Since keywords are the main tool used in law firm SEO, it’s common for firms to create similar materials or content to highlight them. The problem occurs when various pages are competing for the same keywords – a sort of cannibalization for all the pages involved. One way around this challenge is to create a keyword map when you begin your website planning. This document will have 3 columns: one for the keywords you’re targeting, one for the web pages created around those keywords, and another for general SEO information. Use this tool to ensure that all of your content is targeting a different set of keywords.
3. Ineffective page layout for the topic
Many people want to focus only on keywords and backlinks when creating web content. In those instances, you often see large blocks of text with few images or other media. This can be damaging to your law firm SEO. It’s important to look at similar content when you’re creating material for your site. When designing new pages on any topic, look at the top five pages already ranking for the subject. For example, if your firm practices family law, and you want to create content around seeking child support, make sure you search “child support [my city]”. Note the top 5 pages already ranking. Are the landing pages lengthy? Do they hold videos or infographics? Lots of text? You should model your page layout after what’s clearly working for other leaders in your practice area.
4. Lack of intentional linking structure
Many website developers tend to concentrate mostly on the home page or the practice pages. After all, those are the pages people are looking at, right? Unfortunately a more thoughtful strategy around linking within your internal law firm website is required for effective law firm SEO. You need to conceptualize your content as clusters of pages each supporting the other. Look for ways to link to other supplementary pages on your website (not just the main pages). Think of it as “spreading the wealth” of internal links. If you don’t currently have “supplementary” pages, create some around your core pages – things like checklists, how-to guides, blog articles or even guest posts.
5. Incorrect indexing of pages
Your number one goal when practicing law firm SEO is to get your pages to rank. However, Google can’t rank what it doesn’t see! Indexation issues can cause big problems for your SEO strategy. The best way to see if you’re having any is to use Google Search Console. A DNS error or a 404 error are the most likely culprits for your pages not being indexed, and you’ll see this in the “error” column when you use the console. You can start by removing the NOINDEX tag manually for the pages in question, or allowing them in robots.txt. For tips on using Google Search Console, check out our blog: A Legal Marketer’s Guide to Google Search Console.
If you’ve reviewed everything and see that all pages should be crawlable, but you’re still having problems, you might have encountered an unfortunate Google penalty. In these cases, we recommend reaching out to an expert who can run an SEO audit. This way, you can properly understand the health of your law firm website and how to get it back on track.
If you need help diagnosing and fixing your law firm’s SEO problems, contact us for help.