Write for people. Optimize for search engines.
Publishing a website or blog with useful information does you or those you’re trying to help no good if they can’t find you. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. But it can get super complicated. The SEO world is complex. There are individuals and companies whose sole purpose is to provide SEO guidance. Before hiring an agency to improve your rankings, you should know some of the basics to build a solid foundation for your site.
We’ll take a look at five law firm SEO best practices you should consider every time you produce a piece of content – whether it be a page on your website or a blog post: keywords, title tags, meta description, image tags, and internal/external linking.
Note: Using WordPress with the Yoast SEO plugin will ease your burden significantly.
Take some time to compile a list of 10-25 keywords you want to be ranked for. These are the words or phrases someone will type into a search engine to find a solution to their problem or answer to their question. These can range from “divorce lawyer in San Francisco” or “motorcycle accident attorney in Miami” for boutique firms to “policyholder insurance law firms” for general counsels at large corporations looking for a firm with a national presence.
Consider the curated SEO list every time you write a piece of content. Attach a keyword to each piece. Best practice is to create a cornerstone or “evergreen” page or post for each keyword and add long tail elements to other pieces and link to that page.
The title tag is what you see in search engine results pages to identify your writing, appears in the tabs in your web browser, and is often pulled into social media platforms when you share the piece.
Try to keep it to 60 characters and include the keyword. If you can’t say it in 60 characters it’s not the end of the world, and, please, don’t try to stuff the keyword unnaturally in there. Play around with the title so it reads beautifully and accurately conveys the message of the page.
This is the block of text that appears in the search results under the title and URL of your page. Make it descriptive and keep it succinct. You only have 156 characters to convince someone viewing the search results that the page contains the information they’re looking for and to click on the link. Include the page’s keyword.
There are claims that articles with images get as much as 94% more total views than articles without images. Whatever the exact percentage, the bottom line is posts with images get more views and shares on social media increasing the traffic to your site. So, get into the habit of adding an image to your pages and blog posts.
But don’t stop there, add an alt tag that includes the page’s keyword. Alt tags also increase your website’s accessibility.
Yoast, creator of the aforementioned WordPress plugin, has a good piece on this: Image SEO: alt tag and title tag optimization.
You should link to trusted sources when you reference them or want to point your readers to additional information. Besides studies that show a positive correlation between a page’s outgoing links and its search rankings, external linking also gets you on the radar of the site you’re linking to.
The goal, of course, is to become the authoritative source for your practice area(s) and to have other sites link to your page.
Internal linking provides visitors with useful, related information and keeps them longer on your site which should always be a goal. As previously mentioned, you should also link to the keyword cornerstone page on your site to build that page’s authority. See what I did there? I linked to our SEO services page which not only tells you what we offer but gives you some guidance about what you should be doing to your firm’s site to improve SEO.
There are a host of other optimization and user experience considerations such as site architecture, clear navigation, local SEO, mobile-ready or responsive sites, Schema markup, social signals, and so on, that you may need help with. Meanwhile, get into the habit of these five basic law firm SEO best practices so your useful, relevant content can get found and read.