Over the last decade or so, a lawyer’s website has become one of their most important marketing tools. In a field as competitive as law, a good website can help your firm stand out from others, and it can also help generate a steady stream of new client enquiries. 96% of people seeking legal advice, use a search engine.
To be truly effective, a website first needs to be easy for your potential clients to find. In particular, it needs to appear towards the top of the results for common searches on sites like Google and Bing. This is where most clients start looking for a lawyer, so ranking highly here can really boost your firm’s profile. Research shows if your website is ranking on the first page, the first five organic results account for 67.60% of all the clicks, of which 31.7% of traffic goes to the #1 result. The good news is there are a few simple things you can do to improve where your website appears in search results. In fact, search engine optimisation, or SEO, is now a widely understood and practised law firm marketing discipline.
The following article looks at the ins and outs of SEO for lawyers. We explore the key elements of law SEO and how it can support your law firm marketing strategy. We also share some practical tips for mastering SEO and designing an effective website for lawyers services.
The importance of keywords on a lawyer’s website
One of the fundamentals of SEO for websites for lawyers – or any website, really – is targeting the right keywords.
Keywords are the main thing search engines look at when coming up with results for a user’s query. They provide an indication of what information is on the site and how relevant it will be to the user. They also help users to understand what a business does and the type of clients they work with.
This last point is particularly important when it comes to SEO for lawyers, as most firms will have their specialties. This could be the type of legal services you provide or the locations or jurisdictions you practise in. This is important information for potential clients to know and something that can easily be conveyed through the right keywords.
If you are not sure what keywords your site is targeting, a SEO Keyword Audit is a good place to start. This looks at how search engines see your website and the keywords they most strongly associate with it. It also assesses how often people search for those keywords and where your website ranks when they do.
Based on this, you can decide whether you need to adjust your website content to target different keywords. Or whether you need to increase the use of certain keywords to improve your ranking for them.
Other key factors of SEO for lawyers
In addition to keywords, there are a few other important things that impact how your website ranks in search results. As such, when planning your SEO activities, you will also need to consider:
- The currency of your content: Search engines want to know that they are providing their users with the most up-to-date information. As such, they will check when a website was last updated, and this will influence the search results they provide. With that in mind, having a plan for regularly publishing new content is an important part of SEO for lawyers.
- How quickly your site loads: 40% of web users expect a website to load within 2 seconds. If your website design features lots of imagery or other large files, its pages will take longer to load. This means users will need to wait longer to get the information they are after – or to even decide if your website can help them. Search engines understand that this is not something users want, so they include average page load times in their search ranking formula. Improving your site speed with Enterprise Performance Hosting will help with SEO.
- How easy your site is to navigate: If a user cannot quickly find the information they are looking for, they will generally give up and leave the site. Search engines look for how often this happens (the ‘bounce rate’) and take this into account when calculating search rankings. To avoid this, make sure your content is logically structured and include a clear call to action buttons in your design.
- The quality of your metadata: Metadata is best described as ‘information about information’. It is a summary of the content of a webpage that sits in the back end of your website. It is also one of the key places search engines look when assessing the relevance of your site. As such, having clear and accurate meta descriptions will help improve the searchability of your site and potentially boost your search rankings.
Tips for getting the technical structure right
There is no point in having a beautiful website with amazing content if no one can access it. Search engine companies understand this and will often run checks to make sure a site is structurally sound. This includes making sure that the site is secure and works correctly on both desktop and mobile devices. As such, we recommend doing the following to make sure your website is ticking all the right technical boxes:
- Regularly (at least once a year) review every page of your website and test all the links. If any are broken (e.g. you get a 404 error), fix them or remove them.
- Check how your website looks and functions when accessed on a mobile device. If there are any issues (e.g. formatting problems), you may need to adjust the design or layout of the site.
- Make sure you have SSL enabled on your website to keep both you and your potential clients’ data safe. If you are not sure how to do this, speak to us about helping you set this up for your website.
- Also, make sure you have an accurate sitemap available and that you submit this to Google. This helps the search engine technology understand your site’s structure and makes it easier for it to find relevant information.
Want to Learn More?
Whether you are launching a new website or planning to update your existing pages, Lift Legal Marketing can help. We are leaders in law firm marketing and experts in law SEO and developing effective websites for lawyers. For more tips on SEO best practices, check out our handy guide or email [email protected] to arrange your free SEO Keyword Audit.