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Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a first-order consideration for any website seriously looking to increase traffic. That includes law firm websites, too . . . at least those that haven’t been left to rust in cyber oblivion. If you care about your law firm website and want people to see it, generating traffic organically is key. It can save you serious money that your firm may or may not have. For all but the largest companies, building a web presence is essential.

People search for things. If you have something to say about those things, the hope is that those searchers find your content. And yes, there are ways to improve the chances of that happening.

If you’re the kind of law firm that’s interested in increasing your exposure, SEO is definitely for you. To be sure, there are a number of products and services that can aid your SEO effort. It may cost some money, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with getting a little help on the SEO front. However, it can’t hurt to become something of a specialist in your own right and it’s certainly okay to seek SEO training or outside internet marketing consulting. The big idea is that, one way or another, you should care about using search engines to increase your law firm website’s traffic and — ideally — grow your brand and client base.

So what are you getting yourself into with law firm SEO?

When it comes to the algorithms the search engines use to rank search results, SEO can be pretty complex. But there are also some fairly intuitive basic principles that make a lot of sense.

At minimum, you want to produce content that people are interested in reading. That’s the kind of content for which they’re likely to search for. They will search by using keywords and phrases which you should include in your content. Matching exact words isn’t quite as important as it used to be, and Google has learned to ignore content that’s jam-packed with a particular keyword in obvious attempts to “game” the SEO system. Instead of fretting over exact wording, experts now say you should think of keywords as more general topics or ideas you want to cover with various wordings in the text of your content. You should also think carefully about the words you include in page titles and meta-tags.

Your potential clients will likely be searching for help with specific legal problems or looking for a particular kind of attorney. The more you know about what people in your industry are searching for, the better you can cater to those interests.

How else can you grow your site’s traffic organically? Here are some concrete recommendations for any law firm pursuing some SEO savvy.

1. Make sure your web design is up to date.

Older sites may not have what it takes to rank highly in today’s SEO environment, so it is worth checking with a law firm website designer if it’s been a while since your website has been updated. Here’s how expert Jaron Rubinstein explained it in Bloomberg BNA:

“However, for law firm websites designed three or more years ago, this higher ranking might not be possible. Sites created using older web development technologies often don’t align with today’s SEO requirements. Site attributes, such as invalid website coding, missing mobile support, or a lack of SEO-friendly URLs, prevent these websites from maximizing the strong online search presence they need in today’s market.”

Investing in a newer site is almost certainly worth it. You’ll need every competitive edge possible in an increasingly crowded web environment. If you want your content at the top, there’s really no room for technical hiccups. Make sure your site is up to speed.

2. Check if your site is mobile optimized.

An increasing number of web users are perusing content via their smart phones or tablets. To have your content ranked highly according to Google’s algorithm, you should be sure your site shows up well for mobile users.

As the SEO destination Moz.com puts it, “Every year people spend more and more time on their mobile devices and tablets, but many websites still aren’t designed to account for different screen sizes and load times. Mobile optimization takes a look at site design, site structure, page speed, and more to make sure you’re not inadvertently turning mobile visitors away.”

Some ways to accommodate mobile users—like page speed—will require the expertise of a law firm web designer.

3. Post regularly updated content.

The more you post, the better your posts will perform in searches. So yes, it might be worth investing in a blogger or two to keep your content fresh. This isn’t just about increasing the volume of your posts. It’s also about ensuring at least some of those posts are recent. If you want your content to appear more relevant, keep it as current as possible.

“The most effective way to ensure the right audiences find your site is to continually publish rich, relevant content,” Rubenstein writes. “When you publish valuable content regularly, it not only keeps your firm’s site up-to-date, but also allows search engines to accurately index your content.”

This may seem like an overwhelming demand for smaller firms, but a SEO content and copywriter needn’t be especially expensive. At minimum, try to schedule a regular blog-like post on a daily or perhaps biweekly basis. The more you can muster, the better.

That’s also true in terms of the length of each post, at least to some degree. Pages with at least 1,000 words generally perform better in the search rankings.

4. Link to other content

Search rankings really appreciate content with a decent amount of links in it, links to other parts of your website and other websites alike.

Writing for Forbes, Brian Sutter suggests that, “You should have links to other parts of your site sprinkled throughout your content. These would be links that are in addition to navigation links or “related articles” links at the close of blog posts.”

How many links is too many?

“Don’t go crazy and abuse this,” Sutter adds. “But one or two internal links per every 500 words of content is a good goal.”

Beyond SEO considerations, this can also be a helpful means of directing users to pages you want them to see.

The Bottom Line

If your law firm wants to improve its online rankings, SEO should be a top priority. Even if you find yourself spending money to get it right, you could be saving yourself advertising and marketing costs in the long-term. It’s increasingly a search-driven world, and every law firm should be up to the challenge if it wants to compete. If you have questions about how to increase your law firm internet rankings or about attorney SEO, contact us at (512) 993-9993. We have over a decade of experience in attorney and lawyer marketing.

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