Law Firm SEO Tips

Law firm SEO tips from Casey Meraz from Juris DigitalIf you’re looking to improve the visibility of your firm online you’ve come to the right place.

SEO advice greatly depends on your unique situation and vertical. SEO tips and advice for an eCommerce shop will not be very valuable for a law firm. That is because what works in legal differs from other verticals. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the best law firm SEO tips you can use to increase your online visibility.

In general, law firm SEO is more competitive than a lot of other verticals and these days it seems like every law firm is trying to get a piece of the pie. That’s why you really have to do the work and set yourself apart from the other law firms online. This becomes extremely apparent when you look at the cost of pay per click for personal injury lawyers and see that some clicks cost in excess of $200! Ouch!

This article is mostly geared towards organic SEO advice. Here are some Law Firm SEO Tips that can help your firm excel in 2019.

  1. Speed Your Site Up: Google Thinks Your Site is Slow

    If you think your website is fast because it loads fast on your machine, think again. Site speed is a touchy subject because many lawyers will pay for a nice new website only to find out that it’s not as fast as Google needs it to be. Did you know that your site speed will affect how you rank in Google search results?

    And this is a BIG PROBLEM. Most free and premium WordPress themes I have found are bulky and slow. The ones that allow you to “design” your own website are super bulky. Companies like Wix and Squarespace will really slow you down and companies like Findlaw and Scorpion don’t give you much control over your own website.

    If two websites were equal in every way except site speed, Google would reward the faster website. They want to provide their users with the best user experience and not everyone has the same internet speed as you might at your office.

    Not only will you have trouble ranking in Google, but people are lazy and will move on to the next law firm if your website takes too long to load. You will lose business by having a slow website.

    This law firm scored a 14/100 on Page Speed Insights.

    A slow website site speed using Google Page Speed Insights

    Want to see how Google views your website speed? Check out these two free tools:

    Page Speed Insights. Get details on why your website might be slow here.
    Think With Google 4G Test. This test emulates how fast your website loads from a 4G phone.

    There are a lot of hurdles to having a fast website, but the good news is there are also a lot of fixes for this.

    If you use WordPress there are some things you might be able to do that will have an impact short of building a new website the right way (although that’s always recommended). Here are a few tips you can use to speed up your website.

    Change Your Website Host. Companies with cheap hosting like Godaddy and Bluehost are notorious for putting your website on a shared server with no regard to speed. Changing to a web host like Kinsta or WP Engine may be enough to get the speed dropping in the right direction.

    Consider a CDN. Most web hosting companies offer CDN’s or content delivery networks. This essentially means your website is stored on multiple servers across the world and your website will load on the machine closest to the user. This reduces site load times.

    Use Cloudflare. Cloudflare also offers a CDN along with other site speed optimization tools. They can also help protect your website against DDOS attacks which is cool.

    Utilize Caching. If you are on WordPress you can review plugins that might be best for you. I have used w3 Total Cache in the past with a lot of success.

    Reduce the size of your damn images. It’s cool to take high-quality photos and they look good on your phone. But on a website, they can dramatically impact how fast your website loads. You can reduce the file size using image optimization software or even use a WordPress plugin.

    Reduce Plugins. Plugins are the easy way to do things in WordPress. But guess what. They are also bulky. Having too many plugins will also negatively impact your site speed. So taking these shortcuts can help, but don’t overdo it or you will be worse than where you started.

    If you decide to make any changes to your website to increase site speed make sure you backup your website first and also test the speed after every change so you have a good idea of what’s working. There are about 100 other site speed tips we should discuss but we will leave that for another day.

  2. Your Old Content Might Tank Your Organic Rankings

    In 2019 I was able to TRIPLE organic traffic on a personal injury website in 3 months by removing 40% of their content. But how?

    At first glance, this tip goes against most of the conventional SEO wisdom you have probably heard. But hear me out. A problem I often find with older established law firm websites is that they have too much content. Wait, but content is king, right? High-quality content is essential to the success of your organic and local SEO campaigns, but the problem is many law firm websites have low quality or irrelevant content.

    And you may be surprised that what you consider to be quality content vs. what Google does is probably quite different.

    Did you know that having content that does not drive engagement or links is probably actually hurting your website quality and SEO efforts? This is a major issue that can bring down the entire quality of your website. Not only will this reduce your visibility in search results, but it will also make it harder for new content to rank well.

    How can you tell if your content is hurting you?

    In general, it’s pretty simple.

    To find out if your content is hurting you it’s best to look at each page and ask these questions:

    1. Has the page gotten any significant organic traffic over the past 3 months? If the page has gotten less than 20 visits and no conversions, it might be low quality. You can check this in Google Analytics. 

    Second, you should ask:

    2. Does this URL have any links coming to it? You can use a tool like Ahrefs or Moz to figure that out. 

    As a general rule of thumb if a page or blog on your website does not produce leads, is low traffic, is irrelevant, or does not have links you will probably want to make a change.

    Once you identify these pages you can either re-write them or delete them. We will talk about how you can take advantage of older deleted content in the next section. If you plan on refreshing the content make sure to make significant changes to it, beef it up, add more images and set the publish date to the current timeframe.

  3. Repurpose Decaying Content & Get Links!

    If you just found out that high-quality content you paid top dollar for is considered “low quality” you might be feeling a little sad. But don’t worry! We can still use it.

    Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to re-write content, especially if it’s not particularly relevant to generating new clients and there are no links going to it. In this case, we still have a way of using this content to get a link or promote your brand.

    What we want to do is sever ties with this content from your website and once that is done, we can re-use it on another website such as Medium.com and link back to your own website.

    To do this you simply need to save the content on your computer, delete the content, and send a 410 status code. If you were just to delete the page it would send a 404 not found. However, 410 is different because it tells the search engines that this page is gone forever and will not be returning.

    If you wanted to speed the process up you could request that the page be indexed in Google Search Console. Keep checking Google’s search results with the URL. After it’s been removed from the index you are free to post that content elsewhere and link back to your website. This is a great way to get guest post content. Also, the links will help your SEO efforts.

  4. Focus On Searcher Intent

    If you’re having trouble ranking a piece of content you wrote it could be that the page does not have enough authority to compete due to the competition. On the other hand, it could also be due to searcher intent.

    Every search term has a different intent and many have multiple. For example, if I were to search for “Best Law Firm Websites” I could be looking to find the highest rated law firm websites or perhaps the best law firm in my area because I want to look at their website.

    Google has gotten good at understanding user intent, but make sure stand a chance ranking in the search results you need to analyze the search intent for the topic.

    In this example, it’s clear Google is rewarding websites that are geared towards the best-looking law firm websites.

    The best law firm websites
    Spending time analyzing the search results for important keywords and creating content around that purpose is a sure-fire way to rank better for important keywords.

  5. Take Advantage of Search Features

    Have you noticed that the SERPS are changing? Gone are the days where we had ads, local results, and 10 simple blue links. These days we have many different search features that show up depending on your search result. These include things like:

    – FAQ Rich Results

    FAQ Rich Results Example

    – Review Snippets
    Review Snippet in Organic Search Results

    – Featured Snippets

    Featured Snippets

    It almost seems like there are new features rolling out every day. And depending on your niche you can get some of these easily. Getting the review snippets and FAQ snippets are pretty easy.

    All you have to do is use a JSON Schema Generator and add the code to the individual page you want the results to show up on. The featured snippets take a little bit more work and tweaking but can be achieved by ranking on the first page and structuring the data in a way that Google has an easy time understanding and reading it.

  6. Consider Geographic Specific Content

    Back in 2008, having geographic-specific content for law firm office locations was a good idea. Then the search engines changed and it was no longer a good idea and many of these pages disappeared from search results. As I write this here in 2019 I see a lot of this coming back into play and working quite well.

    Whether or not this is a good strategy for you is based on your individual goals and factors. But if you can do this in a high-quality way there might be an opportunity here to expand your keyword footprint and share of search. I hesitate to share this because it’s also easfy to take this way too far and really end up hurting your website through cannibalization or low-quality pages.

    Here is an example of GEO Practice area pages killing it in Los Angeles for “Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer”

    Law Firm Geo Practice Areas

So Many Tips

Honestly, this article could go on forever so instead I decided to write about the biggest problem areas I see in legal marketing. If you have another tip that has had a significant impact on your organic or local rankings please leave it in the comments below. I plan on continuing to add to this list and I might even throw in some local SEO tips as well 🙂

 

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Casey Meraz

Casey is the founder and president of Ethical SEO Consulting and Juris Digital based in Denver, CO. Casey's specialties are in organic and local SEO. He is a regular contributor to the Moz Blog and the author of How To Perform The Ultimate Local SEO Audit. If you have an SEO question or need advice please feel free to reach out by email: cmeraz@jurisdigital.com. Follow Casey on Twitter @CaseyMeraz.