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SEO for Law Firms:
How to Grow Your Business
Are you a lawyer? Do you run your own law firm? Are you losing out on clients because your website is not found in your customers’ search queries?
Here is a comprehensive SEO guide for lawyers will show you how to optimise your website so that you keep getting clients.
Here we will reveal the secrets of SEO for legal firms. You will learn many things such as:
- How to get more local leads for your legal firm
- How to perform an SEO audit of your website
- How to perform competitive analysis
- How to do keywords research for legal SEO
- Best practices for technical SEO
- How to optimise your Google My Business page and Google search to get more leads (local SEO tips)
Let’s get started!
Poor On-Page Optimisation
Let’s begin with on-page optimisation. It’s the first critical step toward successful SEO.
On-page optimisation deals with how well or how efficiently Google can read your webpage.
If your employment lawyers or divorce lawyers service page is not properly optimised, Google will get confused about the contents of the page. That means even an excellent website will not rank on Google. Your entire effort will go in vain.
The purpose of on-page optimisation is to give enough clear indicators to search engine crawlers about what is on the page.
Here we will teach you how to rank your website No.1 on the Google search engine results page (SERP) so that it gets more traffic and conversions.
What is On-Page Optimisation?
On-page optimisation is the first step of theSEO process.
The term “on-page optimisation” refers to changes and modifications that are carried out on the page itself (“on-page”) so that Google is able to give it a high ranking.
Here you will learn some useful tips and a step-by-step on-page optimisation process.
If proper on-page optimisation has been carried out on your pages, Google realises that they deserve to get a high ranking on its SERPs.
We will tell you how you can break into the top 3 slots on Google. It is not difficult if you follow the right process.
By the end of this section, you will understand why on-page optimisation is critical and how you can ace the process to rank consistently high on Google.
Why Is On-Page Optimisation So Important?
Say you have created a page on medical negligence claims. You need to insert relevant keywords such as “medical negligence claims,” “medical negligence lawyers,” “common medical negligence cases” and so on to tell Google you have covered the subject in detail and that your page deserves a high rank on its search engine.
These keywords need to be placed strategically on your website to persuade Google crawlers to give you a high ranking. We will figure out how to do this in the following sections.
6Basic On-Page Optimisation Factors
There are 6 basic on-page optimisation factors you need to focus on:
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Headline tag
- Body copy
- Removing duplicate content
Each of these factors needs to be properly addressed to allow Google bots to crawl your website and index your pages efficiently.
What Is a Title Tag?
A title tag is a part of the code of a website. The most important keywords are inserted within these tags to communicate to Google what the page is about.
Apart from telling Google about the page’s contents, the title tag is also important for users. Google displays the title tag as the first line of its search results. This is used by searchers to decide whether they should click on the link or not.
That is why you need to be VERY careful about how to write your title tag. Making a mistake here could prove to be costly for your business. Searchers will click on it mostly based on how it is written. The title tag is also visible on the address bar when you open a page.
Let us understand title tags with the help of an example. Let’s say we’re looking for “car accident lawyers in Brisbane”.
The first line of each result is the title tag. If you click on the first result, you can see the title tag on the address bar of the page (highlighted in blue):
What is The Purpose of a Title Tag?
Title tags tell Google what your page is about. They also give people the first impression of your page.
Title tags are visible in three key places—SERPS, the address bar of your browser, and social network shares. Let’s take them up one by one.
You can see it on the first line of a search result. It tells the reader what the page is about. Even if your page has a high ranking, searchers may not click on it if the title tag is weak.
2. Address bar
It also appears in the address bar telling users which page they are on. It is particularly important when users are juggling multiple tabs or windows and need to keep track of their pages.
3. Social Network Sites
Some social network sites like Facebook use the title tag as the first line while displaying a link. A good title tag encourages people to click on the link after you have shared a page.
The biggest role of title tags is that they help boost CTR (clickthrough rate). Having an enticing title tag means more clicks and hence more traffic to your website. It is also very important from Google’s perspective since Googlebot tries to make sense of your page through the title tag when it arrives.
How to Write a Great Meta Title Tag Description
Writing a title tag can put cold waters on your SEO efforts. Here is how to write a great title description
1. Word Length
Though there is no specified limit, it’s best to keep the length of titles limited to 60 characters because Google starts cutting off words after a certain limit (600 pixels). Keeping it under 60 characters generally ensures that the entire line fits.
In the first result above (https://www.shine.com.au), you can see that Google has included the entire title tag, but in the second and third results (https://www.yelp.com.au and https://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/contact/melbourne/) the extra words have been cut off.
2. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing not only makes it confusing for readers to understand what’s on the page, but invites a penalty from Google as well.
Never stuff your titles with keywords since this will negatively impact your rankings. For example, the title “Top Immigration Lawyer in Melbourne | Cheap Immigration Lawyers Melbourne” would not only invite a penalty from Google, but also end up providing a bad user experience.
3. Unique Titles
Each page should have a unique title since they tell Google that the content is different from the other pages. In case you have multiple similar pages in your website, try and devise a naming scheme which generates unique titles.
For example, if you provide personal injury claim services in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne, your title pages could read “Personal injury – Perth – ABC Law Firm”, “Personal injury – Brisbane – ABC Law Firm” and “Personal injury – Melbourne – ABC Law Firm”.
Avoid titles like “Home Page” or “Page 1” which say nothing at all.
4. Place the Main Keywords First
There is some evidence to suggest that placing the important keywords first has a significant positive impact on your ranking.
5. Keep the Reader in Mind
Finally, write the title tag from the point of view of the reader. This will ensure that it is snappy, coherent, and well-written. Remember, readers are going to decide whether to click on the link based on the title tag. It is your duty to give them something that is valuable, concise and accurate.
Basics of Meta Description What is a Meta Description and Why is it Important?
By ‘meta description’, we are referring to the snippet that appears just below the title tag in the search results.
Its purpose is to tell the searcher what the page is about and persuade them to click on it.
Meta descriptions provide extra information that adds to the title tag. Its purpose is to help searchers get a better idea about a page.
You can see some examples of meta description in the image below:
Google does not factor in meta descriptions during ranking. However, that does not mean meta descriptions are not important.
Its role is to help searchers understand what the page is all about and entice them to click on it. In other words, meta descriptions help increase the click-through rate of a website.
How to Write a Great Meta Description
You can write an effective meta description by using the following tips:
Though there is no rule regarding length Google generally cuts off meta descriptions after 155-160 characters. Hence, it’s best to stay within that limit.
2. Style and Tone
Searchers will decide whether to click on the page by reading your meta description. Keep it factual, concise, unique, and write in an active voice.
3. Keywords and CTA
It’s great if you can include your primary keywords and a call to action (CTA) (e.g. “click here”, “learn more”, “find out more” etc.).
Here is an example of a good meta description with a call to action:
What Are Headline Tags and Why Are They Important?
Header tags are used to mark out the headings on a web page. They range from H1 to H6 with H1 being the highest-level heading and H6, the lowest.
Header tags are important because Google crawlers scan them to learn more about your page. The tags from H1 to H3 are especially important because Google places special emphasis on them.
Placing important keywords within the header tags sends the right message to Google and helps you increase your ranking.
Here is an example showing the header tags on a page:
How to Write Powerful Header Tags
Well-written, keyword-optimised header tags not only help you increase your search ranking but also make your page compelling to readers.
You can write powerful header tags by following these simple rules:
1. Follow a Hierarchical Structure
Use header tags to provide a proper structure to your content. Use the main heading and subsequent subheads to ensure that the content flows logically and is easy to understand.
2. Include Keywords
Including keywords in your header tags could help your ranking on Google. But do not the force-fit headers with keywords or indulge in keyword stuffing. This will spoil the experience for the reader and may even attract a penalty from Google.
3. Maintain Consistency
It is important to follow a consistent style while writing header tags. For instance, if you are using the title case, be sure to use it throughout the website.
Here is an example of good usage of header tags:
Fundamentals of Body Copy Optimisation
You have learnt that it’s important to add keywords to your title tags and headers. But the process does not stop there.
There is more to it. You also need to optimise your body copy by placing appropriate keywords if you want to improve your search ranking.
The process of strategically placing keywords in different parts of the body copy to boost your ranking is called body copy optimisation.
Why is Body Copy Optimisation Important?
When a Google crawler arrives on your page, it scans the title tags and headers to establish what the page is about.
The crawler then proceeds to your body text to scan it for keywords.
Body copy optimisation ensures that the right keywords are present in your body text to improve your search ranking on Google.
How to Optimise Body Copy
1. Use Primary and Secondary Keywords in H1, H2, H3
Doing this will tell Google what your page is about and encourage it to scan the body copy.
2. Ensure Primary Keywords
Adding the primary keyword in the first sentence is a must since this has an impact on your ranking.
3. Ensure Secondary Keywords are Present in Every Paragraph
Every paragraph must contain secondary keywords to give Google the right message. However, make sure that the same keyword is not repeated in a paragraph to avoid penalties due to keyword stuffing.
Here is an example of a well-optimised page:
In the example above, you will notice that the H1 and H2 tags have been optimised using important keywords like “divorce lawyers”, “effective divorce lawyers in Melbourne” and “the divorce process”.
The first line of the body text contains the keyword “getting a divorce” while the subsequent lines have LSI keywords such as “relationship breakdown”, “legal and financial paperwork”, “custody and parental arrangements”, “family lawyers”, “separation” and so on.
Basics of Image Optimisation
Image optimisation means giving each image the correct file name. It also deals with reducing the size of images to make your website lighter and faster.
Since Google crawlers cannot recognise images, they scan the file name to identify them. Naming your images correctly enables the image to show up every time a relevant search is carried out.
How to Optimise Images
These are some of the basic rules for image optimisation:
1. Choosing the Right File Name
Doing this will allow Google to understand what the picture is about. Try and use the main keyword at the beginning of the file name since this will help your SEO (e.g. “ABC_Office_Perth.jpg” and not “Our_office_in_Perth.jpg”).
2. Choosing the Right Format
Different image formats (such as JPG, PNG etc.) serve different purposes. Choose your format wisely depending on your requirements.
3. Scaling the Image
Reducing the image size as per your needs makes the page lighter and increases page load speed. This in turn boosts your SEO.
4. Use Responsive Images
Your image should be able to adjust itself as per the width of the screen. This is particularly important with the rise of mobile browsing.
You learned about the basics of on-site optimisation in the last section. Now, let us move on to keyword research.
Keyword research is the foundation of search engine optimisation and a wrong move here could derail your entire SEO.
That’s why it’s important to understand it properly.
We will discuss the following topics in this section:
- Why you’re not getting any website traffic
- How to perform keyword research for law firms
- How to choose the right keywords for your website
- Selecting the right keyword research tool
- Advanced keyword research tactics
Let’s get going!
Let’s take a hypothetical situation.
Imagine you’ve just launched your website. It is sharp, intelligent, well-designed, has great copy, and contains all the information that readers need.
But it’s not getting any traffic.
Confused, you keep checking Google Analytics every now that then hoping that traffic has grown but are disappointed each time.
What’s the problem with your website? Where did you go wrong?
Actually, it’s not hard to tell.
In a majority of the cases, the problem is related to keyword strategy. There are 3 possible scenarios that could explain why your website isn’t getting any traffic.
- The important web pages have few or no relevant keywords.
- Even if the website has some keywords, they are not optimised, preventing it from ranking on any of the important organic keywords.
- While your site is optimised for keywords, they are the wrong ones. This means your website does not appear in the top 3 spots for any of the desirable keywords.
We will discuss each scenario in detail. But first, let’s try and understand a few keyword basics.
Why Keyword Research is Important in Search Engine Optimisation
Suppose you are an Adelaide-based family law firm that wants to grow its business.
You want to do this through SEO.
You must optimise on your website so that it is able to get a high Google ranking. This way, people who are interested in your services can get to know about your firm and contact you if necessary. This will help you get more business.
But have you ever wondered what process Google follows while deciding your ranking?
Once a website is uploaded, Google’s bots will crawl it to find out what the site is about. The bots will do this with the help of keywords.
Googlebotswill go through your title tags, header tags, body copy, and image tags, scanning them for keywords, and index your pages based on the results.
Now, when someone posts a query looking for, say, the “Best family law firm in Adelaide”, Google will display pages from your website that contain exact match or similar keywords.
That is why keywords are so important in SEO. It is the primary means through which Google’s crawlers obtain information about a web page and decide where it should rank.
Now let us get back to the earlier point about why your website isn’t getting any traffic.
As we explained, there could be 3 reasons.
Let us take them up sequentially:
Scenario 1: Your Website Has Very Few or No Keywords
We have seen in the previous section how Google’s crawlers rely on keywords to make sense of a page.
If your page has no keywords, it prevents Google from knowing what’s on it.
For example, if you are a family law firm in Adelaide, your webpage should contain keywords such as:
- Adelaide family lawyers
- Adelaide lawyers
- Cheap family lawyers Adelaide
- Family divorce lawyers Adelaide
- Best child custody lawyer Adelaide
- Family lawyers Adelaide free consultation
In addition, your pages should also contain LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords. These are terms that are closely related to the original keywords and usually appear alongside them. They tell Google that your page deals with a particular subject in detail and that it is alright to rank it for that term.
Let’s take an example. Say “family law firm” is your seed keyword. In that case, the site should ideally also contain the following LSI keywords:
- top rated family lawyers
- best family practice lawyer
- areas of family law
- divorce lawyer
- divorce consultation
- divorce attorney, and so on.
LSI keywords indicate to Google the seed keyword has been discussed in depth. It encourages Google to give your page a high ranking in response to a suitable search query.
If your webpage has no primary or LSI keywords, Google won’t be able to rank it properly.
Scenario 2: Your Website Does Not Have the Right Keywords
In this scenario, your website has a number of keywords, but it does not help because they are not the right ones.
By “right keywords”, we mean those that are important for the business. Let us take the example of a personal injury lawyer in Sydney.
If the content does not include keywords such as “medical negligence lawyer Sydney”, “best personal injury lawyers Sydney” and “top 10 workers compensation lawyers Sydney”, you will find it very hard to rank for the right keywords. This means your website will be hidden from prospective clients who will use such terms to locate legal firms online.
Hence we can see that the absence of the right keywords will take a heavy toll on your traffic.
However, it is not easy to rank for such keywords since all your competitors will also be targeting them. This makes the keywords highly competitive.
Scenario 3: Your Website Does Not Appear in the Top 3 Spot for Any of The Right Keywords
Why is it important to rank on the top 3 slots of Google?
Because 80% traffic is captured by these search results.
Thus, there is much to gain if you can reach this much sought-after ranking.
Still, don’t understand what we’re trying to say? Let’s take an example.
Try and remember what you typed on the search bar to reach this page.
It could be any of these:
- Law SEO services
- SEO services for law firms
- Best internet marketing services for lawyers
- SEO for lawyers
- Guide to local SEO for lawyers
Think what would happen if our website didn’t rank in the top 3 on these or similar keywords.You probably would not have reached us!
That’s why it’s essential to rank on the top 3 Google slots.
How to Find Keyword Ideas
By now you know why keywords are important. But how can you use them to boost your Google ranking?
In the following paragraphs, we will show you how to find keyword ideas for lawyers and law firms so that you can use them to better your search ranking.
We will use several different methods to identify keywords including the use of both free and paid tools.
List A Few Topics
To find the right keywords, you should begin with a list of topics.
You must brainstorm to come up with a range of topics that people generally need help with vis-à-vis your sector.
For example, if you’re a corporate law firm in Melbourne, some of the topics on your list could be:
- Competition and consumer law
- Real estate law
- Data and privacy law
- Financing and securitisation law
- Intellectual property law
- Mergers and acquisitions law
- Company tax law
- Start-ups and emerging enterprises law
Remember, these are not keywords—these are merely broad topics to help you zero in on your keywords.
Scroll down to find out how.
Google Auto Suggest
This is one of the easiest and most reliable methods of keyword research.
Type each topic sequentially into Google to see what suggestions it comes up with.
For example, let’s take “intellectual property law”.
Google Auto Suggest immediately offers related keywords which you can use to optimise your website.
However, remember that not all the keywords will be relevant for you. For example, “intellectual property law jobs” is not directly relevant to your website but “intellectual property law firms” is.
Google Related Searches
The Related Searches feature on Google is another great place to uncover keywords.
This is the section that appears at the bottom of the search results page below the last result.
Here’s what happens when we type “data and privacy law” into the search bar.
Google suggests additional keywords. Select those that relate to your business and add them to your list.
You will be surprised to know that Wikipedia is an extremely useful source of keywords for SEO.
Open the website’s home page and key in a topic. Doing this will take you to the Wikipedia entry on that topic.
For instance, typing “consumer law” will redirect to the following page:
You will notice that the Contents section is divided by countries.
On Wikipedia, you can find terms such as “Australian Competition and Consumer Commission” and “The Australian Securities and Investments Commission” which you may not find elsewhere.
Industry-specific forums are great places for keyword mining.
Go to Google and type in the topic followed by the word “forum”.
Let’s key in “Real estate law forum”.
Clicking on the first link above will take you to the following page:
Scroll down to view the list of chatrooms and choose the most important keywords from the list.
Quora is an open platform to discuss almost anything under the sun which makes it a great place to discover what people talking about.
Let us take the example of “company finance law”.
Searching for the term on Quora will lead to a page like this with numerous questions and answers.
These questions contain keywords that people regularly use while performing company finance-related searches.
For instance, in the image above, you can spot keywords like “top management decisions” and “total capitalisation” which could add value to your SEO.
SEMrush is a paid tool generally used by SEO professionals. It is highly popular in the SEO industry because it speeds up keyword research by eliminating the need for typing each and every topic individually.
SEMrush evaluates entire websites for keywords in one go. You just need to feed in the URL and wait for the results.
This is another great paid tool for keyword research.
Type a keyword into the search box and the tool will do a detailed analysis for you.
For example, let’s try “mergers and acquisitions law”.
Here are the results:
Now just pick the keywords that are relevant to your business and discard the rest.
In the previous section, you learnt all about how to find the right keywords. Now we will tell you how to use them to boost your SEO.
Once you have found your keywords, the next step is to use them on your pages. The process of deciding which keywords to use on which page is called keyword mapping.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to efficient keyword mapping.
1. Picking a Keyword
Let’s say you are a family lawyer in Sydney. In order to do keyword mapping, you need to pick a primary keyword to find related terms and phrases. You will need the help of a professional SEO tool like SEMrush or SEOprofiler to perform this task.
Let’s take the keyword “family law Sydney”.
2. Finding Related Keywords
We will use SEOprofiler to find related keywords.
Log on to SEOprofiler and then go to the “Find Keywords” section and click on the “Suggestion Tool”.
It will bring you to a page like this:
Enter the keyword in the search bar above to uncover related terms.
The term “family law Sydney” has given us 21 keyword suggestions.
3. Grouping Similar Keywords
Now import the keywords on to an Excel sheet and group them by themes. Divide the themes in such a way that each of them can be converted into separate pages.
In this instance, we can see that most of the keywords have a similar ring to it (“family law Sydney”, “top family law firms Sydney”, “family law specialists Sydney” etc.) and are suitable for the home page.
The remaining keywords like “family law property valuations Sydney” and “family law court Sydney” can be stocked away for separate pages to be created around them.
The term “family law jobs Sydney” is not directly relevant to our work so we will leave that out.
4. Organising Keywords
After you have grouped the keywords, it is essential to organise them by giving a proper structure.
Now that you know where each keyword should appear, it will become easy for you to plan your pages.
Note that keyword mapping isn’t the only method you should use while planning your website. You need to create other pages as well as per the services you offer. Keyword mapping complements other methods and should be used to boost your SEO.
While doing keyword mapping, you may sometimes come across a situation where there are many keywords for one page. This is the case with the home page above.
Since it will lead to a poor user experience if you try and stuff all the 18 keywords into the home page, it needs to be further divided up.
Pick the most relevant keywords for the home page and stock away the rest. These remaining keywords can be used in blogs which link back to the home page which will contribute to boosting the home page’s search ranking.
5. Continuing process
Finished the keyword mapping process for your website? It’s not over yet!
Keyword mapping is a continuous process that must be carried out at regular intervals to maintain your SERP ranking.
Keep checking whether there are any new questions from your readers which you can answer or if new keywords have entered the list.
Another good idea is to keep a close eye on your competitor sites for new keywords and incorporate them into your own website whenever you can.
How to Write SEO-Friendly Content
By now you have learnt how to optimise title tag, meta tag, header tag, keywords optimisation and mapping keywords on different pages. Now we’ll explain how to optimise the overall content of your law firm website.
This stage is extremely crucial.
That’s because content by itself serves no purpose unless it is useful for the audience.
It is the audience that can bring you ROI and therefore your content should be such that it can benefit them.
It is no wonder that content that is highly ranked and drives traffic and leads always puts the reader first, ahead of everything else.
Here you will learn some actionable SEO strategies that will help you optimise your content.
There are no two ways about this—your reader is the boss and you need to do everything in your power to please them.
This is all the more important when you are providing legal services as people need someone who will explain legalese to them in simple terms and give them the confidence they need to approach a legal service.
Useful content will be appreciated by readers and your pages will reach the top of search engine results.
Here are 9 tips to create the best SEO content in 2019.
1. Use the Right Keywords
To reach your target audience, your legal content has to be optimised with targeted keywords. So be ready with your keywords to use them on the relevant pages.
These are the key terms and phrases that your audience is actively searching for. So, for example, if people are searching for a ‘personal injury lawyer’, and you have written content about “how to choose a personal injury lawyer”, the term “personal injury lawyer” has to feature within the blog that you have written.
But before you get down to finding targeted keywords, you will need to understand who your target audience is, what is the information that they need, why do they need that information and what are the keywords they’re using to find it.
Audience research involves finding out about the type of people who need what you’re offering. You can find out where they gather online and then talk to them and survey them.
This will help you to find out about their personal habits, preferences, demographics, and statistics.
Next is keyword research (which you have already learnt in detail) where you find the most relevant and profitable keywords related to your niche, domain, product or service.
2. Focus on Readability
Many people, while writing online, forget that they are writing for actual living people who have likes and dislikes. They forget that they are simply not writing for a search engine.
The irony here is that even if they were writing for Google, Google appreciates content that has more readers reading it and staying for long on that page.
When a reader stays on your webpage and reads your content, Google considers this as a sign of relevancy or assumes that the content on the page is relevant to the search query.
Image source: neilpatel.com
This is known as dwell time. It refers to the amount of time that has passed between the point when someone clicks on a search result and the point when someone returns to the results page.
Higher the readability quotient of the page, the greater the dwell time and lower the bounce rate.
Content that is readable has 3 common qualities:
- Organisation and logic
Work towards creating content that can be easily understood by people and you’ll see your Google rankings improve over time.
3. Go Deeper
In 2019, Google is intensifying its focus on content quality. This is true for sites with content of any kind including legal websites.
Irrespective of which legal services you’re providing through your website—immigration law services, personal injury law services, car accident law services, litigation services or divorce law services, the point is that you need to create in-depth content.
In-depth content can be created when you explore different facets of a particular topic. So, for example, if you’re writing about personal injury law services, you might explore a different angle and talk about the reasons why a lawyer might not expect such a case.
Similarly, you can go deep by writing a detailed guide about how to hire the services of a divorce lawyer.
You can also go in-depth by carrying out comprehensive research using Google Scholar, JSTOR or industry publications to find new data and studies.
4. Show Images
The human brain is wired in such a way that we respond well to images. A picture speaks a thousand words, surely, no kidding. According to research conducted by Skyword, written content that has images get 94% more views than content without images.
Apart from this psychological reason, there is something about content with images that makes it look professional and authoritative. So, for better SEO, it’s a good idea to invest in good images.
5. Provide the Facts (and Cite Them Properly)
Providing legal services is a serious job and one botched-up task could reflect on your competence. You would be ill-advised if you were to provide written content with no supporting facts, sources or data.
The bottom line is that never write anything without doing significant research and identifying reliable sources. This will help you to stand out from others who are just doing surface-level research.
6. Format Content for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are the blocks of information that show up on the top of the results page when a user asks a question.
Being top of the page even before the conventional results show up is quite an achievement as it immediately helps to gain your reader’s attention.
Google snips a part of the content from a website which it thinks is more relevant than others for the search query. See the image below. You can take help from an SEO expert for this.
To increase your chances of being picked for a featured snippet, there are a few things that you can try.
- Try to answer questions as conclusively as possible in your content.
- Use numbered and bulleted lists.
- Include data and images.
- Make sure that your content flows logically.
Let’s take a look at the above screenshot. This is a webpage of a law firm in Australia which talks about medical negligence. But the content is very thin. They could have easily answered a few popular questions that readers seek answers to such as ‘What are the chances of receiving a claim on medical negligence?’
7. Create Authority Content in Your Area
Creating authority content is difficult. There is no doubt about it. But the effort will pay off in the long term. Your purpose should be to write authority content that is searched for by people. Google’s internal guidelines for evaluating the content creator’s history matters a lot while ranking the overall page.
Evidence of reputation can include the following:
- What does the internet have to say about you?
- Have you been talked about or are you active on legal forums?
- Are there thought leadership articles written by you?
- What do people have to say about them?
- Have you been in the news?
- Are there author bios of you?
It could also be your experience as a lawyer in your field of expertise that sets you apart.
In case you’re in the process of building your online reputation as a top legal services provider, you can focus on creating an ‘About’ page on your website as well as author bio pages for your blog. When you are guest blogging, don’t forget to create author bios.
8. Do Original Research
This is probably the most important thing you can do for your website rankings to go up.
Incorporating fresh statistics, studies, information and research in your written copy will elevate your content to a level where people will mention your article and websites will link to you.
Apart from this, you’ll of course have the satisfaction of having provided great value for your industry and audience.
According to a survey, 74% business owners say that they have seen more website traffic because of original research. Sixty-three percent have seen more social shares because of the same reason.
If you’re wondering about how you could conduct original research, here are some tips to get started.
- Survey the legal industry and compile results
- You could do a study about your brand
Remember, irrespective of whichever branch of law you’re targeting, keep the audience in mind and you’ll be able to get the results you desire.
This concludes our journey of on-page optimisation. We hope you have learnt some useful strategies. We will now move on to next important concept.
We covered the on-page SEO in the last section. Now let’s explore off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO is more challenging than on-page SEO because many of the tasks that need to be performed are outside the purview of the website.
That means many factors are beyond your control.
It is important to keep trying and not get easily discouraged. Off-page SEO can’t be neglected since Google attaches a lot of importance to it.
What is Off-Page Optimisation and Why Does It Matter?
Off-page optimisation deals with actions carried out beyond the boundaries of your website. These actions are performed to help your site get a higher SERP ranking.
The main factor in off-page optimisation is link-building. It refers to the process of getting links from external websites.
Link-building is an extremely important part of SEO because it establishes the credibility of a site. Google looks upon external links as indicators of the reliability and trustworthiness of a website. Both these factors are extremely important for a legal firm.
However, it isn’t enough to get links from any external website. The backlinks must come from high domain authority sites. Links from unreliable websites can earn you a penalty from Google and might result in lowering the ranking of your site.
How to Do Off-Page Optimisation: 15 Actionable Link-Building Tips
There are many different ways to get backlinks for your website. Here we have selected 15 easy, actionable methods for obtaining backlinks to help your site improve its ranking.
1. Alumni Lists
Most law schools have alumni pages on the internet. Ask the moderators if they can link back to your website while publishing your details.
Many law schools profile alumni on their web pages. People who are selected are usually those that have some accomplishment to their name or have followed interesting career paths.
Find out whether you can be featured in such articles and be given a backlink to your website. Such links generally carry much more value than directory listings because they have a context.
2. Professional Directories
Getting listed on professional directories shouldn’t be hard since they’re always trying to expand and update the list.
Invest some time in trying to find out which directory is the best one for you. In some cases, there could be multiple directories which are appropriate in which case you should approach all of them.
3. Discount Pages
Some sites curate deals and discounts including legal discounts. Approaching them for listings whenever you offer a discount results in an automatic backlink.
4. Guest Blogging
This used to be one of the most common ways to obtain backlinks but Google has reduced its importance. However, it can still be a part of your overall link-building strategy. Just make sure that the site you are blogging for enjoys a good reputation.
5. Job Postings
Planning to hire an intern or a fresh law graduate? Why not put up your ad on a college website? Many law colleges and institutions have a separate section for jobs and internships. This could help you earn a link from a coveted .edu website.
6. Local Listings
Getting citations for your firm on business directories such as Yelp, True Local and Infobel Australia not only helps you get more online exposure but also boosts your SEO. The number of citations for a business data quality and quality of the forum all impact your search rankings.
7. Open Source Informational Websites
Open-source websites like Quora and Wikipedia can help you get a few valuable links. Although these are “nofollow” links, it enhances your prestige among readers and also sends traffic to your page. However, see that the links add value to the discussion. Link-spamming on these platforms could lead to the removal of the links or earn you a ban.
There are many questions that common people have related to the law. This provides lawyers with a great opportunity to create a good blog.
The advantage of blogging is that if your write-ups address relevant issues then people will start mentioning them on their websites, thus helping you earn backlinks.
9. Create Relevant Content
Just heard about an interesting legal development or an unexpected judgment? Write a quick take on it and publish it as a blog. Don’t forget to promote it on social media. People will probably be writing about the event. They could end up referring to your blog and linking back to it.
10. Ask for Image Credit
There are many people on the internet who use images without the required permissions, either because they don’t have the time or because they are too lazy.
Keep a lookout for people using images for which you have a copyright. You can easily find this out using Google’s Reverse Image Search. Then write to them seeking an image credit and a backlink. They should be more than happy to oblige you.
11. Get Media Coverage
Try and cultivate a good relationship with reporters, both at the local and national level. Tip them off each time you have an event or any news to share. They might not write about every event but may write about one or two. Even this is great for your SEO since it will help you get backlinks from high domain authority sites.
12. Tie-Up with A Non-Profit
Helping out a non-profit does not have to be only in the form of a donation. You could also help them out with your time by offering pro bono advice. If you’re lucky, they will write about it on their website and give you a link.
13. Create Guides and Tutorials
The great thing about content is that it doesn’t have to plug your company each and every time. It could also be centered around solving people’s problems. Guides and tutorials are ideal for this purpose. Legal guides can help people understand the basics of law such as personal injury law or tax law.
Such tutorials are great for backlinks since they explain an issue smartly and coherently. When other people write about these issues, there is a chance that they will link back to your tutorial if they don’t have the space to explain the concept.
14. Internal Links
This is perhaps the only aspect of link-building you have complete control over. See that you don’t overdo it. Add links where they are relevant and add to the context.
15. Create a Quiz
People love online quizzes because it tells them how much they know about a certain topic. They can also test themselves without having to be embarrassed in front of an audience or pitting themselves against a competitor.
Create a quiz on different aspects of the law that are relevant to ordinary people such as tax laws, family law, employment, and labour law, and so on. This will help you create shareable content and also earn you backlinks.
Poor Technical SEO
By now, you already have a good idea of off-page SEO.We shall now move on to the next topic—technical SEO.
Technical changes made to a website with the intention of helping Google bots find, crawl and index the site efficiently are collectively called technical SEO. It is an extremely important process because without it, all the other optimisations would become worthless.
In this section, we shall discuss various ways in which you can improve your website’s technical SEO.
Technical SEO Tips for Law Websites
Let’s discuss some important technical SEO tips for law websites.
1. Boosting Server Speed and Page Load Time
One of the key objectives of Google is to provide a good user experience to searchers. And one of the ways of doing this is by rewarding pages that load faster while penalising the slower ones.
Slow page load speed and server speed could not only drive away visitors from your website but also delay crawlers. If your website is experiencing slow load speed it is best to get it rectified quickly since your ranking could fall otherwise.
2. Avoiding Duplicate Content
The presence of duplicate content confuses search engine crawlers about which page it should index.
When crawlers encounter duplicate content, it selects the page which it thinks is the better version of the two and sends it for indexing.
This means one of your pages is automatically ruled out for ranking by Google. Another adverse fallout is that the indexed page could earn a penalty for duplicate content as per Google’s SEO guidelines.
You can avoid this problem by removing all duplicate pages from your website. However, there could be instances where duplicate pages can’t be avoided (for instance, when you offer the same services in different cities—e.g. family lawyers in Brisbane and family lawyers in Melbourne). In such cases, you should opt for canonical links which inform the crawlers of duplicate content.
3. Proper Use of Redirects
There are several types of redirects and each of them fulfills a different purpose. It is important for you to choose the right type of redirect.
This is important because errors are common here. For example, developers often delete a page and forget to add a redirect resulting in a ‘page not found’ error which leads to bad user experience.
The safest type of redirect is a 302 redirect (permanent redirect) because it transfers the link equity (value of the page) of the old page to the new one. Doing this ensures that the ranking of the page is not adversely impacted by the switch.
4. Stay Away from Cloaking
Some developers use cloaking to boost search rankings. Cloaking refers to the practice of creating two versions of the same web page—one for Googlebot and another for humans.
Google frowns upon this practice and penalises such websites.
There are many cloaking checker tools available on the web which you can use to uncover cloaked pages on your law website.
5. Protect your Site from Plagiarism
Google penalises websites with plagiarised content.
In most cases, it can detect which site is the original one and which one is guilty of plagiarism. But in case the offender is a high domain authority site, your search ranking could suffer.
That’s why it’s so important to guard against any sort of plagiarism. You can find out if people have plagiarised your website in two ways. One way is by keying in a sentence in Google search and enclosing it within quotes (performing an exact match search). The other method is to use a plagiarism checker tool like Copyscape.
6. Customising the 404 Error Page
404 error pages lead to bad user experience and drive visitors away from a website.
One way to avoid this is to create a customised 404 error page which provides helpful information to the user and offers to take them to other pages on your site.
The default 404 error page offers little information apart from telling the user about the missing status of the page and it also looks quite ugly. A customised and well-designed 404 error page which contains details such as information about the error, a link to the home page, links to the popular pages on your website, a sitemap and so on can improve the user experience and encourage visitors to remain on your site.
7. Using Structured Data
Using structured data is an important step that could help search engine crawlers understand the content of your website much better.
The proper use of structured data allows Google to identify the most relevant portions of your website. It will display this in the search listings which in turn will increase clickthrough rates.
8. Protecting Your Website Against Unwanted Content
Many websites, especially the well-known ones, are vulnerable to content hacking. It refers to a situation where online offenders hack into a website and flood it with unwanted content.
User-generated content such as the comments section on blogs and articles should also be closely monitored to prevent spam from getting into the website. Both content hacking and user-generated spam has a negative impact on SEO and could lower your search rankings.
Lack of Google My Business Optimisation
In the last section, you learnt how to perform technical SEO. Now let’s proceed to the fourth chapter—Google My Business page optimisation.
Optimising Google My Business is crucial for local businesses such as law firms. The objective is to get your business to rank in the three-pack listings on the first search results page.
This ensures that local customers are able to locate you easily.
Claiming Your Google My Business Page
If you’ve performed a local search recently, you may have noticed that Google displays a unique result apart from the ads and organic search results which appears on Page 1 and looks like this:
This is called a ‘three-pack listing’.
As a local business, it should be your aim to get into the three-pack listing to maximise your online exposure. It could help you get more leads and conversions.
In order to get into the three-pack listing, you need to start by claiming your Google My Business page.
Once you have signed in, register your business and start filling in the details to claim your very own Google My Business page.
Guide to Local SEO for Lawyers
It isn’t enough to merely claim your Google My Business page. You also need to optimise it to achieve a good ranking.
Below are six ways to optimise your Google My Business page.
1. Complete Profile
While creating your profile, see that you fill in as many details as possible. Google likes information. Providing exhaustive information about your business to Google will encourage its algorithms to give you a good ranking.
Here is an example of a detailed Google My Business profile. It includes information like address, contact number, business hours, a link for appointments, images (having more images than your competitor is recommended) and reviews. A video could also help though it is missing from this page.
2. Mention Your Specialisation
Don’t just say ‘lawyers’ or ‘law firm’ while selecting your business category. Mention the exact type of legal service you provide.
For instance, if you specialise in personal injury law, be sure to mention that.
While this could mean showing up on fewer searches, it also means popping up on the right ones. This could increase the quality of your leads and boost your conversion rate.
Here is an example of a law firm which clearly mentions its specialisation:
3. Add Keywords
Adding keywords to your profile raises your chances of showing up on relevant searches.
See the image below. The owners have added keywords like “parenting law”, “property and finance”, “child custody” and “divorce matters” in addition to “family law” which will help them rank on related search queries.
4. Get Reviews
Reviews not only help clients decide whether to reach out to a business but they also help Google establish the performance of that business. This in turn impacts page ranking.
That’s why, if you want to boost your ranking, it is necessary to obtain good reviews. You could do this by contacting happy clients and requesting them to write a small review for you.
You could also add a link to your review page in your newsletters and marketing emails.
Try and respond to each and every review personally including the bad ones. Apologise to those who have given you bad reviews assuring them of a better experience the next time they visit.
Here is an example of a law firm that responds to client reviews:
We talked about the importance of link-building in a previous section (off-page SEO). There is a double benefit to it because it helps with local SEO as well.
Like off-page SEO, Google My Business also relies on external links to establish the credibility and reputation of a business. The greater the number of links on high domain authority websites, the greater your chances of getting a good ranking.
A Google My Business page displays these external links at the bottom of the page with the intention of helping searchers. Refer to the methods mentioned in the section on off-page SEO to boost link-building for your website.
6. Remove Duplication
When Google sees duplicate content, it eliminates the page with duplicate data and only considers the original one.
It is important to remember this if your firm works out of multiple offices.
If details such as address and phone number are similar for separate entries, the pages with duplicate data will be filtered out.
Be sure to remove duplicate pages or change the details for better local SEO.
It is important to keep a regular tab on your page to ensure it remains factually accurate and also to respond to client reviews. Update the page regularly with photos, videos, and new information.
Ultimately as a law firm, your goal should be to appear on two places on a SERP—the first five organic listings as well as the three-pack listings on Page 1. This will ensure maximum traffic and leads for your firm and lead to exponential growth.
Local Directory Optimisation
The previous chapter covered local SEO. Now let’s move on to the last topic of our discussion—local search directory optimisation.
Local search directory optimisation is important for one reason: the directories enjoy a high Google search ranking. Having your law firm listed on these directories could get more leads and business.
In the following paragraphs you will learn how to first claim, and then optimise, your listing on popular local search directories such as Local Search, Pure Local, and Yelp.
How to Optimise Local Search Directories
First, you need to claim your page.
Enter the name of your law firm along with details such as address and phone number. Try and fill in as many fields as possible—this will make your profile stronger.
Many business directories take reviews and ratings into account while ordering the listings. Hence, you need to ensure you have good reviews to show. For this, you can get in touch with some of your old clients and ask them for a review.
As time goes by, your page will collect many reviews. As with Google My Business, try and respond to each of them individually, including the negative ones. This will send a message to your clients that you value their feedback.
Finally, don’t forget to add photos of your workplace. Local directory listings with photos tend to get more leads than those without photos.