An active blog can keep your website constantly updated with relevant information that your potential clients may find useful. The static pages of your site, for instance your services and contact information, won’t change often, but you can pull a list of blog posts that are related to each service page and automatically display them on each service page. This helps Google find new, relevant content on your static pages and rank them higher.
Not only can your blog posts help your site rank higher for your main keywords, it can also help your site get found on Google for more long-tail keywords and act as your landing pages. It means that your blog offers you an opportunity to post relevant information that can by itself attract visitors. You can dive deeper into specifics about the areas of your law practice, and offer information potential clients may be looking for. This is also a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge and show potential clients you are an expert in your field of law and know what you’re talking about. Some of your blog posts can also be dedicated to the successful case you have recently handled and act as a case study helping similar clients to trust you with their similar cases.
So an active blog can generate direct leads for your law practice as well as improve your SEO, ensure you refresh your website with useful, relevant and original content, and provide visitors with a reason to want to come back to your site.
It is important to build a blog that you plan to maintain. To maximize your impact there are a few things to think about:
- Who is your audience? Who do you want to bring to your site?
- What is the overall message of your blog? Essentially, you need to decide what you want to say and how you want to say it.
- What visuals will you use to strengthen the blog posts? Breaking text up with high impact visuals will make it more appealing and also give it more chances to get ranked higher on search engines.
- How often will you post? Create a schedule for creating and posting content, whether it be weekly, monthly, or something in between, set a schedule and stick to it.
- Who is in charge of your blog posts? Who will manage your blog? Some companies prefer to manage and write their posts, while others look for help from internet marketing companies.
- You also need to update your old blog posts to make sure what’s been said in them is still relevant and effective. So one good strategy is to have a handful of blog posts that you regularly update and keep current instead of having a lot of posts published on your blog that you can’t manage.
SEO Content and Advertising Codes of Conduct
A good marketing campaign should maximize visibility while converting potential clients into actual clients. It’s important to target your audience properly, and provide them with useful content, rather than spamming a wide audience with useless information. State bar associations across the country have specific regulations and codes of ethics in place in regards to the rights of the public when it comes to attorney marketing and advertising. It is important to know whether your state has such statutes in place, but even if it doesn’t, to consider rules of professional conduct while advertising your services and marketing your law firm online.
Your marketing campaign should never be misleading, offensive or deceitful in any way. Not only will it earn your law firm a bad reputation, it could also result in legal ramifications for you. Lines can become blurred, even with statutes in place, and it is important to always have the highest marketing standards.
Lawyers will often be held to higher standards than other fields. Do not sully your reputation by engaging in prohibited language, or failing to use the proper disclaimers. Know your state’s bar ethics and advertising guidelines and, as a general rule, avoid the following:
- Make sure everything posted to your website will be passed by you first, be aware of what you publish on your website, make sure it is not misleading, outdated or inaccurate information.
- Unless you are certified and approved by your state’s bar, never present yourself as an expert, certified, or best in an specific area of law you serve or a geographical area you serve.
- Never guarantee outcomes in the verbiage you use on your website or anywhere else.
- Avoid communications that can solicit or disclose privileged or confidential information.
- Prevent from providing any legal advice online. Be aware of the fine line between educational marketing and providing legal advice over internet to avoid any attorney-client relationship allegation.
It’s also important to consider who should write your content. Content should be useful and accurate, containing factual information, but it also needs to be engaging and interesting. An SEO company with experience in content writing, especially for attorneys, will understand how to create content that is compelling, attract potential clients and that leads to conversions.
When creating your content, you need to have a clear understanding of your audience. Most likely, you will be targeting potential clients in your general area, so it is important to ensure the content on your website is relevant to your geographical area, and not generic or related to areas outside of your service area. Your SEO company can help you set up geomodifiers during the technical optimizations to ensure you are able to reach the right audience.
Local SEO marketing will ensure you target potential clients in your geographical area. By using keyword phrases such as “divorce attorney near me” or “Los Angeles lawyer near me” you can target only the clients that actually need your services. Focus on subjects of interest and locations within your geographical location to be sure you find your target audience.
Targeted local SEO campaigns put your firm directly in front of the people most likely to use your services. If you specialize in medical malpractice, it won’t be enough to simply target the keywords medical malpractice – it doesn’t do much good to show up in broader searches for these terms if you only represent clients in your general area. If you serve clients only in the state of Florida, it doesn’t matter if you show up as number one for someone searching for an attorney in Kansas.
Website Navigational Structure
How your website is organized is referred to as navigational structure, and it is a crucial component of SEO. Users should be able to navigate your website seamlessly, and a well-organized website allows search engines to better crawl your site. It also helps search engines understand the specificity level of each of the different pages of your website. From root page to be the most general page to inner pages which are more specific. Search Engines can also find out what the role of each page in the bird’s-eye view of the site. All these can help a page appear higher or lower in search result pages.
Your website should be organized in a way that makes logical sense, to both regular users and search bots, and should contain the following elements:
- Hierarchy – Are the pages and information organized under “umbrella” pages? Placing topical pages under larger, more general umbrella pages helps keep your site organized and easy to navigate. The best way to ensure this happens is to map out your website before you even create it. And then, be sure the URLs match up with the hierarchy. A legal website should follow a format similar to this:
- A focused, overall theme – for instance, if you specialize in personal injury law, make that your focus.
- Create a drilldown of subtopics based on the overall theme
- Each page should be a single topic
This will help search engines have a better understanding of your website, and help users navigate your site.
- Sitemap – This tool is important for search engines to be able to crawl your site.
- Ease of use – Too many links, buttons or drop-down menus can slow your site speed, but it can also be confusing to visitors, and make it harder for the search engine bots to crawl.
- Page Depth – If you create subpage after subpage, it makes URLs too long and complicated for users and search engines to follow and understand, which defeats the purpose of creating a hierarchy. To prevent pages from getting lost to both potential clients and search engines, use a flat file structure that is no more than two directories deep to increase the relevance assigned to pages by some search engines.
- Mobile friendliness – More and more users search on mobile devices, and with Google’s latest mobile first-index update, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing out. The best way to make a site mobile friendly is to make it responsive so that regardless of which mobile device and screen size it has the website still looks nice and clean and organized.
- URL uniqueness – Make sure each content on your website has only one and one unique URL, presenting the same content over different URLs create instance of internal duplicate content and make the content less strong in general.
- Breadcrumb – Breadcrumbs serve as a visual aid, showing the location of the user on your site’s hierarchy. It provides contextual information for users to help them determine where they are on the site and where they can get from there. They reduce the number of actions a user must take to get to higher level pages.
Once your website has been perfectly crafted, with the right content, the ideal structure, and the right keywords, it’s time to look at what happens outside of your website that can affect your SEO. Off-site or off-page optimizations can improve your SEO by showing you are reliable, relevant and trustworthy.
Healthy Link Profile
Off-site SEO can be improved by acquiring a healthy link profile. But what does that mean? A healthy number of links, that use the right keywords in the anchored text can boost your SEO.
Let’s start with backlinks. Backlinks are links to other websites that send users to your site. They are very important to off-site SEO. The number, quality and type of backlinks to your site, show that your site is an authority and can help boost your rankings. The quality of a back link is determined by:
- The relevance of the text they are located in
- The anchor text of the link
- The quality and trustworthiness of the site the link is coming from
- And the naturalness of the link
Your link profile, then, is a list of all of the websites that link back to your site. These backlinks help search engines decide if your site is actually useful and trustworthy for its users. You need a variety of both reputable and well-established sites to link back to yours. Building a healthy link profile will help your website in several ways, including:
- Telling search engines your site is trustworthy.
- Showing your audience your site is trustworthy.
- Helping you rank higher on search engines.
- Helping you target important keywords related to the services that your law firm provides
But what kinds of links will be beneficial? The links in your profile need to be relevant to your business, and come from quality sources. Look for industry journals, local magazines, well respected blogs, and news sources. You can also use internal links in your site to help (which is another topic and will be discussed in another section.)
While backlinks are important, it is also important not to go overboard. Spam links or backlinks from irrelevant sources can actually hurt you. When seeking out backlinks, stick to those in your area of expertise. Don’t overuse your keywords in anchor texts, use an anchor text that reads natural. Be wary of anyone who offers to sell backlinks to help you improve your SEO. This black hat technique may improve your SEO in the short term, but spam backlinks will cause more harm than good in the end. See Google’s guide on link schemes: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356
Search engines use complicated algorithms and methods to rank websites. While that is great for the internet users because it ensures the most relevant results show up in a search, it can be difficult for business owners trying to improve their SEO. It is important to take extra care when building up and maintaining your link profile.
Complete, Consistent NAP Citations
Just like backlinks each NAP citation is an off-page factor that helps your site rank higher on organic and local results. Each NAP citation is a mention of your business name, address and phone number on a local listing site. A local listing site refers to internet yellow pages sites, aggregator sites, or review sites. Each mention of your NAP can count towards helping you rank higher on local and organic results for your service keywords in your service area.
Moreover, local listing sites allow potential clients to contact you directly, as they also rank high on search results for law firms relevant terms in different locations. Actually Google results for a a keyword such as “lawyer in XYZ city or “divorce attorney in near me” consist of a mixture of individual lawyer sites in the searched location as well as these local listing sites. Thus, placing your listing on the most trustworthy sites will go a long way to help you both to directly generate leads for your law firm as well as to help your own site to rank higher on search engine result pages.
General local listing sites such as Google My Business, Your Bing Local, Facebook, and YELP, Yellow Pages can all be helpful elements in your SEO plan. You should also list your NAP on niche lawyers local listing sites such as Avvo, Justia, Super Lawyers, Findlaw.com.
Test your site’s NAP citation score using our local listing scan tool.