On-Page SEO For Law Firms
You might know what you’re going to put out. You might have a slew of ideas on the kind of high-quality content you want to produce on a regular basis. You might already be aware of the keywords you want to rank high on the Google searches.
Of course, anyone reading a poorly-written article isn’t going to be so convinced to hire a law firm to help them with anything, but is that it?
If you're not a developer or an experienced blogger, you might find those questions a bit intimidating. They sound very technical, after all.
Fortunately, the internet has been integrated into our daily lives for so long that these things can be done even when you're just starting out. If you look at the drafts of your Wix, Blogger, or WordPress blogs, you'll find a slew of customizations that can help you.
Some of these SEO options can also be pre-programmed by a lot of these hosting sites, so the only thing you should be doing is to read up on on-page SEO to familiarize yourself.
In this guide, we'll look into the basics of on-page SEO that you can do all by yourself. You can easily implement these steps on your own or via the help of hosting sites that offer presets.
Making Full Use of Your Title Tags
Each web page's title tag is an HTML tag that appears in the header section. It serves as an initial prompt or context for what the subject matter of the page a user is on. The title tag is prominently displayed in both the browser window and the search engine results pages, where it's usually used as a clickable link. Since title tags are not a visual feature that users can see on a website, they are often ignored.
Consider The Page's Context and Relevance
Before you can compose an optimized title tag, you must first understand where the page belongs in the website's overall hierarchy. A title tag for a home page would be somewhat different from one for a blog post or a product page.
It can be difficult to come up with tags that are exclusive from page to page for websites with a large number of pages. That is why it is important to plan out your site and understand where each page falls into the context of your subject matter.
If the page you’re on exclusively discusses child custody, then your title tags should represent that. While child custody is relevant to family law, using “family law” with no mention of child custody makes your title tag too broad.
The same principle goes when your title tags are too specific. Using “spousal support” keywords when the page is discussing divorce as a whole isn’t ideal.
Searchers and search engines don't like duplicate title tags. You'll see duplicate tags in Google Search Console reports if you have them, and you'll also find that the search engines have opted to skip your title tag and use other material on your website for the blue link text in the SERP.
When the same tag appears on several pages, the tags are considered useless by the search engine. You can use the information provided by Google Search Console to identify problems, or you can conduct your own tests using a variety of on-page auditors and crawling tools.
Try Predicting Searcher Intent
It's crucial to know what the audience is looking for and how they're looking for it when it comes to title tag optimization. It’s good to look around for possible search terms that match what users are looking for.
You run the risk of guessing incorrectly if you don't know what words and phrases people use while looking. When it comes to title tag optimization, don't skimp on keyword research. In the current context-based era of SEO, you don't have to think about any literal version of a keyword or expression, but you also can't ignore the searcher and their purpose.
Remember that your potential clients might not be well-versed in legal terminologies. Sometimes, people who are looking for employment lawyers will type “lawyers for employees” or “lawyers for work incidents”.
Doing a quick keyword research helps you sort through popular terms people use to look for your offered legal services. As long as the perceived purpose is the subject of the page's content, the aim for an optimized title tag is to align the language you use with what is being searched for.
Meta Data Description
Simply put, the meta description is a meta tag that describes the content of a web page. In the SERPs, this meta summary appears underneath the page's title. Meta explanations used to be one of the most critical aspects of SEO.
Although, Google has stated that they do not assist in ranking and are not a ranking factor. They are, however, visible to the searcher. Think of it as a preview of the page's content.
For years, keeping meta descriptions to a maximum of 160-165 characters has been considered a traditional SEO best practice (or 156-160 characters, depending on who you talk to).
Here’s how you can quickly improve your meta descriptions:
Establish a Consistent Tone
The content you publish must have a consistent tone that represents you. Each meta definition should be carefully designed and adapted to the set tone of voice as it can dictate how you appear on the internet.
Specifically in legal marketing, it’s best that you keep a more formal (but not monotonous) overall tone. It can change depending on the areas of law you practice, of course—for example, firms specializing in family law retain a more compassionate tone in both meta descriptions and content.
Use Headlines to Help You Write Meta Descriptions
You can also use popular mainstream topics to influence the way you write your meta descriptions. Making sure you're not using outdated terms, keeping up with the latest news, and representing present concerns attracts more readers.
A lot of searches regarding employment law under COVID-19 shot up in 2020. Update your content and craft your meta descriptions based on what most people are looking for in a given time.
Refresh Older Content
When you have stale content on your website, updating your meta descriptions can be beneficial. This can resurrect old pages. You can also use what you know of recent headlines to reframe the relevance of your old content.
Optimizing Header Tags
Imagine you’re writing an article: while some readers might go ahead and read a wall of text, some might find it either intimidating or monotonous. Remember that most people who are looking to fulfill their needs via searches prefer quick fixes. Not everyone has the time.
You should also consider header tags as a great way to organize content. By using H1 formats for each chapter, you can also add several H2 headings (and other subheadings) to break apart what otherwise might be a concept-heavy legal guide.
If you’re writing a blog post about family law, it’s good to break it into sections: divorce, annulment, legal separation, spousal support, child custody, and so on. Not only are specific information easy to find, you’re making it easier for laymen to digest what are otherwise very specific legal concepts.
Here’s a list of other things you should remember:
You can use keywords
Crawlers can definitely pick them up, so consider integrating what you find in your keyword research.
Keep them interesting
As said before, most people coming into your page for information aren’t going to be lawyers (or law students). Keep your reader engaged by avoiding monotonous and generic headings for each section of your content.
Keep them short
Using full sentences not only obstructs the formatting of articles or blogs, they’re also likely to become monotonous or uninteresting. Shorter headings make it both eye-catching and easier to understand.
Keep them consistent
Using the same family law blog example above, make sure that all your H1 headings are consistent. If you’re using H1 to separate areas of family law, don't use an H1 format for descriptive details. You can always use subheadings for that.
H2: Divorce vs. Legal Separation
H2: The Divorce Process
H2: Forms You Need to File
Writing The Best Headlines
Not unlike newspaper headlines, users are more likely to click on your content when it’s interesting. People are more likely to click on “Will My Pregnancy Affect My Job?” instead of “Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace According to California Labor Law”.
Here are a few pointers to help you out:
Straight To The Point
If you can convey the message of your content or article in a few eye-catching words, do it. People are less likely to be interested in long passages. Also, long headlines tend to be cut off by ellipses (...) when shared to other platforms.
As an example, you can use “Wage Theft and How to Deal With It” instead of “Unpaid Wages and Hour Claims in Orange County Employment Law and How to Deal With it”.
Keep Using Keywords
Keywords are a reflection of what searchers type in—which means they might be looking for it. Using keywords will always help you in the algorithm, so try implementing it in your SEO practice when you can.
Ask A Question
Similar to the example above, questions are short and interesting. It’s also likely to be what people are typing in when they’re on a search engine.
A Call to Action
A call to action is always great for SEO. Not only is it catchy, it can also help you convince people to do a certain thing. Headlines like this could look like:
Fired Illegally? Hire A Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Get An Estate Lawyer to Help With Inheritance Claims
Contact A Divorce Lawyer to Protect Your Assets
While keywords are good for ranking, you should learn how to use them wisely. You shouldn’t input unrelated keywords on an unrelated page or post, nor should you overuse the same (though correct) keyword.
Remember keywords are not just there for the potential client looking to answer their personal questions—they’re also there for Google to pick up and rank relevant content.
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Don’t Let Your Keywords Cannibalize Each Other
You're "cannibalizing" your own outcomes. This happens when CTR, links, material, and conversions are split between two pages that should all be in just one. While you do this, you're not showing Google the scope or depth of your expertise.
Instead, you're asking Google to compare your pages to each other and choose the one that best matches the selected keywords.
Unfortunately, keyword cannibalization may have some negative SEO effects. Many people who are affected by keyword cannibalization are completely unaware that something is wrong.
Here's what might happen:
Reducing the Authority of Your Page
You're spreading the CTR around several moderately important sites rather than making one strongly authoritative page. You've effectively turned your pages into rivals, and you're now competing for page views against your own content and SERP rankings.
Diluting Your Anchor Text and Links
Backlinks that should have gone to a single centralized source of information are instead spread over two or more pages. Similarly, instead of guiding visitors to a single authoritative page on the topic, your anchor text and internal links direct them to multiple sites.
Google May Devalue the Page
One of the most crucial ways that let Google understand your page content is by using keywords. Google attempts to figure out which page is the best fit among similar keywords across different pages (including your competitor), so it ends up choosing one over the other—and it might not be the one you consider more valuable.
Multiple pages using the same keyword might also show users how your content is possibly spread too thin, and it also tells Google that your content on each page does not fit your keywords.
How to Fix It
The solution to keyword cannibalization is determined by the cause of the problem. Consider doing the following:
Reorganize your website
Taking the most authoritative page (what you want users and Google to see) and turning it into a landing page. Make sure it links to other special variants that come under the umbrella of your targeted keywords.
If you have "Employment Law" as a landing page, focus on using related keywords on that. Then, you can start linking subsets to that landing page. You can create pages like "Wrongful Termination", "Retaliation", "Discrimination", and "Sexual Harassment" as part of the subset.
New Landing Pages
Alternatively, you might be missing a landing page that brings all of your "offered services" pages together in one place. Create a specific landing page to act as your authoritative source page in this case, and link to all of your variations from there.
Look for New Keywords
Finally, if your website already has a wide range of content-rich pages and the only problem is a poorly conceived keyword strategy, then all you need to do is find new keywords. Simply ensure that your keywords accurately describe the content of your website.
Using the most recent example above, you can use variants in keyword choices:
A. Main Authoritative Page: Employment Law
Keywords: "Labor Lawyer", "Employment Law", "Employment Attorney"
B. Subset Page 1: Wrongful Termination
Keywords: "Wrongful Termination Lawyer", "Wrongful Termination California"
C.Subset Page 2: Retaliation
Keywords: "Whistleblower Retaliation", "Employment Retaliation Lawyer"
Audit Your Site Regularly
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your SEO practice is checking how you’re doing. You need to know if your SEO efforts are yielding any positive results; and if not, you have to change it. Continuing to make mistakes not only makes it futile, but you’re left with more to fix once you decide to in the future.
So, how do we do that? Try looking into your stats. There are a lot of resources and online tools to help you with them. This way, you can gauge how your pages, content creation, and on-page efforts are doing in the algorithm. Here are a few you can look at:
This one is the easiest to find. Most blog hosting sites will show you how many times a user has viewed a specific page. Try looking at the pages that have the most click-through rate, and see what is on them that you can replicate on other pages.
Your content should ideally serve as a portal that directs users from a search to your website, entertains or informs them, and then directs them to the rest of your site to meet their needs.
If they click on your site and leave in mere seconds, then there's a problem.
Time Spent on Page
This metric will tell you if your content isn't quite right for your target audience. If it is, then you need to produce more content on similar topics. If you published a long, extensive article that's made up of 4000 words, engaged site visitors should be on it for longer than mere five seconds. Chances are, they got nothing from that specific page or post and decided to click on something else (or leave your site altogether).
You want a large number of unique visitors visiting our content, as well as an increase in the number of views the content receives. The more views you get, the more chances you have of getting a return on your investment like interaction, shares, and backlinks.
Sources of Traffic
Define the key traffic sources and figure out where your traffic is coming from. If Facebook or Twitter is where the majority of your traffic comes from, you can post more of your content there. If your Youtube Channel isn't generating you any traffic, it's time to change up your content.
Optimize Your Images
When you're creating engaging content, it's nice to have some images in between walls of text. While your article might be informative, using images can help you attract more users to the site. On the other hand, very large image sizes will cause pages to load slowly; so you should be mindful of that.
Here are a few tips on what you can do:
Compress Your Images
As mentioned, a huge file size (or image dimensions) takes longer to load; and subsequently slows down your page. Your users might not always have access to fast internet speeds; and even if they were, faster sites are still better.
As long as your image quality isn't depleted to the point of it being obviously pixelating, compressing images on your site will only do you good.
It’s Good to Create Your Own Images
Other than not running into another site that might have used the same exact image as you, an original image gives you plus points in the algorithm.
Be Mindful of Copyright
Copyright laws are brutal. If you thoughtlessly got an image from Google Images and slapped it on without permission, the copyright owner might serve you a lawsuit.
Not a good look for anyone, but especially for a law firm.
Use Keywords in Your Alt Text
Alt texts are primarily used by accessibility tools for people using screen readers. Make them relevant to the image, of course; but don’t skimp on making it SEO-friendly.
Make Sure They’re Mobile-friendly
A lot of site users these days are on their smartphones. As a general rule, your pages should be mobile-friendly, including your chosen images.
Review Your Checklist
The better you can execute your SEO strategies, the more benefits you’re going to reap from it. Like we mentioned before, focusing on one single aspect isn’t going to yield the most desirable results—you can’t just focus on content, user experience, or links. All of its parts should be able to work together.
Google (or at least search engines) is here to stay, and will continue to be part of our daily lives. No matter your level of experience, SEO is a constant cycle of learning, producing, and adapting. Don't hesitate to come back to guides and learning materials like this. It will only help you with practice.