A Lawyer’s Guide to SEO

SEO is a term you hear thrown around left and right. It isn’t just used by digital marketers but business owners, employees, bloggers, and so on. For anyone with an online presence, SEO matters. In fact, it can dictate how well your business functions in the online market, especially one as competitive as the legal profession.

What is SEO?

SEO is the abbreviated form of search engine optimization. It is a form of digital marketing that organically generates traffic to your website. This form of online marketing aims to generate both quantity and quality traffic by helping your website reach the top of users’ searches on search engines.

Most people make the mistake of catering their SEO towards search engines. However, if you truly want to excel in it, you need to think about the audience you want to target. You need to understand how they search for the services you offer, what questions they need to be answered, and what type of information they seek? The answers to these questions will allow you to develop content on your website that connects you to the audience you want to target.

Once you do that, search engine crawlers will also pick up on it. After all, the search engine’s job is to provide its users with the best relevant results. So when you cater to its users, you will automatically rank higher.

Why it is important?

There are over 2 billion searches performed on Google daily. If you want to generate traffic to your website, ranking high on a search engine is the way to go. There is no other platform online that generates as much traffic, including social media.

When compared to paid advertisements, users have started to prefer organic results. The number of users that click on paid advertisements has decreased compared to organic. This is why law firms need to focus more on SEO. It is more cost-effective and will generate quality traffic to your website.

SEO also provides long-term benefits for your firm. While the technique takes a bit of time, the content you write will remain valuable for a longer period. As long as it is informative, relevant, and employs the right keyword. You will continue to generate traffic from it.

Guidelines for SEO set by Google Webmaster

The basic guidelines you should follow when considering SEO are:

• Your website should cater to the audience you want to target, search engines will automatically detect it once it does.

• The information you provide should be accurate.

• Don’t go overboard with techniques known to improve rankings. For example, keyword stuffing will not get you the results you need, Google penalizes for it.

• Make the website unique, engaging, and valuable.

What not to do:

• Using plagiarized content.

• Hiding text or links in your content.

• Using link schemes.

• Generating content automatically.

Each search engine has specific guidelines but as Google is the most popular search engine with over 60% of searches online, your website should focus on meeting its guidelines before any other.

Factors that impact SEO

• Content: There are various elements of content that impact SEO such as quality, length, freshness, links used both internally and externally.

• Mobile optimization: The functions well on mobile devices.

• Page speed: The speed at which the site loads, Google recommends it load under 3 seconds.

• Schema code: These allow users and Google to understand the content on the page.

• User experience: From navigation, colors, to how content appears, how a user experiences a website is important to search engines.

So, should you outsource SEO?

This is one question that a lot of law firms contemplate over and it all depends on the expertise and resources of the firm. If you feel you have the resource especially time and willingness to learn then you can learn SEO and implement it on your website. Remember, different factors impact SEO and it is more than just content. The design of the website also plays a vital role.

If you feel that you can’t give SEO time and lack the resources then outsourcing is the way to go. You have numerous digital marketing agencies that provide services that will optimize your website for search engines. But you need to do some homework and be diligent in picking the right agency. For that there are certain questions you need to ask:

• What changes will be made to improve SEO?

• Will you be informed of the changes made?

• Does the agency have references for past clients?

• What techniques and tools are used by the agency to improve SEO?

• How much experience does the firm have with legal websites?

• How do they track SEO and how often will they send reports of their efforts and their impact?

• What is their payment structure?

With all that covered, now all you have to decide is your firm’s approach to SEO. Which should slowly become the main focus of your digital marketing strategy, if it already isn’t.

Martin Vermaak

The Lawyer Marketing Pro Digital Marketing Agency for Lawyers and Law Firms.

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