It is easy to overlook and forget the many factors that go into the world of legal SEO. While there are certainly a number of tactics that remain the same across the board, you may want to make sure that your website is hitting most of them by referring to the following legal SEO checklist:
1. Quick loading is key. If someone is visiting your website, it is because they need legal help or information now. The last thing that want to do is wait unnecessarily. If your website is loading slowly, take some time to figure out why. Something like a flash animation or a live chat window might be bogging down your site. There are many tools available that can help you to speed up the load time of your site (including Google Page Speed Insights and GTMetrix), and your potential clients will appreciate the effort to guarantee efficiency.
2. Create useful content. No one is likely visiting your website while leisurely searching the Internet, so you must provide functional and relevant content for your users. Useful content might include relevant legal articles, pictures of your firm and staff, or even legal facts of the day; you should include anything that keeps visitors on the page to help boost your rankings.
3. Think about usability. Your website is going to be viewed on many different devices, from small phones to dedicated home computers. The key idea then for you should be responsive design. This will allow your device to be viewed with the best possible visibility on devices of all types. As more potential clients continue to use mobile devices for web surfing, you need to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. You should never lose a client just because they cannot access your information from a smartphone, as it may be his or her only way of access to the Internet.
4. Use Social Media – Especially Goolge+. The big social networks are crucial for getting your name out there. If you have not already done so, create a Facebook page for your firm as well as a Twitter account. In terms of SEO, Google+ is also going to be a mandatory part of your business. Remember, Google+ is now the second-largest social network, and it actually requires that users register their user name with their email address. This can provide you with a better chance to stay connected with your clients, and the most recent changes have made the site far more user friendly than in the past. Along with Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, take some time to round out your social media profiles on LinkedIn and Pinterest to help increase your rankings and connect with clients.
5. Optimize your tags. Make sure that the title tags actually identify relevant keywords, and make sure your meta-tags are relevant to the content of your site. This may sound obvious, but title tags are a major part of how Google indexes your site.
6. Put your services first. You might have a dozen pages, but your home page is the first impression for both Google and your clients. Your homepage should have content that lets the world know what services are offered, who offers them, and where they are offered. Speaking of where they are offered, you should also…
7. Add your contact information. Sixty percent of small businesses forget to add their address, phone number, and e-mail address to their website. Those businesses that do add their contact information will see additional traffic to both online and physical locations. Remember, adding your contact information to every page of your website might help you to improve your local SEO rankings.
8. Blogs and Backlinks. You spent three years in law school discussing the theory and impact of the law, and now is the time to put that to use. Maintain a blog to provide rich content to your users, and create a relationship that will allow you to host guest bloggers (and more importantly, be hosted in return). These rich backlinks will help you to create a more robust profile for the search engines to utilize.
9. Client reviews. If your state bar permits it, place customer testimonials on the website. This not only provides copy that will buoy the readability of your site, but the testimonials will help to assure new clients of your past successes. Always remember to make sure that any and all bar-required disclaimers are added to testimonial pages.
10. Improve your social proof with legal badges. Establishing your expertise is a surefire way to reassure clients and to stand out in the crowd. If you want to convert leads, it is always smart to obtain online badges that mark you as an expert in your field. Badges are available on sites like AVVO, Super Lawyers, etc.; make sure that you start accruing them quickly.
11. Use a Content Management System. Your practice is likely always changing, and you need to make sure that your website is conducive to this constant state of transformation. A good Content Management System like WordPress can help you quickly and easily make changes and updates to your sites. The more relevant your information, the more relevant your site.
12. Use Rich Snippets. There are a dozen little things that you can do to differentiate yourself from the pack, and some of them take relatively little time. Small images of your firm, differentiating text, and relevant graphics can set your firm apart when it comes to the world of page rankings.
These tips can help your site to conform to the necessities of not only traditional search engine optimization but specifically to the world of law firm SEO.