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Law Firm SEO Marketing

By April 1, 2019 June 13th, 2019 No Comments

Trends Affecting Your Law Firm SEO Marketing

Changes in search engine marketing have created ranking opportunities for astute and action-oriented law firms.

Here are 6 trends and how to take advantage of them. 

  1. 55% of searchers can’t distinguish between a paid and an unpaid Google listing. This seems hard to believe, until you review this chart showing how much more similar ads are to organic listings now compared to 2007. This statistic also explains why organic search visits declined 11% in 2017.

If you don’t appear organically on Google page one for critical keywords, now is the time to experiment with pay-per-click ads. If its past changes are indicative, Google will only continue to drive more clicks to paid ads and away from unpaid listings. 

  1. 75% of internet use is from smartphones and tablets. Have you examined how your website looks on a phone? A tablet? Do your phone number, lead magnet offer, and free consultation form appear as you want them presented? Is your load speed satisfactory? Does Analytics show that 75% of your responses come from mobile devices? If not, it is time to investigate why and fix the issues. 
  1. Google’s “near me” searches doubled in the last year. These occur when searchers add ‘near me’, ‘nearby’, or ‘nearest’ in their queries. To get your share of these searches, create lots of local business listings, build substantial collections of online reviews, analyze your local rankings and what is holding you back, and add ‘near me’ copy to your web pages. 
  1. Pages with images outrank pages without. Adding a single image to each of your web pages will improve their Google page position. Using more than one image per page will not further enhance the page’s ranking. 
  1. The average first-page result on Google contains 1,890 words. Longer content ranks better. Quality backlinks remain the most important ranking factor, but lengthy content, site load speed, page images, and low bounce rate also make a difference.
  1. Voice searches are currently 40% of all searches. As voice devices proliferate (Google Home, Amazon Echo/Alexa, Google Assistant, iPhone Siri, Android, Microsoft Cortana), voice search volume will continue to explode.

Voice searches are longer and more precise than typed searches, which makes long-tail keywords more important. Hopefully you have been pursuing long keyword phrases for the last couple of years. If not, definitely start now. And focus on the phrases people use when verbally asking a question. This is one more reason to create FAQ pages.

We can help

If better rankings, more leads, and higher conversions are what your law firm needs to accelerate its growth, our online marketing experts are available to work on your behalf.
Talk to one of our digital success managers about your situation, hear our recommendations, and then decide whether our solutions are right for you.
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Keywords

Search engine optimization is all about “rankings.” This is the order that a search engine displays matches to a search term that the user enters. In order to make these matches, the search engine has to visit every page on the Web and scan them for their content. The “Web crawlers” that perform this task don’t copy all of the contents of websites, they just detect keywords that best describe the content. It is the relevance of the keywords in your law firm’s Web pages to the search terms each user enters in a search engine that determines your rankings. Therefore, getting the right keywords in your pages is of primary importance. This week’s SEO Trends roundup looks at advice about keywords that is currently posted on the Moz Blog, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land.

How To Build A Customer-Centric Keyword Strategy

Lawyers are highly educated and work in a very specialized field with its own language. It is often easy to forget that the average person in the street probably wouldn’t define their legal needs in the “legalese” that most lawyers use. Therefore, examine the terms that a potential customer would type into a search engine in order to find a lawyer. This article contains some interesting points about the way ordinary people address search engines. The device people use will influence the structure of their queries – some people just enter keywords, others ask questions. The rising availability of voice search encourages people to ask questions, the difficulty of typing into a smartphone results in short queries. Research the words your customers use when referring to your services.

Keywords on Mobile: Not Comparable to Desktop

When people talk about keywords, they actually mean “key terms” because keywords are usually several words long. “Lawyer” is a keyword and so is “divorce lawyer Maine.” This article expands on the discussion in the above article about short search terms vs long search terms. The writer has done some analysis on the relative success of each group with respect to mobile and desktop access. As more people now perform searches from their mobile device than from their desktop computer, you might have to add shorter terms to your keyword list in order to rank highly for mobile search.

The Rise of Voice Search and Something You Can Do About It

Voice search is a growing phenomenon and complicates the issue of targeting keywords to mobile searchers, because voice search is usually performed on mobile devices. Whereas search terms typed into mobile devices tend to be short, search terms entered through speech recognition tends to be in the form of a question, and therefore, much longer. Researching how your legal practice’s clients access search will help you to develop your keyword strategy towards short or long key terms.

Keyword Research for the Modern Customer Journey

Different legal specializations get different types of customers. Your legal practice probably focuses on a specific type of customer who has a specific set of circumstances. Business managers looking for corporate legal support will search for legal services in a different way to someone who just got hit by a car. This article gives some useful advice on how to research relevant keywords, but it focuses more on searchers who deliberate rather than those who search in a panic.

How To Marry Keywords & Compelling Content: In-Depth & Step By Step

Google keeps changing its methodology on ranking keywords and so a lot of the advice you might read on how to put those keywords onto your pages is out of date. In the old days, you would have been advised to just keep repeating your keywords all the way through your Web pages. That strategy doesn’t work so well any more. Once you have researched a list of keywords that you believe will attract clients to your law firm, read this article on how to integrate those words into your content.

Google Ranking

This week, Google tinkered with its ranking algorithm to promote sites that use encryption for transmissions – systems known as HTTPS and SSL. Although this change won’t alter your law firm’s presentation to the general public, it does offer a way for you to boost your rankings to get ahead of the competition and win more business.

This week’s roundup includes a range of articles that provide tips and tricks to nudge your website up the rankings just enough to put you on the first page of search engine results. Some of these tips from Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land are quite in-depth and you may find them challenging.

Google To Give Secure Sites A Ranking Boost

Search Engine Land explains the SSL rankings boost in this article. “Secure Socket Layer” doesn’t make any difference to how the visitor views your law firm’s Web pages. It only applies to the encryption of the code that makes a Web page while it is in transmission. You probably won’t be posting sensitive data on your website for public viewing and it is doubtful that your law site will process credit card payments, so the benefits of adding SSL to your site may seem negligible. However, if it boosts your rankings, do it.

8 Tools To Effectively Organize Your Link Building Campaigns

You may decide to boost your law practice’s rankings by improving the links into your site. This relatively straightforward strategy can quickly become complicated when you start analyzing volumes of links into rival websites. This article points you in the direction of tools that will help you record, aggregate, analyze and track links benefiting other sites, and those you post to your own site.

How to Win in Organic Search: Tips from Google, Bing and Brands

This Search Engine Watch article summarizes the constantly shifting landscape of search engine optimization. If you are a practice manager with little technical knowledge you will find this article easier to read than the more technical articles included in this roundup. Basically, “organic search” refers to the natural advantages you can gain by designing your site to attract higher rankings. This gives you visibility without having to pay anything to the search engines.

Optimize Your Content For Google News With Google News Publisher Center

This article outlines a nifty trick you could use to gain your law firm visibility on the Web. Rather than only focusing on general Web search results, placing news items, which highlight the successes of your firm, will attract potential clients. If rival law firms overlook this trick, you will win hands down in the rankings race.

Site Speed vs Responsive Design: Which is More Important?

This article discusses a couple of site design issues that may be damaging your rankings. Search engines use a whole range of signals when calculating rankings and the amount of time visitors spend on your site is one of those factors. If your site is not sufficiently appealing or if it does not contain much engaging information, visitors will quickly return to the search engine results and visit the next page in the list. This is called the “bounce rate” and it loses you potential customers for your law firm, plus damages your website’s rankings. However, over-burdening your site with fancy graphics and animation can make it slow to load. No one wants to sit and wait for information to appear in the browser and so this factor will increase your bounce rate as well.

On-Page Ranking Factors: What Really Matters

You have probably already heard that Google uses more than 200 different factors when calculating rankings. Some of these factors relate to links, reviews, and social media mentions – which are off-page signals. The largest category of ranking factors relate to your own site. Some factors are assessed on a site-wide basis and others are judged page by page. In this week’s SEO Trends column, you will find out about those on-page factors that can give your rankings a boost, or pull down your score.

Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch  have a number of articles about on-page ranking factors this week. If you need to boost your law firm’s visibility on Google’s search results pages, this advice could give you the rankings increase you need.

Guide to Google ranking signals – Part 1: on-page factors

Luckily, Search Engine Watch has decided to run a series on ranking factors and the first part of this guide covers on-page signals. The factors they focus on in this guide are all based in HTML, so you will need to get behind the scenes to check whether the pages on your law firm’s website are employing these rankings-boosting techniques. Most Web page editors enable you to switch between the presentational view and the HTML script that generates it. Explore the menu buttons on your editor to find out how to see the HTML and check for the formatting tags that this guide highlights.

Don’t get duped by duplicate content: 8 quick checks for every SEO

Duplicate content can get your law firm’s website downgraded in the rankings by Google. You may not be responsible for this duplication – others may have blatantly copied your content. However, you need to make sure that you do not present the same content more than once. This error may be due to your site architecture. For example, you may decide to make a section about your office available on every practice page – copying the same text onto each page.

Another reason for duplicating content is that you think it is better to let people to click through to a page in the same directory as the page they are currently viewing, so you make copies of the same page and place it in several different directories. Another possible cause of duplication is that you copy a page to edit it and you do not realize that the new version is in a live directory. Audit your site regularly to eradicate duplicate content.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

Five keyword myths you need to forget right now

Keywords are by far the biggest ranking factor on any Web page. They vie with backlinks for the number one spot in importance for ranking each year. Unfortunately, Google keeps changing the way it scores keywords, so a successful strategy that you may have implemented a couple of years back may now be harming your rankings. Take a run through this list of keyword mistakes when you run your next site audit.

5 ways ads are killing your site (& SEO)

If you are running your law firm’s website on a tight budget, you may be tempted to get the site to pay for itself by carrying advertising. The simple guide to this strategy is “don’t do it.” Advertising would harm the credibility of your firm to potential customers regardless of whether it is a good or bad idea for SEO. If you must place adverts on your Web pages keep a very low ad count on each page, don’t put ads at the top of the page, and only carry ads for businesses or organizations that relate to the subject matter of the page.

SEO audit: a complete guide to the basics

You may have noticed a recommendation in previous sections of this report that you should audit your law firm’s site. If you don’t know how to do that, then follow this simple guide provided by Search Engine Land. The guide breaks the SEO audit down into sections and on-page factors from one of the audit categories in this article.

How Internal Linking Can Boost Your Rankings

There are many SEO experts that like to dazzle clients with the information that there are hundreds of ranking factors that Google takes into consideration. That is true. However, the contribution that most of those factors add to a ranking is tiny. The big hitters are still the original ones – keywords and links. Over the years, Google has changed the way it processes these two factors, but they are still the main reasons that pages get to the top of search engine results pages. The layout of your site, the pages you attract visitors into and the way you connect the pages of your site together can enhance the points you get from backlinks pointing into your site.

The topic of this week’s SEO Trends report concerns how you help people circulate around your law firm’s site and how that menu structure can boost your rankings. You will hear from the Moz Blog, Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Watch,   Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Land.

Boost Your SEO With Internal Linking

This article covers the crux of the issue of getting better rankings for your site with internal links on all your pages. The key take-away from this is always link to all your pages. Forgetting about secret pages or pages that are under construction, every page on your law firm’s site should be reachable through the menu structure. Wherever possible, have a link to all your important pages directly on your Home page and always have a link back to the Home page on each page. The author of this Search Engine Journal report recommends 10-15 links on each page. Don’t do that. Every link on a page gets a share of that page’s ranking passed on to it. So by keeping the number down, each link carries a larger ranking. As one of the links on each page points to the Home page, that means that the Home page acquires more and more ranking, creating a ranking feedback loop, which will push it up the results pages.

Is an internal linking strategy paying off for Mail Online?

Although this report explains the strategy of a British newspaper’s website, it explains a technique that you should copy for your law firm’s site. You don’t want to overcrowd your Home page with links, but you do want people to get quickly to the area of your practice that interests them. Thus you create hub pages that group together all pages that cover a particular topic. The advantage of that is the hub page becomes a mini Home page. This also gives it the look and feel of a landing page, which attracts in links from other sites. Thus, the hub page starts to attract links rather than individual pages. You need to accumulate as many ranking points on a small number of pages to make them representatives for your law firm. Small rankings on a lot of pages don’t accumulate and don’t make those pages visible. You can direct visitors on to specific pages once they arrive at your site.

The perfect local SEO landing page

Developing that hub page concept, this article explains how pages on your site can become landing pages. A landing page should be a little like a Home page. It would be ideal for the surfer to hit straight onto an article that tells them all that they think they want to know. However, it is better to invite them onto a hub page instead. This article explains how to use hub pages as landing pages to attract local searchers for different office locations. However, the same formula can be implemented for different practice areas of your law firm.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

Google: There Is No Penalty For Not Linking Out Externally

Remember that every link on a page gets an equal share of ranking points. Therefore, you don’t want to share those points out with other sites. External links sap the ranking points that you could better use to boost the ranking of your law firm’s website Home and hub pages. A lot of SEO consultants tell you to put on that external link, but make it a nofollow, then you won’t lose ranking points. That is not true. Googlebots still divide the ranking points out equally and give the external link its share. However, if there is a nofollow on that link, it won’t pass on those points to the other site, but they are still lost to your site. The original maxim of website design was that every site has to have at least one external link pointing in to it and at least one link pointing out to another site. The news in this article explains that you no longer have to have any external forward links on your site. So remove them wherever possible.

Predicting Intent: What Unnatural Outbound Link Penalties Could Mean for the Future of SEO

This Moz Blog piece highlights another new trend in Google’s treatment of forward links. Google’s Penguin algorithm will give a penalty to your law firm’s site if another site, which is deemed to be spammy has a link pointing into your site. Now, it seems, you can get a penalty if you have a forward link on your site that is deemed to be of low quality.

This is currently being applied as a manual penalty. But it may well be that Google is delaying the release of Penguin 4.0 because it is trying to formulate these decisions into an automatic penalty. So, there is a lot of risk in forward links these days. It would be better to remove as many external forward links from your law firm’s site because the decision on whether a link is “unnatural” can be hit and miss, resulting in innocent sites getting penalties.

Results Page Visibility

Google offers opportunities to make your law firm more noticeable on its results pages than your rivals. The Knowledge Graph is the main method that the search engine offers to help you increase the visibility of your firm on Google. The Knowledge Graph is a database of facts about people, places, businesses and events and the links between them. Google has been using this database as a contributing factor towards its ranking algorithm since May 2012. The Knowledge Graph also provides a quick answer box at the top of search results and it is used to provide answers in Google Now, which is a speech-based search system. Getting your business into Knowledge Graph will give you a great advantage in visibility. The search engine pulls data for this database from Wikipedia, Google+, YouTube, official company Home pages and government sites. Search Engine Land, Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Journal have news on Knowledge Graph. You will also read a few other tips on search engine visibility with information from Search Engine Watch.

Google Encouraging Business Owners to Keep Knowledge Graph Info Up-to-Date

There is no definitive list of the sources that Google uses to assemble Knowledge Graph data. However, Knowledge Graph answer boxes on search results pages do include the source of their information. So, gradually, a list of sources is being revealed. In this article, the example information used for illustration was extracted from LinkedIn. If you use Google Chrome and you have it logged in to a Gmail account, Google’s search pages can detect your relationship to any information source associated with that Gmail account. Google now prompts the visitors it can link to source information to check and update the Knowledge Graph information on them or their business. So, using Chrome and having your law firm’s primary Gmail account activated in your browser’s settings will help you retrieve any data that Google has on your firm in its Knowledge Graph. Search Engine Roundtable has a very similar article — Google Knowledge Graph Edits By Owner Happen Quickly, which shows an example of information sourced from Google+.

A Layman’s Visual Guide To Google’s Knowledge Graph Search API

This article offers another way to get to see what is in the Knowledge Graph. Unfortunately, it is very technical. You can access the Knowledge Graph through Google’s API Explorer. The results this application returns are in the JSON-LD markup language, which looks like a computer program. The writer explains how to use applications to interpret this code into a visual representation. However, the whole process is very involved, so you should reserve some time when you are not working on your legal caseload to concentrate on this complicated task.

How to capitalize on Voice Search and the death of the keyboard

In our predictions for 2016 we highlighted that the next hardware move in search engine access is probably going to be towards smart watches. These small gadgets do not have room for a keyboard, and so voice search is an essential part of that move. Google Now sources Knowledge Graph for its answers. That shows that getting details of your law firm into the Knowledge Graph is important, because that will get you ahead of the game for voice search.

Bidding for top position on a SERP: what does it get you?

If your law firm is new and/or has a new website, you may struggle to get onto the first page of Google’s search results. Getting up into the top three is generally believed to be make-or-break in a website’s visibility. You can shortcut the SEO process by simply paying for top position on Google’s results. One problem with that strategy is that paying for first place can be very expensive. There are other options available for your pay-per-click budget – paying to appear in a side bar, or getting your link onto Google’s partner network. Both of those options are cheaper than paying for top position in Google’s results. This article shows that getting the top position is way more beneficial than getting your link in a side column of Google’s results pages, or just on a partner page.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

5 Simple Strategies To Improve Your Blog’s Search Rankings

This article explains the standard SEO strategies that everyone needs to go through to get to the top of search engine results. This is the sweat-equity route you would have to walk if you don’t have a paid search budget for your law firm, or you can’t get into Knowledge Graph. You will see that this involves a lot of work. You should decide whether the savings you make on avoiding paying for your position warrants all the hours this task will occupy – taking you away from your core purpose of serving clients.

Ranking Boosters

Search engine optimization is all about getting to the top of search engine results pages by boosting the rankings of each of the Web pages on your site. So, to write an SEO Report on ranking boosters seems to be a tautology.

However, some advice is explicitly directed at getting your rankings increased whereas other fields will obliquely cover the topic (link building, social media signals, authority, etc). This week the SEO news sites are filling up with straight out, in-your-face ranking booster advice, and you need to know this information for your law firm’s SEO strategy. So here are some interesting articles currently appearing in  Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Land, and Search Engine Watch.

Google Traffic Soars After SEO Drops Links From Disavow File

This week’s roundup starts off with a technical aspect of SEO, which concerns a site’s disavow file. You may not have one of those for your law firm’s website, and if you don’t you should look into the topic. You can’t control which sites link into your site’s pages. However, the Penguin filter of Google’s ranking algorithm penalizes sites for having “smammy” backlinks, that is, links pointing to your pages that break one or many of Google’s rules. As you have no control over the sites that point to you, Google invented the disavow file. In this, you signal the links that you do not welcome. When Google’s computers read this list they will not count the links contained within. However, as this story highlights, you should be careful about which lists you link in your disavow file, because some of them might actually be good ones that boost your rankings. Audit your disavow file and see whether removing links from the blacklist boosts your rankings.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

Google Search Will Integrate AMP Pages In Feb. 2016, May Get Ranking Boost

“AMP” stands for “accelerated mobile pages” and it is a way to write pages specifically for mobile devices that makes them faster to load. You probably don’t use AMP if you got your law firm’s Web pages designed for a laptop and then converted. Consider looking for a Web page builder that specifically produces mobile-compatible versions in the first place and check that it uses AMP. When the wind changes in February, your AMP’d pages may get boosted up the rankings.

Exploring the correlation between social media and search rankings

Everybody tells you that “social signals” boost SERPs rankings, but what exactly does that mean? What aspects of social media will get your rankings a boost? How much of a boost? This article covers the various social media outlets and explains which of them will give a boost to your rankings and how. If you have been wondering about how to implement a social media strategy for your law firm, this article will point you in the right direction.

How to completely dominate Google’s first page

Well, this title pretty much says it all. It’s one of those “the only SEO article you will ever need to read” headlines, because if this article delivers on its title, you will be able to spend an awful lot of time that you would otherwise have wasted reading around the topic of SEO. However, this is a very credible piece on how to get to the top and push your competition down below number 5 on the page – which the author points out is enough for almost complete domination. This is a long piece with lots of different strategies in it, including PPC and review site usage. Other than poisoning the Webmasters of all the rival lawyers in your area, this advice is probably your best hope of being the only lawyer on page 1.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

How links could be online marketing’s most important KPI in 2016

Links, along with keywords, were one of the two main areas of ranking factors in the original Google algorithm. Many, many, many SEO know-it-alls will tell you that links are no longer important. Well, they are wrong. Links never went away as a ranking factor and ranking analysis over recent years shows that they are actually becoming more important. This article covers the influence of links and how to master them to boost your rankings.

Remember, you will also need a disavow file to prevent links dragging your law firm’s rankings down.

 Ranking Factors

Two important surveys of ranking factors were published this week. The first was the SMX 2015 SEO Ranking Factors and the other was the Moz 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey. Both the global and local search studies had similar outcomes. This week we read through assessments on Search Engine Journal and the Moz Blog about these new reports and get some ranking enhancement tips from Search Engine Watch,Search Engine Land and Search Engine Roundtable.

8 Actionable Takeaways from the 2015 SEO Ranking Factors

The main report on ranking factors that came out this week was compiled by experts at the SMX conference. User Experience came out as the top factor. This category of Web page attribute is hard to define. Roughly speaking, if your law firm’s website doesn’t have dead links, Christmas tree music, or garish colors, it probably ranks pretty high for UX. User experience is one of the races that is yours to lose. In line with other recent ranking factors reports, back links make the list again. In this survey, the stress is on links from news sites as a hot ranking winner. Another surprising list member concerns keywords. Google’s derivation of synonyms for the frequently used terms on a page was generally believed to mark the end of slavish keyword insertions. However, these results show that practice is still important.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

Announcing the 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors Results

Moz has a different angle for its survey and it lists categories by technical factors, rather than by visitor usage, so the two reports are not directly comparable. However, a glaring statistic is that back links very nearly make it to the top of the list of the most important ranking factors for local search. This survey is useful material when planning your law firm’s local digital marketing strategy.

Google: There Isn’t An SEO Advantage To Linking Externally

Search Engine Roundtable has some interesting information on the power of forward links to improve rankings – they have none at all. Links to trade bodies and useful information may win your site booster points for user experience, however, so if your law firm’s site has very few links on its pages and they point to authoritative bodies, leave them on – getting those top notch sites to link to your pages, though, is a much more worthwhile exercise.

Identifying & Capitalizing On “Link Inefficiencies” In Your Link Building

Search Engine Land has some advice on maximizing the attraction of your link bait content. If you have some great articles on your law firm’s site that hardly anyone ever visits, you have two possible failures that you need to correct. First, your site’s navigation system is not making that great page accessible. In this instance, you should stick a link through to your prized content on the home page to shortcut the navigation structure. Secondly, you need to make the owners and operators of other websites aware that you have that great article for them to read. You need to push your key pages, not just sit back and hope people notice it.

10 Ways to Improve Your Link Building Efforts

This Search Engine Watch article basically boils down to three key pieces of advice for link building. The first is to trace the sources of backlinks pointing to the sites of your law firm’s competitors. The second is to call the webmasters of those sites to convince them to carry a link to you, and the third is to make sure you have attractive content that targets your audience and explains what you know best.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

Why Keywords Can Still Drive Architecture and Content

According to the two SEO studies, keyword strategies are not dead, despite rumors to the contrary. Take an audit of the keywords on your law firm’s website and use this article as a guide to keyword targeting whenever you write new killer content.

There are so many branches of digital marketing that it is often possible to forget all about search engine optimization. SEO is all about getting your rankings up on search engines so you appear on the first page of results. If your law firm’s website does not appear until page 2 you can probably wave goodbye to anyone finding your firm through a search engine. Most searchers rarely go beyond the first page of search engine results. Search engines are a free source of advertising, so if you aren’t getting a worthwhile position on Google and Bing for keywords relating to your legal practice, it is worth looking at ways to fix that problem.

We have a reading list this week that can help you tweak your site to improve its rankings on search engine results pages.  This selection of advice comes from Search Engine Land , Search Engine Watch, and Search Engine Journal.

How to Use Google RankBrain in SEO

Taken to extremes, keyword stuffing produces unreadable content. Given that keywords and links are still the two most important elements of Google’s ranking algorithm, you might be tempted to stuff your law firm’s website full of the search terms you want to rank for. However, that doesn’t work any more. In fact, the influence of RankBrain will drag down your rankings, so you should look through your site and rewrite any pages where it seems that good advice in the past encouraged you to overdo those keywords. Diversifying keyword use is now the winning strategy and this article explains how you can improve your rankings without spending a dime.

How Google fights webspam and what you need to learn from this

If you have implemented all the rank boosting tricks you can research and your law firm still isn’t rising up the search results page, it could be that you have implemented one of the tricks that Google punishes. Google has two ways of downgrading poor quality pages. First off, you won’t get a good ranking out of the standard algorithm if you haven’t pleased Google. That task also includes not irritating Google, as well, because some of the suite of ranking programs deduct points. Another avenue that Google treads is manual penalties. You will know if you have been hit by one of these because you will receive a notification. This article outlines the factors that will lose you ranking points.

Performing a manual backlink audit, step by step

One of the most annoying animals in Google’s ranking algorithm zoo is the penguin. Google’s periodic adjustments of rankings are caused by filters, and they have animal names. Penguin penalizes the links that point into a site. As you have no control over the links that other people put on their sites pointing to your law firm’s site you can imagine how seemingly unfair Penguin is. Therefore, you should periodically review the backlinks into your site and notify Google that you do not welcome the bad ones. This article explains the process.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

Do bounce rates affect a site’s search engine ranking?

This Search Engine Watch article has a surprising answer to the question in its title. Bounce rates are not a ranking factor, according to Google’s Andrey Lipattsev. Until today, most SEO consultants would have told you that they do. The bounce rate is the length of time that people spend on your site. A high bounce rate is bad because it is a count of the number of people that leave within a few seconds of arriving at the site. However, the bounce rate is still something worth monitoring because it is indicative of the usability of your site’s design and the usefulness of its content. Those factors will get assessed by Google when they are calculating your law firm’s search results ranking.

Get Value From Rankings: They Could be Temporary!

The title of this article is a little misleading. It is based around a report that discovered that none of the top rankers from seven years ago still do so well. Given all that has happened in the world of SEO over the last few years, that would be no surprise. However, the article does raise an important point. You can’t rest on your laurels. That is why SEO Trends sometimes revisits the bare topic of rankings, because it is a constantly changing landscape. While you are working on providing your law firm’s site with all the signals it needs to rank well in local search, you may find that spammy links have earned you a penalty that all the good work you did cannot overcome. So SEO involves touching base periodically with all of the ranking factors that you hope will get you up to the number one slot when anyone searches for a lawyer in your neighborhood.

Winning with Low Rankings

Search engine optimization aims to get the number one position on search engine results pages for searches that hit a particular keyword. All performance statistics show that few people bother to look beyond the first page of results. However, not every lawyer can be number one in the results, and logically, only three can be in the top three, and yet there are more than three law firms with a website operating in your practice specialization in your town, and they all seem to get work. If your law firm’s Web pages do not get into the top slots, don’t despair. There are still ways entries lower down the results pages can attract click throughs. Here are tips from Search Engine Watch, the Bruce Clay Blog, Search Engine Roundtable and Inside Search.

Do you have to come first in search anymore?
This article highlights two very important problems when dealing with SEO advice. It quotes a study on user behavior that was released last year. Some studies are conducted over the course of a year, in which case, by the time they are released, the behavior they observed may already be out of date. If you see references to that study a year later, you are looking at data that could be two years out of date. The second point about SEO is that Google changes its strategy almost every month. In this example, the ability to put images in your law firm’s search engine results page entry could well draw users away from unillustrated “top three” entries. This facility is new, so studies that show most people only click on the top three may already be wrong. Focusing on rich snippets could be a better use of your digital marketing budget than aiming to get your rankings up.

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Millennial Expectations and Search Behavior Trends with Google’s Gary Illyes
Google’s research into user behavior shows that younger people are too impatient to wait for a page to load. The raging debate over whether to present sophisticated graphics on a site or just get something that loads quickly is leaning towards loading speed as the most important aspect of Web design. Although the top three entries in search results get the most clicks, that doesn’t necessarily mean anyone stays on those pages for long, or buys anything on them. Pages with lower rankings can benefit if they are quick to load and the pages with higher rankings are slow. This phenomenon is particularly notable with mobile search. Paralegals need to have faster loading pages if they tend to attract emergency work. Corporate law firms can probably get away with slower loading pages.

Google’s AMP project: what will be the impact on publishers?
Google has announced a new service to improve the load times of pages accessed through mobile devices. This is called Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP. It is important that you get in on this scheme for your law firm’s website because not only will it give you an edge over higher ranking sites by improving your loading speeds, but Google says it will bump up the rankings of websites that participate. In this article, Search Engine Watch guest writer and digital marketer, Kenny Chung explains the topic. In this illustration, you can see how the author applied AMP to his WordPress blog with little more than a few clicks.

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages Project : Will It Last?
AMP is a very intensively technical topic. Probably the most tech-orientated SEO site we include here on the SEO Trends reading list is Search Engine Roundtable. So, here is editor Barry Schwartz’s take on AMP. Surprisingly, Schwartz seems a lot less impressed by AMP than Chung. In this short article on the topic, Schwartz raises the point that many publishers might not bother to invest in the new technology. The implication with that scenario is that Google may end up dropping the benefits of AMP from its ranking algorithm. If the big sites decide not to implement the new system, then smaller law firms will benefit from it, if they only have to follow Chung’s example in order to get AMP-activated.

Download our free guide and learn about the importance of key performance indicators (KPIs)

Accelerated Mobile Pages in Search
Here is Google’s original post on the topic of AMP, which is the basis of both the Chung article and the Schwartz post. This won’t add much to your understanding of AMP, but as a lawyer, you probably already know that it is always better to go to the original source of a story.

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