Sam Esmail, creator of the television series Mr Robot, stated that the next world war won’t be fought with nukes, but with information, economics and corporate warfare. While the world awaits the occurrence of a cyber warfare on such grand scale as Mr Esmail predicts, today corporate warfare is being fought daily from comfy sofas and roomy offices across the globe.
Thanks to such inventions as electronic devices and the internet, with the push of a button you can obtain professional legal advice that you need to successfully indict that hard-headed neighbor of yours who constantly blocks your driveway or visit a Law-firm’s website to talk to and hire a legal practitioner to take care of that DUI you got booked for.
In fact, it is estimated that 96% of people seeking legal advice use a search engine like ‘Google search’ and ‘Bing’ – a trend that has given rise to the need for Law-firms to invest heavily into their websites and hire specialists called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Attorneys experts, that work on increasing their awareness, because websites that show up at the top of a search result draws more visitors and more visitors translate into more clients.
Search Engine Optimization For Attorneys
The services that SEO for Attorney expert provides parallels that of conventional SEO with some exceptions: firstly, the difference in target users; secondly, the extra caution that is required; and, thirdly, the difference in keywords.
A Search Engine Optimization Expert is responsible for boosting a website, webpage or its content on a search engine’s unpaid or paid results. The main objective of an SEO expert is to make sure a website appears first or among the top search results that is displayed when a related subject is searched. He studies meticulously how a search engine works, what people search for, the keywords they use and which search engine is preferred by a targeted audience, then tailors this information as he modifies a website or a section of the website to increase its relevance and as such, its position when the aforementioned parameters match.
Pretty straightforward yeah? Well, if your Law-Firm is the only practicing Law-Firm in the City. However, this is not always the case. The presence of a competition means that an SEO expert has to battle other hired whip smart Attorney’s SEO experts all vying for the same dominant position in a never halt, never stop warfare. Even when you succeed in actively displacing whoever was in the top spot, you are required to keep at vigorously defending your throne, because that sore competitor you
dethroned will be gunning for your downfall.
Another reason why the job of a SEO for Attorney expert is an extremely laborious one is because nothing stays constant, search engines modify algorithms that rank websites way too often. They do this to keep the competition alive and make it very challenging for a single Law-Firm to monopolize the industry with SEO. It means an expert will have to patiently try out different tactics to get a higher position in search results.
Then, there are the ever-fluctuating regulations, some credible, some outright ridiculous. A SEO for Attorney expert must make time and effort to continuously learn and implement such new rules to achieve a successful marketing campaign. They also have to compete with annoying aggregator sites which are websites or software programs that pull together a specific type of information from multiple online sources. More about aggregators
will be discussed below, just picture them as little cousins to a Search Engine.
Lastly, the time factor doesn’t do any justice to the culture, results
do not reflect right away, sometimes it takes as much as 5 to 6 months to see any noticeable result. This requires patience from experts and their clients.
Do your law firm really need to seek a SEO for attorney consultancy firm, considering you have just upgraded your website into a modernized, mobile friendly, interactive media with lots of tweaks here and there? The answer is yes. The likely reason you have invested in a website and allocated more on modifying it, is proof that you want an increase in the number of clients you presently yield.
Guess what, your competitors want exactly the same thing and they are hiring SEO professionals to help nudge them ahead leaving you behind. SEOing your Law firm’s website is a means of maximizing any already spent capital.
Also noteworthy is the mammoth responsibility involved in optimizing and marketing a law-firm’s website for more traffic. A duty more massive than the type of task you assign to the IT guy on the office floor, let alone taking it on as a DIY project. The fact that law practitioners must maintain a glass-like ethical conduct constantly to remain licensed to practice is a third reason why you need a qualified SEO for lawyer personnel. The world of a SEO expert is a far cry from the obligatory spotless demeanor required of lawyers. SEO experts sometimes get their hands dirty which is not a bother for them as it is for you who is required to uphold the law.
However, caution is critical when selecting an SEO for attorney service-man. Because, with little or no defined certificate validation structure, any feckless con-man can claim the title of an SEO expert, wave around an amateurish approach as the real deal and end up getting you into legal trouble.
A genuine SEO for Attorney marketing firm is, more than anything, more mindful of the pitfalls of any strategy employed than of the overall success of their operation. This saves you the unnecessary troubles of having to exhaust time and money defending an avoidable court case with your competitors. They are bonded and therefore operate whatsoever by the same ethics that lawyers strictly adhere to. They have a glowing reputation that precedes them by miles and will not resort to shrouding their techniques, making SEOing look like a 21st century mystery. Some of the operations required for a successful SEO for attorney campaign are listed below. This is to familiarize attorneys with the practice and help them avoid malicious imposters who try to make money off ignorant attorneys.
Attorney SEO Marketing
How it was done
Three years ago, the job of an SEO expert use to be relatively easy. Search engine algorithms were comparatively primitive, content didn’t really matter, they only had to scan through for websites that include in them the keywords or search phrase entered in by a user into the search bar. The outcome is indexed and then compared with data from other similar websites. Results were then arranged in a descending order favoring the website with the highest frequency, it appears first with runner ups filing-in respectively.
To illustrate, suppose a user wants relevant information about beating a DUI. He navigates to google search home page and types in: ‘Beating a DUI arrest’ on the search bar and hits the enter key.
1. The search engine begins to scan through its archive for websites that contains three keywords
- a. Beating
- b. DUI and
- c. Arrest,
the lot are then saved.
2. Next it returns to individual website content to count how many times these keywords appear in them and rearranges them in descending order placing the one with the highest frequency in first position on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
Over the time lazy and greedy so-called SEO experts made it a habit of stuffing their websites with repetitive keywords and common search phrases to reach the top spot. The websites need not have a meaningful content, just loads of keywords. For instance, A cunning SEO expert will have
- ‘DUI arrest’,
- ‘Beating DUI’,
- ‘Beating a DUI’,
- ‘Overcoming DUI’,
- ‘Escaping DUI’,
- ‘Break from a DUI’,
- ‘Avoid a DUI’,
- ‘DUI avoidance’ etc. on his website.
With the repetitive occurrence of the keyword “DUI”, his website has a sizable chance of scoring number one.
So, what happens when a user sees the returned search results? He clicks on the first link and sees nothing but lots of tags and keywords without any useful information. He returns to the SERP to try the second ranked website and finds the same gibberish, in the end he is frustrated and abandons the search engine altogether.
Search engine administrators had to act to turn things around. First, they clamped down on websites that stuff keywords and penalized them by flagging them off from the search engine archives. Then they altered the principles used and modified algorithms to set forth a fresh SEO method that focused on content instead of keywords.
Local SEO For Attorneys
Basically, the present-day practice of marketing a Law firm on the internet is an equally important two-phased game-plan that pairs off like two sides of a coin to improve your search engine ranking. The first is termed On-page SEO and it refers to the modifications that are made on your law-firm’s website to make it right on the money for people who will be visiting your site.
The second is called Off-page SEO this is a term used for operations that will be carried out outside the webpage to grow its popularity. Simply put, On-page SEO is improving the quality of your website while Off-page SEO is increasing the quantity of guests that will visit your webpage. Both phases are uniformly vital for a win. This is because search engines analyze both quality (webpage content) and quantity (web page popularity), factors and compares them to similar websites when gauging a proper position for your website in a list of search results.
There are two main objectives of on-page SEO; first, it maximizes the intuitiveness of a webpage and makes it easy for users to navigate through; and, second, it improves the general essence of the webpage with direct-hit contents.
Some Attorney Search Engine Optimization professionals inject ready-made SEO friendly blocks of code that improves the overall reachability of your website. If on-page SEO is properly done, search engines will easily find your webpage, understand the overall essence of your website, navigate through the framework and content of the website smoothly, and rank your website appropriately. A number of features are revamped, some of them are listed below:
1.The title tags
The importance of your website’s title tag cannot be overemphasized. It is a decisive element for both man and machine. Consider these functions of the title tag:
- It is the identity or title of the website or webpage next to the domain name when your website is shared on social networks.
- It is the information displayed on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) that a user sees and decides to click or visit that page.
- For SEO it serves as a placeholder for important keywords or search phrases that will catch the attention of potential clients.
- For web browsers it is projected on the top of a tab to help the user navigate adequately between many opened tabs.
- Search engines scan through the title tag to understand what a page is about.
Choosing an authentic and concise title tag can make a world of difference on your websites ranking on a SERP. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a title tag for your page:-
Understanding the correct character length of a good title tag is tricky. This is because search engine does not restrict or penalize you for using a lengthy title tag. However, it is often best to keep the title length as few as possible. Search engines have a limited number of characters that can be displayed at a time (50-60 characters) on the SERP. If your title exceeds the specified character length, then the rest is cut off and replaced with a set of dots (…) indicating an ellipsis.
Furthermore, search engines sometimes append your brand name to the displayed title when it is laid out on the SERP thereby further increasing its overall length. The negative effect of this is you could lose some keywords you hoped will catch the interest of prospective clients when the words are reduced by the search engine.
All the same, long detailed titles are beneficial when your webpage is shared on social networks, but it is important to consider how your title tag appears on a SERP.
b. Avoid keyword stuffing
In modern SEO, keywords stuffing is regarded a taboo. Search engine algorithms have evolved so well that they can detect synonyms, acronyms and stemming. So rewriting DUI into Driving Under the Influence or using beat as a keyword just after using the word defeat will only get your website into lots of trouble with search engines.
Avoid repeating keywords or any sort of its variation, besides it will rub the wrong way on users if they at all find your page. Instead of stuffing keywords in a single section of your webpage, here are some places you can use the same keyword appropriately and will not be counted against you as keyword stuffing:
- A. The URL of the page
- B. The page titles
- C. The h1 tag
- D. 1 image title
- E. 1 image alt text
- F. A couple of times throughout the content of your page.
c. New page new title
Unique titles appeal to users and drive higher click-through rates. They also help search engines understand that your content is unique and useful. A conventional format for naming a title tag is:
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
E.g. How to win a contract dispute – Civil cases | Croma LLP
Avoid vague titles with customary keywords like ‘First-page’ or ‘Index-page’. They make things complicated for both search engines and users to comprehend.
A properly organized webpage contains a sizeable number of headings and subheadings. They are the largest words on the page and have always been a major ranking factor for search engines. They are also the second most visible thing a visitor sees on a webpage; the first are images.
There are six (6) heading styles in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) which is the language used to create most web pages. They vary from h1 to h6, with h1 being the largest and h6 being the smallest. Here are some best practices to follow for a good heading: –
Be sure to use only a single h1 heading on a webpage
Search engines are obsessed with h1 headings. It is easier and faster for a search engine to read through your h1 heading to understand the material of your webpage than for it to scan through the whole content available on the webpage. Using two or more h1 headings saturates the subject matter of your webpage and will be counterproductive.
The largest heading (h1) on your webpage should be a carbon copy of the title tag you used for the webpage
If your title tag is mismatched with your h1 heading, it becomes a deceptive signpost that troubles your users. Imagine a fellow looking frantically for the washroom in a building, he finds a door with the sign “WASHROOM” on it and goes through the door, only to discover it is, in fact, a kitchen. Your Title tag should bait users while your h1 heading should hold them on the page. They should heave a sigh of relief when they read your heading as though they’ve found what they’ve been looking for.
Avoid lengthy H1
Although your H1 heading is supposed to enforce what your title tag states, you should avoid making it unduly lengthy. A heading with few well-chosen words that packs a punch will suffice more than a lengthy one with very little substance. You should avoid repeating keywords for the purpose of elongating your header. A 30-50 character h1 heading is sufficiently good.
Ever since search engines refashioned the quintessence of online marketing from the keyword paradise it used to be into a content-driven affair, Google especially have taken effort to ensure that your audience, besides anything else, decides what position on the SERP your webpage fits into. Delivering what actually interests people is what gives your webpage a ranking boost. This includes the images you choose to charm your visitors when they visit your webpage. More importantly, images hold an appetizing snack for search engines; the alternative text for images commonly known as “alt text”. Although not visible to the average user, alt texts are used in a number of important ways:
- Screen reader software use them to help internet users who are visually impaired to understand the content of your images.
- Search engines usually scour through the alt text of images on your webpage for hints that will help it decipher what is being communicated on the webpage. Adding keywords to the alt text is a good SEO practice.
- In the event of slow internet service, browsers are programed to display the alt text in place of the image, to give a user the idea of what is supposedly meant to fill up the empty image placeholder.
- It is crucial that you come up with unique images that fittingly complement the content of your webpage. You should also use alt text with just the right keywords to improve the quality of your website.
4. Loading speed
SEO has a zero tolerance for slow websites. This is because people have little patience to wait for your website to slowly load up. They move on after about 8 seconds of delay. Furthermore, a search engine prides itself on the speed at which its SERP is compiled and displayed on google search. For example, the time taken to return a search result is often
displayed at the top of the SERP. If your page is slow it will be replaced by a faster page. Listed below are some suggestions you can follow to increase your load time speed.
a. Compress images
When a website loads up at a snail’s pace, 95% of the time images are responsible. They are usually the heaviest element on the webpage, and should be compressed to increase the page load speed. There are online tools that enable you to compress images without compromising on the quality of the image.
b. Make use of a Cache Memory:
Cache Memory or temporary memory is a small-sized computer memory, where frequently used data are stored to increase the speed of the computer. With a few blocks of code, you can command a browser to download images into a user’s machine and save them in the cache memory for a period of time. This will enable your website to load up faster next time he or she visits your webpage.
5. Useful content
The main features of modern SEO go beyond filling your website with valueless content. Google have over the years continued to improve their algorithm through feedback, polls and other methods. They collect and process data that signals the level of user satisfaction a user derives after visiting your website. Are they returning to the SERP and clicking on other results, or are they finding the answers they are searching for on your website? How much time do they spend on your website? Etc.
Moreover, people want to trust a website offering legal advice and they depend on the content you provide them. Original content – in the form of images, videos or text – that is satisfying to clients will go a long way to gain your visitors credence, which in turn reflects well on your websites ranking. It needs to be specific, easy to read, and should match the page-title. Using your webpage’s keyword in your content a couple of times is also encouraged.
6. Internal Networking Structure
Networking your site with internal links is a time-consuming task and can get problematic if not properly done. However, when adequately done, they can transform your website into a detailed street map that impresses your users. It makes navigating through your webpages a cakewalk and will keep them going around your website longer. That is how you claim a stay on Google’s VIP list of websites. For search engine bots, internal anchor links serve as rubber walls that bounce them around when they crawl into your website so they stay on your site and pick up on everything your website contains. This is an efficient SEO tactic because search engines cleverly archive web pages with data or information that works for future reference.
An example is Wikipedia. Open any Wikipedia page A and you will find anchor links (text in blue colors) that takes you to a page B that usually contains explanations to the colored text on page A. On page B, there are links that take you to a third page C and another that returns you to page A. When a search engine bot enters a page A, it is bounced into page B, from page B to C and back to A. Through its exploration it picks up on some other keywords (data and information) and archives them. When
another user tries to search for one of such archived keywords, it goes ‘oh I’ve heard that before!’ and fetches Wikipedia for the user. This gives the website automatic priority on SERP.
Internal networking is simply implemented by using anchor tag on a text or media that will transport the user to a different but related page when clicked. Every web page should have text content that can be used to link other pages. Be mindful not to convert every text on the webpage into links, that would only chase off your visitors.
7. Optimize for mobile devices
Mobile devices and mobile apps is revolutionizing 2018 SEO methods. There are officially more mobile phones and tablets in the world today than humans. It is estimated that 7.22 billion gadgets are actively used today and this number is growing five times faster than do we, with the human population still at 7.19 billion. This interesting find puts into perspective the value of optimizing your webpage for a mobile-friendly experience.
The term mobile devices go beyond mobile phones and tablets. They include smart speakers and headphones inbuilt with search commands that are speedily becoming a smash. There are scattered tips on the internet that teaches you how to optimize your website for voice search.
Off-Page SEO and Local SEO
Polishing and oiling a website alone will not drive your SEO goal just as possessing the finest seeds does not necessarily guarantee a farmer the abundant harvest he so desires. Among others, a farmer’s bountiful harvest depends on three things: good seeds, a fertile or quality soil and the method he chooses to disperse his prized seeds. This parallels with attorney search engine marketing. Like the fine seeds your website will need to be dispersed or distributed online – around the web via backlinks – and offline to enforce the authority of your domain name. The quantity of backlinks dispersed matters.
However, what matters more is the quality of the link, in this sense, where is the link coming from, a dainty traveler’s blogging website or a renowned website like the Washington Post? Links from renowned sources are given higher priority.
There is no definite footprint that defines how local SEO for attorneys is done. A SEO expert will have to be highly creative and hard-working to reap positively.
External links, backlinks or inbound links are links directed to your website from another website or webpage. There are numerous ways to generate backlinks some are listed below:
Social Networking websites: Create accounts on Facebook, Google plus, Twitter, Snapchat etc. From time to time copy-paste title links from your webpage on these accounts.
Engage in multiple online forums such as Quora, Expertlaw, Legaljunkies etc associated with legal matters. When questions you have answers to on your website are asked, leverage the opportunity and direct them to your website. You can also scan through these forums to pick up on unanswered yet popular questions, make research about them and answer them on your website. Then direct people to the answers through links on the online forum.
Google favors aggregators, the reason being the internal links on these sites. Instead of trying to compete with aggregators, you could simply join them, then immaculately polish your profile to rank on top. That way you will come on top when a user search matches the services you offer.
Guest blogging works both ways 1. You write blog contents on other websites whether it is online forums, social networking sites or just a friend’s blogpost, and placing links in those contents that return people to your webpage 2. You invite or pay reputable persons to make a contribution on a content material published on your website in form of a blog. Either ways links are created and that will do.
Google My Business (GMB) Verification
Registering and verifying your law-firm’s website with google play is a huge role in local SEO for attorneys marketing and it is free. Head on to https://www.google.com/business/ , follow the instructions given there. When you are asked to optimize your page, use simple, precise and direct keywords, and avoid needless repetition. With GMB users can learn more about your services, locate you on a google map, rate and review your services, with lots of other benefits for both clients and business owners.
Although it is often discouraged, paid ads can go a long way to grow the popularity of your website domain. Putting up a billboard, banner or getting listed on a local newspaper with your website domain name boldly displayed catches people’s attention. In summary, Search Engine Optimization is a non-stop arduous task and so is Attorney’s SEO marketing. It requires dedicated time and effort which is a rarity for busy attorneys. An attorney trying to optimize a website for search engine and work simultaneously is in a race trying to drive two cars concurrently. He’ll hardly make first place. Instead, hire a genuine SEO for attorney consultancy firm. It is the smart thing to do.