What’s important when it comes to SEO for lawyers? Bottom line—produce targeted, high quality content that is easy to find.
The Goal of SEO
Sure, you’ve heard endlessly about SEO and its importance for your business. But what exactly is the goal of SEO? To put it simply, the goal of SEO is to make sure web pages are easily and accurately indexed. The tendrils of search engines are constantly scouring the URLs of the web to index and store information. When a user enters in a search term, the search engine will select the references that match the closest. Having a clear record for your site makes you more visible to relevant searches.
1. Focus on Framework
Develop a site structure that is easy for spiders to crawl including:
- File system—Use a simple, flat file system for websites with levels no more than three deep.
- Structure—Pages with a clear, organized structure, which use HTML tags properly, offer spiders a framework to crawl and accurately index content. The foundation of an optimized site is based on clean, semantic code that validates to W3C standards.
- Site map—Including one provides a great overview with internal links. Assists site visitors, both human and bots.
- CMS permalinks—Use a descriptive permalink structure for content management systems or open source platforms. For example, in WordPress a custom structure that uses the page or post’s name for the page URL is ideal for SEO.
2. Prioritize Pages
It’s critical to for all site pages to be optimized and include call to action areas, which encourage visitors to further explore. Improve SEO by being accurate in all text fields including:
- Titles—Create descriptive titles, including keywords appropriate for the specific page. A well written title tells search engines and prospective visitors what will be found on a site page.
- Meta tags—Although their SEO impact is likely minimal, some search engines do include up to 140 characters of the meta description tag in search results to describe a page. Past misuse of meta keyword tags to unfairly influence search rank have made them of little value. Most search engines ignore them.
- Internal links—Include hyperlinks within copy to link related site pages. It offers a way to associate site content for site visitors and creates bridges for spiders to crawl.
- Home page—Advances in search engine algorithms, have made all site pages a potential entry point.
3. Media Matters
Search spiders index text, so be simple and descriptive with your tags, captions, and media labels including:
- File Names—Using descriptive file names for media will impact SEO, since search spiders don’t index media but do index the words you use to describe it.
- Alt Tags—A must for accessibility for those using screen readers, alt tags offer another way to add meaning to your media files and another possible way to get content indexed appropriately.
- Captions—A brief caption that text search engines can crawl will enrich the content’s message, offering a nuance beyond the alt tag.
- Video—Write transcripts for important video content to have it indexed.
- Speed—Optimize media files for the web by ensuring the best compression for load speed. Visitors have little patience for waiting, and slow loading pages are penalized by the major search engines.
4. Content is King
Nothing improves stickiness like insightful, compelling content that resonates with your audience. Keeping content fresh and updated will bring return visitors. Content is increasingly scrutinized for depth and merit by search engines in order to ensure the accuracy and value of results. In-depth reports and thoughtful analyses on topics relevant to a site’s theme boost search rank while always taking into consideration:
- Quality—Craft copy that accurately reflects the theme and keywords identified for the page. Also, be as concise as possible using 500-word page copy as a benchmark.
- Keyword Placement—Search engines give greater importance to content on the top of the page. Prominently include page appropriate keywords in the first sentence and introductory paragraph. Keyword frequency also impacts SEO, but avoid overuse. Copy should be succinct, valuable, and trustworthy.
- Keyword Variety—Use a variety of associated keywords while concentrating on optimizing each page for specific content and keywords.
- Headings—Break-up copy with HTML headings to increase readability and create hierarchy and meaning. This will also increase the accuracy of indexed content.
SEO might seem like some complicated behemoth you need to tackle, but it’s really quite simple. All you have to do is focus on the framework of your site, optimize your text fields and media labels, and create valuable content. Once you’ve got a hang of SEO, it becomes second nature. And now that you know the goal of SEO, you’ll be better motivated to make those changes.
That being said, there are always more ways to improve your search ranking. Different rules apply to things like blogs or social media sites, which are basically their own entity on the web. But not to fret! You can easily meet your SEO goals with a few more valuable tips. For more information on how to improve search rank, see SEO Off-Page & Social Signals or SEO & Blogging.