Whether lawyers are speaking to clients or marketing companies like ours, they tend to want to only hear the facts. What goes into the ranking factors for SEO for lawyers is actually more clear-cut than you may realize.
Google has laid out what they expect from lawyers who want to rank near the top. While Google does update and tweak their ranking factors, these are the fundamentals, the “broad strokes” of what they’re looking for.
It All Starts With Content
You knew content was going to be first.
“Content” isn’t just blogs, of course.
It can be anything, videos, podcasts, blogs, and more, so long as it’s optimized and published on your site.
That said, don’t get stuck in the idea that blogs are the only kind of written content that can help your SEO.
We have so many clients who optimize their FAQs. Thus, they get so many hits from people who want to know the basics about the law as well as a law firm.
Even the biographical pages of the members of your firm can be a great source of written content. They can humanize your firm, showing that your lawyers are credible professionals that can be trusted. Each biographical page is an organic, simple way to showcase not only what kinds of law that your firm practices, but also each attorney’s awards, education, experience, and more.
Speaking of the law that your firm practices, devoting pages to your practice area is a must. It’s likely that these are the pages potential clients will go to when they make the decision about whether to pick your firm over another.
The above are just some of the forms of content that can help your firm’s SEO.
So, What Are Some Google Ranking Factors Beyond Content?
“RankBrain” may sound like a derogatory term for someone who worries too much about SEO for lawyers.
However, it’s the name for the machine learning algorithm Google utilizes. Basically, that means it figures out exactly what a user wants from any given search term, and works to give them the best, most appropriate results.
So, if you’re a personal injury law firm, and someone in your community types “personal injury lawyer near me,” you want them to find you.
RankBrain looks at your firm’s “bounce rate.” That’s the name for how long someone comes to your page and then clicks away. The longer they stay on your page, the better RankBrain believes your page to be. Consequently, it doesn’t look good if someone comes to your page, leaves, and then goes to another firm in your area.
In terms of “the rich getting richer,” RankBrain rewards you for having pages with more clicks as well as having more visitors on your site. It can even give you a boost for how many comments your page has.
In addition to RankBrain, you want to be cognizant of hyperlinks as well.
Google wants higher quality pages to rank higher.
Backlinks from quality sites show that your site has quality, too.
Now, it may not always be easy for your firm to get backlinks from CNN, “Entrepreneur,” “Forbes,” and the like (although it is possible).
You can get quite a boost in quality with a backlink from Lawyers.com, FindLaw, Nolo, Avvo, the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and similar companies in the legal field.
Even guest posting on high-quality sites can help your backlinks (while simultaneously showing that your firm has plenty of reliable experience, too).
Core Web Vitals and More
Beyond simply being experts in the law, Google wants to prioritize law firms that provide a better user experience.
Their ranking factors take three “core web vitals” into account.
First is “Loading,” or by its more technical name, “Largest Content Paint.”
All that means is that Google takes how quickly your main page content loads very seriously.
Another important factor is “Visual Stability,” or as it’s also known, “Cumulative Layout Shift.” If the elements of your page shift when they load, it makes for a lesser user experience. (You know this if you’ve seen it on another site.)
“Interactivity” is the third core web vital.
If someone clicks on a link, application, or tab on your site, how long does it take for your browser to process that? The faster it does so, the better your SEO for lawyers ranking will be.
They also want a site that’s safe and secure from malware and other harmful elements. To that end, they want your site to have an SSL certificate (HTTPS). Your site should be formatted for viewing on mobile devices and have none of those annoying, intrusive pop-ups.
Onsite Optimization: the Power of Keywords
The way your pages are structured on your site is critically important to your SEO success. Once you’ve found the keywords that are important to your firm, you want to utilize them in your content properly.
For example, if you have a piece of written content, you want to put the keywords in the URL as well as the Meta Title and h1 tag.
They should also appear early in your content (preferably in the first paragraph). That keyword should also appear in the filename of any images in addition to the Alt attribute.
That said, you probably don’t just want one keyword in any written content; you want to have secondary keywords, too. They can appear in the h2.
This isn’t something that you just do once or “every now and then.” These are best practices for all of the content that your firm puts out.
SEO for Lawyers Professionals
Sometimes, it can seem like Google Ranking factors are opaque or even a bit confusing.
When in doubt, return to the mission of Google Search.
Every time someone searches on Google, Google wants to “deliver the most relevant and reliable information available.”
That’s what Google wants to rank higher than everything else.
By following the above guidelines, you put your firm in the best position to be that which Google deems relevant and reliable.”
That said, we understand that lawyers may not always have time to make sure that their SEO is exactly how they want it to be.
That’s where we can help.
You can schedule a free consultation with our SEO services experts at (888) 477-9540.