Since we perform a lot of website audits, we put together this list of the five most common SEO mistakes that we see among law firms’ websites. The good news is that every one of these mistakes is fixable.
Whether you are working with an agency for SEO, doing it on your own, or if you had SEO help in the past but no longer…it’s easy to fall behind on SEO. After all, Google makes many updates to its algorithms every year! Something that worked really well for you in 2012 may not be effective today (and may actually be detrimental to your site’s ranking).
In this article, we explain the five most common SEO mistakes we see law firms making—and how you can fix these mistakes to succeed with search engine optimization.
Mistake #1: Writing for the search engine and not the user
Search engines play a critical role in delivering your content to users—but content should be created first and foremost for real users and not search engines. With any SEO strategy, it is important to remember the limited role of search engines. The job of a search engine is to serve up highly relevant content that addresses the needs of a user.
Yes, keywords matter, but only insofar as they help a search engine find your content to determine its relevance. Instead of keyword stuffing, use keywords organically in the way that your professionals and prospective clients actually speak. Try to anticipate the questions that real users will have and then create content to address these questions.
In today’s world, content cannot and will not succeed if it is written to satisfy machines instead of human beings.
In the past, SEO experts recommended that business owners included target keywords in their domain names and Google My Business profile. Today, this approach won’t necessarily hurt you (or help you) with SEO. In fact, exact match domains mean you might end up with extremely long domain names and branding concerns.
Keywords matter—but keyword stuffing can be seriously detrimental to SEO, not to mention it can result in really difficult-to-read copy.
Mistake #2: Not prioritizing mobile responsiveness or site speed
More than 61% of all website visits in the U.S. come from mobile devices. So, if your website offers a poor mobile experience—if it is slow to load or is not mobile-responsive—you are almost guaranteed to lose business.
Since its big announcement in 2016, Google has focused on mobile-first indexing. This means that Google uses the mobile version of your website to index and rank it. In addition, Google uses a framework called Core Web Vitals to measure signals related to load speed (which helps determine your ranking).
Search engines evaluate the user experience, and your website will be ranked lower if it provides a negative user experience.
Mistake #3: Harvesting content or rerunning old content
Look, we’re all in favor of being smart with your content—and repurposing old content can be an extremely effective strategy if it’s done correctly! But content farming, content harvesting, and rerunning old content are all too common on legal websites today, despite the taboo.
To satisfy the search engines, your content must be unique and relevant. Search engines even know when you publish a duplicate blog article a few months or years later…without any updates.
Google is now smart enough to figure out when your content strategy goes against best practice—and the search engine will penalize you for it.
Mistake #4: Poor site architecture
Website architecture refers to the way that your website is laid out. It typically includes URL structure, navigation menu, how content is grouped, and internal linking.
Not only do users rely on your site architecture to find what they need, but search bots rely on it, too. Search engines have shown a strong preference for flat architecture in recent years. Flat architecture means that a user may reach any page on your site within 1-3 clicks.
Poor site architecture perplexes users and confuses search bots, resulting in a lower search engine ranking.
Mistake #5: Forgetting to customize their home page title
Do you know what the title of your home page is? The default on most CMS (like WordPress) is “Home.”
You can—and should—customize the home page title of your website. We recommend including Who you are, Where you are, and What you do in this space. So it might be Jones Smith Law Firm: New York City Personal Injury Attorneys.
Because SERPs publish the home page title if you do not customize this text you are missing an opportunity to increase click-through rates.
So, what is the best approach for law firms with SEO?
SEO is not something you can master once and cross off your list. An ongoing, intentional strategy that keeps pace with Google’s many updates is needed for SEO success.
Don’t let your website get stale. If you simply don’t have the time to track SEO trends, work with a trusted agency. Make sure it’s a reputable company that doesn’t outsource SEO.
Review and next steps
If you are guilty of committing a classic SEO mistake on this list, don’t worry. Every mistake on this list is completely fixable! From content creation strategy to web development issues, Omnizant can help set you on the path to search engine success. Our team stays up-to-date on the latest search engine updates so we can deliver ongoing, effective support. Reach out for a friendly conversation today.