Avoid these key SEO for lawyer pointers at your own law firm SEO risk . .
We are well aware of two things so far as law firm SEO is concerned this year – first, that 2022 is already well underway and two, that SEO is a rapidly changing scene. For those lawyers seeking to ensure that their law firm SEO is right up to scratch, you need to know what those trends and developments are – and what you need to do to ensure your SEO for lawyer efforts achieve the most success in the shifting sands of search engine optimization.
1. Understand The SEO Importance of User Intent in Law Firm SEO
One of the key things that Google has done, which has continued to have a massive impact upon search engine optimization efforts for everyone, is to embody “user intent” so that it is hardwired into Google’s algorithym.
Recent updates mean that when you are writing content for your law blog – whether its a small firm SEO effort looking at a local SEO result to boost business or a large firm – you need to focus on an approach that is holistic. It needs to understand what is behind your searcher’s ‘intent’ when entering those keywords into the search bar.
The world – and Google – has changed dramatically. (Did you need reminding?) The way Google works now for indexing content andachieving the best SEO providing rankings is not the robotic format previously used. The search queries will focus on providing specific information based on the query, rather than a bunch of information generally (or specifically) related to the keyword(s) used.
The focus is on providing the precise answer to the question asked quickly and also accurately, which is what ‘user intent’ is all about.
Your SEO content needs to do more than create a basic ‘keyword oriented’ post or article – it needs to reflect what the thinking is behind the searcher – and potential law firm client – when entering that term into Google.
Keep in mind what the potential clients of your law firm might be seeking when you update or provide new content on your website. There have been three key categories of content that the audience may search for and you need to understand them in order to provide the legal content they are seeking and to answer their search queries.
SEO For Lawyer Category Types
The category types are:
- Information – content that is specifically related to a topic of interest – for instance, the mechanics of bankruptcy or the way personal injury payments are made;
- Transactions – the information required to buy a product or service;
- Navigation – those who are seeking to locate some information on a website.
Keeping this information in mind will permit your content to more specifically meet the ‘category’ that the user fits into, as well as providing the key answer(s) they are seeking. Remember that user intent may differ from one person to another and it may also change as the user embarks on their online journey. For instance, someone seeking information may then move into a transactional role.
2. Quality Content is Key For Law Firm SEO
Part of the user intent behind Google’s SEO science is a desire to provide content that is genuinely useful for the user. In other words, they are seeking quality content that hits the mark, not just meaningless duplicate content or keyword-rich bumpf.
When writing content in 2022 for your law firm website you need to think carefully about the audience you are attempting to reach. Check some of the free content management tools we have previously written about here. Organize the content for maximum SEO impact by the various topics you are going to write about so that your content will send our quality signals.
For lawyers it is a good idea to also provide explanatory content around those topics with links to them, to cases, legislation, media reports and the like that add credibility and value for the user. Put effort into ensuring the content is genuinely useful and valuable, not self-promotional and flimsy.
3. Go Local, Where Possible.
For small law firm SEO the local content is something that is increasingly important but also somewhat easier to achieve.
The trend from Google is that localization will become more important in SEO terms, so that the content should be focused upon local issues and locations. This does not just mean that you mention your location regularly in the content, but rather ensure there are key links to local organizations, firms, people and the like that add real value to what you are saying.
You can read more about local SEO for lawyers at this post, but it will always depend upon the sort of law firm SEO you are seeking to achieve. Many small law firms are now providing a national client base due to the advantages of the Internet, which means their focus is more on their area(s) of specialty rather than just their geographic location.
Either way, focusing upon those key differentials in the content and authority you can impart will develop your SEO power.
4. Beware The Stock Image
Stock images are becoming less useful for the content relevance of what you are providing in your content and the dependence upon stock photography is something that is almost certainly on the decline.
As social media continues its growth and as we all become more media savvy we also know that many stock images are seen for what they are. So work on having images that are authentic, original and better fit your law firm.
The law firm SEO benefits of having original artwork or images, properly optimized and included in your quality content will pay dividends in terms of the very best lawyer SEO you could wish for.
It is also noteworthy that image blocks are more likely to be displayed in the search engines if they are larger – and original. So apart from the content writing aspects of generating great, useful content the need to also focus on the imagery is increasingly important also.
5. Use Some Smart SEO Tech Tools To Avoid Problems For Law Firms
SEO for lawyers in 2022 and beyond requires some smart use of new tools. The growth of SEO ‘tech tools’ that can automate many of the processes like competitor analysis, search intent analysis and the like have become automated in many areas and the need to update with some of these tools to ensure problems don’t arise is set to continue.
Machine learning and AI will increasingly play a role in ascertaining the very best ways your law firm can optimize content and website content and appearance to ensure you receive the maximum SEO exposure for your firm. Attorney search engine optimization will see machine learning playing an increasingly important role in how SEO results will be achieved.
The advances in natural language processing and related processes, together with developments such as Google’s implementation of the BERT algorithm, means that the search engines are even smarter when it comes to analyzing the content your law firm provides to user’s queries and their search intent.
These tools can point out the problems with pages or posts, or the overall website SEO and how well you are likely to achieve your marketing online –
An audit can pick up problems with usability, content and various technical issues. These will involve ‘404’ pages, missing links, bad or missing tags and a vast array of other factors that will affect your law firm SEO and the search engines’ ‘attractiveness’ of your website from an SEO perspective.
The first thing you must do is to ensure you are also checking your Google Search Console to ensure you are checking your website through Google’s eyes and to see what problems or issues there are.
The console can be used to verify that Google’s web crawlers can properly access your website’s pages and ensure they are being indexed. If there are spam or other problems you will be notified and the console also permits you to see what the backlink situation is and to track the keyword ranking position your law firm – a fundamentally great (and free)I law firm SEO tool.
As we can see (below), Google is making some important but subtle changes to how it is locating and using web content.
6. Applying SEO Tech Tools Like Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing
The use of a ‘search journey’ as distinct from an independent search by users is one of the changes that is beginning to make its mark in the SEO environment. Google is increasing using technology to ascertain how users are searching and what that journey is and search engine optimization requires the proper application of these tools.
The use of vast amounts of data means that tech companies like Facebook and Google can increasingly see what users are looking for and that data collection and the use of natural language generation means content producers, developers and others can generate content and categorize content in new, more powerful ways.
This still means you need to focus upon those all-important content issues as outlined above for your law firm marketing, but you can also scale more easily and powerfully using some of the tools available to maximize the SEO reach of your content.
7. Changes Related to Mobile Page Experience in Law Firm Marketing
The growth of mobile has continued and the need to make sure your website’s page experience meets the requirements of the mobile users has been enhanced with Google’s introduction of tools to support mobile website optimization. Law firm search requires compliance with the ranking factors that are growing in importance for top rankings.
Core Web Vitals are the three, key ranking factors, which are the top three ranking factors when it comes to Google SERPs – according to the search engine giant itself. It is part of Google’s attempt to provide an enhanced user experience for its users.
The ranking factors are heavily focused on how quickly your web pages load and how fast they respond to the user input. This is a major part of the user experience.
The ‘mobile experience’ relating to the uploading of content to the interaction with content is all part of what is increasingly important for website SEO and in particular for your lawyer SEO efforts. Serious law firm markets requires a good mobile experience with the right approach and application of the various tools and techniques now available.
8. Look for Long Term SEO Benefits in Lawyer SEO Efforts
The changes we have identified and doubtless many more to come all indicate that the need to plan for a good long-term SEO strategy for your law firm is here now.
The desire to beat or chase the Google algorithms is a quick route to less-than-effective SEO practices and Google is already using various enhancements that encourage sustainable SEO results, including things like maps.
The environmental and sustainability factors in SEO is increasingly focused upon by Google, who are favoring (for instance) eco-friendly hotels and displaying carbon emissions on airline travel. There is the likelihood in future that the ecological impact of webpages and overall green factors will be displayed or recognized with higher rankings.
Sustainable SEO and an overall ‘Green’ attitude towards your site will be favored with an increasingly attractive search engine result and planning for such developments should commence now.
9. Fast Indexing Online For Fast Search Engine Results & Best Law Firm SEO
There’s little point writing great content for your law firm and seeking the best SEO you can manage for your law firm if the SERPs are not picking up the content.
An open source protocol called IndexNow provides the ability to immediately notify Google when new content is created or updated, or deleted, permitting the search engines to crawl the website to ensure the changes are picked up.
The fact is, unless you’re a major law firm (think Clifford Chance, Baker + McKenzie and the other Big Law players) who can update their content daily and have major comms teams developing their content, the small law firm SEO playing field can be difficult. It may take weeks to have new pages indexed.
Not all search engines are using IndexNow, but they will almost certainly grow. For those seeking more information about how they work you may see this article about how it works on Search Engine Journal.
10. Learn E-A-T SEO for Lawyer Ranking
That’s a lot of letters. Just to refresh, EAT is Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, which has become Google’s guide towards effective SEO, for lawyers and anyone else.
Demonstrating the right level of EAT for your legal website means quality link building including tactics that encourage that authority and trust – including providing the quality content focused on your expertise by providing quality information and knowledge and great technical SEO.
There is no particular measure for how to measure EAT with online content, however it reinforces the need in law firm SEO for a focus on creating genuinely useful content that meets the needs or interests of users.
With around 7.5 million blog posts published daily, the SERPs don’t have time to closely monitor everything that is published and that is where their algorithms are always going to tread instead. This means your EAT factors may involve video content, providing clear links to authorities that are referenced, ensuring the site is technically equipped for good SEO and – most importantly – leveraging the key authority that your law firm can bring to the table.
By focusing on your own authority and unique skills you can also build your EAT attractiveness to Google and the other search engines. Instead of chasing fast-and-furious methods to rank highly, focus on YOUR specific abilities and experiences that your law firm can present to users – and potential clients.
Law SEO Update
The search engine requirements for rankings may seem daunting for some, but in essence they focus upon quality content, delivered quickly (ie page speed) and with precision, are obvious. Lawyers are better than most at understanding how technical issues can be simplified. By understanding the parameters of the SEO changes, any attorney, SEO firm or expert can help any law firm to understand the embrace the changes so that they can achieve high search engine rankings for their law firm in 2022 and beyond.
Let us know your own thoughts and experiences with your firm optimization efforts.