Many attorneys want to understand just what it is that Google wants so that they can increase their website rankings in a search, which in turn, drives more business their way.
For that to happen, there are two main principles that must be understood – Google’s business model and guidelines and SEO.
Google Search and January 2020 Update
In the early 2000s, Google organized the world’s information so that it could give users the information that they needed. It wasn’t nearly as sophisticated then as it is now. Over time, Google has developed algorithms to reward high-quality sites during searches. Since then, the algorithms have continued to change.
In January 2020, Google released a broad core algorithm update, which they do several times per year. Last year alone, Google made over 3,000 changes, but the core search algorithm changes only happen a few times a year.
What is a core update?
These are updates that impact how Google determines the most relevant web page for a search and how a website is ranked. As with any Google update, when a core update happens, the search results change.
What Does Google Want?
The easiest way to understand what it is that Google wants from your law firm is to understand the business model that they use.
Google depends on ads for its revenue. That’s how it is free to use, but no one would use Google if it were full of nothing but ads. That’s where website content comes in to play.
Users depend on Google to provide the best answers for their questions. So, what Google wants from you is for you to create high-quality content that they can share with their users.
Google stresses that law firms should make pages that are for users and not for search engines.
Google looks for financial, legal, and tax advice that is from trustworthy sources. This means that as an attorney, you have the expertise and authority for a potential client to trust you. The proof of this, according to Google, is found on your website.
Most Google users are searching for answers about their problem or case, and the content on your website can address those issues, which means Google will find your website more favorable.
The quality and quantity of the content on your website shows clients that you:
- Have the authority and expertise to write about a topic.
- Have a vast knowledge base that shows the user that you have a solid knowledge of the topic so they can trust you.
- Can explain challenging topics to them.
- Can clearly present information in a way that makes people want to trust your content.
- Have created content that can be easily verified of factual errors.
What to Avoid on Your Law Firm Website
While it sounds like it would be fairly simple to do well with Google and drive traffic to your website, there are five things that you need to avoid on your website:
#1. Link schemes
Links that are naturally earned are great. This means that if someone links to a page on your website after they’ve read something that impresses them. This is a virtual thumbs-up of sorts.
However, unnatural links are an issue. A link scheme is when instead of earning a link, you get a link to unnaturally elevate your law firm’s website search results.
Common link schemes include:
- Selling or buying a link that passes rank. This includes providing anything of any value for links in posts or giving away something for free in exchange to them sharing your link.
- Exchanging links, i.e. you give me a link and I’ll give you one.
#2. Creating webpages with no or little original content
Many attorneys make the mistake of thinking that the more pages they have the better they will do on search engines. However, this isn’t always true.
Google wants you to have pages for users and not search engines. Having pages just to have them doesn’t help your clients and Google will notice that.
Be sure that each of your website pages has value for your clients and potential clients.
#3. Avoid hidden links/text
Hidden links and text typically means that you are trying to deceive search engines.
These are links and texts that aren’t visible to the human eye but can be seen by the search engine. To see if your site has hidden links or texts, look for thinks that aren’t easily viewable by those that visit your site.
Do you see anything that is solely there for search engines rather than visitors to your site?
#4. Avoid scraped content
Scraped content is similar to duplicate content that has been copied from somewhere else on the web.
Scraped content may look like any of the following:
- Content from another site that you haven’t added your own analysis, insight, or research to.
- Content from another site that you only made slight modifications to.
Google wants you to create content that is valuable, original, and unique. It doesn’t want you copying content from another site just to try to artificially increase your rankings.
#5. Avoid keyword stuffing
This refers to the practice of loading your site with numbers or keywords in an effort to manipulate your site rankings on Google.
This method used to work before Google’s search engines weren’t so sophisticated. Now repeating specific keywords is likely to cause trouble and have the opposite impact on your search rankings.
There are a few questions that you can use to audit your website as well as any content you plan to publish:
Does the content provide original analysis or information? – Don’t write content that already exists on the web or repeat other legal info verbatim.
Does your content provide a comprehensive description of a topic? Your website should be a virtual extension of your law office, so think about what kind of questions your potential clients may be asking.
Does your content provide analysis beyond what is obvious? This is particularly important for blog posts. Don’t copy and paste or recap a news story without adding your own insightful analysis.
Does the content provide additional originality and value? When a potential client reads your content, are they going to have new ideas or a new understanding of legal processes?
Does the content provide a descriptive summary? Make sure your titles are a good reflection of what is going to be read beneath the headline. Make sure potential clients know with just a glance what the page is about.
Wrapping It Up
Creating content isn’t about tricking Google. Instead, use Google Analytics to help make your law firm’s SEO simple and affordable.
These tips will help you continue to grow your practice all year long!
At Bambiz, we work with elder law and estate planning firms and have extensive experience in developing social media marketing strategies unique to your firm, location, and potential client base.
To learn more about how we can help grow your business using online marketing, schedule a free 15-minute call with us.