Lawyer SEO Expert Explains How To Audit Your Law Firm Website
November 14, 2019
Search engines have existed for decades, and their growth in capability and power has increased exponentially over the years. While many of us seem familiar with the operation of the modern capabilities of search engines, the beginning was quite humble yet ingenious. The idea of categorizing huge masses of information and using keywords as “keys” to obtain such information was revolutionary. SEO’s introduction to the search engine scene was a few years later when it became more commercial and mainstream, used by millions of people. The potential of search engines became crystal clear; businesses and organizations realized that there has been an ability to make a lot of profit by just being favored with search engines. People relied on search engines to look for high-quality results, and the standard maybe wasn’t as high as it is now, it was still very useful. Search engines were dependent on matching keywords within search queries, which made websites take advantage of that to the point of abusing it. Websites interested in only gaining traffic stuffed their websites full of keywords to widen the probability of their website appearing in any search.
Google’s introduction into the search engine scene revolutionized many stale concepts that were beginning to plague the capabilities of SEO. The addition of social media and video sharing websites like YouTube indirectly made SEO a critical digital marketing tool in today’s era. Ranking factors varied according to search engines, but it was known that Google’s algorithm was the most complex. For a website to rank on the first page in most search engines, it meant that the website is bound to have high-quality content and traffic. SEO audit is used to assess websites based on numerous factors to determine their potential and issues to derive an organic traffic. Legal-related websites require an audit that can measure their capabilities against specific criteria that can show their true potential. You can see how lawyer SEO experts handle their SEO audits for law firms through this website as they break it down into simple steps.
We’ll be presenting you with a lawyer SEO expert guide that can help clear the bigger picture.
An SEO audit puts under the microscope some aspects of website friendliness and compatibility in relation to user experience and search engines’ algorithms. A legal SEO audit may require hiring a professional auditor if you don’t have the time and effort to learn and practice the tools needed. An SEO audit gives you the ability to realize the true potential of your website and what could possibly be hindering its progress in terms of content, optimization, user experience, and many other factors. It’s not only done to fix the issues, but to gain insight into transforming a good aspect into an even better one.
The tactics and strategies of SEO are very variable and changes quickly, which means that even if you do the best audit and obtain the best results, they will be long gone if you don’t perform regular audits. A few months can change the repertoire of tools and tactics you need to be able to perform a successful audit. Google alone updates its algorithm thousands of times every single year. This is why it’s important to be able to stay on top of the latest updates and ranking strategies used by search engines. A lot of experts believe that it should be done at least two or three times a year to maintain your website properly.
SEO’s main core is ensuring that your website garners enough attention for a lot of people to visit it. A keyword being searched a lot is a high-volume keyword that you should try to ensure that your website is showing a lot when people search for it because once you increase your visibility, you’ll notice that your traffic is skyrocketing. Sometimes you may find that there is an unusual dip in traffic count for no clear reason; this can sometimes lead to something more critical. You need to ensure that your website traffic is rather consistent than filled with lows and highs. Do a traffic check twice or thrice weekly to know if something has come up and required immediate action before it turns into a crisis.
Check google penalties
There are two types of penalties that Google could give, which affect the overall visibility of the website on their search engines; manual and automatic penalties. Manual penalties are usually easy to take care of as Google notifies you with the penalty and gives you the reasons that caused it so you could fix it. Sometimes the penalty can affect your whole website, or it can impact it partially by applying it to certain pages. You can use Google’s Search Console to check whether your website has a manual penalization or not. The automatic penalty is dependent on meeting the algorithm’s criteria of standard quality. The constant change search engines are doing to their algorithm makes it a bit harder to identify penalties without a thorough investigation. Automatic penalties can be identified when you notice a dip in traffic, as we’ve mentioned before by using Google Analytics. If you notice that your traffic loss happened when a new update was rolled out by Google, then it’s the reason. You should read about the update and understand how it affected websites to be able to do something about it. It’s very important to try to recover from such penalties as they can critically affect the future of your website rankings and make it quite hard to rank.
You can start to check how your website looks like when it’s being searched; you should simply Google it and analyze the results. There is an important checklist that you need to make sure that your website checks all its boxes:
- Being on the first page
- Sitelinks under your listing
- Correct descriptions
- Graph entry on the right panel
- Correct GMB information
- Relevant websites on the first page
If you find that there are some checks are missing, you need to think about more than one resolution. Firstly, check your website structure and ensure that it’s providing the relevant and correct type of content. Make sure to follow the ideal site structure for blogs, corporate, news, or eCommerce, depending on your website type.
Technical SEO basics
While it sounds like it may be complicated and extra technical, it’s quite simple if you follow a checklist. A technical SEO audit ensures that your website is being indexed by search engines and easily accessible for them to be able to rank it.
- Google Search Console: You need to make sure that your website is registered with Google Search Console to be able to get reports and other information about the status of your website like the number of indexed pages, ranking keywords, traffic generation reports, security issues, mobile-friendliness, and other important information.
- Preferred Domain: Gives you the ability to specify a domain to be your preferred one to avoid any problems from duplicated domains
- txt: Used to control and allow search engines to crawl the pages you specify. It’s very important to make sure that it’s optimized to allow the pages you want as a mistake can do serious damage.
- SEO URLs: SEO friendly URLs are important when it comes to your ranking. Ensure that your page URLs are formatted in a friendly and comprehensible way. It’s recommended to place keywords in your URLs, but make sure they aren’t long while avoiding to cramp the URL.
- Breadcrumb Menu: Should be displayed at the top of the page to help website visitors navigate easily through the pages. Recommended by Google as a good way of ensuring proper navigation.
Structured data is recently gaining popularity as search engine algorithms use it to define your content and its context, which helps you rank higher. It helps search engines display your website in a more full and presentable way while also making it easier to be indexed for voice searches. Make sure you are properly structuring data for the homepage, breadcrumb menu, content pages, and any products.
The huge and rising use of mobile devices to conduct searches online has made a lot of search engines base their ranks on mobile-friendly results. A website that isn’t optimized to be operating properly and presentable on a mobile screen is constantly losing traffic and potential business. Google disregards websites that aren’t optimized for mobile presentation from its results page. There are a lot of mobile-friendliness tests and tools that can help you make your website more accessible and friendly on a smartphone.Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) have been a trendy topic in SEO for the last few years. Search engines are creating a format for mobiles to be able to load pages faster than traditional HTML pages with less functionality. Not all websites would gain a lot from the addition of AMP, but if your website is used to publish news constantly, it’s recommended to invest in AMP.
Optimizing on-site elements
It’s very important to make sure that your website is optimized to provide search engine crawlers with the right keywords and descriptions to make their job easier. Ensure that your pages have unique titles and descriptions while avoiding duplication. Crawlers will try to discern whether a user can understand what the page is about through titles and descriptions. Try to avoid having only plain text in your content. H1 should be used for titles while the H2 is for headings; try to incorporate bold and italic text formatting in necessary parts.
Your content is a very crucial part of your SEO campaign, especially when it comes to lawyer websites. Make sure that every single page doesn’t have duplicated content, and if you find any, remove or de-index the pages to avoid getting penalized by these search engines’ algorithms. Use Google Analytics to find pages with the highest traffic and ensure that they’re free from any grammatical and spelling errors, in addition to proper formatting. If there are a lot of pages with little to no content, try to merge them to meet the standards of content length. Old content can negatively affect your rankings greatly, especially on a legal field, as updates can be very important. You need a publishing plan for your lawyer website to ensure that content is updated consistently with a steady rate of posting articles.
Images are a double-edged weapon in your SEO campaign. They can make your website look more attractive and shareable on social media, but if they increase the loading time too much, it will damage your ranking. Ensure that your image filenames have a description with a keyword or two and incorporating ALT tags. It’s quite easy to reduce image files without losing a lot of their quality by compressing them using trusted software or websites. A content delivery network (CDN) can make your work easier if your website contains a lot of images that need to be displayed.
If there is anything known about Google’s ranking factors, it’s site loading speed. A lot of studies and correlation have been done to prove that speed is a very important factor in any SEO audit. Your site speed shows its efficiency in responding to requests. No one wants to wait 20 seconds for a page to load; they’ll interest very quickly and decide that the wait isn’t worth it. Your site speed also affects the traffic incoming to many pages to your website. If it takes too long to navigate between different pages, visitors would be less inclined to browse your website. Different platforms may load a website differently, so you’ll need to optimize the loading speed for both desktop and mobile operations to ensure that you don’t lose traffic from both platforms.
There is no one way to perform an SEO audit, but there is a lot of common ground between different strategies and techniques. The constant updates and changes happening in the SEO scene make it crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest developments introduced by the search engines. Being in the know is your first step to really make it work in your favor!