By Chris (Tres) Homer
I’ve recently been taking a lot of time to educate attorneys on how to better their web presence. I’ve analyzed over 100 websites in the past couple of months and compiled a list of SEO mistakes that I run into the most.
1. The website is not mobile responsive
There have been basic WordPress templates out for years that allow for mobile responsive sites, so there is no excuse. Over 50% of all searches and traffic are done on mobile devices, so the time is now. Do not wait any longer, get this done NOW.
2. Where is the content?
You can’t properly optimize a website if there is no content to optimize. A law firm website needs at least a homepage (800-1000 words), attorney bio pages, practice area pages, some form of resources (FAQ, guides, etc.) and a contact page. Without abasic amount of content Google will never be able to display you in the search results.
3. Site structure? Who needs that?
If I were to take you to a city you’ve never been before, give you an address of a house, and then tell you to drive there without any directions, maps, or GPS you would look at me like I’m crazy. That is exactly what your website is doing to Google crawlers if you don’t have a logical site structure. If you create a new page and do not nest it under appropriate parent pages, it will be extremely difficult to find.
Proper site structure is a roadmap for the crawlers to find pages and understand the correlation between that page and others. For example, having a page that talks about Head on Collisions is great for a personal injury attorney. If the page is by itself, it doesn’t quite make sense as to why that is on a legal website. Now if that page is nested under appropriate parent pages, like a personal injury and car accident page,it makes sense. An example of a URL with structure would be:yourwebsite.com/practice-areas/personal-injury/car-accidents/head-on-collisions/
Please, please, please structure your site.
4. One tracking number to rule them all
Tracking numbers are essential if you want to measure any form of ROI on your legal marketing. The problem with tracking numbers arises when you hard-code them on the site and use them in your directory listings. By having the tracking number hard coded on the site, Google will pick up that number as the main office number, which will hurt your local SEO. Having tracking numbers in directory listings will not just hurt your local SEO; it will destroy it.
Also, if you are going to use a tracking numbers, make sure you use more than one so that you can properly measure ROI for each channel in your lead funnel. Don’t let agencies take credit for EVERY call you receive.
5. No title tags or meta descriptions
Ok, this is SEO 101. When you are optimizing your site for specific keywords these are the first two items you focus on. I’ve seen so many sites that neglect to create either one and that just makes me sad, like very sad. Like kicking puppies sad.
6. The international travelers of backlinks
In order to rank anywhere decent in Google, you need backlinks. The problem is that obtaining quality backlinks in a consistent manner is a lot of work. There are a lot of agencies out there that will promise a first page listing in X number of days. Well, all they do is throw your site into multiple link farms and generate terrible, destructive links to your site that will prop your site up, temporarily. These domains are usually from Russia,China, Brazil, etc. and carry little to no domain authority. These backlinks will eventually send your website into Internet abyss. The fastest way to find bad backlinks is to look at the country of origin. Don’t kid yourself, you are not that popular in Russia.
7. The over-optimizer
Also, please don’t use the same keyword 28 times on a page that has 200 words. Do you want your website to sound like an infomercial? Because that is what you are doing.
8. Mr(s). “I Don’t Believe in SEO”
Oh really? Tell me how your leads from the Yellowpages are working out for you.
9. The Impatient Strategy Changer
Whenever we create a strategy for our law firm clients, we ask them what their goal is.We will focus our SEO strategy around specific keywords in order to meet their goals.SEO strategies can take a couple of months to gather solid data in order to make an informed decision.
What I see all too often is the constant changing of strategies. Some conversations go like this: “I want to rank on motorcycle injuries.” “Ok great, let us optimize for motorcycle injuries.”
2 days later. “I’m not ranking for slip and fall injuries.” “Well, we agreed that we would focus on motorcycle injuries.” “But, I’m not seeing any cases so I want slip and fall injuries.”
Look, SEO takes time. You can’t keep changing your mind. Pick a strategy and adhere to it.
10. “I can do all of this by myself, why do I need you?”
Yes, of course you can, just like I can represent myself in court. *mic drop*