13 Law Firm Website Design Tips To Rank Better On Search Engines
Law firm website design is a major part of law firm SEO. Good websites rank highest.
Of course, it’s more complicated than that. In this article, we’ll look at some technical and aesthetic design tips that drive traffic and improve rankings. We’ll also talk about how and when website design for lawyers requires a different approach.
Here’s the list:
- Be yourself, be unique
- Focus your pages
- Publish or perish
- Focus on the user
- Write for humans
- Make it easy to contact you
- Link within your site
- Link to credible outside sites
- Tie in with PPC campaigns
- Have a site map
- Encourage sharing on social media
- Incorporate analytics
- Make your website mobile-friendly
And here we go. Of course, feel free to contact FORWARD Marketing for a personalized web design consultation if you’re in the market for an upgrade.
1. Be Yourself, Be Unique
Unique, original content improves search ranking. Of course, this goes beyond avoiding plagiarism.
Google wants to put people in contact with the information they’re looking for. That’s it. You can increase your rank by matching your site’s content to the who, what, where, why, and how of your law firm.
2. Focus Your Pages
Who wants to read a pointless, rambling introduction? Specifically, who wants to do that when looking for information about criminal charges, child custody, car accident injuries, or any other sensitive topic?
Your stressed potential clients have neither the time nor the inclination to read through a two-paragraph fluff barrier. They’re on your website for facts.
Give people the information they’re looking for. After you’ve established authority, follow up with your soft copy and calls to action.
Circumlocution generates bounce. Focused pages climb rankings.
3. Publish Or Perish
Google is watching you closely. Search engines keep track of how fresh and active your site is, and that’s one of the things that goes into your ranking. Blogging regularly is key.
So, how often should an attorney blog? Short answer: It depends.
Figure out a publishing schedule that works with your communication style. If you like to dive into a topic (or, rather, if that’s what your clients like to read) then you might publish every six weeks or even every two months. Many successful law firm websites publish shorter, 400-to-500-word pieces every couple of weeks.
Many factors can change blog ROI for attorneys. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who’s reading the blog?
- Are you cross-posting to social media? How big is your audience there?
- How long are the posts?
- What’s your budget?
- How unique is your firm’s approach?
- How focused are your topic ideas?
- What’s the competitive landscape?
Law blogs are almost always a convenient way to keep websites fresh and improve overall ranking. However, depending on the answers to some of these questions, your blog posts could easily start ranking independently.
4. Focus On The User
In general, design focuses on utility. It’s no different when it comes to the best law firm websites.
Legal website designs can be attractive, interactive, and proactive in generating leads. However, at their core, they’re utilitarian. They are practical business tools designed to be used by the general public.
A user-focused approach makes sites that are:
The easier your website is for people to use, the more benefit they will get from it. That will increase your search position by improving a multitude of ranking metrics. In practice, user-focused design might include:
- Clear layout
- Good contrast between background color and font color
- In-line photos and video content for long articles
- Low-bandwidth mobile versions
- Multi-browser support
- Easy-to-use menus and submenus
- Chat windows
- Predictable features (such as an upper-left corner logo that links to the home page)
5. Write For Humans
Just like graphic design, copywriting can be user-focused. The catch is that it also has to be optimized so that search engines can easily locate it and match it with appropriate internet traffic.
SEO helps search engines find your site. After that, never forget that humans need to be able to read it.
You can’t avoid keywords. You need SEO. However, you have to strike a balance.
Google’s ultimate vision is to put everyone in contact with the information they’re looking for — not to match search strings with website content. That’s why you see concise, useful copy rise to the top of the SERPs every time.
Here are some things that make websites easier to read:
- Simple organizational structures, such as lists
- Short paragraphs whenever possible
- Subheadings to introduce ideas
- Hyperlinked indices for longer articles
- Simple sentence structure
6. Make It Easy To Contact You
Good attorney website design doubles down on contact methods. Nearly every contemporary website is interactive, but lawyers need to go above and beyond.
You need contact forms, chat, phone, and social media options. Every visitor is a potential client. Every new client is a big win for your firm. It just makes sense to prominently present the widest range of contact options possible.
7. Link Within Your Site
If you laser-focus your web pages, how can you possibly provide all the information that your visitors need? The answer is linking.
Good linking strategy provides an intuitive, useful navigation tool for your users. For example, they can go directly from your general divorce page to read about asset division, child custody, alimony, and so forth.
Good internal links encourage people to spend more time on your website. That increases your search ranking as well as increasing the chance someone will contact you.
8. Link To Credible Outside Sites
The internet is based on links. Good links generally improve search engine position.
Lawyer web design also has to consider some of the strict ethical guidelines of the profession. Links have to be safe. Link text also has to be straightforward, representing the destination content with as much clarity as possible.
Links are important, but you can’t just throw them in at random to improve the search engine ranking for an attorney website. Ethical violations in linking might temporarily improve search positions, but they certainly do not help the credibility of the firm.
9. Tie In With PPC Campaigns
Your design strategy should have a space for your advertising campaigns. Usually, this means crafting customized landing pages that maximize the chance of getting a new client with every click.
When it comes to law websites, design for PPC has extra importance. Legal keywords can easily go for hundreds of dollars per click. With that much at stake, landing page design has to focus 100 percent on conversion.
You’ll need to put in some work to make this happen. Here are some practices to follow:
- Include multiple options for contacting the firm
- Match the content exactly with the ad campaign keywords
- Include multimedia, photo, or downloadable content when appropriate
- Create a campaign that sets visitors up to take action
- Include multiple calls to action in the landing page copy and other design elements
- Focus on human readability for PPC copy (prioritize informative, motivational messages over SEO keywording)
10. Have A Site Map
Legal websites design their own index parameters by using a sitemap file. In other words, you can use it to show search engines the locations of the most important pages on your website.
This unassuming little file is actually a must for attorneys, especially those who follow the best practices of frequent publishing and PPC campaigns. It gives search engines an idea of where the permanent, high-value information is so they can index it properly.
Sitemaps don’t make for the most glamorous lawyer web design topic. However, like many other backend elements, they can have a big impact on search ranking.
11. Encourage Sharing On Social Media
One of the best tried-and-true SEO practices for lawyers is encouraging sharing on social media. Part of this strategy is on-site, and part is a social-media-management concern.
As far as the site design goes, it’s important to include share buttons for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. The priority shifts depending on the practice area.
For public-focused firms, such as family law, personal injury plaintiff, criminal defense, and estate planning, the focus will probably meet most on creating content to be shared on Facebook and Twitter. For insurance defense, real estate, corporate law, tax law, and attorney-to-attorney practices, it is generally more appropriate to design pages to look great on LinkedIn.
12. Incorporate Analytics
Without analytics, evidence-based decisions are basically impossible.
If you want to know where all of your efforts are paying off, you need information about visitor behavior. Analytics applications provide this information.
These are essentially logs. They give you information about the people who visit your website so you can use that information to improve your website design and re-allocate your marketing budget.
13. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
Lastly, let’s go over responsive website design. Google is the number one authority when it comes to website design and they have moved to what they are calling mobile-first indexing. What this means is that a website must have a responsive, mobile-first design in order to be indexed by the search engine. The reason for this is because the majority of searches are on mobile and they want to give users the best experience possible.
Google is also updating the way it ranks websites again in a new update called Core Web Vitals. This will not only measure a website for responsive design but also for page load time and speed. It is crucial that your website design accounts for this as it will affect your rankings in the search results. Our developers and designers at FORWARD Lawyer Marketing are experts in these matters, contact us with any questions or concerns about your law firm’s website design or any other law firm marketing issue.
Contact FORWARD Lawyer Marketing For A Consultation
We have extensive experience with website design for lawyers. We understand the needs of the legal profession, as well as the unique competitive environment for specific practice areas. Feel free to contact us whenever you’re ready to schedule a personal website design consultation.