Utilizing WordPress SEO For Law Firms And Lawyers
Lawyers and law firms face challenging competition in any market. One of the most effective ways to reach new clients is to maximize the potential of the attorney or the law firm website.
The best way to do this is by understanding and implementing effective WordPress SEO strategies. WordPress is a user-friendly, relatively easy to use yet advanced online publishing platform that makes it easy to create a professional looking website for those in the legal profession using templates and widgets readily available through the platform.
In the past, WordPress was linked to blogging, and it still is to some extent. However, the platform has dramatically changed over the years. It now is home to over one-third of the websites on the internet. These include both small business sites and major corporate sites such as Mercedes Benz, BBC America, and The Walt Disney Company.
Although WordPress is a convenient option as a CMS (content management system), it is not specifically designed to enhance placement on the top of Google or other search engine results pages. To do this, and to make a law firm or lawyer’s website rise to the top of the organic search results, it is critical to utilize effective WordPress SEO strategies.
Use the Tools Provided
Those new to WordPress may not be familiar with the options in open-source plugins available. These are often free or offered at a very low cost. These plugins check content for SEO friendly issues. However, it is still up to the website designer and developer to ensure the content and the structure of the site is SEO friendly.
Another tool to consider is the choice of the WordPress theme selected. The more elaborate the theme, the more detailed the script is to run the site, and the more plugins are pre-loaded with the theme. This results in slower loading pages, which counts against your SEO goals.
The theme selected needs to have responsive design. Responsive design means the page displays differently based on the type of device used to view the website. The theme, and any plugins added to the theme, should be checked to ensure they are responsive design or mobile friendly.
Another tool that is critical for websites to boost their results on a search engine results page (SERP) is to install an SSL certificate. For legal focused websites, having this additional element provides confidence and trust for viewers, while also adding a Google ranking factor. Most people do not provide any type of personal information or use contact forms on sites where the SSL lock is not visible before the page URL.
Practical Strategies for WordPress SEO
There are several practical and essential additions to quality boost your WordPress SEO. One of the easiest is to add customized title tags. Using the WordPress standard default post titles, the website name is always first, then the page, post, or blog title. This can make it confusing to see what is on the page, as it typically does not contain the critical keywords. Simply by changing the URL for the page to include the keyword and describe what is on the page, your SEO increases.
The default format for titles creates an additional rank for your website name, not for the specific post, blog, or content. By removing the name of the blog or website to the title tag, each individual page is ranked, and the content is clearly visible to the reader.
Linking to Other Websites
An effective way for an attorney or a law firm to become recognized as an authority is to link the WordPress website to other quality websites. Law firms and attorneys can blog about current cases, relevant legal news and insight, or provide short, informative blogs to answer common client questions. These blogs help people understand simple or more complex legal terminology and concepts. By linking to external sources for more information, Google recognizes the quality of the links.
Linking to other websites, including sites where you are a guest blogger, helps to expand your target audience and to also generate traffic from the guest blogging or linked site to your website. This organic traffic boosts SERP rankings while also increasing your brand and visibility.
It is easy to become confused about the terminology used on different websites. In general, backlinks, interlinks, or external links are all referring to the same process.
Keyphrases or sets of keywords are critical for any effective SEO strategy. A good place to start in determining the best keywords for your legal website can be found through Google Ads or any other keyword tool or app. The tool provides a list of keywords or phrases used by people searching for the legal services you provide.
The most popular keywords in the legal field include lawyer, attorney, litigation, court, and family law. However, by being more specific, law firms and attorneys can target their audience. Using geographic and local WordPress SEO terms is ideal for law firms. It attracts clients in the practice areas and geographic locations you serve.
Terms such as “near me, nearby, close to, around” are important for local SEO. It is easier to attract a client in your area if the keyword used in the article includes “family law attorney in XYZ City” rather than just the term “family law attorney.”
Look for keywords used by your target audience. Lawyers tend to use legal terms and jargon that is relevant to their profession but not used by the average person searching online. For example, instead of litigation, consider using trial or court. These keywords and keyphrases can be used sparingly throughout the content as well as in page titles and subheadings.
Add Alt Attributes
Alt attributes is a text description of an image on your page. When using WordPress, the system automatically used the file name of the photo as the alt attribute. The file name of the image may be a nonsensical string of numbers or letters, which limits the benefit to your website in the search engine algorithms.
Instead, rename jpg files before uploading them to the WordPress site. This allows you to use descriptive words that not only apply to the search words your clients are using, but that also add to your SERP ranking. Changing the title on a jpg file of “people in a meeting” to “attorney client meeting” or “divorce mediation” will result in more search engine traffic based on the alt attributes of the image.
It is worth nothing the most important part of any Google or WordPress SEO strategy is to include quality, original content. Keep it relevant to your readers, add new content frequently, and consider choosing evergreen topics rather than hot issues that quickly fizzle out.