We’ve all done the following when we need to find some information: we fire up a browser, type a few words into a search box, and hope to be presented with answers to our enquiry.
We never stop to ponder how it happens that we get the results that we’re presented with. We’re usually just happy if we get an answer that satisfies our need. If not, we repeat the process with a different string of words.
However, it’s not an accident that we see a particular set of results when we conduct a search on Google and other search engines.
The reason why we see the results that we do is the outcome of successful search engine optimization (SEO) on the part of the owners of those websites.
But what are search engines, what exactly is search engine optimization, and why is it so important?
What Are Search Engines?
Some of the most popular search engines
Search engines are software programs that help people find information in a computing environment.
That environment could be within a single website, a standalone software program or on the internet.
In the case of engines like Google and Bing, they operate on the internet.
How the Search Engines Came to Control the Internet and Who Gets to See What
In the early days, the internet was a chaotic mess, with tons of web pages in existence and no catalog of those pages or an organized system to find the information on those pages if you didn’t already have an exact web address or uniform resource locator (URL).
The search engines saw this problem and created their software programs to find as many pages as possible online, add them to a database, establish relationships between the content and provide a way for internet users to find information even if they didn’t have a specific URL to locate what they needed.
Thus, the search engines were born. Many algorithm changes later to improve their processes, today, those search engines are the gatekeepers of the internet.
They’ve earned our trust in their ability to help us find the exact information we’re looking for or the closest alternatives.
Of course, they don’t do all of this altruistically.
Having successfully positioned themselves as the starting point for most online explorations, they’ve been able to build an advertising business on top of the search results and charge a premium to businesses that want the greatest visibility on those search results pages.
Thus, if you’re not prepared to pay for the privilege to be featured at the entrance to the internet kingdom, then you must be ready to work very hard to get that kind of prominence with organic search engine optimization.
What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization is everything that you need to do to get search engines like Google and Bing to index your web pages – which is to include them in their database of pages that they could present in search results – and to rank those pages high on their search results page.
SEO is not one thing, but rather many different activities and processes working in combination to get your pages indexed and ranked high.
This means that there are two hurdles to scale. Getting your web pages indexed and getting them to rank well on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
If a page on your website is not indexed, it’s not going to appear in search results.
If your web page doesn’t rank well, it’s not going to show up high on the first few pages of the SERPs.
As a website owner, your goal must be to appear on the first page of the SERPs. Appearing on anything beyond that page – or the second page, at worst – is not worth much.
Most search users don’t go beyond the first page of the SERPs to the see the results that languish there.
Why Some Web Pages Don’t Get Indexed by Search Engines
Not every page on a website will automatically get indexed by the search engines.
The decision whether or not to index any page of a website lies in the hands of the website owner, as well as the search engines.
For instance, there might be sections of your site that you don’t want to make publicly available. You could issue specific directives to the search engines not to index that content.
To instruct the search engines not to index a page on your site, include the following page metatag in the
<head> section of the source code of the page.
<META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex">
How to instruct the search engines not to index a page on your website
Additionally, if you would like for them not to follow any links on those pages, you could issue a directive like this,
<META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex nofollow">
Most search engines will honor these instructions and not include such pages in their database. However, on their own, they may decide not to index some of your pages, even if you’d want them indexed.
There are many reasons why but some of the most common include: the affected page having little textual content; the page being substantially similar in content to another page; having errors or programming scripts that affect the page’s performance or that make it impossible for the search engines to read it; or being the subject of penalties by the search engines, for any number of reasons.
If your website has a lot of webpages, it can be helpful to create a sitemap of your website that you submit to the search engines to help them discover your web content easier. Learn how to create a sitemap here.
Sample snippet of a sitemap for a law firm’s website
Why Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Important for Lawyers?
Traditionally, lawyers have relied on people in their familial, social, and professional circles for referrals to clients.
This has been necessary given the many rules that guide how attorneys can solicit business.
However, with the rise of the internet, potential legal clients have found greater autonomy with the process of finding legal help, by conducting searches for lawyers on their own, in addition to asking to be referred to such professionals.
As far back as 2013, Google’s research showed that 96% of people who needed legal counsel consulted a search engine.
Also, marketing data and statistics show that website traffic and conversions from search produce the highest quality leads. This is the case because search is intent-driven. A customer goes searching for a product or service when there is a need. Where that need exists, also exists an opportunity to close a transaction.
As a lawyer, today, if you don’t have a solid digital marketing strategy to make your law firm highly visible on the internet to this audience that’s actively looking for legal services providers, you will miss out on a sizeable segment of your target market.
And that’s going to be problematic for your business because there is always going to be a low ceiling on the number of referrals that could come your way on any given day or month.
How to Optimize Your Website and Web Pages for Search
The first thing to get out of the way is that search engine optimization is not an easy task. There’s no quick – or simple – one-day fix.
There’s no magical AI or software that will get you to the top of the SERPs without a clear strategy and a lot of detailed ongoing work.
There are many different things that you will need to be monitoring, and possibly modifying, on a regular basis.
Some of those will require you or your team to have some understanding of – or the willingness to learn about – how web software works, how web pages should be built and structured, and how to fix technical issues that may affect your website.
A good starting point is Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide . You can also read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
There’s a lot of information to cover, but you’ll succeed better when you understand and adopt the following principles as a guide.
Think Like a Search Engine to Achieve Success With SEO
Search engines are businesses. Their primary service is producing relevant, valuable, and credible content in their search results for their customers – search users.
If their search results are not top-notch, their users will lose faith in their service and abandon them. If their search business collapses, their profitable advertising business will follow suit.
Their loyalties are to their search users and their advertising clients – not to your business. They will do you no favors, if it gets in the way of the success of their business model.
To have a fighting chance with SEO and doing well on the SERPs, you must commit to producing the best, most relevant, valuable, and authoritative content for your subject matter. Having a mindset different from this will likely not give you the results you want.
Understand Search Engine Algorithms & Ranking Factors
The methodology that the search engines use to determine what pages to return in their SERPs, and the order in which to rank those pages is the search algorithm for that particular engine.
Every search engine has its own algorithm, the specifics of which are secret and frequently updated.
However, there are some ingredients – known as ranking factors – that are known to heavily influence how well a page will do for its subject matter.
These ranking factors are what the search engines evaluate and weigh on an ongoing basis to determine the ranking order of the results they return.
There are a great number of rumored and suspected ranking factors but the most important – and corroborated by the search engines – are listed below
SEO Ranking Factor #1 – The Quality of the Content on Your Law Firm’s Website
First and foremost, the content that you will be producing for your website, blogs, white papers, articles, etc., is the most important ranking factor.
To have a shot at ranking in pole position, your content has got to be the most comprehensive, authoritative, credible, and relevant content that matches the search user’s needs on the subject matter of their search.
That means as you create content, you should be keeping your focus on your audience and their information needs for that content. Make sure that you are thoroughly answering all the questions they have on the topic.
How to Satisfy User Intent With Your Topic
Before you start to produce any content, you should conduct proper keyword research to find out what your audience really cares about regarding your subject matter.
That way, you can understand what their expectations for the content are and create material that will satisfy their needs. If you don’t satisfy their needs, the search engines will not serve up your pages when those users go searching.
For instance, if you’re an Employment law attorney and you’re writing about sexual harassment in the workplace, you need to find out what your target audience wants to know about that broad subject.
Some users might want to know what exactly constitutes sexual harassment and what the law says about it. Some might be interested to learn what to do if they’ve been victimized. Others might be interested in learning how to avoid inadvertently harassing an employee or co-worker.
The examples above are all different questions about a central topic. Each one of those questions would be associated with different search phrases that would suggest what the user’s needs – for the content they hope to find – are.
Make sure that you’re answering all the questions they have about their specific query as exhaustively as possible. Providing cursory responses or merely stating your list of services related to the topics will not impress your audience or the search engines.
You should be aiming to be the most authoritative and credible resource on the topic you’re producing content about. You can’t succeed at that if you don’t research what questions your audience has.
Keyword research is a huge topic in itself. We have an in-depth article on how to conduct effective keyword research for lawyers here.
What About Google’s EAT?
On the subject of creating quality content for your audience, Google has guidelines for evaluating content to determine how it should rank.
They have an acronym, EAT, that’s used for this quality assessment. EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
The gist of this is that the content should demonstrate expertise, be authoritative and engender trust.
For content to meet this standard, it should be apparent that some work has to go into its production. It can’t be a trivial endeavor
All websites need to stay active, current, and authoritative in their subject matter. This is a big indication to the search engines which sites to return in a result. Websites with thin and infrequently updated content are deprioritized by search engines.
Avoiding Thin Content
While there are no hard and fast rules for how many words your pages should contain, you should be aiming for longer, original, well-written and well-researched content.
Google penalizes the use of the following: auto-generated content, content that’s aggregated from varied sources and stitched together or insubstantial content that adds no value.
If there’s more HTML (the markup language that’s used to structure and present webpages) on the page than actual textual content, that’s going to be problematic.
It’s also possible that pages with low word counts won’t get indexed at all.
While you don’t want to focus on just word counts and fill up your pages with drivel to meet a quota, you do want to produce comprehensive write ups that provide valuable information.
It would be wise to aim for a minimum of 1000 words for the pages you want to have indexed and to rank well.
How to Organize and Structure Your Content
It’s important to understand that search engines return only one page at a time in search results.
The page that’s returned from a website in response to a search user’s query, is the page that most closely matches the search intent of the user on a subject matter or topic.
Users won’t always be automatically directed to your home page or service pages or lawyer bio pages, as examples. They could be sent to your blog pages or other content that most closely matches what the search engines determine the user needs at that moment.
While all the content of your website serves to establish the overall subject matter of your legal practice to the search engines, the goal of the search engines is still to direct their users to the most appropriate page of your site that meets the user’s immediate need.
This means that you need to create individual pages or sections of your website that are focused on one topic and that are all unique in the content they provide. This will include an optimized home page, detailed services pages, biography pages for the lawyers in your practice, and then quality pages with content that address the topics your audience cares about.
As an example, if you’re a Personal Injury law firm and you actively take on a variety of cases, you should be creating separate content for each of those case types, i.e., medical malpractice, car accidents, slips and falls, motorcycle accidents, asbestos-related illnesses, etc.
Within the content for those case types, you also want to be aware of the search intent of your audience and make sure that your pages are answering the specifics of the questions they have.
Help the Search Engines Understand What Your Web Pages Are About with On-Page SEO
Search engines will scan your pages and try to understand what your pages are about so they can index them properly and serve them up to search users who are looking for the kind of information they contain.
However, it’s possible to help the search engines to understand your pages better with On-page or On-site SEO.
On-page SEO is all the things you can do to signal your page’s subject matter to the search engines and help improve how it ranks.
On-page SEO comprises many different activities. Most require you or your web team to have some technical understanding of how web pages are built, how to adjust the underlying code of your web pages, and how to create and name those pages correctly.
Some of the decisions you’ll make in this regard are best made as you initially build out your website architecture, and as you plan your overall digital strategy. However, if you have a competent web team you can still undertake these steps to optimize your existing pages.
Focus the content of each page. Make sure the overall content of each page completely speaks to the subject matter of that page.
While that might seem self-evident, it’s possible to create pages that start to go off on tangents and lose focus of what the central topic is.
Use your important keywords and answer the questions your audience has about your topic comprehensively.
Optimize your page title tags. The title tag is a page metatag that search engines read to quickly understand the subject matter of a page and get some other important details about your law firm.
The title tag isn’t visible on the web page itself. It shows up at the top of the browser chrome and appears in search results. It is visible in the HTML source code of the page, in the head section of the page’s HTML.
<title>San Antonio Divorce Lawyer | Perrino Family Law Practice </title>
Include your important page keywords and other relevant information about your business here. Keep the contents of the title tag relevant but brief.
Ideally, you want to keep the total character count under 80. Don’t overload the title tag with keywords, this could get you penalized by search engines. It’s important to make sure that the title tag for each page is unique.
Use descriptive keyword-rich URLs. As you create pages for your content, use unique, descriptive names for each page URL or web address that help to describe the content of the page. Example: “https://www.mylawfirm.com/sexual-harassment-settlements”, etc.
Structure your page headings properly. All web pages should be built with a proper structure that define a clear content hierarchy with sections of content and several headings.
Search engines parse the HTML of a web page to discern the structure and understand the most important parts of the page. Every web page should have headings that are structured in HTML with tags <h1> through <h6>, in descending order of importance.
<h1> tags are the most important on the page. Ideally, there should be only one <h1> tag on a page. Search engines pay a lot of attention to the contents of that tag, as well as every other heading tag on the page.
It’s important to have keywords that describe the page and the page sections in those heading tags.
If you’re using content management systems like WordPress, for instance, and working with pre-built themes that you find on those platforms, make sure that the underlying code of those themes are structured properly.
There are some pre-built themes that look good, visually, to a human user, but their underlying code and build is nonsensical to internet browsers and search engines. Themes like that can cause problems with how the browsers and search engines parse the contents of your web pages.
Optimize your image and video files. If you have images or other multimedia content on your web pages, you need to optimize their file sizes, so they load quickly.
You can do this with photo editing software like Photoshop that can compress the file size while maintaining a good image quality. Similarly, you should optimize your video files so that they don’t weigh your pages down.
Add descriptive alt text to your image tags. If you have images on your page, open up the source code of each page and add alternative (alt) text to all the image tags to provide descriptive text for those images.
The alt text attribute for images helps with accessibility for screen readers and other devices that help visually impaired internet users to understand the contents of a page and what an image is about, even if they can’t see it. Search engines also read the content in those alt descriptors, and that helps to provide extra context about the content of your page.
SEO Ranking Factor #2 – The Number and Quality of Links to Your Website
Hyperlinks are the currency of the internet.
They connect pages across the internet, creating the complex network that is the world wide web.
The search engines eagerly follow those links from page to page, making connections and establishing relationships between websites.
The number and quality of the hyperlinks – also known as backlinks – pointing to your web pages are a huge ranking factor for search engines.
The links coming into your website are seen by the search engines as validation for your content and they carry an incredible amount of weight in determining how well you will rank on the SERPs.
All Links Aren’t Created Equal
The more links you have, the better your website likely will do. However, it’s not just a question of quantity, but also one of quality.
The type and quality of those backlinks is important. Links from other websites that have the same or related subject matter to yours carry the most weight. Similarly, links from influential websites like news organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, etc., always carry a lot of weight.
Editorial links – links contained in the body section of articles of other websites that directly link to your own website in their content – are the most valuable.
Such links are usually the result of producing great content that other websites find valuable to share with their own audience. If there’s an article in a publication like the National Law Review that mentions and links to your law firm’s website, that would be an example of a prime link that should boost your rankings.
Links in footer sections of a web page or links on low-quality, directory sites that exist simply to link to a huge bunch of websites don’t carry as much weight and, sometimes, could even hurt your SEO performance.
How to Acquire Links to Your Content
Getting backlinks to your website is not the easiest thing. It is one of the most important ranking factors that you can’t directly control.
You can’t force other websites to link to you. And most websites won’t link to you without a good reason to do so.
What you can do is write the best content possible that readers of other websites could find useful and beneficial. If your site becomes associated with great legal content that’s not just advertisements of your legal services, it’s more likely that other websites will start to link to your content, so that their audience can benefit from the information you provide.
This is also where your content marketing and digital PR activities will be highly beneficial in promoting your content across the internet, to online communities that could find it valuable.
What you definitely should avoid doing is buying links, participating in any kind of link-schemes, or adding your website to sketchy directory or listing sites that promise to link to you for a fee.
Those kinds of schemes will negatively impact your rankings.
The search engines heavily frown upon those kinds of activities and can penalize your website with a removal from their index or an outright ban that could last for many years.
It’s also important to regularly scrutinize the links pointing to your website, to be sure that spam sites or low-quality directory sites aren’t linking to yours. You can use a tool like Google’s Webmaster search console to see the links pointing to your site.
If you find links that you don’t recognize or trust, you can disavow those links within the tool so that they don’t negatively impact your rankings, or worse, get your site blacklisted from the search engines.
Linking Within Your Own Website Is Also Important
While links from other websites to yours are the most valuable, the links within your own website are also important.
They help the search engines navigate your site and find important information within it.
Make sure that your site’s navigation menus include links to your most important pages. Also make sure that there are easy to discover links to every page on your site, and that the anchor (link) text on them is sufficiently descriptive of the content you’re linking to.
SEO Ranking Factor #3 – The Technical Performance of Your Legal Website
Besides the content of your website and the backlinks pointing to you, which we’ve already discussed, the technical performance of your website is another major ranking factor.
The architecture of a website – the way it’s built – and how well it performs from a technical perspective can greatly impact your search performance.
Problems of this type aren’t easy to fix without substantial technical expertise on how to build a website, how to maintain a web server and how to write or fix scripting or programming code. As such, the activities that address problems of this nature are known as Technical SEO.
If your website has issues in this area, it will negatively impactive your performance with SEO.
Improve Your Search Performance With Technical SEO
Make sure that your website is responsive. A responsive website is one that functions smoothly and perfectly across all devices – cellphones, tablets, and desktops – with the same codebase.
What this means is that you should have only one website that smoothly adjusts and adapts regardless of the device a user is viewing it on. Any situation where you are building different websites or serving up different content for different devices will significantly hurt your SEO performance.
Search engines like Google will penalize your website heavily if it is not responsive in its build.
Be careful when using some website builders which inherently create separate websites for you that use different codebases to serve content to different devices.
Make sure your website and web pages load fast. If your website takes a long time to load, the search engines will downgrade it in search results.
There are many things that can cause your web pages and website overall to load very slowly. Some of those include: badly written programs or scripts that run on individual pages or on the whole website; bloated content management systems or themes; bad web hosting providers or insufficient webserver resources serving up your web pages; too much multimedia content – images and videos – that aren’t properly optimized to improve their file sizes, and much more.
Regardless of the cause, it must be fixed, otherwise your website will tank in search results.
Make sure that your site has not been compromised with malware. If you’re not paying close attention to your website, especially what’s happening on your webserver, you may not know if malware or other malicious scripts have infected your website. If that has happened, your website may start to send out spam and malware across the internet.
Search engines will penalize you heavily and block your website if it’s spewing spam or other malicious content across the internet.
Fix any interface or user experience issues. Your website should provide a good experience to your visitors. This means that it should have good information architecture that’s structured properly for visitors to be able to discover your content easily.
It also means that your website should have an interface that’s easy to use and that provides a pleasant user experience
Elements like annoying pop-ups (interstitials) and other dialogs should be avoided or used with great caution because they can also get your site penalized.
Other Ranking Factors
As mentioned earlier, there are many potential ranking factors, but the three mentioned above are the most important. There is consensus that they impact your SEO performance the most.
Other factors that are also suspected to be impactful include having clear contact information for your business on your website. For lawyers, this is already mandated.
Finally, the length of time that your website has been in existence also factors in the rankings. A website that’s been around for 10 years, will do better than a website that was launched a week ago.
Boost Performance With Local SEO
More likely than not, you provide your legal services in specific local markets.
When someone searches for legal services online, search engines try to match them with relevant results from lawyers that appear to be close in proximity to the search user.
That’s why it’s important that you send location signals that alert the search engines to those markets that are serviced by your law firm.
You can do this by including location-specific keywords in your page title text, headlines and in your content overall. Avoid keyword stuffing, but signal your location in naturally occurring contexts as you create your content.
You can also use schema structured data to communicate your location information to the search engines. Learn how to use schema local business structured data here.
There are also other things that you can do to help with placements on maps and other local business indexes, local search pack listings, as well as implicit, contextualized, location-based searches.
Create or Claim Your Business Listings
Claiming, creating and maintaining profiles on business listing sites like Google business profiles, Yelp, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, LinkedIn, Apple Maps and many other platforms is going to be helpful with local SEO.
Search engines cross-reference your information across a variety of platforms and factor the information gleaned from these sources.
These will also be helpful in getting featured on local maps and directories that list local businesses in proximity to search users.
Create a Profile on the Top Legal Directories
There are many legal directories that you should be promoting your legal services on. While some of these are subscription-based services, others provide free listings, which can be supplemented with sponsored premium listings.
Search engines also reference information about your legal practice from sites like these.
Some of these directories and portals include Findlaw, Justia, Avvo, Lawyers.com, Martindale, Nolo, and many more.
Register Your Site With the Top Local Business Aggregators
There are some business data brokerages that aggregate local business data and disperse that information to many different properties online. These companies are known as aggregators.
There are many of these companies but the four largest are Factual, Acxiom, Neustar Localeze, and Infogroup. The data they hold feed many of the other smaller aggregators.
These aggregators typically have information such as your business name, address, phone numbers, ownership, etc.
Search engines reference the information held by these aggregators against the information you provide on your own online properties, like your website, social profiles and business listings, to verify the legitimacy of your business.
These pieces of information are especially important for local business searches.
It’s important that the information contained across the web about your business is kept accurate and up to date.
It’s important to regularly verify and update the data about your business that’s held by these companies. It’s tedious to do this manually, based on the sheer number of directories you’d need to contact, but there are services like Brightlocal and other SEO tools like Moz local that can help with this for a moderate monthly or annual fee.
Monitor Your Reviews
As you create and maintain profiles across different platforms online, you also want to be conscientious about monitoring the reviews you inevitably will start to receive.
Be careful to respond to as many reviews as you can – whether good or bad. Make sure you address any negative reviews immediately.
Online reviews are also factored in your rankings.
How Quickly Will I See Results if I Start SEO Now?
SEO results are not instantaneous. They accrue incrementally over time. It is a gradual process for the search engines to register new changes and activity on a site, and for that to reflect in your search rankings.
Realistically, it can take anywhere from six months to a year to see dramatic results, dependent on how many factors are already working positively in your favor when you start your SEO endeavors.
However, in contrast to buying advertising on the search engines, the results and benefits of SEO are longer-lasting.
To employ a cliché, think of SEO as a marathon not a sprint.
Do I Always Need to Do SEO for My Law Firm?
Yes. Search Engine Optimization is a continuous process that all owners of web properties – legal and otherwise – must make continual investments in.
In the crowded space that is the internet, every entity that exists on there is continuously optimizing their web presences, so that they can get indexed, rank higher and have greater visibility.
Your competition is constantly optimizing for improved search performance, so the strategies you will need to employ must be focused on leapfrogging their activities wherever possible.
SEO is not a one and done process. It is a continuous process that you must continue to undertake as long as you have a web presence and want to improve and maintain the visibility that you have.
As you undertake your SEO strategies to improve your rankings on the search engines, you will need to use a lot of tools to help with the activities you will be carrying out.
These tools will help with things like keyword research, checking your rankings, monitoring your backlinks, tracking and measuring your progress as you go, and more.
Some of the tools are free to use and others are paid utilities that you will need to get a subscription to in order to access their full features and benefits.
It is possible to achieve some success with SEO without using any of these tools, but having a combination of some of these in your arsenal will definitely be beneficial.
- Google Search Console
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Yandex Webmaster
- Google Analytics
Why SEO for Lawyers Is More Difficult Than for Most Other Industries
Adhering to the Rules that Govern Attorney Advertising
As an attorney, you are held to a higher standard for the content of your advertising materials, which includes the content of your websites.
The Bar associations that provide oversight over attorney conduct demand that all claims you make be factual, accurate and not misleading in anyway.
The use of superlatives and other self-aggrandizing adjectives that are common in online advertising in other industries are discouraged by the American Bar Association and every other local bar association.
This means that you can’t call yourself the “best” or the “specialist” or the “expert”, etc., in your practice area, without being able to factually back up such a claim.
Make sure you and your SEO team understand all the rules that govern your jurisdiction as you map out your SEO strategy.
The Extra Scrutiny Google and Search Engines Place on YMYL Content
There’s a category of content which Google designates as YMYL content – YMYL meaning Your Money or Your Life.
These types of content have the potential to materially impact a search user’s wellbeing. Some examples include news, financial, health and legal content.
As a result, Google places heavy scrutiny over websites that provide these kinds of information.
Their goal is to not return pages that could negatively impact their users if the content is potentially false, inaccurate, or dangerous.
This means that there is a higher bar for the legal content you will need to produce and disseminate online.
The Rewards of Good SEO for Lawyers
The lawyers who take search engine optimization seriously end up controlling the online market for legal services providers in their practice areas.
They dominate their markets and garner the majority of cases and clients who are online looking for legal help.
The Penalties for Bad SEO for Lawyers
For lawyers who engage in bad SEO practices, the penalties can be harsh and long-lasting.
Employing SEO tactics that go against the rules of the various bar associations under whose jurisdictions you practice open you up to disciplinary actions, including being disbarred if your marketing tactic or conduct is particularly egregious.
On the part of the search engines, you run the risk of being de-indexed or blacklisted from the search results pages, which renders your practice virtually invisible online.
It’s always advisable to follow the rules that the search engines lay out and also the guidelines for attorney advertising as mandated by the American Bar Association and the bar associations in the jurisdiction of your legal practice.
Search engine optimization is a critical component of your overall marketing strategy for your legal practice.
While there are a lot of factors that influence how well you will do on the search engines there are a few things that you need to pay special attention to:
How well your website communicates its subject matter to both search engines and your site visitors.
The numbers of quality links from other websites that point back to your website.
The architecture of your legal website and how well it performs from a technical perspective.
The relevance, authority, comprehensiveness, and currency of the content of your website to your identified subject matter.
Keep your focus on these and your SEO rankings will improve.