On-Page SEO For Law Firms
On-page SEO for law firms is foundational for a good SEO strategy. It is the series of things we optimize on the website to make it more visible to our target audience.
It encompasses proper utilization of keywords, creating content based on searcher’s intent, SEO copywriting for meta titles and descriptions, image optimization and more.
Additionally, on-page SEO or On-site SEO for law firms involves other things like improving site architecture, user experience, and conversion rates.
In this guide, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about optimizing the on-page elements of your law firm site so that you can attract more prospects to your business.
Let’s get started.
Why is on-page SEO for Law Firms essential?
SEO consists of 3 parts – on-page SEO, off-page SEO and technical SEO.
Getting your firm’s website to rank for specific queries and search terms will require a holistic SEO approach, in which all three parts of SEO are taken care of.
But because SEO is such a vast subject, each part of it deserves a post of its own.
Coming to the main topic of this post – on-page SEO for law firms, the importance of it is immense.
Though all three parts of SEO (on-page SEO, off-page SEO and technical SEO) are vital for better performance in SERPs (search engine result pages), if they had to be ranked in order of their importance, this is how I’d rank it:
- Technical SEO
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
Several law firm websites perform exceptionally well by optimizing their site’s technical and on-page elements.
That’s not to say that off-page isn’t important.
Building a few good links is almost a requirement to rank for more competitive terms.
Nonetheless, following on-page best practices is mandatory for all law firm websites that wish to do well.
Here are a few reasons why on-page SEO is crucial for your firm:
- Provides pages on your site with a structure: well-optimized pages have a predictable structure to them when it comes to their headers. Every page should have one H1 that is generally right at the top, followed by subheadings in chronological order (H2s, H3 and H4s).
- Helps keep non-text elements in check: things like images, infographics, and videos also need to be optimized for pages to load quickly. These things are also taken care of under on-page SEO.
- Attracts searches with attractive meta tags: by using SEO copywriting, you’ll make your pages’ offerings clearer to potential website visitors. This can help you convert searchers into visitors and, later, visitors to clients.
- Distributing keywords naturally: properly utilizing keywords within the title, headings and body of page content will ensure that both google and your target audience find it.
The list of the importance of on-page SEO for law firms is vast. But these were the few main ones that make on-page optimization vital for a better website.
Next, we’ll look at the differences between the three parts of SEO and how on-page enhancements can contribute to both off-page and technical SEO.
On-page SEO vs off-page SEO vs technical SEO
On-page SEO for law firms: as mentioned earlier, on-page SEO deals with all elements a user can see on your website. It includes optimizing internal & external links, images, headings, meta titles and descriptions, content quality etc, that directly affect how users find and interact with your site.
Off-page SEO for law firms: on the other hand, off-page SEO can be defined as the activities conducted to spread the news that your website exists across the web. Things like social sharing & bookmarking, guest blogging, influencer outreach, and directory submission fall under off-page SEO. This helps create awareness and build backlinks that are crucial for the success of any website in the long run.
Technical SEO for law firms: technical SEO should be the first and most important part of fixing the larger SEO picture of a law firm website. It deals with site architecture, security and speed, canonical links, robot.txt files, structured data, sitemaps, etc. The technical part of SEO is considered the most critical aspect within the SEO umbrella because no matter how good the content on the site is, if the mechanics aren’t correct, it just won’t function the way it’s supposed to.
How do off-page and technical SEO benefit from on-page optimization?
As mentioned earlier, to do well in SERPs, all parts of SEO need to be taken care of.
On-page SEO can make off-page and technical SEO significantly easier.
So, for instance, if your site has excellent content: well-written articles that show your expertise. And you lase it with informative and interesting images or videos that enhance the overall piece; building backlinks to it becomes much easier.
People want to link and share content that makes them look good. So if you can create content keeping E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, trustworthiness and authoritativeness) in mind, promoting it and acquiring backlinks through off-page activities becomes less challenging.
Regarding the technical part, a few things can be considered both on-page and technical SEO.
For example, site architecture and how links are structured help search engines understand, crawl, index and render pages, and it also helps visitors navigate the website easily.
Similarly, compressing and using the correct format for images look better on pages and also help with reducing load speeds.
On-page, off-page and technical SEO for law firms are interlinked. Optimizing a few aspects of a site can affect other elements knowing or unknowingly.
Elements of on-page SEO
- EAT and content quality
- Understanding user intent
- Keyword selection and distribution
- Optimizing headings
- Optimizing URLs
- Title and meta tags
- Internal and external linking
- Image optimization
- SEO copywriting
- Avoid keyword cannibalization
- Structured data
E-E-A-T and content quality
E-E-A–T has become an important metric that google considers when ranking pages for search queries.
Essentially E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Because there are millions of blog posts, articles and reviews posted online each day; search engines need to determine content produced by real experts.
And although anyone can publish content online, search engines like Google want their users to have the best experience.
Especially in legal, financial and medical areas, where wrong information or thin content can confuse users, Google wants to make sure people writing or websites publishing such content are credible and reliable.
Writing content that is factually correct and serves the purpose of the search query is a requirement to do well in SERPs.
Every page within your law firm’s website should serve a purpose.
If it’s a landing page that requires users to fill out a form or make a payment, navigation should be made easy. The content needs to be well-written and comprehensive if the page provides information about a topic.
Keyword selection and distribution
The first step of the on-page SEO checklist for law firms and lawyers is finding the right keywords to target.
This is because the keywords you target in your firm’s landing pages, service pages and blog posts will help you connect with audiences searching for those keywords.
That is why selecting keywords that best represent a website’s offerings is crucial for the entire SEO process to be successful.
There are many ways to find relevant keywords. And chances are you already have an idea of the keywords you should target.
For starters, you could use your services as your primary keywords.
But the web is already filled with other websites that sell the same or similar services as you do.
And some keywords are more competitive than others. Ranking for more competitive keywords is challenging, especially if you’ve just created your website or are just getting started with SEO.
So what’s the solution?
First, you need to use a market research tool like Semrush that’ll help you get insights on low-competition keywords that you can start creating content on immediately.
Second, you’ll need to build Topical Authority to benefit in the long run. This means you cover just about every sub-topic under the main topic you want your site to rank for.
Keyword distribution refers to the number of times a keyword is mentioned within a page or a piece of content.
Google seems to dislike pages that overuse keywords to gain rankings in SERPs.
However, adequate utilization of keywords is a must for adequately optimizing a page.
There is no exact number that Google has revealed, but using the targeted keyword/keyphrase anywhere from 7 to 9 times in a 1000-word piece of copy should be sufficient.
Also use of LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords plays a role in helping pages rank higher.
So if your main keyword is “divorce lawyer”, other keywords to target would be “divorce attorney”, “divorce cases”, and “legal counsel”.
Related keywords within your content help Google better understand what your pages are about, which adds to on-page SEO efforts.
Understanding user intent
A few years back, filling up pages with keywords could have your law firm site ranking in the top three positions.
While relevant keywords and phrases are still essential, understanding their intent is just as important.
Searching for a term like “divorce lawyer in london”, you’ll be presented with sponsored ads at the top, followed by local listings and then organic listings of different legal service providers.
This shows that this keyphrase has ‘commercial intent’ and ranking for it could bring in qualified traffic & leads (that is if you offer divorce legal service of course).
But if you search for something like “options for resolving disputes involving children”, you’ll be presented with a different listing that has informational content on their pages. A comprehensive and well-written blog post will perform better for this search query than a service landing page.
Ranking for these sorts of informational long-tail queries helps in getting views from people looking for information on the topic related to your service. From there you can redirect them to your service page or use contact forms and CTA buttons in strategic positions to capture leads.
The content you create depends on the intent behind the keywords/keyphrases you plan to target.
Understanding user intent is crucial if you wish to do well in search results.
One way to better understand the intent behind keywords is to search for them like your target audience would and see what pops up.
From there, you can analyze the results and craft content accordingly.
Headings are also an important aspect of on-page SEO for law firms.
Every page on the web has some sort of content on them.
And the content is broken down in sections with the help of headings.
They are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6.
Every well-optimized page must have a single H1 followed by a few H2s, H3s and H4s that help break up the copy into digestible chunks.
Using both main and LSI keywords in your headings is considered good practice.
It provides information about what readers are about to read next. And headings also help with boosting SEO efforts by informing search engines about the page’s content and intent.
Another critical aspect of on-page SEO for law firms is optimizing the URLs of pages within a website.
We want our URLs to look like this:
And not like this:
If you use WordPress as your CMS, you can change the URL structure in settings. Additionally, slugs of individual posts and pages can easily be changed if you use a plugin like Rankmath or AIOSEO.
There are two primary reasons for doing this – First, it looks clearer and describes what the page is about. Web users are savvy these days and can identify what they can expect to see on the page just by looking at the URL.
This can be beneficial because if the URL is clear, concise and easy to read, it could positively affect click-through rates.
Also, search engines prefer URLs to be short and to the point.
Here are a few tips to optimize URLs for better rankings:
- Include keywords in them. You can do this for your product, service, categories and post pages.
- Use a hyphen (-) to separate each word in the slug.
- Skip using words like “a”, “the”, and “of” in your URLs
Title tags and meta descriptions
When you search for something in Google, you’re presented with a list of links that lead to different websites.
Each listing in the results has a title and a short description below. These are the title tag and meta description.
Title tags and meta descriptions are essential for a couple of reasons.
First, they tell search engines what the page is about (note – title tags are different from headings).
Second, these act like organic ads for your website. By utilizing SEO copywriting, you can make your tags and descriptions look attractive.
Here are some tips for writing eye-grabbing title tags and meta descriptions:
- Incorporate keywords within both the title and meta descriptions.
- Try to highlight your USP (unique selling point), whether it is your low prices, years of experience, or expert team. Make use of anything that will set your listing apart from the competition.
- You can also add your contact details like phone number and email id within the meta data.
Internal and external linking
Websites are made up of primarily two things – content and links.
Properly interlinking pages can have several positive effects.
Some of them are:
- Easier for search engines to crawl pages: Internally linking your pages with the use of appropriate anchors can help search engines like Google crawl and index pages of your law firm website more effectively.
- Gives your readers access to more information: providing links to other relevant pages or pieces of content, whether that be your own or another site, can add value to your readers. They can dive deeper into what they’re trying to learn or find.
- Interlinking helps with link equity: linking higher authority (pages with more backlinks) to lower ones or vice-versa can help spread link equity throughout the website.
Make sure to revisit your older blog posts, landing and service pages, and tactically link them to newer published pages.
Also, using appropriate anchors that give a preview of the linked content is good practice.
Images are used everywhere – homepages, landing pages and blog posts.
There’s no doubt that images make law firm websites more attractive. Eye Catching visuals can help visitors stay on the site longer, while informative ones can add more value and, in many cases, help acquire backlinks.
So optimizing images for a better user experience is important.
Using JPEG or PNG formats is recommended whenever uploading them to your firm’s website. Additionally, compressing and reducing the size of images will help pages load significantly faster.
For instance, you don’t want images to be 1 MB or even 700 KB. Instead, you’ll want to use a photo editing software like Photopea to bring the size down to 50 KB or 70 KB.
Utilizing lazy loading can also help with better image & resource management when someone accesses it on your site.
If your law firm’s website is built on WordPress, you can use a plugin like Smush to optimize images.
Advance on-page SEO
No matter how well pages are optimized, if the content is not up to the mark, visitors won’t convert.
Regardless of why you’re running a website, one thing is for sure – you want to make money from it (unless you’re doing only pro bono).
But you may also have other goals, like getting people to click on a particular link or getting them on your email list.
This is where SEO copywriting can be helpful.
SEO copywriting combines persuasive, compelling content with SEO best practices so that your firm’s pages rank higher and convert once people land on them.
Some good practices would be to:
- Write keyword-rich content.
- Focus more on “you” than “I.”
- Maintain a clean and easy-to-read content structure.
- Focus on providing value!
- Use techniques like AIDA to guide prospects through your copy.
Avoid keyword cannibalization
Keywords cannibalization happens when you have multiple pages ranking for the same search query.
This isn’t good because your pages are essentially competing with each other in the search results.
In this case, you can combine the content from both pages, merge and create one authoritative piece of content.
That way, a single post would have more content, which equals more information and keywords.
And if you’ve noticed, you know that Google likes to rank pages with in-depth and unique content.
You would eventually have to delete one of the two pages but you can redirect the one you’re about to delete to the new one that you wish to keep.
And the last and often overlooked aspect of on-page optimization for law firms is structured data.
The current climate of search engine optimization requires almost every page and post to have some sort of structured data to it.
Structured data is nothing but presenting the contents of your pages in a way that is easy for search engines like Google to understand.
It helps describe whether a page contains a review, FAQs, images, author bios etc.
Schema.org is where you can find schemas (different structure data formats) you can use for your law firm website.
You can use a tool like TechnicalSEO to generate schemas and Schema Validator to check for errors and warnings.