Law Firm Websites

Fred Lebhart Posted by Fred Lebhart on March 23, 2012

Top 10 SEO Mistakes Found on Law Firm Websites

Top 10 SEO Mistakes Found on Law Firm Websites

Is your Seattle law firm making any of these SEO mistakes?

lawfirm webdesign SeattleAs an online marketing firm specializing in law firm website design we've seen pretty much every type of lawyer website, most of which have a fair amount of mistakes; I was asked this morning to put together a list of a few of the big ones but first a little background on the basics: Major search engines, such as Google, have so-called spiders that crawl websites to determine what they're about. These spiders review not only the visible content on a web page, but also the meta tags (i.e., title, description, and keyword tags), which provide further information.

Ideally, a law firm that wants to rank for the phrase, "Seattle accident lawyer," would have content and meta tags that focus on that specific phrase. However, most law firms don’t take full advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and therefore fail to boost their websites' rankings for search terms related to the areas of legal practice they're promoting. These are the top 10 SEO mistakes found on law firm websites.

1. Ineffective meta tags - or no meta tags at all: Meta tags, also known as title tags, description tags, and keywords tags, tell search engines what your website is about. Title tags, which are displayed above the website address area at the top of the page, are supposed to be around 40 to 60 characters long and succinctly describe the content of a web page. Description tags consist of about two short sentences and provide more detailed information. Keywords tags, which are supposed to contain the keywords used on a particular web page, are less important than title or description tags.

A common problem among law firm websites is that they use identical title tags on every page. The title tags on your site should be unique and reflect the content featured on each particular page. But law firm websites that have no title tags whatsoever are even worse off. Another issue is when law firm websites use title tags with no value, such as, "John Doe Law Firm." It’s essential to create title tags that are aimed at helping people find you. A good title tag contains not only your law firm's name for branding purposes, but also your law firm's specialty and geographic location. For example, an effective title tag would be something like, "Seattle Personal Injury Attorney - Accident Lawyer - XYZ Law Firm."

2. Inconsistent content and meta tags: Many law firm websites confuse search engines because they have inconsistent content and meta tags. Here’s an example:

Title tag: John Doe Law Firm
Description tag: John Doe Law Firm was founded in 1986 and is located at 12 Anywhere Street, Seattle, Washington, 12345.
Keywords tag: Divorce lawyer Seattle, Seattle criminal lawyers, Seattle lemon lawyer, Seattle personal injury law
Content: John Doe Law Firm has been practicing divorce and family law for over 30 years (more information about divorce and family law cases handled in the past).

The title tag above indicates that it is John Doe Law Firm’s website, while the description tag mentions when John Doe Law Firm was founded. The keywords tag denotes that the website is about several different law practice areas, including personal injury law, divorce law, and criminal law. The content on the page describes the types of divorce and family law cases that John Doe Law Firm has handled. Overall, the meta tags on this web page deliver confusing signals to search engines and will prevent it from achieving high rankings for desirable search terms, such as "Seattle personal injury law.” The meta tags used on your Seattle law firm’s website should be consistent with the content on each page. To check the meta tags on a web page, simply right-click on the page, scroll down to "view source” in the pop-up window, and then left-click on it. You can find the title tag after the tag

, the description tag after the tag

3. Spammy meta tags: In the early days of SEO, it was common practice to spam meta tags by repeating terms like "Seattle law firm” over and over. People got away with doing this in the past, but today, it will get your site penalized by search engines and lower its rankings.

4. Bloated keywords tags: Some law firms load their keywords tags with an excessive amount of keywords, but considering that Google now disregards keywords tags and other search engines place less emphasis on them, overloading your keywords tags is a complete waste of time.

5. Not submitting your website to search engines: Contrary to popular belief, search engines do not always automatically find and index websites. Search engines find websites in two ways: when another website links to it and when the website’s URL is submitted to them. If search engines don’t know that your website exists, they’ll never index it. As a result, prospective clients will never be able to find your website when they search for the types of services your law firm offers. To avoid this problem, submit your website to Google and other search engines once it goes live so that it gets indexed as soon as possible.

6. Too much Flash: Flash may look slick, but search engines have difficulty reading and thus indexing content that’s embedded in Flash, so use it sparingly.

7. Broken links: When a link on a web page doesn’t work, it is considered a broken link. Search engine spiders may not be able to continue crawling and indexing other pages of a site if a broken link occurs. And if pages of a website aren’t indexed, they won’t appear in the search engine results pages.

8. No Google sitemap: You need more than a standard sitemap to improve your site’s SEO – you also need a Google sitemap, which is created by a software program that generates sitemap code for Google spiders. With a Google sitemap, you can rest assured that Google spiders will crawl and index all pages of your Seattle law firm’s website.

9. Adding too much text to images: You can place text in the tag of an image’s web code, but tags don’t carry as much weight as on-page content. tags are meant to be textual replacements for images, so don’t stuff them with keywords – focus on optimizing visible web page content for target keywords instead.

10. Ignoring SEO on your Legal Website: SEO, or search engine optimization, is vital to the success of your Seattle law firm’s website because it helps your firm get found by prospective clients who are searching online for the types of services you offer. If your law firm’s website doesn’t rank highly, it is unlikely to get found and prospective clients will probably end up choosing one of your competitors instead.

Let Seattle online marketing firm efelle Spearhead Your Law Firm website design project!

Law firms rarely, if ever, achieve good search engine rankings by accident. For the best results, hire a professional online marking company to build a proactive SEO program to work with your law firm’s website. efelle’s SEO services are designed to boost your Seattle law firm’s website rankings, as well as improve the volume and quality of traffic. Call 206.384.4906 or fill out our online contact form today to setup free consultation with a Seattle Online Marketing consultant today!

See Also:

"5 Reasons your Law Firm needs a Professional Website Design"