What is SEO and why is it important for legal websites?
You may have seen companies advertising to “Improve your SEO ranking” or “Optimize your website.” So now you’re wondering, what exactly is SEO and why do I need it?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization - the process of optimizing your website and webpages to increase organic traffic from search engines like Google. When you’re looking for the best facial in town, you’d go to Google and search “Best Esthetician” or “Best Spas for Facials.” Like most people, you’d click on the first few links before deciding on a facialist that caters to your needs.
3.5 billion searches are performed on Google every day for products and services.
When a search engine user types in “law firm” or “health clinic,” a number of pages turn up with results. These results are not created in a random order but are pulled by Google using a sophisticated set of algorithms. Websites that are optimized will show up on the first few pages, increasing the likelihood of a potential client clicking on your website link.
Must-Have SEO basics
At Checkmark Creative, we’ve broken down the must-haves basics of SEO for websites:
Site title - Adding a title or site name allows search engines to Index your website (once your site is optimized, request that Google Index your site). If you use a logo, consider adding a separate SEO title which replaces the site title in browsers and search tabs, but leaves your logo as your page header.
Site description - Add a short, relevant description of your site to your SEO site description (50-300 characters). This text appears below your site title when visitors search your keywords.
Location - Your website has a better chance of appearing in searches for your area if your customers can see your location. If your business has a physical location, create a Contact Us page with your address and a map.
Custom domain - Using a custom domain (URL) makes it easier for potential clients to find you in search results.
Social media links - Connect with a wider audience by linking your social media profiles to push content as you publish it.
SEO descriptions - Each page on your site should have a unique SEO description, also known as meta description. The text should be short (50-300 characters) and describe the content of each individual page.
SEO title formats - SEO title formats allow you to create a consistent structure of how your pages look in search engine results.
404 page - Creating this page with links to some of the popular or important areas of your site keeps visitors on your site when if they encounter a broken link.
Automatic Blog Post URL - If you're blogging, choose how your blog post URLs are created. It’s recommended to always include the post's title.
No URL Slugs - If you save a post without cleaning up the URL, it will be a random string of characters (hence, the slug). Clean URLs should reflect the content of your page.
Set your SSL to the Secure setting - Sites without SSL will be penalized.
Content Creation: Best Practices
Now that you’re aware of this basic SEO checklist, let’s break down the best practices for your website content:
Use keywords strategically - The text on your website should match the search terms people will use to find a site or service like yours.
Structure your content - Utilize headings on your pages and for blog posts to help search engines navigate your content.
Add alt text to images - In addition to increasing accessibility for visitors who use assistive screen readers, alt text also helps search engines identify the content of your page.
Images should have readable file names - Thoughtful image names help your content show up in image searches.
Add tags and categories - Organize your content so users have an easier time navigating your site.
Link to your site’s content - Where it’s relevant, like in a blog post, link readers to other pages on your site to spread awareness of your other content.
Is your website SEO ready, or are you missing a few things from the checklist? Checkmark specializes in SEO evaluations and recommendations. Let’s talk content strategies, keyword identification, let’s chat with a free consultation!