SEO is a crucial part of success for any legal marketing strategy. It’s something that we cover extensively here on the Legal Marketing Review blog, and I even published a book on Content Marketing and SEO for Law Firms.
But entity-based SEO is a modern way to think about search optimization. It goes beyond basic keyword research and can give your legal site a competitive edge in the market.
This guide will explain the importance of entity-based SEO and how you can adjust your optimization strategy appropriately.
Entity-Based SEO Explained
Let’s start with the basics—what exactly is entity-based SEO?
Google’s algorithm uses more than just keywords to help its users find relevant search results. The search engine uses technology for entity analysis, for proper nouns like landmarks, public figures, and more.
The idea behind categorizing content with entities is to make things easier for the end-user. So when someone searches for something on Google, they’ll see suggestions of popular search options—also prompting them to add a bit more context if none of the suggestions are relevant to their actual inquiry.
For example, let’s say someone begins typing “Manhattan” into the search bar. Are they looking for the borough in New York City, the cocktail recipe, the city in Southern California, or something else?
Obviously, all of these are very different from each other. This is a prime example of how keywords alone aren’t always helpful to users when they search, and Google always wants to give someone the most relevant results.
Entity-based SEO has improved mobile-first indexing, translation searches, and even rich snippets.
Understanding the context of the search is the best way to grasp how entity-based SEO works. A search for something like “apple” doesn’t have enough context. Is the user looking for the company Apple? Or are they searching for information on the fruit? Google uses entities to determine this answer.
What’s the Difference Between Keywords and Entities?
On the surface, entities and keywords might appear fairly similar. But the two are actually very different from each other.
Keywords are the words and phrases used in a given search. They can range from single words to complete questions and anything in between.
As a legal marketer, understanding keywords helps you drive organic traffic to your website. An effective keyword strategy has historically been the foundation for SEO. Years ago, websites would use tricks like keyword stuffing and other black-hat SEO strategies to drive website traffic. But those days are over, as search algorithms have evolved and prioritized quality content and relevant context.
Entities are a bit different. They can be described as a singular, unique, and well-defined thing or concept.
An entity doesn’t necessarily need to be a person or place. Things like colors, products, ideas, or even dates with historical significance could all be considered an entity.
Here’s an easy way to think of entities—if something has its own Wikipedia page, it could be an entity in the eyes of Google.
Using Entities and Keywords to Improve Search Optimization
While keywords and entities are independent of each other, the two can work jointly to improve your SEO strategy.
Before you can start building keywords around a subject, you must first understand its entity.
For example, let’s say your legal practice specializes in business law. Creating content with keywords like “contracts” or “securities” or “employee overtime” won’t be enough to create high-quality content. You need to understand the entity behind these subjects, so the context will be more relevant to Google and searchers alike.
If you’re trying to help your clients remain compliant with employee labor, something like FLSA could be an entity for your optimization strategy. Without it, keywords like “40 hour workweek,” “overtime pay,” or “exempt” don’t provide enough context.
How to Use Apply Entity-Based SEO to Law Firms
Now that you understand how entity-based SEO works, it’s time to adjust your search optimization strategy accordingly.
Here are some tips and best practices that you can apply to your legal practice:
- Identity Relevant Entities — You need to understand how your law firm relates to certain entities. Look at your main areas of practice as a starting point, and start to branch out your keywords from there.
- List Your Law Firm on High Quality Directories — This strategy will help turn your law firm into an entity in the eyes of Google. Directories like Yelp and Google My Business are two examples. But you could also get your firm listed on smaller, local directories for lawyers and legal assistance. Make sure to keep all listings – like FindLaw – up to date with your current address and phone number. Do not buy crappy directory listings packages on Fiverr LOL because that hurts your SEO. Just get the best, most relevant and meaningful listings.
- Prioritize Branding — An effective brand strategy for your law firm can simultaneously help you improve your entity-based SEO. Your law firm’s reputation helps establish authority and ultimately impacts your SERPs for various search queries.
These tips will give you an advantage over other law firms in your area, as you’ll have a greater chance of ranking higher than them for relevant searches.
It’s no secret that your law firm needs to prioritize SEO. But you won’t get to page one and position one if you’re just applying basic SEO strategies that everyone else is using.
Focusing on entity-based SEO is a bit more advanced, but it’s really not that complicated.
If you’re having trouble grasping these concepts or you just don’t have the resources to apply them, reach out for assistance.
Here at Legal Marketing Review, we’ve helped countless law firms get more business through SEO and other web-based marketing strategies. Just reach out for a consultation, and we can discuss entity-based SEO and more to help you drive organic tr