If you want a bit of a summary on why SEO fails before you dig into this chapter start with this list of things to avoid.
- Tech issues: Slow page load, not having a secure site even if you don’t do ecommerce (SSL), broken links, pages that result in a 404 error, lack of 301 redirects from old URL’s, improper use or redirects and poor site folder architecture can all mean that your cute blog goes to waste. SEO is not dead and tech nerds that can help you fix these issues before you blindly plod along with content is essential.
- Bad links: If you have bad sites linking to you that an SEO firm got, thinking they would help you, get them removed or use the disavow tool. Google search console is where you upload your list of admittedly bad links to the disavow program.
- Lack of links: Google still admits that content, links and rankbrain (basically artificial intelligence) are the three big ranking topics you need to address. If you just have average content, you wont get links. If you don’t promote your content, you likely won’t get links.
- Doing regular content but not properly using keywords: The average writer says they “know SEO” but do they really know how to craft a careful keyword strategy? If not, you fail. You also need to understand how to add related keywords (LSI) that give more depth to your content and help make it more relevant to users intent.
- Focusing only on keywords and not also on topics: Do you know what topic clusters are? You need to because they are crushing it in terms of making content rank. If you want to rank for let’s say birth injury lawyer, either on your practices area page or on a resource page/post, write a very long page – like 1600 to 2,000 words or more. Make it all about the topic and have a short paragraph on the 12 or so most important aspects of Birth Injury Lawsuits. Then link from each general paragraph about each topic to another shorter post of say 750 or 1,000 words that dives deep into that content. Link back and forth from the cluster subpages to the pillar mothership pages and voila, your page will kick ass over one page about the topic – even if it that one page has lots of keywords in it.
- High bounce rate: Go into Google analytics and check out how often people bounce off your site if they land on one page and never go to another. If people hate your site, why should Google love it? Add better headlines, better images, more info. for the customer, a video, links to supplemental info etc. When people stay longer and visit more pages Google will factor that in when deciding if you deserve to be top ten.
- Having a poor click through rate: Make sure when people see your listing in the search results that it entices them to click. When possible, don’t just add keywords to title tags but add a value proposition or some emotion.
- Getting ranked anywhere below top ten: The top 5 results get 67% of the traffic. 6-10 only get another 3%. So if you do SEO half heartedly, do not expect to get leads. Go onto SEMrush and check what terms you rank for on page 2 and 3 of search results. Then make the pages that cause those ranks even better. Add more content on those topics to take advantage of being within striking distance of your SEO actually mattering.
- Doing the tactics but not being a true thought leader: Google will sniff out if you are respected on LinkedIn, your content is shared, liked and loved. Think you can game the system? Go to Google headquarters and smell the fresh black ink on the hundreds of whiteboards burning with the math of algorithms designed to stop black hats and spammers.
- Not having strong brand signals: Do people search thousands of times a month for a firm you compete with but only hundreds of times for you? Try adding your brand name as a search in SEMrush to see what the monthly search volume is on your brand. We will get deeper into the various brand signals another time but know that you need to be respected to be ranked, not just check a bunch of SEO to dos off your list.
Check and make sure you do not do these things or you will fail to get real leads from your law firm’s SEO strategy in 2019.
If you need help on some of them, hire an SEO agency that specializes in law firms like us or anyone who leads with quality content and knows how to address these key search engine optimization issues.