When you hear the term SEO you may think of keywords, backlinks and Google search results. While these are all important factors, technical SEO is often overlooked.
You can think of poor technical SEO like a poorly run restaurant. Even if the chef is making great food, the restaurant is not going to do well if there are health code violations, long wait times, and people have trouble finding the place.
PMP has created a guide to the complex world of technical SEO for law firms. If you have questions, our experienced marketing team has answers. We have been helping plaintiff law firms optimize their websites for many years, helping them increase website traffic and move up in search results.
What is Technical SEO?
There are many aspects of technical SEO, but they all involve the optimization of the code on your website to make it easier for Google to crawl and index your site. This is different from on-page SEO, which is about things like the quality of your website content and keyword optimization.
How Does Technical SEO Benefit Your Website?
When strong technical SEO is supported by optimized website content, it will be easier for potential clients to find your law firm on Google. This should result in increased website traffic and more potential clients contacting your firm.
What Are the Main Aspects of Technical SEO?
There are several aspects of technical SEO, including:
If a website takes more than a couple seconds to load, users will leave. Google also ranks faster sites higher in search results.
Ease of Navigation
How easy is it for Google to crawl your website and index the pages on your site? Does your site have a clear, logical, hierarchical structure? Are related pages linked together? Are all the pages on your site only a few clicks away from each other? Some of this is about coding and some of it is about web design.
Your website needs an SSL certificate, as sites without one will be outranked by sites that have them. This is because users trust secure sites, especially when there are so many data breaches. SSL certificates protect information, secure data transfers and allow for an encrypted connection.
Your website can look great on a desktop, but if it looks bad on mobile, runs slower, or is harder to navigate, it will not rank as high in search results. Your site should work well on a variety of mobile devices and screen sizes.
Websites must be accessible for people with disabilities, as required by the Americans With Disabilities Act. This means your website must have accommodations for people with hearing, motor or visual impairments.
You need to avoid confusing URL structures that include dynamic parameters or session IDs. You should also include keywords in a logical way for human consumption.
You should avoid creating duplicate content, but sometimes it happens. Fortunately, you can use canonical tags to prevent this content from hurting PageRank.
How Can You Improve Your Law Firm Website’s Technical SEO?
The first thing you need to do is determine the quality of your website’s technical SEO. What are you doing well and what needs improvement? There are a variety of tools you can use to determine where your website is in terms of technical SEO.
Increasing Site Speed
You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to determine how fast your homepage and other important website pages load. One of the measures Google uses is largest contentful paint (LCP). The LCP should happen within 2.5 seconds of your page loading.
There are many factors involved in the speed of your website, such as the file size of the images and when different aspects of the site load. It is more efficient to have certain parts load first.
Some of the ways you could decrease load times include:
- Enabling browser caching
- Eliminating unneeded plugins
- Limiting the number of redirects on the site
Making Your Website Easier to Navigate
Are there more pages you can interlink? Does your website have a sitemap page? Are there any errors on the sitemap page? Are the menus on your site too confusing? Can they be simplified?
Sometimes you can make a few changes to make your site much easier to navigate. However, if there are significant issues with URL structures, this process may take much more time. You will need to make global changes to your website to address the problems you have identified.
Your website should be responsive, so when users try to access it on their smartphones or mobile devices, it will load accurately. You do not want images to look pixelated or appear in the wrong spot. Some of this is about how the site is coded. Other times you need to get newer images that have a much higher resolution.
There are many companies that can help you make your website handicap accessible. This is also something that can be managed by the marketing agency that handles your website. This is one of the many things that PMP manages for our clients.
Making the Website Secure
This is all about getting an SSL certificate for the website and ensuring it continues to remain valid.
Taking Care of Duplicate Content
There are SEO tools that can help you identify duplicate content. Once the content has been identified, you can determine the appropriate strategy. Sometimes this involves using canonical tags. Sometimes there is content that can be no-indexed and no-followed.
Can Technical SEO Be Managed In-House or Do You Need Outside Help?
It is important to remember that there are many aspects to SEO, which means you cannot focus on only a few aspects and expect to get the results you want. Your website can have well-optimized technical SEO, but if it has low-quality content, your site will not rank high in search results. Even if you have high-quality content, if it is not getting backlinks, it will not rank as high as other content with more backlinks.
This is why many law firms work with marketing agencies that can commit the time and resources to SEO. It is important to remember that SEO is not something you can deal with once and forget about it. SEO is something you need to keep your eye on, and when problems arise, they need to be fixed. You also need to adjust to changes in Google’s algorithm.
The advantage of working with an agency like PMP is that we can manage the technical aspects of SEO along with the many other aspects of digital marketing for law firms.
If you have questions about marketing your law firm, call to learn more about how we can assist you. We focus on the business of law so you can focus on helping your clients with the legal process.