In checking out Law Firm websites from around the United States, I found a few common mistakes. These mistakes are costing the Firm in terms of website traffic. This, in turn, is costing in terms of new clients. However, these mistakes are often very simple to correct.
The Five of most common mistakes made on Law Firm websites and what to do about them are:
- Content too Short
- Too few or no Outbound Links
- Too few or no Internal Links
- Content Poorly Written
- Pages are Not Optimized for Local Search
Let us consider each of these in turn.
Content too Short
At one time, webmasters developed websites using a simple rule: 700 word pages were good.
However, times have changed. Seven-hundred word pages will not get the attention of the Search Engines unless there is no competition. As reported by QuickSprout, the pages which performed the best had from 2400 to 2500 words. SERPIQ.com tested this and found it to be true, developing the infographic to the right. Note too that the tenth ranked web pages had slightly over 2000 words.
Prior to discovering this infographic from QuickSprout, I had conducted my own research. In that, I determined that the best content had at least 1800 words. To wit, most of the pages on this site rank #1 with Google AND most of my pages exceed the 2000 word mark.
I have since checked with other sites specializing in SEO and SEM and found similar results. Sites with less than 1500 word pages on average perform poorly. This is UNLESS they rely on means other than search engines to drive traffic.
In the case of most Law Firm websites, the content is brief, usually less than 1000 words and often around 700. This is ancient history.
Most readers agree with Google that valuable content is best; providing plenty of accurate information in an easy-to-digest way is key.
Too few or no Outbound Links
The Internet was built on links. In fact, although the Internet existed prior to the invention of links, it was only used by coders. Tim Berners-Lee changed all that. When he invented hyperlink he became the father of the modern Internet. By creating the hyperlink, he made it possible to instantly share information anywhere in any document.
For this reason, links are the lifeblood of the Internet. This is a fact that many Law Firm websites miss. I have found numerous Law Firms with great content. It is well researched, accurate, and provides in-depth coverage. But there were no outbound links. There was nothing to show where the information can be accessed, verified, or expounded on.
Part of the reason outbound links are important is because no web page can cover every bit of information one may seek. For instance, I only touched on Tim Berners-Lee here. You may want to know more about this important man. By providing a link to the article which tells of his invention, you would have to conduct your own research. The link to Mr. Berners-Lee at Webfoundation.org provides you with what I believe to be the most authoritative article about the father of the World Wide Web.
Too few or no Internal Links
Just as outbound links are important, links between pages on a website are equally important. These help readers locate related information on the site currently visiting. This in turn creates additional traffic within the site. Google in turn notices this extra reader engagement and views the site more favorably. Google then is more apt to recommend the site to its visitors.
Many Law Firm websites reviewed either did not provide links throughout the site or did not provide suitable links. For instance, I generally do not write about how to build websites on this site. I have another site and LinkedIn that I use for such content. So there are no such internal links in this article.
There are, however, internal links to the right of this content. I have included a site index showing all the content of this site in an easy-to-scan format. On other pages, you will usually notice article suggestions in the body of the content and at the end.
I refer to these as internal links, but the more common term is cross-linking. Either way, many Law Firm websites miss this element when creating content.
Content Poorly Written
Another big problem found on many Law Firm websites is poorly-written content. Poorly written content does two very negative things.
- Search engines and readers do not get the best experience. So they either quickly leave or simply not return. Either way, traffic suffers. The Search Engines do not recommend poorly written content. People do not share poorly written content. All in all, the website loses. The Law Firm loses.
- Expertise fails to show. This damages the reputation of the Firm.
Most attorney’s are experts in their field: Criminal law, family law, international law, malpractice law, business law, or any of a number of other specialties.
Yet, many Law Firm websites were developed by designers who can create beautiful sites, but must outsource the content. That is understandable–their expertise is in the nuts and bolts of the site, not the content.
Costs being costs, many outsource to the lowest bidder. It shows in the message.
And the message delivered by poorly-written content is?
The owner of the website is not an expert. This Law Firm does not know the law. Or worse still, does not know how to show they know the law. Either way, clients look elsewhere.
There are two solutions to this problem.
- Personally write all content for the website.
- Outsource the writing to an individual or content marketing agency which specializes in writing for Law Firms.
Now this is the part where I am suppose to sell you on my ability to write the content you need for your Law Firm’s website. I will not. Instead, I will let you decide what to do. If you want great content for your site, I can provide the best.
Or you can find it elsewhere.
It is easy to locate reputable marketing agencies which specialize in writing law-specific content. Just type “legal website developers” or “law firm website developers” into your search engine. I can recommend a couple including,
What you decide is up to you, but I recommend that if your website is not performing as it should, get the content rewritten.
Pages are Not Optimized for Local Search
The final of the five most common mistakes made by Law Firm websites is local search optimization. Part of the reason for this is that when many such sites were created, local optimization was not an important factor.
With the increased use of smart phones for doing searches on-the-run, local search has become vital. In fact, Google has developed many tools to help local businesses get found, even if the site is not ranking. Sure, a Law Firm can use Google Adwords to drive a campaign, but this is often costly in the long-term.
A better, more efficient, more effective, less costly way to achieve the same results is to optimize the site for local search.
As an example, take a look at the following image. It is a screenshot of the results of my search for “Criminal defense attorney.” I did not have to put in my location because thanks to cookies, Google knows where I live. So the “Lubbock” comes automatic in my search. Let’s look, then discuss.
The top three ranked Law Firms are shown, but if I click on “More Places” in the lower left, I get a complete listing of every “Criminal defense attorney” who added their information to Google Business. Adding the Law Firm to these pages is a must for any attorney wanting to be found. Doing so is easy. Click here to add your Law Firm to Google Business.
Note too, that below these listings are the natural search results. Above these (not shown) are the paid listings, the ads generated by Google Adwords. It is the natural search results that are telling.
In this search, Avvo.com took both the first and second spot. Why no local Lubbock Law Firm?
The reason Avvo.com took these slots is because no criminal defense law firm in Lubbock has fully optimized their site for local search. Thus, the Avvo legal directory was chosen instead, this despite the company being NOT local.
But Google must deliver the best possible content. If no Law Firm steps up and delivers the goods, Google will choose a non-local alternative. It is that simple.
The point of this is that is shows how few Law Firms in Lubbock have their sites optimized to deliver content to local readers. If they cannot tap into local Lubbock readers, they fail to use the Internet as it can be used–to locate new clients.
I hope you found this content useful. My goal, with CriminalJusticeLaw.org is to help both students and practicing attorney’s. This includes helping them with their websites.
The Top 5 Most Common Mistakes Made by Law Firm Websites only touches on the most common–there are many others. Whether you live in my home town Lubbock, Texas or not, I will be happy to evaluate your Firm’s site and offer my recommendations.
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