Although most of the time web developers and SEO ‘experts’ are just guessing (albeit in an educated way) about what goes into the algorithms used by search engines to rank lawyer websites, last week, the official Google blog  contained an article entitled, “Finding more high quality sites in search” that advised of some changes in their search algorithm.

What do these changes mean for lawyer websites?

According to Google, these changes were made to ensure that users of the Google search engine “get the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible.” Google wanted to reduce the power of low quality websites, which they describe as websites that provide little value, are not particularly useful, or simply copy content from other websites.  Google estimates that the changes made to the algorithm will impact approximately 12% of queries.

Website content is king

Now, more than ever, lawyers must be certain that their websites provide actual value to web visitors, clients, potential clients and referral sources. Providing value means providing web visitors with the information they want and need. For lawyers, this often means providing educational website content that addresses their clients’ concerns not just about the substantive legal matter, but about the legal process itself. 

Unfortunately, in my consulting practice I continue to encounter lawyers who do not see the value of a content-rich law firm website. They continue to think that a business card type website is all that they need. In the internet-information age, this kind of website simply is not sufficient.

If you do not know where to begin in writing content for your site, you can follow these 5 easy steps to creating your website content.

Proper Website Link Building

Another mistake I see many lawyers making when creating their new website or blog is going about building links in the wrong way. Although link building can certainly help build your website’s profile (the theory is that if others link to your site, it must be useful and/or authoritative), those links should be relevant and content rich. Lawyers should review these guidelines about what to look for in a website SEO strategy when hiring a SEO company for their website.

Design your website around your clients

One way to ensure that your website provides value is to consider the clients’ needs and interests on the website, instead of making your site all about you, the lawyer (or law firm). Address the benefits clients will receive as a result of working with you.

What do clients look for when they search for information on the internet? Why are your services important to them? Why should the client care about your experience or the cases you have handled? How will those experiences impact them?

Make your website a valuable resource that clients will want to return to over and over again, and draw them back with up to date information that is meaningful to their business or life.

Make your website user friendly

When people are searching the web, they want information, and they want it quickly. They do not want to have to think. Make sure your site is easy to navigate and important information is clearly labeled. Make it engaging and easy to read. Speak in terms your clients will understand.

If your site is too hard to navigate or they can’t find what they want or understand your message in a Lead your web visitors around your site and tell them exactly what it is you want them to do.