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Common SEO Mistakes for Lawyers Websites

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A lot of legal firms when taking on the SEO work for their own websites make common SEO mistakes which can impact their search engine rankings.

Here is a brief look at some of the more common errors people make when optimising their site for the search engines.

Poor Title Selection

Making the title of your home page “home” is a classic error, even worse is when you see a homepage with the title of “untitled”! A search engine spider when crawling your site will assume that “home” is an important keyword to describe your website, it will interpret the word “home” to assume that your website has something to do with real estate, construction, or other home-related themes. 

You can’t expect to see your site performing well in the search engines unless you title your home page with relevant keywords. Be sure to use your targeted keywords in every title on every page and make sure every page has a unique title.

Meta Tags Neglect

Firstly it is worth pointing out that Meta tags do not hold the same amount of weight when it comes to ranking in the major search engines as they used to, they were way too easy to spam and their effect has been massively downgraded ever since. That does not mean that they should be neglected and overlooked though.

Quite often websites have exactly the same Meta Keywords and Meta Description tags on every single page, this is sometimes because of laziness, ignorance or the fact that the website was a template and the tags were never changed. Like don’t write 

Business coaching Western Australia’ on every single page, but rather break it down to different targets.

The Keywords Meta tag you don’t really want, or need, to invest a lot of time into (Google has long since stopped using it as a ranking factor), I would still fill them out because you never know when they might decide to use them again or if another search engine will use them. 

Here’s a tip though, don’t fill the Meta Keywords tag with every keyword that you are actively trying to rank for, that information is freely available and your competitors could take it and start targeting the same keywords.

The Meta Description tag on the other hand still does carry some importance, even though it’s ranking effects are negligible. The Description Meta tag is often the data that Google will display under your website title in the search results page, if you don’t fill it in Google will extract content from your page to display there. 

A well written Description tag can really make you stand out over the competition and have a big effect on CTR from the search results so put some effort into constructing an interesting description.

Problems With Robots.txt

Your Robots.txt file serves as a set of permissions for who can and can’t access your website. Most of the time you will want everybody to have access to your site but there may be times when you want to restrict access to certain areas. 

There may also be pages that you don’t want the search engines to get access to for some reason, you can block search engine spiders by using your robots.txt file.

The main problem when it comes to robots.txt is that it has been badly configured and is consequently blocking access of the site to all search engine spiders, meaning your site never gets indexed. Fortunately this is an easy fix and, if you do not want to do it yourself, your web designer should be able to help you.

Making Poor Use Of Your Own Links

Whilst it might make perfect sense to a human visitor to have a link labelled as “click here”, what works for people does not work for search engine spiders. Consider a link to another page, or another site, as a vote for the page or site. 

The text that you use to link to that page or site is your way of telling the search engines what you consider it to be about. So by linking to another of your pages with “click here” you are saying “I like this page and it is relevant to the term click here”. 

This is obviously not what you want, you want to be telling the search engines that the page you are linking to is law related. So use a keyword phrase in your call to action instead. This will make sense to both humans and search engine spiders.

Over Optimized Anchor Text

When building links to your own site from external sources it has always been considered the right thing to do to make sure you get your keywords as the anchor text of the link. Since the Google update you now have to be very careful with this.

Having too many optimised links to your website in relation to “normal” links i.e. links that have “click here”, “our website” etc. as the anchor text can trigger a filter and see your site punished.

Considering SEO Complete

SEO is not a static process, it is not something you do once and forget. SEO is dynamic and the SEO landscape is constantly changing due to competition and search engines tweaking their ranking algorithms.

If you are serious about getting good, solid, defensible rankings for your business you either need to set aside regular time to work on your site or outsource it to an SEO company.

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