October 22, 2009 – Great websites don’t just happen, they are made that way. While there are multiple strategies to getting a website just right, sometimes it’s a little to easier to begin that process when you know what not to do. So with that in mind, we’re presenting the 5 most common SEO content mistakes we’ve seen on legal websites. By avoiding these traffic-killing blunders, your website can begin to work for you, not against you.
5. Minimal web pages – If your legal website consists of 10 web pages, you are not only limiting your visitor’s user experience, you’re basically destroying any traffic-generating opportunities you can create through organic search traffic. A website isn’t an advertisement. Creating a few pages that say, I’m a lawyer and these are basic areas of law that I practice, is just not enough information to build a relationship with a web user.
4. Hiding contact information – Web users need to know who you are, what you do, and where you are located. Hiding your contact information will have visitors on your website looking for another lawyer ASAP. The geographic region you are located in, as well as your office’s physical address, phone numbers, directions, and a contact form should be prominently displayed throughout your website as well as clearly organized on a very visible and accessible Contact Us page.
3. Flash, Image, or Video Heavy Pages – Web design is a lesson in moderation. Creating webpages with giant, page consuming flash, too many pictures, or pages with just online videos can be overwhelming, difficult to load, or just too loud and distracting for your website’s visitors. Keep the flash (if you must have it) light, make sure not to clutter up your web pages with too many images (especially if you are hosting ads in your sidebar), or include video after video with no text on the page. These types of web pages are not ranked well by search engines looking for relevant content and they diminish your visitor’s experience.
2. Not editing for the web – People do not read online content the same way they read printed books or even newspapers, so editing your web content the same way you would edit for a print medium just doesn’t work. Very long articles MUST be broken up into sub-sections and multiple pages if you want anyone to actually read them from beginning to end. Using subheadings, short paragraphs, bold to make key phrases pop on the screen, and other formatting considerations are critical in ensuring your reader actually reads your web content.
1. Not writing for your audience – The web content on your legal website needs to appeal to your target audience. That means first determining who your target audience is, and then creating articles, blogs, FAQs, and the like that speaks directly to them. Part of this means avoiding legalese and writing in a language they will understand. It also means writing about the topics that interest them the most in a voice and style they can identify with and that engages them. Writing dry, boring content won’t win you any customers, nor will writing complex legal articles no one can understand or focusing on topics no one is searching for. Do your research first and write web content that matters to your potential clients.
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