How to Use Google to Improve Your SEO - Martindale-Avvo

How to Use Google to Improve Your SEO


Most law firm websites have room for SEO improvement. Just updating your site with simple changes using basic tools can improve your Google rankings, which is how many (if not most) clients discover your practice. 

If your casework has slowed over the last few weeks, consider using the downtime to retool your website. One worthy update: improving the keywords on your site. 

But that’s not to be confused with “increasing” keywords. Web pages filled with unnecessary keywords describing your practice areas may not actually help your firm’s Google search ranking, and can even hurt it. Google’s algorithm tends to punish sites with egregious keyword repetition. But basic search engine optimization (SEO) practices and monitoring search trends can push your site up in the rankings.

Start With Google Trends

Google Trends is a free tool that lets you see how search terms rise or fall over a period of time or vary from one geographic area to another. You can play around with the tool with very little instruction, although some basic info is helpful. You might want to see how searches have changed since the COVID-19 crisis began for your particular area of practice or how different search terms for practice areas are trending compared to each other. Are more clients searching for “drafting a will” than were searching that term in January? Trends may inform how to update your web content to survive (or even thrive) in this unprecedented period of economic and social upheaval.

Updating your site to include relevant search terms is the easiest way to turn up in searches and help local prospective clients find your firm website. Perfecting the keywords you include on your web pages is tricky, and may require a fair amount of trial and error. 

Search Yourself

Begin by thinking about how a client would find you. Maybe your practice areas are estate planning, wills and trusts, and your practice is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. You could start by entering various search terms, such as “estate planning attorney Oakland County,” or “will lawyer Bloomfield Hills.” Do you come up in that search? Unless your firm has a large advertising and marketing budget, chances are you don’t rank on the first page of searches—and adding “wills and trusts lawyer metro Detroit” on every line of your website content is unlikely to change that.

But what if you search for “affordable lawyer to draft will Bloomfield Hills”? Or a more specific, long-tail keyword search, such as “Do I need a lawyer to draft a will in Michigan?” Including more detail and questions that real clients ask opens up an opportunity for you to stand out. 

Learn from Related Searches

Under its top-ranked search results and above additional pages of search results, Google lists “Searches related to …” your search terms. See what related searches turn up. Those are search terms that potential clients may also use to find attorneys in your area in your particular area of practice. Likewise, the People Also Ask box displays other searches with similar keywords. 

Study the Competition

Try updating a page or two now and track the changes using Google Analytics. Keep tweaking as you monitor trends and your competition. If a firm similar to yours in practice areas and size ranks higher in searches, study its website to find any key differences. Is the other firm’s site using similar keywords but in headings rather than body text? Are the paragraphs shorter? Are there more images? Are they addressing current topics that might affect clients in your particular area of practice? 

With just a few online searches, you can improve your website and watch trends, without spending precious resources on advertising or pricey consultants. Start with the basics, make changes and see what works. Every little edge you can give your practice can help your bottom line now more than ever. 

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