Onsite SEO for Lawyers: User Experience for SEO
Chris Dreyer | August 03, 2016
What is it?
UX is shorthand for user experience or the experience that people have when using a website. As it relates to SEO1, Google has placed a ton of emphasis on the practice. They even made it a ranking factor for mobile2 in 2015. Usability is important for SEO because the quality of a website in terms of how it’s laid out and the information it delivers is directly related to the experience people have in Google search.
Usability is a very nebulous concept with a lot of moving parts and is very important for SEO3. In other words it is easy to make a site hard to use. Attorneys should focus on making a site that drives leads and phone calls in order to obtain clients. Here are some tips to achieve that.
- Reduce page load time as much as possible
- Name, address and phone number should be in the header of every page
- Contact forms should be placed in practice area page sidebars
- Make sure all links are working properly
- Follow the concept of content umbrellas4 so that all content is laid out in a logical way
- A lawyer’s website should be mobile responsive
There aren’t a specific set of criteria to implement usability on an attorney website but the following apply to the list above.
Reducing Page Load Time
The low hanging fruit for reducing page load time is all about optimizing images and file delivery. WP Total Cache is an excellent plugin for reducing page load times. This post5 titled the ultimate guide to WP Total Cache is great for getting all the settings right to improve site performance.
Inserting contact information in the header of a website can vary based on how the site was built. Lawyers with WordPress sites are bound to how their template can display information in the header of the website. Traditional website owners will have to come up with a way of accurately display contact information.
WordPress has lots of different options for contact forms. As long as your website has a sidebar area, use those page templates for practice area pages. Lawyers can also use the Slim Jetpack plugin to get contact forms to only show on the pages they need6 them on. Contact Form 77 is an excellent contact form plugin for WordPress.
Lawyers should comb through their site and click on all the links on all pages to make sure they work and that they lead to working pages. Software programs like W3C’s broken link checker8 or SEM Rush9 can scan a site for you.
A content umbrella is a term that describes how content should be laid out on a website. For attorneys, their main practice area should be the main theme of the site. Then different branches of that practice area should serve as different pages on the site.
For example a personal injury lawyer would have personal injury law as their main content piece. Sub pages would each be about a specific topic like car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and so on.
Implementing a mobile responsive design is not always that easy. Chances are that lawyers using a WordPress theme already have a mobile responsive site. If you don’t, there are website design services available10 that can convert your website into a mobile responsive one.
When doing a mobile website, it is important to know the distinction between mobile responsive and a mobile version of a website. Responsiveness relates to a website that changes the way elements are displayed based on the screen size viewing them. A mobile version of a site is on a separate domain (typically a sub domain starting with m.) and is made specifically for mobile devices. The problem with a mobile version is that it is a different website which can raise issues when it comes to link building and duplicate content.