Building a website is the beginning on a continuing endeavor to attract new clients to your business, and keep your existing clients returning when they have a need for your services. Building your site is only the first step of your continuing efforts to attract and keep clients returning. You also have to optimize your website so that those looking for the types of services you provide to find you when they perform a web search. This page will give you an overview of the SEO basics.
Optimizing is the process by which you make your website most relevant to the search engines and your site visitors. By optimizing your site you make it easier for the search engines to categorize and rate your content, and you make it easier for your visitors to find the information most relevant to what they are looking for. There are hundreds of factors that go into optimizing a website, but we will cover some of the top ones here:
- Know your keywords and use them effectively on your site. Keywords are those words that someone enters into a search engine to find sites like yours. Just because you know that those in your field of practice uses a specific term to refer to something does not mean that the average search engine user knows that term. For instance, many lawyers refer to probation and parole as “P&P.” If you optimize you page for the term P&P, but search engine users don’t search that term, then you are losing out on the opportunity to capture those clients.
- Build quality backlinks. A backlink is a link from a site other than yours that directs visitors to that site to a page on your website. A quality backlink will tell that other sites visitor something about what they can expect to find when they visit your site. Think of a quality backlink as a pre-sell, whereas a backlink is more like an item on the page of a products catalog.
- Structure your site to generate qualified leads. Site structure is an important component of your optimization and your lead generation. Building a site navigation that is easy to follow, and having a contact form that is easy to find are two critical things that are often overlooked. Most people will engage with the content in the upper left corner of a web page. Having your most critical information in this prime real estate increases the odds of converting your visitors to clients.
- Understandable content is key. Many lawyers who write their own content can fall into the trap of explaining what they know by using legal terms. This is a mistake when you are trying to relate to a visitor who may not be as educated as you on what those terms mean. If you have to use a legal term, then provide a brief explanation of what that term means. If they can’t understand you, they can’t relate to you, and if they can’t relate to you, your odds go down in converting them to a client.
- Fresh content. Search engine spiders – the program that scours the internet and ranks the relevancy of websites – continually crawl the internet. One of the things they rank is whether you update your content on an ongoing basis. Having a hundred page website is great, but if all of those pages are old and the content is stale, then the relevancy to what your visitor is looking for is probably minimal. Fresh content gives you better results both on the search engine results page (SERP), and in converting your visitor to a client.
There is, of course, much more that goes into optimizing your website than the five things listed above. These are just a foreshadowing of what you need to know in order to effectively optimize your website and generate quality leads for your business. Understanding SEO basics will help make your website produce quality leads for you business well into the future.