1. Blogging: Are you updating your blog at least twice per month?
We believe that every law firm website should have a blog that is updated at least twice per month with content that is a minimum of 500 words, but ideally 750-2,500 words.
- Make sure your blog is being updated at least twice per month. If you publish two posts per month, stagger them so they aren’t published at the same time.
Blogging isn’t one of those things where 100 posts published per month is 50x better than two posts. Quality is very important and if you have the resources, publishing 4-8 posts per month is more than sufficient.
2. Page Speed: Does your site load in under 3.5 seconds?
Site speed is imperative to high rankings in search engines these days. But even if it wasn’t, slow sites are terrible for your prospects. Google does not provide a clear cut answer on how fast your site should load, but we believe it should load in under 3.5 seconds.
- Check your site on GTmetrix
- If it does not load in under 3.5 seconds, and you’re using WordPress, consider using one of these companies to speed up your website:
- If your website is not on WordPress, talk to your provider about options to speed up your website.
3. Mobile Friendly/Responsive: Is your site mobile responsive?
As you can imagine, almost everyone uses their phone or tablet for browsing the web. In the past, having a “mobile website” was really your only option. This was a separate website, usually on a sub-domain (e.g. m.domain.com). In 2017, the technology is available to make your regular desktop website show up beautifully on mobile devices. This means your website is “mobile responsive” or “responsive” for short.
- Run your website through Google’s tool.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you will realistically need a new website. It’s often just as expensive to make an old website “mobile friendly” than to just get a new site.
Our sister company, Black Fin, offers web design services that start at $250/month.
4. Duplicate Content Audit: Is duplicate content holding your site back from success?
In a perfect world, all of your pages would be 100% unique. But unfortunately, with billions and billions of pages online, this world isn’t perfect. When your content is duplicated on other sites, sometimes Google doesn’t know who the “owner” of the content is, and your site can be penalized. Do your best to ensure that any content placed on your website is unique and passes a plagiarism check.
- Run your site through Siteliner.
As long as your content is 90% unique, you should be fine in Google. If your content is heavily copied by another firm, your best option is to rewrite your content.
5. Ahrefs.com: Link Quality Check
This is probably the trickiest task because to do this right, you need to have a trained eye for spotting crap links. Unless your site is brand new, you probably have a number of other sites that have linked to you over the years. If you’ve hired SEO companies in the past, it’s quite possible that they used underhanded or spammy tactics to help your site rank better in Google. The goal with this task is to make sure you don’t have crap websites linking to you that could harm your efforts with this program. If your site has been penalized with bad links, you must hire a professional to clean up the mess before your site will ever rank.
- Watch this video to learn how to view your backlinks in Ahrefs
If you see something that looks weird in anyway, we can spot check your links for $50.
6. Ahrefs.com: Anchor Text Check
Another way to test your site for poor quality links is to see what link/anchor text webmasters used to link to your website. Before we dive in, let me share with your our internal language on link/anchor text types:
- Branded Link/Anchor Text:
- Naked Link/Anchor Text:
- Keyword Rich Link/Anchor Text:
- Keyword Branded Link/Anchor Text:
For the most part, SEO’s use keyword rich link/anchor text, so this is can be spam signal to Google. I don’t want you to feel like you can never link to your website with a keyword rich link/anchor text, but you just can’t go overboard with this. A few keyword rich links here and there are fine. We generally prefer that 85+% of your links are natural (meaning: branded, naked and keyword branded…).
Here’s a screenshot of our sister company’s anchor cloud in Ahrefs:
Nothing spammy about that!
Now, take a look at this:
That’s frightening to me.
You see, Google wants to promote “brands,” and brands don’t promote themselves with spam. Can you imagine if you looked up http://www.coca-cola.com/ in Ahrefs and it showed 50% anchor text with “Best Soft Drink”? That would be pretty silly. Google understands that real companies don’t promote themselves that way so they tweak their algorithm to promote companies they feel are providing value through their websites.
- Run your site through the Site Explorer on ahrefs and make sure the vast majority (again, we shoot for 85+%) of your anchor cloud/anchor text is branded, naked or keyword branded.
7. Auto-Redirects: WWW, non-WWW, HTTP, or HTTPS
If your site structure isn’t setup correctly, you can get hit with duplicate content penalties and not even know it.
Look closely, is there a difference between these two links?
Those pages make look the same and even render the same looking page, but to Google, they are different. It’s imperative that you make sure your URL structure is setup properly so that Google doesn’t get confused on your site.
- Visit your website.
- If your site does not have “www” (e.g. http://domain.com) type in http://www.domain.com and make sure it auto-redirects into the non-www version of the site.
- If your site has “www” (e.g. http://www.domain.com) type in the non-www version of the site http://domain.com and make sure it auto-redirects into the www version of the site.
- If your URL starts with “https://” type in a non-https version of your site (e.g. http://domain.com) and make sure it redirects into the https version of your site https://domain.com.
8. Social Media Setup: Is your firm set up on popular social media websites?
Again, going off my point above about Google wanting to promote “brands,” social media is an absolute must for your firm in 2017. Not only for Google and SEO purposes, but also for your prospective clients. Depending on your firm, they may want to connect with you and recommend you on social media. You need to present a professional image by setting up your profiles/pages and making sure they look nice and are updated at least once per week (2-3 times per week is ideal).
- You should have pages/profiles on the most popular social media websites: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
- Make sure your profiles link back to your website.
- Make sure your website links back to your social media profiles. If you don’t want it to be prominent, put it in the footer.
9. Sitemap: Does your firm have an accurate, up-to-date sitemap?
A sitemap is a page or pages that includes links to all of the web pages and posts on your website. It’s a great asset that helps Google find all of the pages on your website. Thankfully, with WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO, you can create one with a click of a button.
- Watch this video to find your sitemap within Yoast SEO
- Link to your sitemap from the footer of your site (you may want to have your webmaster handle this, or we can for $50)
10. Footer NAP: Does your footer have your firm’s Name, Address and Phone that matches your Google My Business listing?
If you’ve read any of our materials, you probably know that we believe your map ranking is the most important thing to your firm. You could rank #1 organically in Google, but if you have four ads and three map listings above you, you just don’t have that much visibility. That’s why you need to do all you can to get a #1 ranking in the Maps. One of the factors that’s very important is consistent use of your firm’s name, address and phone (NAP) across your website, Google My Business/Map listing and all of your local directory links (a.k.a citations). In this task, we’re going to make sure your NAP info on your Google My Business listing matches your website.
- Search Google for your firm name so you can see what shows in your map listing. Your listing will look like this.
- Now you want to make sure that your firm’s Name, Address and Phone is listed exactly in the same way in the footer of your site. Depending the CMS you’re using, you may want to have your webmaster handle this task.
- BONUS: Extra credit if your webmaster can use Schema Markup for the NAP info in the footer of your website.