11. Tags & Category Cannibalization: Don’t let too many tags kill your blogs performance.
A tag is considered to be a sub-category within a blog. The perfect blog would have maybe 10 categories and 30-40 tags. Most blogs don’t use tags anymore and frankly, if you haven’t used them, I wouldn’t suggest starting. But if your firm has used them in the past, I would suggest no-indexing those pages since they can cause duplicate content issues on the site.
If you have WordPress setup with Yoast SEO, this process is quite simple.
- Follow the steps provided in this video
12. URL Structure: Are your practice area pages too deep within your site?
This is what the URL structure looks like for many websites:
The problem with that structure is that one of your primary practice area pages is three levels deep in your site structure. I have seen time and time again how Google favors web pages/posts that are closest to the root. This means:
Is better than…
Now, there is a ton of controversy online about this and many SEOs and webmasters believe the longer URL structure is better because of the hierarchy created. I totally understand. The problem is, every single time I have changed a URL from one that was multiple levels deep, to one level, the rankings always go up. Every time.
At IMG, we suggest tactics that work and that will move the needle, and this one is no different. If your firm has been stuck on page two or three for some time and you’re having a hard time moving up, this may be a tactic to try.
Warning: What I’m about to share is dangerous and could cause issues on your site if it isn’t handled properly. We’re about to change your URL structure and redirect the old URLs into new URLs. This should only be handled by a webmaster who has experience with these requests.
- Change the URLs
- Redirect the URLs
13. Google Analytics Bounce Rate: Are people leaving your site too quickly?
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, I would suggest looking at your bounce rate for the homepage and primary practice area pages. Your bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit a page on your site from the search results, but DO NOT visit another page on your website. For example, if 10 people visit your homepage and five of them “bounce” back to Google and five move on to review other pages on your site, that would be a bounce rate of 50%. The lower the bounce rate, the better. A great bounce rate is between 50-75%. If it’s above 85%, that’s cause for concern. There could be an issue with your website or it could just be outdated and not interesting to most users.
- If you have Google Analytics installed, check your account
14. Homepage Content Length: Is your homepage content long enough?
As you can imagine, content is absolutely critical to the success of your website. Your content will prove to Google whether you’re an authority and deserve high rankings, or if not. As far as I’m concerned, the longer the content the better.
- Make sure your homepage has at least 750 words. Ideally your homepage would have between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
- If you’re struggling to add more content, consider adding one of the following sections to your homepage:
- FAQ section: If you answer five questions at 100 words a piece, you can rack up some words rather quickly.
- Practice Areas section: Are there 10 common practice areas that your firm handles? Consider writing 100 words about each one and posting it on your homepage in an accordion tab.
- The best way to add content to your homepage without making it look like it’s four miles long is with accordion tabs. You can hide your content behind a button so that’s only viewable if you click the button.
- If you’re struggling to add more content, consider adding one of the following sections to your homepage:
Here’s an example of an accordion tab:
[accordion autoclose=”true” openfirst=”false” openall=”false” clicktoclose=”false”]
[accordion-item title=”Gerrid Smith – Click to Read More”]
Gerrid has been an entrepreneur since high school, starting multiple businesses while learning more about life and people, in general. His father – who is also an entrepreneur – told him that, in whatever field he chose, he needed to learn from the experts in order to succeed. He has now worked with lawyers for over nine years. As time went on, however, he discovered that many of his clients needed services beyond SEO. As he watched them take their web design, copy, and marketing needs to one-stop shops – inevitably ending up with mediocre results – he realized that he could give them what they needed, but with a much higher level of quality. He has since transitioned his business from simply an SEO firm to what is now Black Fin, a full service Internet marketing company.
He currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio, where he enjoys life with his wife and two sons. In his spare time, he enjoys tennis, hiking, and fishing. If you’re ready to take your firm to the next level, he’s the man.
[accordion-item title=”Jade Hall – Click to Read More”]
As the Lead Coordinator at IMG, Jade’s role incorporates many facets that she is most passionate about in the digital marketing industry. While she focuses on project planning and process development, she also enjoys working closely with IMG’s digital marketing team.
Jade’s background is in marketing and account management, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Marketing and her Master of Science in Business Administration. She enjoys combining her creativity along with her analytical skills each day with IMG.
Originally from Montana, Jade enjoys being in the mountains and spending time with her husband and their very spoiled yorkie. She stays busy with her many hobbies including photography, working out and exploring nearby mountain towns during the summer.
[accordion-item title=”Jon Gimpel – Click to Read More”]
Jon is the Marketing Manager at IMG. He discovered his passion for marketing while an undergrad at The Ohio State University, with a focus in English, and aspires to become masterful with both wordsmithery and content marketing strategy.
He currently resides in Newark, OH with his two cats and 27 lamps.
Here’s some HTML information on accordion tabs.
15. Practice Area Pages Content Length: Are your practice area pages long enough?
Your top practice area pages need to follow the same strategy as your homepage as it relates to word count. Additionally we have listed below an ideal practice area page layout:
1500 Word – The Perfect Page Layout
- 300-400 words about the practice area and firm
- 1-2 testimonials (video or written / specific to the practice area is ideal)
- 5-10 sub practice areas that each have about 50 words listed
- 4-5 FAQ’s (100 word answers are fine)
- 150-350 final call to action and info about the firm (Why choose us?)
750 Words – The Perfect Page Layout
- 300 words about the practice area and firm
- 1 testimonial (video or written / specific to the practice area is ideal)
- 5-10 sub practice areas listed as bullet points
- 2-3 FAQs (100 word answers are fine)
- 150-250 final call to action and info about the firm (Why choose us?)
- Make sure your practice area pages are between 750-1,500 words.
16. Low Quality Pages: Are low quality pages eating up your website’s PageRank?
I believe your site is given a certain amount of PageRank in Google’s algorithm. It’s our responsibility as business owners and SEOs to use that PageRank to the best of our ability. PageRank is transferred from page to page on your site via internal linking, but sometimes we link often to pages that aren’t really valuable. When valuable pages eat up PageRank, it takes away from utilizing that PageRank on important pages on the site (e.g. practice area pages).
Unimportant pages that eat up PageRank:
- Disclaimer pages
- Contact pages
- Resource pages (sometimes)
- Tag pages (from your blog)
It’s best to no-index the above pages using the Yoast SEO plugin.
- Watch the video
- Perform a site:domain.com search
- Look for pages that you feel are “unimportant” through the first three pages of search results.
- No-index those pages using the Yoast SEO plugin.
17. Basic Reputation Management: Are negative pages ranking for your firm name?
The second most common search someone will search for your firm behind your actual firm name, is “your firm name reviews.” Reviews are an integral part of the fabric of the web. Most consumers rely on them religiously to determine the value of a product or service. Finding a qualified attorney is no different for many consumers.
You can have the best rankings in Google within your niche, but if a prospect looks for your reviews and finds something negative, they may move forward with a competitor.
Monitor and defend your reputation by regularly reviewing the sites that rank well for your firm name and “firm name reviews” in Google.
- Search Google for “your firm name” and “your firm name reviews.” What sites are ranking? Can you obtain some 5-star reviews for the sites that currently have lower reviews?
- Monitor these search results on a monthly basis.
18. MOZ Local: Does your site have many inconsistent local directory listings?
One of the most common issues that will plague your performance in Google My Business/Maps, is inconsistent information on local directory listings such as SuperPages.com, YellowPages.com and Yelp.com. When I say “inconsistent” information, I’m mostly referring to how your firm’s Name, Address and Phone number is displayed on these sites.
Firm Names: These are different.
Smith & Smith
Smith & Smith LLP
Addresses: These are different.
That’s why whatever is being shown on your Google My Business/Maps listing, you need to make sure that exact same information is shown on your website and on your local directory listings.
- Search Google for “your firm name in your city” and see exactly what Google is showing in your listing.
- Run your site through MOZ Local and check your score.
- If your site’s score is under 60, purchase MOZ Local for $99/year.
- If your score is over 60, you will use a more affordable tool later in our program.
19. Broken Links: Does your site have broken links?
Aside of broken links potentially hurting your SEO efforts, they also give your users a poor experience. Before you spend hours over the next few months optimizing your site for Google, make sure you’re providing the best possible experience for your users.
- Run your site through this tool.
- Go through the list of broken links and verify they are actually broken. Sometimes sites become unavailable because of a server error for a few seconds. You wouldn’t want to remove links to other sites if the page is really still online.
- Fix the real broken links.
20. Google Search Console: Does your site have any major crawl errors?
When you’re in a competitive niche, every little thing you do with your site can help or hurt your efforts. Sometimes the difference between ranking #1 and #2 is a slight change in your title tag, or adding a single word to your page, or cleaning up a few pages that are showing 404 errors. Sometimes the little things make a big difference.
One of the big things that I believe kills trust with Google is having too many crawl errors on your website. Most often, a crawl error is created when Google tries to visit a page that no longer exists. You should seek to make sure there are as few crawl errors on your site as possible. If a site no longer exists, redirect it into a page that is online. For example, if you realize you have two dog bite pages on your site and delete one, make sure you use a redirect plugin like “301 Redirects” by Tony Spiro to redirect the duplicate dog bite page into the primary dog bite page.
- Visit Google Search Console
- Install Google Search Console (if you haven’t already)
- Check Google Search Console for crawl errors
- Fix the crawl errors using the 301 Redirect plugin by Tony Spiro.