You have probably already heard that Google uses more than 200 different factors when calculating rankings. Some of these factors relate to links, reviews, and social media mentions – which are off-page signals. The largest category of ranking factors relate to your own site. Some factors are assessed on a site-wide basis and others are judged page by page. In this week’s SEO Trends column, you will find out about those on-page factors that can give your rankings a boost, or pull down your score.
Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch have a number of articles about on-page ranking factors this week. If you need to boost your law firm’s visibility on Google’s search results pages, this advice could give you the rankings increase you need.
Luckily, Search Engine Watch has decided to run a series on ranking factors and the first part of this guide covers on-page signals. The factors they focus on in this guide are all based in HTML, so you will need to get behind the scenes to check whether the pages on your law firm’s website are employing these rankings-boosting techniques. Most Web page editors enable you to switch between the presentational view and the HTML script that generates it. Explore the menu buttons on your editor to find out how to see the HTML and check for the formatting tags that this guide highlights.
Duplicate content can get your law firm’s website downgraded in the rankings by Google. You may not be responsible for this duplication – others may have blatantly copied your content. However, you need to make sure that you do not present the same content more than once. This error may be due to your site architecture. For example, you may decide to make a section about your office available on every practice page – copying the same text onto each page. Another reason for duplicating content is that you think it is better to let people to click through to a page in the same directory as the page they are currently viewing, so you make copies of the same page and place it in several different directories. Another possible cause of duplication is that you copy a page to edit it and you do not realize that the new version is in a live directory. Audit your site regularly to eradicate duplicate content.
Keywords are by far the biggest ranking factor on any Web page. They vie with backlinks for the number one spot in importance for ranking each year. Unfortunately, Google keeps changing the way it scores keywords, so a successful strategy that you may have implemented a couple of years back may now be harming your rankings. Take a run through this list of keyword mistakes when you run your next site audit.
If you are running your law firm’s website on a tight budget, you may be tempted to get the site to pay for itself by carrying advertising. The simple guide to this strategy is “don’t do it.” Advertising would harm the credibility of your firm to potential customers regardless of whether it is a good or bad idea for SEO. If you must place adverts on your Web pages keep a very low ad count on each page, don’t put ads at the top of the page, and only carry ads for businesses or organizations that relate to the subject matter of the page.
You may have noticed a recommendation in previous sections of this report that you should audit your law firm’s site. If you don’t know how to do that, then follow this simple guide provided by Search Engine Land. The guide breaks the SEO audit down into sections and on-page factors from one of the audit categories in this article.