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A website’s backlink profile and the keywords it contains, in the guise of content, are by far the two biggest ranking factors that Google uses when ordering results for searches. There are, however, many other factors involved in the ranking algorithm, and each can add just a small number of points to any of the pages in your law firm’s website. Many of these factors are technical issues and they can push your ranking up by just enough to get your pages up one or two places on search results pages.

This week, SEO Trends looks at some of those on-site factors that you may have overlooked. If all of your competitors are working as hard as you are with content and link building, fixing technical problems with your site, and tinkering a little with the HTML behind the scenes could give you the edge you need to rise above the pack and get noticed.  Search Engine Watch,  Search Engine Journal, the Moz Blog, and Search Engine Land have advice on these factors this week.

Local businesses trump big businesses when it comes to delivering on-site updates

Local SEO is a top priority for US lawyers because you are more likely to get clients from your immediate neighborhood than from the other side of the country. This report from Search Engine Land explains that technical changes in the code on your site can actually have a bigger influence on your local SEO rankings than the usual channels such as map presence and reviews. The survey featured in the article found that not only do the topics of title tags and metadata give websites a boost in local search, but the changes you make to those factors get picked up very quickly by search engines. That will give your site a much quicker ranking boost than much of the other SEO work that might occupy your time.

What are the most common on-page SEO issues and how to fix them?

Search Engine Watch made this useful contribution to the topic of on-site and on-page signals this week. This guide highlights the errors that may exist on the pages of your site and how fixing those mistakes can be enough to boost your rankings. SEMrush is an SEO tools provider and they have analyzed 450 million Web pages looking for ranking-clobbering errors. These are factors that are overlooked by many website owners. Hopefully, if you can fix these problems in your site and the other lawyers in your area don’t, you can rise above the competition on the search results pages. Here again, title tags and metadata are among the most important factors that you need to look into.

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5 Steps to Boost Your Site’s Indexability

Here are some tips on site-wide factors that can boost your rankings. Making your pages easier to reach by Googlebots will get them indexed faster, and so they will appear in search engine results pages much sooner. Flattening your site hierarchy is a good trick that should also improve the circulation of ranking points around your website and amplify any points you get in from your back links. This is a factor that we covered at SEO Trends a couple of weeks ago in our Internal Linking issue.

The complete beginner’s guide to Schema.org markup

Structured data and schema markup can give your site an edge in rankings, ensure that search engines pick up the right information about your law firm to show as a description of your site, and can get you that prized quick answer slot that appears at the top of the results page. Unfortunately, this topic is very technical. It forms a part of the metadata that is embedded in the code that generates your page. It is a difficult topic, and you may find you do not want to be diverted away from your case load in order to properly master this subject. However, this report explains schema markup in a very digestible manner. Even if you don’t intend to add these codes to your site yourself, understanding what the terms mean can arm you with enough knowledge to negotiate a contract with a programmer.

The Search Marketer’s Guide to ItemRef & ItemID

If you managed to make it through the schema markup guide, here is a little more information on structured data that can help you boost your rankings. This Moz Blog article would be difficult to understand without first studying the guide above. Here in the Moz Blog guide you can learn how the attributes ItemRef and ItemID can improve the power of your law firm’s website schema markup.

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