Search engine optimization aims to get the number one position on search engine results pages for searches that hit a particular keyword. All performance statistics show that few people bother to look beyond the first page of results. However, not every lawyer can be number one in the results, and logically, only three can be in the top three, and yet there are more than three law firms with a website operating in your practice specialization in your town, and they all seem to get work. If your law firm’s Web pages do not get into the top slots, don’t despair. There are still ways entries lower down the results pages can attract click throughs. Here are tips from Search Engine Watch, the Bruce Clay Blog, Search Engine Roundtable and Inside Search.
This article highlights two very important problems when dealing with SEO advice. It quotes a study on user behavior that was released last year. Some studies are conducted over the course of a year, in which case, by the time they are released, the behavior they observed may already be out of date. If you see references to that study a year later, you are looking at data that could be two years out of date. The second point about SEO is that Google changes its strategy almost every month. In this example, the ability to put images in your law firm’s search engine results page entry could well draw users away from unillustrated “top three” entries. This facility is new, so studies that show most people only click on the top three may already be wrong. Focusing on rich snippets could be a better use of your digital marketing budget than aiming to get your rankings up.
Google’s research into user behavior shows that younger people are too impatient to wait for a page to load. The raging debate over whether to present sophisticated graphics on a site or just get something that loads quickly is leaning towards loading speed as the most important aspect of Web design. Although the top three entries in search results get the most clicks, that doesn’t necessarily mean anyone stays on those pages for long, or buys anything on them. Pages with lower rankings can benefit if they are quick to load and the pages with higher rankings are slow. This phenomenon is particularly notable with mobile search. Paralegals need to have faster loading pages if they tend to attract emergency work. Corporate law firms can probably get away with slower loading pages.
Google has announced a new service to improve the load times of pages accessed through mobile devices. This is called Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP. It is important that you get in on this scheme for your law firm’s website because not only will it give you an edge over higher ranking sites by improving your loading speeds, but Google says it will bump up the rankings of websites that participate. In this article, Search Engine Watch guest writer and digital marketer, Kenny Chung explains the topic. In this illustration, you can see how the author applied AMP to his WordPress blog with little more than a few clicks.
AMP is a very intensively technical topic. Probably the most tech-orientated SEO site we include here on the SEO Trends reading list is Search Engine Roundtable. So, here is editor Barry Schwartz’s take on AMP. Surprisingly, Schwartz seems a lot less impressed by AMP than Chung. In this short article on the topic, Schwartz raises the point that many publishers might not bother to invest in the new technology. The implication with that scenario is that Google may end up dropping the benefits of AMP from its ranking algorithm. If the big sites decide not to implement the new system, then smaller law firms will benefit from it, if they only have to follow Chung’s example in order to get AMP-activated.
Here is Google’s original post on the topic of AMP, which is the basis of both the Chung article and the Schwartz post. This won’t add much to your understanding of AMP, but as a lawyer, you probably already know that it is always better to go to the original source of a story.