When trying to rank any legal sector business’s website on Google, at the core of the SEO that will be required to improve those rankings are keywords. Whether they are a single word, have two words, or are a long-tail keyword of several words, it is for these keywords that almost all your SEO efforts will be trying to rank the pages of your legal website for.
To explain why that is the case, it will help if we look briefly at how Google operates. Someone arrives on Google and types a search term. Let us use the example of “divorce lawyers in Perth, WA”. In an instant, Google will display several pages of results, called Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs.
What Google strives for with the SERPs they generate is that the web pages on the first page of results are those most likely to be what the person searching is looking for. In this case, it is websites of divorce lawyers located in Perth, Western Australia. The way the owners of those websites convince Google to place them on that first page is SEO.
What SEO will do is optimise website pages so that they are seen as the most relevant and authoritative for specific keywords. The task that often defeats legal website owners is establishing which keywords they should and can rank for on that coveted first page of Google. It is this keyword discovery process that we are about to explain in three simple steps.
Before we do so, we must highlight that effective keyword research requires tools. We are not going to endorse a specific one here, but if you search for “keyword tools” or “keyword research tools” on Google, you will see several that are recommended repeatedly by SEO experts. Trying to do all of this manually will take significantly longer without these tools, and you will struggle to acquire much of the data you need for effective keyword research.
Step #1 – Create A Preliminary Keyword List
Using a keyword tool, your first task is to create an initial list of keywords. Note ‘keywords’ also means multi-word phrases. You do this by typing in broad search terms that you want your legal website to rank for. Do not try to edit your list but simply let the keyword word tool do its work. The most important data you want from these initial searches are:
- How many searches for specific keywords occur
- Traffic potential for each keyword
The reason these two are so important is they indicate how difficult a keyword is to rank for and whether it is worth optimising for it.
Step #2 – Cultivate Your Keyword List
Just as cultivating a garden includes getting rid of unwanted weeds, in this case, you are going to get rid of keywords that are either impossibly difficult to rank for due to massive competition or do not generate any traffic.
What you also want to do at this stage is think about alternatives for some of your keywords. For example, you can use synonyms such as ‘legislation’ for ‘law’, or ‘business lawyer’ for ‘commercial lawyer’. As you do so, try to think not as a lawyer or legal expert and therefore include legal jargon ordinary people would not understand as keywords. Instead, try to think of what search terms potential clients would enter on Google.
Step #3 – Evaluate SERPs
This final step is to validate the amended keyword list you now have and to gain insights into the types of content and websites that are appearing in the top positions on Google for those keywords.
Search for your target keywords and click through to the websites ranked on page one. You could go further and acquire software that can analyse a website’s SEO so that you have the inside scoop on how best to optimise your website. You can also see the type of content they publish, but this is not to simply copy it, but instead to give you a heads up on how to make your content better.