It has become common for law firms to think of SEO marketers as selling snake oil—so many marketing companies have sprung up making false promises, taking millions of dollars and failing to deliver on their word. But there is still a place for SEO—search engines are quickly learning how to spot quality content and drive those pages that offer it to the top. This way, the users of the search engine remain satisfied. If your search engine pulls up pages and pages of useless, keyword infused garbage, you are going to switch search engines. That is not what the search engines want. They want to put the page users are actually looking for right up top.
A lot of SEO marketers keep peddling content based on outdated Google algorithms. This is what gives them a bad name. SEO optimization is about staying one step ahead of the ever-evolving search engine algorithms. According to Martin Laetsch, director of online marketing at a West Coast marketing automation company and leading SEO consultant, Google is currently making 500 algorithm changes per year.
The days of driving traffic to your site by packing it with vapid, useless keywords is (thankfully) dead. According to an August 2015 study on the future of SEO, the most important factors for SEO impact in 2016 will be mobile friendliness. Other factors are the search engine’s analysis of the page’s perceived value; dwell time (how long a user stays on the page); readability; and design. Paid links and anchor text are expected to have less of an impact going forward.
Another reason why the keyword is dead is that now, search engines are sophisticated enough to grasp how people interact with your website by analyzing “post-click activity.” If, after visiting your site, a viewer returns back to the search results page, it’s clear that they didn’t get what they were looking for. In order to say relevant, you have to satisfy the user. That’s where quality content comes in.
Google is also becoming sophisticated enough that a page doesn’t need to say “New York divorce lawyers” over and over again for the crawler to catch on. The technology can read between the lines. Google can actually “think” about what words should be on a page about divorce law in a certain location, and if your page has those words, it will drive up your SEO.
One easy tip is that longer articles (between 1,200 to 1,500 words) tend to perform better in search on average. This is a sea change from years ago, when people predicted that reader’s short attention spans would shrink the length of articles. What has happened is that longer articles are performing better because there is more data on the page for the search engine to gauge.
The use of unique (non-stock) images in your web design is another easy way to boost SEO that people often overlook. Creating custom imagery makes a page stand out.
Finally, don’t forget to optimize your page for mobile use. If Google can’t understand the content on a mobile app, you are losing a valuable opportunity. In short, when it comes to SEO optimization, investing in quality content is always going to be your best bet.