10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

A new year means setting new goals. For law firms and other businesses, gaining clients is a common yet important objective. Application of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques is one of the best ways to make progress with your marketing goals, but do you really know what needs to be done for a successful campaign?Google searches yield dozens of SEO tips and tricks, but implementation of those techniques is often much more complicated than lawyers and business owners realize. With the new decade upon us, here are 10 SEO content mistakes to avoid in the new year:

SEO Mistake #1: Generic, short headings.

Each heading you use needs to be specific and convey a complete thought. They need to be more than a few words–though not too long–and they need to cover the buzzwords relevant to your industry. For example, change  Defective Safety Devices to You Can Recover Damages from Defective Safety Devices in Cars. The more fine tuned the heading, the more likely you’ll hit the long-tail keywords.

SEO Mistake #2: Not using enough headings.

Err on the side of breaking your content up with more rather than less headings. For example, don’t cover liability and trial procedures in the same content chunk. With SEO, you want to grab all possible searchers, so create distinct headings to better target the different topics. Similarly, by better identifying the topic at hand, your potential client will have a better understanding of what they’re reading about.

SEO Mistake #3: Not using lists.

Bulleted lists are great for SEO and readability. Rather than list 3 or more items in the same line, break them into bulleted or numbered lists. Though featured snippets have become controversial in the SEO world, lists often appear in the at the top of Google search results. They’re also much easier to skim for the readers looking to make a quick decision for which law firm or business to select.

SEO Mistake #4: Forgetting to use marketing terminology.

It’s critical to remember how to format the SEO title and meta description. The keyword should be in the front portion of the title for the title, for example, and you may want the keyword phrase in your meta description. Venturing further, use convincing/marketing language in the title and meta description because this is how you persuade people to click on YOUR link. Law firms and medical professionals don’t typically need to use your business name as your site name/URL appears under the SEO title. Instead, highlight what clients will entice your clients to click.

SEO Mistake #5: Hiding the [keyword] ball.

The sooner you can introduce the keyword phrase in content, the better. It’s typically a good goal to include it in the first paragraph of the content, as long as you can fit it in organically. This slight adjustment may lead the search engine bots to give you a higher ranking.

SEO Mistake #6: Not varying your keyword phrasing.

Though it’s important to use your keyword phrase enough times per page, a variation or two should be included within the text when possible. Slip and fall, for example, is often referred to as a “trip and fall.” A car accident could be an “auto accident” or car crash. Including these slight variations helps you reach the searchers who use the less common phrasing.  Shorter text doesn’t always allow for extra phrases, but there should be a phrase variation or 2 in text longer than 1000 words.

SEO Mistake #7: Writing at too high a reading level.

Reading level is VERY important for SEO content. Though lawyers love legalese and doctors may want to utilize medical terminology, an 8th grade reading level is an important target to strive for with your content. Wordy or advanced terminology needs to be replaced in favor of text with a higher readability. Though this may seem like editing and not SEO, text that is too dense often has a high bounce rate which means people leave the page without calling your business.

SEO Mistake #8: Forgetting that your content needs to be helpful to the reader.

Along the lines of mistake #7, content chunks need to be engaging and informative. Thus, a reader should catch the point immediately and feel as though they received insight from your text. Rather than talk about negligence, for example, identify the 4 elements of negligence so a reader can better see the main point and understand why they need to hire your law firm.

SEO Mistake #9: Only creating promotional content for your firm.

In order to make the most of your legal marketing or other SEO efforts, you need to have several forms of core content. Though many of your pages will be focused on promoting your services, creating content for link building is also important. In other words, have information on your site that other websites will want to link to. No SEO campaign will achieve its full potential unless you also have a host of strong backlinks. Similarly, uniques and/or informative content is more likely to be viral and can only help your marketing efforts.

SEO Mistake #10: Trying to use one piece of content for multiple purposes.

Though this tip is often forgotten by SEO amateurs, your goal is to get individual pages of your website to rank highly–not just your homepage. As a result, content needs to be created that focuses on distinct aspects of your business as opposed to a catch-all page. For example, for stronger SEO potency, it’s better to have seperate child custody and child support pages rather than lumping them all together. Instead of comprehensive pages, create helpful pages of content devoted to specific keywords and use internal links to help navigate the topics. This will bolster your rankings as well as force you to create more detailed and insightful content per topic.

Though this may seem like a lot to remember, your SEO content deserves your time and attention. A potential client may only spend minutes or seconds on your website before deciding if you are the law firm or business for them. Do what you can to make their decision easy.


One Response to 10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

  1. Stacey
    11:22 pm on January 7th, 2020

    Awesome article, Nancy. As to SEO Mistake #4, when attorneys highlight in the meta data what they believe will entice their clients to click, it’s imperative to check your State’s Rules of Professional Conduct before publishing the change. For example, NY says “A lawyer or law firm shall not utilize meta-tags or other hidden computer codes that, if displayed, would violate these Rules.”

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