Like most law firms, you’re probably using SEO in at least some capacity to help your content get ranked on search engines. Putting plenty of effort into this area of legal marketing is smart and can help your firm bring in consistent leads through search. However, some marketers go overboard and find themselves in trouble because of over-optimization mistakes. Here are three things to avoid in your law firm SEO so you won’t get penalized.
1) Too Many Backlinks Too Quickly
While having relevant and quality backlinks from external sites pointing to your firm’s website is a good thing, it can hurt you when they’re acquired at too high of a frequency. For instance, if your site amassed 1,000 backlinks overnight, Google would know that something looks fishy and you are likely to get penalized instead of seeing your rankings improve. That’s because search engines look for unnatural patterns of link building, and unless you created content that went viral, you’re probably going to get penalized. That’s why you should never pay for links or try any “blackhat SEO” techniques that intentionally try to manipulate algorithms. Instead, it’s best to steadily build backlinks over time and let your rankings improve naturally.
2) Near Duplicate Pages
One technique that’s been abused by marketers in many industries involves creating near duplicate pages in an attempt to rank for multiple keywords. An example would be a law firm specializing in DUI cases in Miami creating pages for similar keywords like “DUI lawyer Miami,” “DUI attorney Miami” and “DUI lawyer South Beach.” Ever since the Hummingbird algorithm update, Google has become much more adept at understanding user search intent. Therefore, creating near duplicate pages based around highly similar keywords is basically pointless. Not only will it waste your time, but it can devalue your content as a whole. That’s why you should ensure that every page you create is unique.
3) Excessive Internal Links
According to Moz, “internal Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) the same domain as the domain that the link exists on (source). In layman’s terms, an internal link is one that points to another page on the same website.” While these are great for redirecting visitors to other pages on your site that they may be interested in and can help boost SEO, they can also be a detriment when you go overboard. There’s no precise number of links to aim for, but you can probably bet that it’s too many when it seems unnatural and you’re jamming your content full with internal links that don’t really need to be there. Typically, 1 to 3 internal links per every 500 words should be fine. Just make sure that you’re not abusing them because it can have a counter effect.
SEO can be somewhat of a slippery slope, and due to perpetual algorithm updates, what constitutes good SEO is always changing. Nevertheless, staying away from bad practices like these over-optimization mistakes should help you stay in Google’s good graces and prevent your site from getting penalized. To learn more about SEO and how to get your content to the top of search engines, check out 8 Rules for Effective Online Marketing.
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