Law Firm SEO: Five Common Mistakes to Avoid

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Common SEO Mistakes

Long gone are the days when you could rely only on meta descriptions, title tags, and directory links to boost your firm’s website rankings in search engines. Thanks (or no thanks) to sites using destructive black-hat techniques, Google is on a mission to penalize those who try to win using spammy shortcuts, and reward sites that provide a great user experience.

Below is a list of 5 common mistakes in SEO that can be easily avoided:

  1. Content that is not engaging.

    Search engines are designed to deliver the highest quality results to the user; therefore, your content should provide the answer to the visitor’s search query as well as a great user experience. If a user comes to your website and is not impressed with the content, they will quickly leave. When this happens, it indicates to search engines that your site is not offering supportive and relevant content based on that particular search query. You do not want this! You want users to visit your site and be engaged. Remember: write for your readers, not search engines.

  2. Duplicate content

    Duplicate content, in simple terms, is content that appears on more than one Web page. This is akin to a constantly skipping CD. In short, it’s annoying.

    Google can easily determine when content is duplicated. One of the relatively new Google features is Google Authorship which protects the original author’s content.

    To ensure they are offering users high value content, search engines take pages out of the rankings that are a duplication of other, higher authority pages. Also, duplicate content can lead to Google not trusting the overall quality of the site and penalizing its rankings.
    Search engines want to provide users with a varied amount of results, not 20 pages with the same content. To ensure this, search engines omit pages that are a duplication of other, higher authority pages. Omitted pages don’t rank.

    Additionally, if Google finds your duplicate content to be spammy, deceptive or an attempt to manipulate your rankings, Google may penalize your site by dropping its rankings.

  3. Not using correct keywords

    If a user cannot find your website, then what good is it?

    If a website’s content is written about the term “vehicle wrecks,” but the majority of users are searching for “car accidents,” the website will miss out on a lot of potential business. It’s crucial to use the correct keyword targets to drive optimal traffic to your website.

    Target the right words by looking for terms most commonly used in searches. Our SEO specialists use a variety of tools, including Google’s keyword tool, to determine the words and phrases that have the highest search volume for your area of law. However, targeting only the most popular keywords may not improve your rankings. The higher the search volume for a keyword, the more websites you will compete with for rankings, so it’s vital to find a happy medium between the two. Don’t forget, however, that long tail searches (lesser used phrases words and phrases) obtain more relevant traffic than the highest volume words and phrases.

  4. Over-optimization

    Yes, there is such a thing as over-optimization!

    Tactics such as excessive interlinking,keyword stuffed content and tags, and duplicate content within the same site are common over-optimization practices that can hurt your rankings.

    Typically, anything over 3% keyword density is too much for a page. Links should only be placed on a page if they are relevant to the content posted on that same page. Remember the saying “too much of a good thing is bad?” Well, that pertains to SEO as well.

  5. Assuming that SEO strategies are static. SEO is constantly changing!

    There is no such thing as updating a site and never having to do so again. Google constantly changes its algorithm (examples: panda, penguin, etc.), so a website has to be reviewed occasionally. What works today may not work tomorrow; it’s important to stay up-to-date on SEO practices used on your site.

    Also, by having a blog on your site and adding new posts regularly, you are providing fresh, new content. Google loves fresh content.

Although these five SEO mistakes are common, they are preventable and fixable. To see if you’re eligible for a free website audit, or for more information on how badly SEO may have damaged your online reputation, contact us at (800) 872-6590 or

JR Oakes

J.R. Oakes is in charge of developing and managing a comprehensive approach to search engine optimization for the law firm clients of In this role, J.R. constantly analyzes and adapts the marketing firm's SEO strategy to address the constantly changing factors that go into high search engine rankings. Follow JR on Google+ or Twitter

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