Organic SEO Audit For Law Firms
If you already have a website, you want to audit what exists so that you can prioritize your efforts. It’s difficult to succeed without a proper plan.
If you don’t have a website yet, you can still use many parts of the audit process to help guide you in creating and growing your website. Once your site is live, complete the audit again, and you will be ready to hit the ground running.
What To Audit For Your Firm’s SEO Strategy
An audit for traditional SEO will, at a minimum, cover the following:
- Services Audit
- Technical Audit
- Content Audit
- Maps Audit
- NAP Audit
- Link Audit
The purpose of a service audit is to check that you have the necessary third-party services installed and available so that you can partner, and analyze your website’s data. It is vital to understand what pages people visit on your website, how they interact with your site, and what content pages receive little traffic.
Here are the minimum services that we recommend a site be integrated with:
- Google Analytics (or similar analytics software)
- Google Search Console
- Call Tracking
- Keyword Tracking
Notate if your site does not have any of the above services. We will cover connecting to these services later in this guide.
A technical audit checks that your site is easily browsable and indexable by a search engine. A technical audit can cover everything from checking for broken links to increasing the speed of your website.
Technical issues of high priority should be flagged for immediate fixing. This is because if a technical problem is preventing your pages, or site, from being properly indexed, correcting the error can give the greatest immediate lift to your site’s placements.
A content audit will check to make sure that beneficial pages exist and content on your pages is properly optimized. The top three items to check within a content audit are:
Thin content refers to pages with very little text. Generally, pages should have at least 300 words. We find that at 300 words, you will be able to, at a minimum, convey the overall purpose of the page. Personally, I set a minimum of 500 words, excluding header and footer content, for our clients.
A small number of “thin” pages are normal. One example is that a website’s contact page will usually have very little information.
Duplicate Spammy Content
Are pages duplicated or close variants? Are there chunks of pages that are generally the same with few words swapped out? If so, they need to be rewritten.
Again, there are parts of websites that are duplicated. A website’s menu and footer rarely change. The same is true with certain global elements on a page, such as a contact form or highlight of value propositions.
What you want to be concerned with is articles or entire pages that are duplicates or very close to being a duplicate.
A content gap is a topic that competitors discuss on their websites, that you do not cover on your website. What articles or service pages do your top competitors have that you forgot to include? Looking at content gaps will uncover traffic opportunities for your law firm.
After completing a content gap analysis, you should be left with an array of valuable topics that you can write about.
A map audit checks that your law firm’s listing appears on the local map results of Google, Bing, and other top local map websites.
The map audit does not necessarily check for top rankings on specific keywords. This audit is more about making sure that your firm shows up when your brand name is searched for. If you are not listed in a popular mapping service, you will want to be sure to take note and submit your firm’s information for inclusion.
Here are some of the most popular mapping services to audit and add, if necessary:
- Google Maps
- Bing Maps
- Apple Maps
- Yahoo Maps
NAP is an abbreviation for Name, Address, and Phone number. You want to be sure that your firm’s name and pertinent information are accurate across the web.
In terms of SEO, a consistent NAP will help you achieve a better ranking on Google Maps. Luckily, minor inconsistencies and incorrect data on small directories are unlikely to adversely affect your business placement.
When it comes to data accuracy, there are some elements that can have slight variations. For example, you can have mixed variations of address suffixes, such as Ave. and Avenue. Also, address prefixed and directions can be abbreviated or used in their long-form (W. vs. West). Google is smart enough to know that these slight variations are the same thing.
Using Multiple Phone Numbers
Your Google listing does allow you to include three phone numbers. The first number is the primary phone number that you want to display. This number will be the one that is called when someone clicks the “call” option on your Google listing.
If you have more than one number, such as call tracking numbers for marketing purposes or a toll-free number, you can enter those as additional numbers. A total of three numbers, one primary and two additional are allowed.
A backlink is a link that exists on someone else’s website to your website. A backlink is a term that is widely used in the SEO world. Links from other websites are treated like “votes” that your site is a trusted source of information.
In general, the greater number of high-quality links from other websites to your website, the easier it is to rank higher on a search engine for the more competitive search phrases.
A backlink audit compiles information about who is linking to your firm’s website, and who is linking to your competitor’s websites. The three big questions that a backlink audit answers are:
- Are there spammy links from “bad neighborhoods” that are linking to your site that might cause harm?
- What links exist to competitors’ sites that are not linking to your, that you might be able to acquire a link from?
- What information might you want to consider adding to your website that will increase the likelihood of naturally acquiring links?
Make An Action Plan For Your Law Firm
Now that you have some ideas on what can be worked to improve your ranking and reporting, it’s time to create an action plan. Your action plan should be organized into the highest to least important items.
The most important items are those that have the greatest impact on your business.
Typically, this is the priority given to issues uncovered in your audits:
- Add missing services. Without the proper reporting, making informed decisions is nearly impossible.
- Concentrate on technical fixes. If a crawl or indexing error prevents you from showing up on Google’s search results, any other optimizations become moot.
- The results of your map audit will show you how much work you have in front of you for the quickest results. Map listings will often rank faster than traditional organic listings. These fixes can take place concurrently with technical fixes.
- Fixing erroneous NAP information across the Internet can be time-consuming. Concentrate on correcting the information on the most prominent directories first. Again, this can be done concurrently with the technical fixes. I prefer to tackle these issues after fixing map errors and omissions.
- Content is often an ongoing process. So, you should start getting your feet wet and at least begin putting together a content calendar as soon as possible.
- Finally, once you are starting to fix up your content, you should also be looking to build links to your firm’s website. Like creating content, building links is an ongoing process because as your content grows so does your opportunity to pitch that content.