When you think about SEO, what comes to mind? Spam? Tricking Google? Keywords? Links?
What about index status? Crawl errors? Crawl stats? Pages speed?
Not nearly as many SEOs seems to be talking about technical SEO as are talking about the more mainstream “marketing SEO.”
I’m not here to to diminish the importance of what I’m calling “marketing SEO” (i.e. creating great pages and getting them in front of people who are ready, willing and able to link to, share and otherwise publicize them).
But I do think a lot of folks are missing out on some great opportunities to improve site performance in search. And this is particularly true for legal websites and blogs.
The image at the top of this post is from a Google Webmaster Tools (GWMT) Search Queries report. If you’re not spending time in GWMT and Bing Webmaster Tools (BWMT), you’re really missing out.
The image shows changes in impressions, clicks, click-through-rates (CTR) and avg. positions for select target search queries for about the last 30 days.
Admittedly, these numbers aren’t huge. But the change, the immediacy of the change and the business impact from this change, is what matters here.
You might be thinking, “this site obviously earned a bunch of new links during this time frame.”
You’d be wrong. No new links.
The changes were all of a technical nature.
Improved speed. Improved design. Fixing 404 errors. Making changes to XML sitemap. Making changes to robots.txt. Making changes to robots meta tags.
The list goes on…
So why are these problems so common, especially when it comes to law firm websites and blogs?
There are a variety of reasons.
In an effort to keep costs down, many lawyers build their own sites (or have their nephews build them). But the do-it-yourself’ers don’t make up the majority of sites that I encounter with these issues.
They’re sites built by companies who selling law firm website and blogs!
And sometimes, for tens of thousands of dollars!
There’s no doubt that in some of these cases, the people building these sites know better. That’s just malicious.
But in many more instances, the issue is one of negligence.
You see, many web designers and developers learned their craft in the age before, or during the transition period of, the age of search engines.
They built websites without regard to how they would perform in search.
They’re main goal was to make them “look good” (a goal that was often not met I might add).
Fortunately, as the worlds of search engine optimization and website design and development become more intertwined, we see less of this with newer websites.
If you are a do-it-yourself’er when it comes to your firm’s website and online marketing, and you want to improve the technical SEO aspects of your sites, start with Google Webmaster Tools Help. You should also check out The Short Cutts, the short answers to every Matt Cuttts Video. If you don’t already know, Cutts is Google’s head of web spam.
Of course, if you’re unsure whether or not your sites/blogs have technical SEO issues, and have absolutely no desire to learn about this stuff, we’re happy to pop-the-hood.
If you have specific questions about your site (and you’re willing to ask / share publicly) feel free to ask them in the comments below.