By: 9 December 2022
Peak performance: How to get your website in shape for the new year

Andy Cullwick, head of marketing at First4Lawyers

Make sure you’re providing users with a valuable and accessible resource. The better their experience, the better your chances of ranking highly and driving more traffic to your website

Christmas is almost upon us and what better time to gift you my top tips for optimising your marketing and website performance.

If you want a strong website that performs well in search engine results pages, the first things to get right are the technical performance and the content you are producing.

Our latest whitepaper—Trust me, I’m a lawyer: Marketing legal services in 2023—interviewed 100 law firms and found many were still making basic mistakes. 

The improvements suggested below are neither difficult nor expensive but could mean the difference between someone finding your site and choosing your firm or deciding to go elsewhere.

Go mobile

A mobile-friendly website is no longer just nice to have but essential nowadays as this kind of traffic is growing. Not only do search engines prioritise sites that work well on mobile but, according to Google, visitors are five times more likely to leave if they do not.

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help you work out how well your website performs.

You should also ensure that your site is accessible for everyone, regardless of ability.

Increase your speed

The faster your website, the more it will be rewarded by search engines. It will also stop users from getting impatient and leaving.

Google’s free Page Speed Insights tool shows site owners how users experience a page, how it performs according to its Core Web Vitals metrics and what specific elements could be improved.

Simple ways to speed up your site include removing unnecessary code, reducing the number of redirected links and compressing images so they are smaller but still high quality.

Give the people what they want

Search engines want to see that your content meets the needs of the user, whether that’s informational, transactional or navigational. Do that and your site has a greater chance of ranking well.

Google recently rolled out its Helpful Content algorithm update, which encourages site owners to ensure people reading their content will “leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience”.

You should also target relevant keywords to help make sure you’re giving users what they’re looking for.

Update regularly

Websites where content is regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevancy will be rewarded by search engines. This is particularly important in the legal sector as the law changes, potentially rendering the information on your website out of date.

It’s a good idea to create a plan to review and update your content accordingly. Adding publication dates to content can also signal to search engines that your content is fresh.

Keep on top of broken links

Incredibly, a study of the top 100 law firm websites by web designer Shape Works found an average of 225 broken links per site. Just 13 sites had none.

If there are any broken internal links on your site, search engines will find it more difficult to crawl and index it. This can lead to problems when it comes to rankings.

You should regularly audit your site for broken links, which you can either do manually or automatically with tools like Ahrefs and Screaming Frog.

Demonstrate your EAT

This stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness, which Google has identified as the key factors it uses in deciding how highly to rank a page and particularly when evaluating websites that affect YMYL—Your Money or Your Life.

Google wants to be sure that your content won’t have any negative consequences for users’ finances, health or wellbeing. Ways to demonstrate this include displaying any positive reviews and awards you’ve received, that your firm is regulated, and author biographies with details of their experience and expertise.

Search engines want to provide the best results for their users and will direct them to the sites they believe offer the most value. Ensuring you are one of them takes time and effort—you can’t simply launch a website then leave it there.

Make sure you’re providing users with a valuable and accessible resource. The better their experience, the better your chances of ranking highly and driving more traffic to your website.

You can read more in our whitepaper here.

Image sources: Canva and First4Lawyers