Humans or Spiders? Using Keywords That Interest Both People and Search Engines

Anyone who has tried to read their way through an instruction manual knows that technical information can get boring fast. But in order to get a good search ranking for your law firm’s website, you have to stuff your text with keywords and phrases that direct search engine robots to your site.

So how can you write a website that Google will bump up the results page, but still making it compelling and readable to your human customers?

Here are our top tips for using keywords for search engines and readers:

  • Take advantage of ALL your spaces. You’ve got your key phrases throughout the body copy, but what about the rest of the text? Headlines, meta tags, and descriptions should all have a key phrase that complements the rest of the article.
  • Average 2-3 key phrases per 250 words. There is no “golden ratio” of keywords to text, but two or three times per 250 words is a good rule of thumb. Avoid overly-cramming your copy with keywords: Google and other search engines will drop your ranking or even ban you from their results if they see too many keywords clumped together.
  • Avoid keywords in graphics and images. If you have a fantastic logo or catchphrase full of keywords, by all means, use it on your site. A visually interesting page will certainly help pull in readers. However, search engines are going to pass right over it. Spiders don't read animations or graphics, but you can give your image a descriptive title and "alt" description when you place it on your website.
  • Make sure it’s readable. This is the most important step, and many unsuccessful attorneys will step right over it. Have someone else (or several people) read the pages and give honest feedback. Are there so many keywords it doesn’t read well? Are you repeating yourself? Do the headlines and titles match the content of the articles? If not, start over. It’s better to have a site that keeps attention than grabs it only for a second.

Remember: search engine optimization for legal websites is a constantly changing business. There are updates to the way Google evaluates and ranks pages several times a year, and if you’re not informed, your customers will be redirected without you even knowing it.

Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.