[author: Julie Lorson]
Search engine optimization (SEO) is incredibly complex and always changing. That can make it hard to know which information is accurate and which is incorrect. As with many myths, some of these law firm SEO myths had a nugget of truth behind them at some point. Whatever the cause of these SEO myths, law firms are better off ignoring them. Instead, make sure to simply focus on your reader and play fair with search engines.
1. Focus only on quality content, not keywords.
This is a nuanced one. Of course, you need quality content – law firms should develop unique thought leadership content no matter what. But that doesn’t mean that content will help you rank on search engines. You always need to pay attention to keywords and phrases.
It’s crucial to strike a balance between quality content and keywords. Keywords still play a significant role in online visibility as they reflect what users are searching for online. Crafting high-quality content that seamlessly integrates pertinent keywords is the key to drawing in and captivating your desired audience while boosting your search engine rankings.
2. If you keyword stuff, Google will unlist your site.
Keyword stuffing, or the attempt to manipulate search engine rankings by excessively using specific keywords within its content, is considered a black hat SEO technique. However, it’s hard to prove what keyword stuffing actually is. If a keyword is mentioned several times in otherwise good-quality content, you’re probably fine. While it is frowned upon, Google may not completely unlist your site for keyword stuffing but may penalize your site by reducing its search engine rankings. Instead, focus on the reader experience- create valuable, user-centric content and use keywords naturally and appropriately.
3. Search engines penalize for duplicate content.
While there isn’t a specific “duplicate content penalty,” having duplicate or very similar content across your website can affect your site’s search engine rankings and user experience. However, for law firms, this isn’t that much of a concern. It’s more of an issue for large e-commerce companies that are forced to come up with varied product descriptions. If you have some repeat text across several pages, you’re safe. If you’re worried, check out the Domain Authority Tool on Moz for tips on how to rank better.
4. Putting keywords in the footer helps to boost rankings.
This technique doesn’t work as well as it once did several years ago when footers were simpler. That’s because search engines simply don’t value keyword-based text or links as much when they’re among highly repetitive website elements like primary navigation. Rather than trying to boost rankings through keyword placement in the footer, it’s best to focus on creating valuable content and following established SEO practices to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results. Keyword usage should always be natural and relevant to the content’s context.
5. You need to limit SEO page titles to 60 characters.
While it’s a good practice to aim for concise and informative page titles that are around 60 characters or less, there is no strict character limit for SEO page titles. Though the design of Google search engine results pages (SERPs) dictates how much of the page title will appear, Google hasn’t shared information on how many characters it collects from page title information. It really comes down to the value of the words that might be cut off from your title, if that happens. The key is to create titles that accurately represent the content, engage users, and make sense in the context of your website and target audience.
6. Google doesn’t like exact-match domain names.
The myth that Google doesn’t like exact-match domain names is not entirely accurate. Google’s stance on exact-match domain names has evolved over the years. In 2012, Google made a change to penalize a small percentage of domains that clearly went overboard with domain keywords. Keyword-rich domains may not help as much as they once did, but it’s unlikely Google opposes them.
7. SEO is a one-time thing.
If you follow along on this blog, you know we don’t view it as such. SEO is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort, adaptation to changes, and a commitment to delivering high-quality content and a great user experience. To consistently work on ranking, law firm marketers should visit key ranking factors regularly. It’s important to constantly try different approaches and base your tactics on results. Here’s a simple SEO checklist you can follow.
8. Meta Tags don’t matter.
Even though Google doesn’t technically use this information in page rankings, these descriptions are still relevant and worth spending time on. Meta tags are crucial for SEO because they influence how your pages appear in search engine results and impact user engagement. While they are not the only factor in SEO, optimizing these tags with relevant keywords can improve your page’s visibility. They make your search results more attractive, which can only lead to more clicks.
9. Long-form content equals better rankings.
It’s true that long-form content can improve search rankings, but it’s not as simple as that. While long-form content can be beneficial in many cases, it should be approached strategically and based on your specific SEO goals, target audience, and the competitive landscape in your niche. There are many factors that contribute to search rankings. When developing long and short-form content, value is essential. In actuality, if you want to rank higher, it’s more important to focus on the quality, relevance, and user experience and try to gain editorial links.
10. Visitors will be sent away by linking to authority sites.
It’s a fact that linking to other sites will send your visitors there. You should have confidence that if your content is useful, practical, in-depth, and persuasive, visitors will come back even if momentarily redirected. The benefits of linking to relevant websites outweigh the risk of traffic leaving. In fact, linking to authority sites can enhance the quality, credibility, and value of your content while providing a positive user experience.
The web is a dynamic platform, and it can be difficult to discern fact from fiction. These law firm SEO myths stem from outdated information, but consistently researching the latest trends and algorithms can help law firms make the most of their ranking efforts.