Getting on the first page of Google does not mean that you will automatically see a huge increase in traffic. People still have to click on your search result and there is still a significant amount of competition on Google’s first page.
Getting traffic from page one is a two-pronged approach. The first step, of course, is actually getting on the first page. The next step is making sure your search results are compelling enough for a click. Here are six strategies for making that happen.
1. Use your meta description, not Google’s
Google does a great job guessing what people are looking for, but it doesn’t always show the language we prefer. If you have followed best practices for writing meta descriptions, you will want those to show in search.
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t always think what you’ve written is the best snippet to show, so it doesn’t. Instead, it uses content from your site as well as content about your site referenced elsewhere on the internet to generate a description it believes searchers will find relevant.
One of the sources used by Google is the Open Directory Project or ODP. You can stop Google (and other search crawlers) from using this source by inserting the NOODP meta tag in the header of your website. It looks like this:
<meta name=”robots” content=”NOODP” />
You should only use this strategy if you have already crafted compelling meta descriptions and titles for your pages. If you haven’t, do that first, and then insert the tag.
2. Write compelling title tags
You should write compelling meta descriptions, too, but the titles are of paramount importance. These are the first lines of text people see when scanning search results. Leaders in the SEO industry report that titles are the second most important factor for on-page optimization.
Here are some tips for writing title tags that will help increase the likelihood that people will click on them after a search:
- Keep it short: Follow best practices for character length so that search engines won’t truncate your titles.
- Make sure the title tags contain the main focus keyword for the page as soon as possible.
- Have them describe a benefit (i.e. what the searcher is getting out of this content).
- Include your law firm name. Use caution here, though—if you can’t fit in your firm’s name without violating character limits, leave it out.
Another important tip is to pay attention to click activity on your search results and revise your titles if necessary. Rarely does anyone hit it out of the park the first time: crafting the perfect title tag takes practice.
3. Use attorney schema on your content
Attorney schema is HTML code that can be applied to your content. There is a lot of information on the internet about schema and SEO. It’s important to point out that schema will not help your pages rank better in search. The reason it’s beneficial for SEO is that it enables you to choose how content is displayed in search.
Reviews are one of the best types of content to which you can apply schema. Review schema shows up nicely in search results, especially if you can get it on star ratings. Below, you can see how sites with review schema stand out.
The star rating stands out far more than the other search results, making it more likely that users will click on it.
Applying schema to other content, such as name, address, and phone numbers, increases the likelihood that the content will show up in a search for relevant queries.
Attorneys should apply schema to the following types of content:
- Lawyers at the firm
- Hours of operation
- Emails and other contact information
- Articles and blog posts
4. Use keywords in titles
This may sound basic, but it’s easy to overlook including keywords in your title tags and meta descriptions. When people are served a search results page, they immediately begin scanning it for the specific content they searched for.
They seldom read snippets, and instead scan for the keyword phrases they used. They stop momentarily on results that contain their search terms to see whether the result is relevant.
Relevant keywords are the things that will make people stop and take notice.
5. Front-load titles and meta descriptions
The heat map mentioned above leads us to another important strategy: frontloading your snippets. People scan left to right (as evidenced by the heat map), so it’s important to have your keyword phrases at the very beginning of your titles and meta descriptions.
That way, people view them right away, stop to read your snippet, and—assuming it’s compelling and relevant—will click. Google also bolds keyword phrases in these snippets, so when you combine that with a front row seat, you can substantially improve CTR on your search results.
6. Include fresh content
This last tactic is a little better suited for items like blog posts and articles, as opposed to practice area pages of your site. We already know that Google’s algorithm favors fresh results, but we are talking about the date that appears in Google SERPs.
Lawyers should make sure that their content has up-to-date information and that the publish date on the content is relatively recent.