Aug 092012

Search engine marketing and search engine optimization is a crucial part of any lawyer or law firm website. Last week, my partner discussed the specifics of website content for legal content writers. This week, I’m going to go into detail about HTML.

The following graphic breaks down all the elements of SEO:

SEL SEO Ranking Factors

The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors, used with permission

Legal Website Content Writers & Paying Attention to HTML

HTML is the language behind a website’s pages. You are reading this article in a normal language; however, there is an entire invisible code of words, symbols and phrases. It is the language the search engines read when crawling a website’s pages. There are three HTML factors that lawyer website content writers must pay attention to:

1. Title Tags and Lawyer Website Content

The title tag is the first thing a search engine sees when it comes to crawl a website page. The title tag is the first line of a search result in a search results page. It is also located at the very top left of the website browser screen. See the green highlighted title tag below:

So, if a lawyer’s website page is titled “Home,” then the search engine is going to think that it is on a page about “home,” in the literal sense. Because of its importance, the title tag must be be relevant, i.e., match the content on the page. It must also be optimized because of the limited number of characters, with a focus on practice area and geolocation.

The title tag is like the title of a section of a brief or memo of law, except that it must be 60 characters or less. Most website browsers, like Internet Explorer or Mozilla, will show more than 60 characters. But as a rule of thumb, any more than 65 characters and the title tag may get cut off.

2. Metadescriptions and Lawyer Website Content

The metadescription is a short blurb about the website page which appears on a search engine results page.

Just like with title tags, metadescriptions should be relevant and concisely explain the content of the website page in 160 characters. Again, each website browser varies in terms of the exact number of characters shown.

Metadescriptions do not technically help rankings the way other SEO factors do, like having an optimized title tag. Rather, they are helpful in the sense that they entice a viewer to click on your page versus the other website pages which appear in the search engine result. So legal content writers must be sure to entice viewers. Using canned metadescription language is problematic.

3. Headers in Lawyer Website Content

Headers within content are very important. Legal content writers should pay attention to how they organize their content, from H1 all the way to H4 or H5. These headers signify the importance of the actual content. They not only tell spiders what to pay attention to in what order, but they also make it easier for the viewers to read an article, especially long articles.

More Lawyer Website Content Writer Articles:

Stay tuned for our next article on Lawyer Website Content Writers – The Importance of Site Architecture.

*Published: August 9, 2012