Anyone who claims to have all the answers about how to get your site to the top of Google’s organic search result rankings is, at best, exaggerating, because the evaluation criteria change all the time. As the trolls keep getting wiser, Google continuously looks for new ways to evaluate websites so that it can stop the misinformation from ranking above the reliable sites. It especially places a value on so-called “YMYL” sites, ones where misleading content could cause users to suffer serious physical or financial harm.
What Are YMML Sites?
Not to be confused with YMMV (“your mileage may vary,” common on discussion boards where non-experts trade advice) or YOLO (“you only live once,” popularized by a song by Drake and Lil Wayne and then repeated ad nauseam in the captions of photos posted on social media), YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life,” as in “don’t gamble with your money or your life. Google classifies as YMYL sites any website that asks users to enter identifying information that would put users at risk of identity theft, such as bank account numbers or PINs. By extension, any website that allows users to make financial transactions is a YYL site, so that includes ecommerce sites. Finally, websites that give customers advice about health-related or financial decisions are YMYL sites. Since engaging the services of a lawyer is a major financial decision, your law firm’s website automatically counts as a YMYL site.
In order to determine a site’s rankings on Google searches, Google has a team of human evaluators rate each site for credibility and relevance to search engine queries, in addition to its automated ways of ranking sites. The acronym YMYL became known outside of website evaluator circles in 2012, when someone publicly shared an internal memo from Google establishing guidelines for ranking YMYL sites.
How to Make Your Law Firm’s Site Meet Google’s Standards for YMYL Sites
Because your law firm’s website is a YMYL site, on which people rely to help them make important decisions, ranking on the first page of search results requires more than just dazzling the search engine ranking bots by putting all the right keywords in all the right places. Here are some factors that make the human evaluators who rate YMYL sites consider your site credible.
· Contact information – Your site should include a physical address, a phone number, and the names of the lawyers. YMYL sites that are transparent about their connection to the offline world are more credible.
· Frequent updates- Frequently updating your site, such as by posting on a blog, shows that its content is up-to-date. (By contrast, a website that gives legal advice but doesn’t give you anyone to contact with further questions and doesn’t provide any updates is the legal advice equivalent of leaving a paper bag full of dog doo on someone’s doorstep.)
· Reputation – Building a good reputation for your law firm online and offline will help its Google search rankings.
Get Legal Content Writing Help
You can count on Law Blog Writers to provide blog posts and website content to satisfy even the most discerning website evaluators.
Lawyers get conflicting advice about how to optimize their law firms’ websites for Google searches. Just be yourself and be the best student (or write the best web content) as you can. Game the system and search far and wide for little known tactics to gain an advantage. Update your blog a few times a month, writing natural-sounding content, letting the keywords fall where they will. Include every possible keyword, including the names of competing law firms. Write about topics of enduring interest to people who need the services of lawyers in your practice area. Research trending topics and write about them on your blog before the news cycle leaves them behind.
So, which is it? In fact, while the basic principles of SEO remain the same, web content is always changing, and search engines are always adapting to keep up with it. The following story illustrates how Google’s search engine modifies its tactics to stop Internet charlatans from having the last word.
Bogus Links, Beware of the Penguin
Google Penguin in a search engine algorithm introduced in 2012, which is ancient history in the world of SEO. Wikipedia is uncharacteristically tight-lipped about where the algorithm got its name, but it probably has something to do with the fact that penguins look cute and harmless, but are not to be messed with, especially when it comes to protecting their adorable, fluffy penguin chicks. Google Penguin was an improvement on older algorithms in that it was better at catching websites made using black-hat SEO tactics.
Specifically, Google Penguin penalized sites that included link schemes. In other words, the builders of these sites would link lots of other sites to them, making it appear to the pre-Penguin algorithms that the sites were popular or authoritative because so many other sites relied on them or considered their content worthwhile. In fact, many of these links had been paid for, or else the owners of the sites engaged in “I’ll link to you if you link to me” exchanges purely for the purpose of increasing their rankings.
Links in a Post-Penguin World
It still helps your site’s rankings if other sites link to it, but now you have to earn links the old-fashioned way, by posting content on your site that other sites will want to use as a source. The best way to achieve that is by creating informative content that people will enjoying reading. This is reason enough to pay for professionally written content for your law firm’s site.
Let Law Blog Writers Do the Writing
No matter how many times Google’s algorithms change, you can count on Law Blog Writers to provide blog posts and website content that avoids black-hat and gray-hat shenanigans.
Despite its origins as an online personal diary and its family tree filled with other non-commercial forms of online writing, which range from the literary to the journalistic, the commercial blog has become a genre with its own formal conventions. Students might learn to write a blog post the way they might learn to write a business letter, sonnet, or five-paragraph essay. What the most important element of a blog post is depends on whether you are asking an English teacher or a search engine.
From a purely commercial perspective, one could argue that the most important part of a blog post is the call to action. It is the gateway through which prospective customers begin to engage with your business. Of course, a law firm is not just any business, so the guidelines for what makes an effective call to action (CTA) for a law firm website are different from what they would be for a site that sells sunglasses, for example, or one that publishes curated pop culture nostalgia content.
What Is a Call to Action?
A CTA usually appears at the end of a blog post or at the bottom of a page on a website. It can be a single sentence containing a clickable link, a short paragraph containing such a sentence, or even a virtual button, but the identifying characteristic is that it invites the visitor to do something and provides an avenue by which they can do it. The CTA might ask the visitor to provide contact information, make a purchase, or simply view more content. When a visitor to your site clicks the call to action, it is called conversion.
Conversion Isn’t Everything
If you read about other businesses with astronomical conversion rates, don’t feel like your law firm’s site is inadequate. If your DUI defense blog convinces someone to get a ride from a sober person, that is just as good as if it convinces them to fill out a contact form or download an e-book. If lots of people read your site without clicking the CTA, it still helps your word-of-mouth publicity and SEO rankings.
Law Firm Blog CTA Dos
Here are some ways to make an effective CTA for your law firm’s blog.
· Phrase your CTA as a short, informative paragraph. Mention the firm’s name and geographic location.
· If your CTA leads to a contact form, make the clickable phrase something like “schedule a consultation” or “contact Acme DUI Defense.”
· Use “you” statements even if the rest of the blog post is in the third person.
Law Firm Blog CTA Don’ts
Avoid these mistakes on your law firm blog’s CTA.
· Don’t use large, colorful, blinking buttons.
· Don’t encourage readers to buy something.
· Don’t phrase your CTA sentence the same way on every post.
Legal Writing Help
From catchy title to CTA, you can count on Law Blog Writers to provide engaging, factually accurate blog posts that will make readers remember your law firm.
Writing a blog is just the beginning. Keywords are for neophytes. If you really want your blog to give your law firm’s website an SEO boost, you need backlinks. In other words, you need other websites to link to your blog. Linking to other sites is as simple as choosing “link” from the “insert” menu in Microsoft Word and then copying and pasting, but how do you get other sites to link to yours? Perhaps the best way is to think like a dating coach. Here are some strategies that you, as a blogger, can use to get other websites to be your Valentine. Some are more effective than others.
Just Be Yourself?
When you are lonely, the first person you ask for advice about how to find a soulmate (the advice giver is often a close relative) will probably tell you, “Just be yourself, and the right person will appreciate the real you.” SEO advice sites usually phrase this timeless piece of advice as “content is king.” It means that, if your blog is interesting and informative enough, other sites will link to it. Fair enough, but can it compete with other sites’ increasingly splashy and desperate bids for SEO rankings?
Relationships of Convenience?
Of course, sometimes the biggest thing two soulmates have in common is that they are both lonely; loneliness has been the foundation of many good enough romances. In the world of link building, this means trading links with other bloggers. It takes some courage to write to a stranger and say, “I’ll link to you if you link to me,” but everyone gets an organic link to a website on a relevant topic, and no one has to resort to unsavory SEO-boosting tactics.
Yes, it is possible to pay the webmasters of other sites to link to yours, but it is not so easy to do so without getting caught, and Google frowns on such behavior. Trying to boost your rankings by buying backlinks works about as well as trying to buy true love. You end up spending lots of money without getting much closer to your goal.
Dominating the Conversation?
When you comment on another blog, it often asks you to paste a link to your website. This technically counts as a backlink, but it does as much for your SEO rankings as participating in everyone else’s conversation just to show people that you exist does to make you popular.
Following the Crowd?
Look at the sites that rank higher than yours, and follow the links from their sites. Then link to those same sites. It might make you a wannabe, but at least you know which sites your peers consider authoritative.
The Bottom Line
Maybe just being yourself isn’t so bad after all. If your blog is sufficiently awesome, people will read it, and some might even link to it.
Let Law Blog Writers Do the Writing
Why not focus on just being your awesome self and leave the blogging to the professional writers? You can count on Law Blog Writers to provide engaging, informative blog posts that will make other bloggers want to link to your site.