This News from Google Can Improve Your Law Firm Website Ranking

Google recently announced that it’s changing the way it ranks websites for 2021—including for law firms. The Google algorithm will now focus on a new metric called “page experience,” reflecting how the user interacts with your firm’s website.

The update is set to go into effect in May, but some websites are already seeing changes in their ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Rumor has it Google will gradually adjust its algorithm over the next few weeks, so it doesn’t dramatically affect SEO rankings overnight.

Bottom line: If you’re responsible for your law firm’s website, don’t assume it will rank the same way it did in 2020. Stay ahead of your competitors by paying attention to this Google algorithm change.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is Google’s New “Page Experience” Ranking Factor?

Have you ever clicked on a listing in the Google SERP, but been disappointed with the content once you saw it?

Google wants to make sure its users, including people looking for legal solutions and attorneys, actually like the websites once they click and view them.

That means sending searchers to law firm sites that provide substantial content, useful information and a smooth browsing experience.

The new “page experience” metric is exactly what it sounds like. It’s made up of several sub-categories, including:

  • Loading: Your content should load quickly for your visitors, so your potential new clients don’t get frustrated and click off your website. If it takes more than a couple of seconds for the page to load, your ranking could slip.
  • Interactivity: This refers to the time it takes for your website to respond once someone begins using it. If users click on a button to fill out a contact form or sign up for an email list—the website should begin processing that interaction as quickly as possible for a seamless browsing experience.
  • Visual Stability: This refers to how the content appears on your site pages. Pop-ups, images that slide across the screen, and videos that launch on their own can overwhelm the user, leading them to click off your site.

“If you’ve listened to our legal marketing ‘best practices’ webinars, you’ve heard us talk about Google increasing its demand for your website to not only have great content, but to have it delivered with simplicity and speed,” notes Nathan Chapman, president of Firmidable. “With this new ‘page experience’ algorithm, Google is further upping the stakes.”

Law Firm Website Content Reigns Supreme

If you want your law firm’s website to rank in 2021, you also need to double down on creating valuable content itself.

Load time, interactivity, and visual stability are important, but prospective clients won’t spend time on your website if they can’t find the information and solutions they’re seeking.

Every blog post and website page should be filled with informative, well-organized content that proves valuable to the reader. (We’re not talking about keyword stuffing here.)

Valuable content encourages your potential new clients to spend more time on your website, which shows Google they enjoyed their “page experience.”



How to Get Your Law Firm Website Roaring in 2021

If you walk into a store with too much noise, a confusing layout, long waits for what you want, and little information about their products and services, you’d probably leave after just a few seconds. The same is true of website “page experience.”

Do your best to make sure your customers and clients feel at home as soon as they click on your law firm website in the search results. They should be able to access the information they want, to navigate your website efficiently, and to make sense of what’s on the page without getting lost—or bored—along the way.

Start now by going through all your pages to look for any red flags that may turn off users (or ask legal marketing agency Firmidable to do it for you).

Ask yourself why someone would click on that post or page from the results page. Are they looking for legal information about a subject, for more details about your practice or simply for your contact information? Quickly give the user what they’re looking for, and you’ll improve their “page experience” and your website results.

For testing your law firm’s website speed, there are several free website speed testers, like this one:

PageSpeed Insights

Too much flash and motion, like images that slide in and out, can slow down your site. However, your speed issues may be in the website’s code. For that it’s likely time to consider a new website. Like an old car that doesn’t run that well anymore, you can get better mileage and a smoother ride with a new model.

Start implementing these changes sooner rather than later to keep your firm’s website high in the search results.

You don’t want to wake up in May 2021 to discover that your site has slipped to fourth or fifth place. That would be a bad “page experience” for you!

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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About the Author: Mark Waller

Mark Waller is the senior writer/editor at Firmidable. He has written book-length websites for law firms, enhanced content on dozens of law firm sites for search engine optimization, written and optimized law firm Paid Search ads and developed scripts for law firm TV ads—helping firms across America grow their caseloads. Before he started in legal marketing, Mark’s writing and communications career included working for a university president and as a local journalist. He was a member of the staff at The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

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