Search Engines’ algorithms constantly evolve to better understand human language, and may be impacting your law firm’s website.
The world of Search Engine Optimisation is constantly evolving, and it is not enough to use common keywords in your content anymore.
Google can now better understand your content, its focus, and the context of the language used. This means you can focus on writing good quality content about popular topics and let Google’s technology judge its relevance to users’ queries. Gone are the days of “keyword stuffing”, over-optimised pages and long-tail keyword optimisation.
While the pressure on specific keywords has been somewhat relieved, SEO specialists have had to adapt to the new system search engines employ to decipher a page’s main focus, with new challenges and techniques being developed every day as the technology evolves.
Law firm websites simply cannot afford to ignore Semantic SEO, and adapting your content to the way search engines analyse it is crucial to achieve great results for your SERP rankings. But how does Semantic SEO work, and how can content be optimised for it?
What is Semantic SEO?
Semantic SEO is a technique that can allow your law firm’s website’s pages to be optimised for topics rather than specific keywords. This can be a great asset, as it allows for content to be written in a much more natural way without having to worry about presenting multiple iterations of your target keyword or related long-tail keywords.
Google has implemented support for Semantic SEO since 2013 with its Hummingbird update. Prior to this major update, Google would simply look for keywords in a page, meaning pages with more iterations of the exact target keyword would have ranked better overall.
Hummingbird brought about an extensive overhaul to how Google interprets the relevance of content to users’ query. Keyword search was replaced by a much smarter protocol that attempts to decipher a page’s topic, taking a lot of power away from keywords themselves. Your content will still be analysed for the presence of keywords, but Google will rely on this factor much less than before. How thoroughly your page covers the topic and how natural the writing is will be equally important.
Your content can be optimised for Semantic SEO, without ignoring keyword presence. There are many tools you should consider when optimising your law firm’s website for Semantic SEO: these are some techniques that have shown great results.
Post Topically Relevant and Expansive Content
Topically relevant content describes pages that extensively cover a topic and all related, relevant queries common with search engine users. Google will tend to prioritise pages that contain in-depth content about a topic and popular sub-topics.
To understand this, it is important to understand the journey of a search engine user.
If a user is unsuccessful in finding the complete answer to their query on a page, they will move on to the next result. Even worse, they may give up on their search entirely.
It is clear, then, why Google prefers pages with expansive and authoritative content. If you can cover a greater number of related topics on your page, you will entice users to stay on the page and avoid looking elsewhere for more specific information.
It can be helpful to open your blogs with topic outlines, describing the sub-topic the page will go over. This will both help you plan your content effectively and make your text more digestible for search engines.
Keep in mind that posting more in-depth content will naturally bring about longer pieces of text. It is basically impossible to extensively cover a topic, especially within law blogs and services, with short form blogs. Longer content, even north of 2000 words, can help you be more thorough and improve your SEO rankings, and you should not shy away from it; how human and qualitative the content is should be your priority.
Answer “People Also Ask” Questions
Amongst the snippets Google shows when you search for a query, People Also Ask boxes are some of the most common.
These can be a great asset for optimising your content to match user activity. These questions are what Google concluded to be the most relevant regarding a topic, and they can be used in your content to direct a higher volume of qualified traffic to your page.
You can choose to either directly answer these questions in your text, or simply cover the answer to the question within your page. Google can understand the intent of the page and show your content in the People Also Ask snippet if it concludes it is relevant to the user’s query.
You can help search engines understand what question you’re answering by using Structured Data – in this case, FAQ Schema. While Structured Data doesn’t necessarily help rankings itself, featuring an FAQ on the SERP can direct more traffic to your page and improve its relevance to more queries.
Use Semantically Related Keywords and Variations
Following Hummingbird and other similar algorithm updates, using variations of your target keywords has had a variable amount of efficiency.
In the early days of SEO, the mainstream approach would have been to create multiple pages for each variation of a keyword, as Google would only be able to scan content for keywords and the density of their presence.
Thanks to the introduction of Semantic SEO, this is no longer needed – nor is it efficient.
As Google now understands your page’s overall topic rather than searching for keywords only, your page will feature for variations of the same keyword without needing to target for one exact variation only.
This is equally valid for long-tail keywords. It is far more efficient to target medium-tail keywords using high-quality, expansive content. Google will find your page, judge its relevance, and show it for relevant queries regardless of the presence of specific long-tail keywords and variations.
Optimise for Voice Search and Conversational Queries
Semantic SEO is all about using natural, human-like language in your content. A similar aim which can also massively impact your rankings is Voice Search Optimisation.
As much as 40% of adults claim to use voice search at least once a day, and this number is only projected to grow over the next few years. It is important to keep this in mind, as users tend to phrase queries in slightly different ways when talking rather than typing. While search engines will recognise that different variations of the query are related and show similar results, optimising for voice search and conversational language can give your law firm the edge for relevant keywords, especially in the local sector.
Using long-tail keywords and conversational-type questions in your context can help, as Google will see this as more human and natural, and prioritise your website in the SERP.
Can Semantic SEO help my Law Firm?
Amongst the marketing tools you can use to help your law firm’s website, Semantic SEO is one you can’t ignore: not only to try and chase better SERP rankings, but also to offer your visitors a one-stop page for the topic in question.
As Google’s algorithm evolves, semantic analysis of content and Natural Language Processing seem to be emphasised more and more. Optimising your content for these criteria is crucial and may give your website the edge in 2022.
We have been optimising content to match Google’s Semantic SEO criteria for many law firms all around the UK, and the results are clear. Find out if your website could perform better by contacting our law firm digital marketing experts, or call us now on 0161 660 3281.