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Are Attorneys “People”?

In short, yes. They are also “persons,” “counselors,” and even “human beings.” So what am I getting at?
When you write legal content, its text, urls, titles and other metadata, and both internal and external links need to contain the terms “lawyer” or “attorney” as keywords. These are important because they’re the terms people will use when searching for legal professionals.

Questions that come to mind when considering SEO best practices regarding these terms are:

• What synonyms for these terms should I be using?
• Should I be targeting people searching for “attorney” as opposed to “lawyer”?
• Are there searches for terms such as “personal injury people” or “people who help recover for my injury?

In the old days of SEO, Google would show results based on keyword density and the number of backlinks with that keyword to a website — and I’ll admit, it was pretty simple. Since then, the Google algorithm has caught up to these methods with the Penguin and Panda updates. Though keywords are still important, the algorithm now focuses on the user’s intent, the contextual meaning of the terms used, the user’s location, and how well citations to your site are linked.

A searcher’s intent of the key phrases used in their Google search can be broken up into 3 basic meanings:

  • Literally – the exact or actual meaning of the word or words
  • Figuratively – the metaphorical meaning of the word or words
  • Contextually – the meaning of the word or words in relation to the other words before and after

For example: That witness was eaten alive on cross-examination.

In the literal meaning, the witness actually was eaten while alive.  Figuratively, this means the witness was caught lying and probably was not truthful.  Using this as an example, Google would not give results where a person is being eaten and would probably take the words to show results or examples of cross examination techniques.  This is more of the contextual meaning of the searcher’s intent.

Today, SEO best practices use latent semantic indexing, or LSI, so Google can display search results that take into account the searcher’s intent and contextual meaning. By focusing on intent, you get to know your audience and the reason for the search. Rand Fishkin writes a great article about SEO intent. And by integrating contextual meaning, you use all the words and terms to define the intent of the user.

An example of an SEO-friendly directory page yielding results for attorneys should contain:

• “Attorney” in the url (not, for example, “people” or “persons”)
• Terms such as “lawyers,” “law firm,” and “legal issue,” etc., and “near me” to refer to the location of the attorney
• Varied metadata that contains synonyms for “attorneys” and expressions of different phrases
• Images on the page with LSI attorney keywords
• Links out and into the page with the internal links and external links
• A socialized directory if it’s shareable
• A schema

So, if you have designed your website to generate leads that people are searching for using the LSI method, you are one step closer to beating out your competition in the search results. If you need SEO services for your law firm, trust Martindale-Hubbell to enhance your online visibility.

For additional online marketing tips and to hear real-life attorney tactics with practical solutions for generating new clients and growing your practice, view our webinar: Top 3 Online Marketing Strategies for New Lawyers



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