Organizing Your Website to Maximize Your SEO
Organizing the information on the web is Google’s mission. Other search engines have similar goals. Despite having really smart engineers, thousands of person-hours working on algorithms and some of the world’s most powerful computers, it can be a challenge to deliver the most relevant results to users when they submit a query to a search engine. Attorneys can meet search engines half-way by making it extremely easy for an algorithm to determine how relevant a document is to a user’s keyword phrase.
Building Websites Under a Content Umbrella
A content umbrella is a main theme or idea under which there are sub-ideas related to the main theme but distinctly different. For example an attorney specializing in personal injury would have that as their overall theme for their website and sub-categories related to personal injury on inner pages of the site.
Underneath personal injury could be sub-categories such as auto accidents, truck accidents, work related injuries, medical and dental malpractice and product liability. The concept is that every topic area has other categories that are relevant to it. In the case of a law firm, there are specializations more specific than an overall practice area but that require their own breadth of content on their own pages.
Why Is This Important for Search
Organization is important for your potential clients. After all you don’t want people confused by multiple topics on one page. For a search engine, organization is extremely important because of the way these pieces of software find, index and serve content to searchers.
Websites are simply a compilation of documents. Search engines crawl the web, find documents and save a version of them in a database called an index. This automated process is known as “spidering” and the software programs that do it are called bots (Google’s is called Googlebot). When a user types in a phrase to a search engine text box, an algorithm scans the index and sends the user a list of documents in a particular order. There are hundreds of factors that determine what that order is however relevancy to the phrase is one of them.
All other factors being equal, the degree of relevancy a document (web page) has to a particular phrase carries a lot of weight in terms of how it ranks. When lawyers lay out their website, they need to organize it in a way so that each page is about a specific topic area. For example a personal injury attorney should not have information about car accident injuries and medical malpractice on the same page of their site.
How To Make A Proper Umbrella Page
Each page of your website should be about a specific topic and should not deviate from it. Continuing on with our personal injury lawyer example, let’s say we want to create a sub-category page underneath the main umbrella for car accidents.
Determine what keywords you would like to the page to rank for. There should be a balance between the keyword phrase you choose and how it fits on the page as well as it’s relevancy to your services. For instance you don’t want to choose a keyword that has a misspelling just because it has a high amount of search volume. It’s also unwise to try and fit a grammatically awkward phrase into your web page copy.Use Google’s keyword planner to find potential ideas. For example you might choose “car accident lawyer Chicago”. Whatever the phrase is, make sure you can fit it into your page copy easily. You can also use variations of keywords as long as they are within the same topic area of the page. If you are trying to rank for “car accident lawyer Chicago”, other acceptable phrases for the same page could include “car accident attorney Chicago”, “Chicago car accident lawyer” and “car crash attorney Chicago”. Synonymous variations are great to use.
The thing you want to avoid is making the page about more than one topic. Search engines are more likely to find a page relevant to a query if it is about a specific topic area in its totality. This means a personal injury lawyer shouldn’t make a page about car accident injuries that also includes family law topics. Each page of the site should be about a single topic area.
The primary keyword phrase that you’ve chosen for a page should be found throughout its structure. It should be included in the following “behind the scenes” portions of the page
• Meta description
• Image file names
• URL of the page
• Alt attributes of images
Keywords should also be placed in header HTML tags where possible. The copy below the header should be very relevant to whatever the headline is.
Just having a page that is extremely relevant to a keyword phrase isn’t enough to rank for it. Having a page constructed in this way however is an essential foundational step in ranking well for a keyword phrase. By having content that is well categorized, search engines have an easier time organizing your pages. When a user submits a query that is relevant to one of those pages, a search engine is more likely to serve that page because it is only about that particular topic.