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10 SEO Techniques for More Traffic

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10 SEO Techniques for More Traffic

Getting more traffic to your website from organic search can be done in three ways.

You can either:

  1. Rank higher for existing keywords
  2. Rank for more keywords
  3. Get more clicks

The SEO techniques below all help you do one or more of those things.

1. Learn from your competitors

Competition makes life harder, but your competitors can also be a source of topic ideas.

To find your competitors’ most trafficked pages, you can use the Top pages report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

For example, if we plug a competitor of ours into the tool, we see its guide to Magento SEO gets a fair amount of search traffic.

Top pages report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

We haven’t yet covered this topic ourselves, but it looks like it could be worth doing so.

You can also use the Content Gap report in Site Explorer to find keywords your competitors rank for that you don’t.

Here’s the process:

  1. Enter your domain into Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Content Gap report
  3. Enter a handful of competitors
Content Gap report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

For example, SEJ, SEL, and Moz all rank in the top 10 for “seo content strategies,” but we don’t because we haven’t covered this topic. So it’s probably worth adding to our content calendar.

Content Gap report results showing data on "seo content strategies"

2. Prioritize low-difficulty topics

It’s worth prioritizing low-difficulty topics if your site is new because you’ll probably struggle to rank for competitive topics out the gate.

You can find these with a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Just search for keyword ideas then filter for those with low Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores.

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Matching terms report results, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Old content needs updating periodically because rankings don’t last forever, especially if you’re targeting time-sensitive topics.

For example, here’s the estimated organic traffic to our list of top Google searches over time:

Line graph showing organic traffic dips and spikes of an Ahrefs article

Each dip occurred when the content lost its freshness. Searchers wanted an up-to-date list of the top Google searches, but ours was old. That’s why rankings tanked.

Each spike occurred when we updated the content.

You can find pages on your site that may be due for a refresh in Site Explorer. Just plug in your site, go to the Top pages report, set the comparison mode to “Previous year,” sort the report by traffic change from low to high, and look for topics where freshness may be the issue.

Top pages report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If you’re a WordPress user, you can find pages that no longer perform well by running a free content audit using the Ahrefs SEO plugin.

List of no longer well-performing pages, via Ahrefs' SEO plugin

Our study found that if a page ranks #1 for a keyword, it ranks for almost 1,000 more keywords in the top 10 on average.

Many of these keywords will be different ways of searching for the same thing. But some will likely represent subtopics you’ve covered in your content.

For example, our guide to submitting your website to Google ranks in the top 10 for “submit url to google.”

Organic keywords report result, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

That happens because we’ve covered this subtopic in the post.

Table of contents of an Ahrefs article

However, we have plenty of posts that almost certainly miss important subtopics. If we can find these and fill the gaps, our page can likely rank for related keywords and get more traffic.

Here’s a simple way to find content gaps:

  1. Enter one of your page’s URLs into Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Content Gap report
  3. Paste in a few top-ranking URLs for your main keyword
  4. Sift through the keywords for content gaps

For example, HubSpot and Neil Patel rank in the top 10 for “what are guest posts,” but we don’t.

Content Gap report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This happens because we didn’t cover that subtopic in our guest posting guide, whereas they did.

Not only could covering the topic in more depth help us rank for more long-tail keywords, but it could also serve the user better with information they might want.

Content hubs are interlinked collections of content about a topic.

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For example, our beginner’s guide to SEO is a content hub. It has a pillar page about SEO that links to and from subpages about how search engines work, SEO basics, keyword research, etc.

Pillar page of our beginner's guide to SEO

The main benefit of content hubs is that link equity flows to and from all the pages in the hub via internal links. In other words, if one of your subpages gets lots of backlinks, they all get stronger and potentially rank higher.

If you already have content on your website, the easiest way to create a content hub is to reorganize related pages around a new “hub” page.

Flowchart showing how existing content can be reorganized

If you want to create a new content hub, one of the easiest ways to find topics is to look at your competitors’ top subfolders.

For example, let’s plug DietDoctor into Site Explorer and go to the Site structure report. We see 30 pages under the /low-carb/keto/recipes subfolder that get an estimated 143K monthly search visits in total.

Site structure report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If we click the number of pages, we see all the pages under that URL structure along with their estimated traffic and top keyword.

List of pages with corresponding data on traffic, value, keywords, top keyword, etc

Many of these topics will make sense for a content hub.

Learn more: Content Hubs for SEO: How to Get More Traffic and Links With Topic Clusters

Backlinks are one of Google’s top ranking factors, but getting high-quality ones is easier said than done. It’s arguably one of the most challenging parts of SEO.

For that reason, before you start trying to build more backlinks to a page, it’s worth checking whether this is likely to help.

For example, if you plug our guide to SEO analytics into Site Explorer, you see it has backlinks from 57 referring domains (websites):

Overview of Ahrefs' guide to SEO analytics, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This page currently ranks #2 for its main target keyword:

Our guide to SEO analytics ranks #2 for "seo analytics"

But if you check the top-ranking pages for that keyword in Keywords Explorer, you see that the page outranking us has significantly fewer referring domains.

Top-ranking pages for "seo analytics," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

These numbers don’t consider backlink quality, so it could be the case that the top-ranking page outranks us because it has more high-quality backlinks. But generally speaking, it doesn’t look like a lack of backlinks is the issue.

On the other hand, if you look at the SERP for “what is seo,” you see that our page has significantly fewer backlinks than those outranking us.

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SERP overview for "what is seo"

Building more backlinks is probably the way to go here.

7. Optimize internal links

Internal links are links from one page on your website to another.

Like backlinks, they transfer “link equity” from page to page. Unlike backlinks, you have complete control over where and how you internally link on your website. That’s why a popular SEO technique is to point more internal links at pages that need a boost.

To find these pages, plug your domain into Site Explorer, go to the Organic keywords report, and filter for keyword rankings between 2–10.

Organic keywords report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can then sift through this report for your main target keywords.

For example, we rank #7 for “off page seo.”

Ahrefs blog ranks #7 for "off page seo"

To find relevant and contextual internal link opportunities for this page, we can add it to the target page filter in the Link opportunities report in Ahrefs’ Site Audit.

Link opportunities report results, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

In this example, the report suggests we internally link a contextual mention of “off-page seo” in our on-page SEO guide.

Learn more: Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide

Broken backlinks are a common problem because people often delete or move pages over time. Unless you redirect these pages to their new URLs, any backlinks pointing to the old ones will effectively point to nowhere.

Here’s how to find broken pages with backlinks on your site:

  1. Paste your domain into Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Best by links report
  3. Add a “404 not found” filter
  4. Sort the report by referring domains from high to low

For example, we have backlinks from 57 referring domains pointing to the old URL for our SEO Toolbar.

Data shows 57 backlinks pointing to old URL

Given that our “SEO toolbar” page still exists, we can reclaim those backlinks by redirecting the old URL to the new one.

Learn more: How to Find and Fix Broken Links

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Ranking high on Google is only part of the battle. You also need to entice searchers to click on your result.

Here are a couple of ways to do this:

  1. Write a compelling title tag and meta description
  2. Add schema markup for rich snippet eligibility

Google often shows title tags and meta descriptions in the search results, so making them as compelling as possible without creating clickbait is important.

Example of title tag and meta description on a Google SERP

Here are a few tips:

  • Match search intent
  • Avoid truncation (use a free SERP snippet optimizer like this one to check)
  • Address the searcher directly
  • Include your main keyword

You can also use schema markup to make pages eligible for rich snippets. This is where Google shows additional information below the search snippet, such as review ratings and FAQs.

Example of rich snippet on a Google SERP

Given that these optimizations take time, it’s worth prioritizing pages with the most search traffic. You can find these in Google Search Console or get an estimate using the Top pages report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

Top pages report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

10. Optimize for featured snippets

Featured snippets are short answers that show in some search results. Google pulls them from one of the top-ranking pages.

Example featured snippet on a Google SERP

You can effectively shortcut your way to the top of Google by winning featured snippets. But first, you need to find the best opportunities.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Enter your domain into Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Organic keywords report
  3. Filter for top 10 rankings
  4. Filter for SERPs with featured snippets where you don’t rank

You should now see all the keywords you rank for in the top 10, where Google shows a featured snippet from another result.

Organic keywords report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

For example, we rank #2 for “google operators,” but Google pulls the featured snippet from another page.

SERP overview showing Google pulls the featured snippet from a competitor

There’s no exact science to winning featured snippets, but you’re unlikely to do so unless your page has the information Google wants to see.

For example, it’s clear that Google wants a short definition here, but our page doesn’t have one.

Google SERP for search term "google operators"; notably, featured snippet shows a succinct definition

While adding one to our page doesn’t guarantee Google will choose us for the featured snippet, it will improve our chances.

Final thoughts

Getting more search traffic to your website is about ranking higher for existing keywords, ranking for more keywords, or getting more clicks. There are plenty of SEO techniques you can use to do that. These are just a few of them.

If you want more, read our list of SEO tips.

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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SEO

Website Organization Best Practices For Law Firms

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Website Organization Best Practices For Law Firms

Reaching the top of the law firm search results can be intimidating. Focusing on site architecture is an essential step toward creating a top-ranked search presence.

Virtually every aspect of search optimization, from content to user experience, depends on a site architecture that makes it easy for site visitors to find what they’re looking for and is flexible enough to accommodate adding more topics should the need arise.

Accomplishing this requires a deep consideration of site navigation to make the important sections of the site one click to two clicks away from the homepage.

Website architecture is a part of what’s known as the internal linking structure and can also include how information is organized, which means the content.

Google’s John Mueller emphasized that internal linking is important.

Mueller said:

“…internal linking is super critical for SEO.

…it’s one of the biggest things that you can do on a website to kind of guide Google and guide visitors to the pages that you think are important.”

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Mueller also said that internal linking is an opportunity to tell Google which pages are important, thereby indicating what the site should rank for.

“You can decide to make things important where you earn the most money or you can make things important where you’re the strongest competitor or maybe you’re the weakest competitor.”

This article will introduce three fundamental elements of site architecture that can contribute to higher search performance.

Website Architecture: Page Organization And Links

Let’s take a few moments first to discuss website architecture and why the user experience (UX) segment is important for getting ranked.

The Importance Of Website Architecture To SEO

You already know that SEO content and your website structure should be constructed for people over search engines.

However, it just so happens that what is good for users is also good for Google.

So, all the most important aspects of an expertly crafted site architecture will contribute to a better user experience and make the site easy to understand for Google.

A well-organized website will be easy for users to get around.

From the homepage, they will be able to access a host of other resources that are located just a few clicks away.

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And that point is important.

You don’t want to bury important webpages multiple clicks away from the homepage or not have anything on the homepage that links to them at all.

Google’s web crawler will have a hard time finding those pages, and the pages will likely not rank very well (and probably no one will ever actually see them).

Another benefit of well-organized website architecture is that the internal linking spreads PageRank around the website.

If your local service pages all link up one level to your main service page for bankruptcy, business, or whatever kind of law you practice, you are telling Google that that primary service page is important, optimized, and worth ranking highly.

So, now you know why you need to put the time into organizing a straightforward and tidy website architecture.

Aspects Of Effective Law Firm Website Architectures

It’s important for any business in any industry, but now, let’s look at how law firm websites should structure themselves for maximum organic results.

Main Navigation

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Your website’s main navigation must be concise and clear in its layout since that is what potential clients will use to get around your site to see your services.

You must organize the navigation in a logical, top-down way. A “Services” or “Practice Areas” tab should drop down to a menu showing organized columns of your legal specialties.

Any kind of “About Us” or “Our Firm” tab can break down into a few sections that perhaps provide a history of the firm or state your organization’s mission.

Law firms are known as service-based organizations.

Instead of hundreds of product pages with little descriptions, your website should ideally feature:

  • A homepage.
  • As many main service pages as necessary to describe what your firm does.
  • An informational content section.
  • A contact page.
  • An “About Us” section where you profile your attorneys and profess your firm’s values and mission statement.

Those are the essential elements of a quality law firm website, but how do you structure them on the site itself and link among them?

URL Naming Conventions And Structure

I have reviewed the importance of getting your main navigation and internal links correct.

Next is an overview of the importance of creating a simple but informative URL structure for the pages on your website.

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It is vital to get this right because you aim to tell human users and search engines alike what your pages are about through the structure of your pages’ URLs.

The general advice on creating URLs is to remove excess words and include some keywords to be as descriptive as possible in the least amount of words.

Your URLs should reveal what will be found on that page.

Keep it simple.

Look at these examples:

For a blog post, make the URL a simpler version of the actual title.

So, your post entitled “10 Great Ways To Succeed In Business On A Budget” might be:

While you’re at it, be sure to add canonical tags to your URLs on the back end.

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That way, if there’s a chance a page could be picked up using multiple terms, Google knows where to direct people.

Information Architecture: Content Organization

Create A Descriptive And Helpful Homepage

The homepage needs to do many things, such as inspire trust, make it easy to contact the business, plus serve as an effective entrance to the rest of the website.

How is this accomplished?

Focusing on what will help users the most is the best approach to creating the best home page.

There are four communication goals:

  1. Communicate what the general topic of the law practice is (i.e. of the entire site)
  2. Describe what the top major topics of the business are
  3. Make it easy to reach all the major specific sections of the website
  4. Use keywords that users would use

General Topic of the Law Practice

Businesses are said to be organized by verticals. A vertical market is simply what kind of business it is serving.

So the first goal of the homepage is to communicate what vertical market the law firm serves.

In the legal profession, typical verticals can be:

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  • Bankruptcy law.
  • Corporate law.
  • Criminal defense.
  • Estate planning.
  • Family law.
  • Etc.

A law firm that is focused on family law can use that as the description for the topic of the entire site. Because most law firms serve a geographic region, that information is also used as part of the general description, the overall topic of the website.

So if the website is a family law attorney based in Springfield, Massachusetts, then the home page of that site should communicate that information from the title tag of that webpage what that vertical market is.

Family Law Attorneys - Springfield MA - Example Law Firm

The job of the homepage is to rank for that general term. It’s the job of the inner pages to rank for the more specific areas like child custody, divorce, pre-marital agreements, etc.

Describe Major Topics of the Business

The second goal is to describe the different areas that the business serves, for example:

For example, suppose the website is about personal injury in City A.

But now, it must also describe very briefly (and even link to) the specialties within that personal injury vertical.

Examples of Specialties Within the Personal Injury Vertical

  • Motorcycle injury.
  • Medical malpractice.
  • Car accidents.
  • Brain injury, etc.

Link to Major Sections of Site From Homepage

Third, it’s super important to link to as many of the inner sections of the site that correspond to the specialties within the legal vertical that the law firm serves.

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This can be done from the top of the page navigation menu. And it can also be accomplished from somewhere within the body of the homepage.

Keywords

Top takeaways about keywords and the homepage:

  • Always use the words that your potential clients tend to use.
  • Organize the webpage according to the most popular reasons why clients tend to call. If most calls are about slip and fall, list that as the first practice area. If the next most popular reason for calling is a brain injury, then make that the second section. This makes it easy for most site visitors to find what they’re looking for.
  • Use images that contribute to communicating your message (this breaks up the page and makes it easy to scan).
  • If possible, A/B test using user experience analytics like Microsoft Clarity to identify pain points that site visitors might encounter. An example of a pain point can be if site visitors are “rage-clicking” certain links or areas where they expect to find links.

More reading on keyword research:

Client Reviews

Next, remember that you are a service-based company that must rely on customer reviews to gain traction in your geographic area.

You should devote a block of your homepage to displaying five-star customer reviews with brief blurbs praising the legal services you provided.

Those reviews will help to generate trust among new visitors to your site.

Homepage Internal Links

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Related to the main navigation is the internal linking you do in your homepage content.

You already know that homepages should not be loaded with written content, but small blocks can briefly describe your service areas and link to them using keywords.

That internal link structure is vital. Everyone knows homepages are important; Google does, too.

The pages you link to from there are going to be easily crawlable. They will also be easy for actual human users to get to.

Color Scheme

Colors matter on a website.

The use of colors can affect the choices that site visitors make.

  • Visually contrasting colors are best for call-to-action elements.
  • Blue conveys trustworthiness and authority.
  • Always check if the color choice has sufficient contrast for color-blind site visitors.

Law firm websites looking to convey auras of professionalism should avoid bold, vibrant colors in favor of lighter schemes.

Create Above-The-Fold Content

Website architecture is generally considered internal linking, but I include information organization into the site’s architecture as well.

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Above the fold is a way of saying in the main block of visible content.

With a law firm website, you don’t want to get too fancy or obtuse with presenting your content.

Users come to your site for help with their legal troubles, and those people are probably worried and hoping they can trust you to help them.

Reward their effort in visiting your site by making it clear that you are there for them.

Do this by presenting your most important content in the first block of content that is visible to site visitors.

Don’t make users dig around to find the information they need, like that service page explaining how you have helped thousands of people declare bankruptcy or that blog post showcasing your knowledge of recent tax-resolution cases.

Depending on how your homepage is organized, present some links to those service pages, a contact form, or some reviews to establish trust right away.

Sticky content is a good idea, as well.

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Videos, forms, and surveys get people to stick around your homepage longer than they otherwise might, so don’t rule out those elements.

Whatever you feel is most important to your firm, make it one of the first things users see upon arriving on your homepage.

Essential information presented above the fold is necessary for well-made website architecture.

Final Thoughts

A law firm that performs quality work on behalf of clients needs to be able to reach every site visitor and convert them into a client.

The best way to accomplish that is to organize the information on the website in a manner that makes it easy for site visitors to quickly scan the homepage and find the exact topic.

That makes it easy for search engines to identify what the entire site is about and, consequently, may begin ranking the inner pages for the more granular search queries.

Identifying the best user experience for site navigation will always make it easier for the site to achieve maximum search performance.

More Resources:

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