What is SEO Spam?
SEO Spam, also known as Spamdexing, is an SEO practice that involves unethical practices such as spamming other unmoderated websites to boost website ranking and promote faster web page indexing. This controversial approach comes in many forms- popular ones being keyword stuffing, link spamming, private blog networks, cloaking, and hidden texts and links.
With the persistent malpractice of SEO still apparent all over the internet, Google has been more aggressive in addressing it. This was especially evident in their release of the October 2022 spam algorithm update that shook the world of black hat SEO practitioners a day after its release.
Signs You’ve Been Practicing SEO Spam
One of the telltale signs that your website’s been affected by an algorithm update would be a drop in rankings. You’ll notice negative changes in impressions, clicks and overall traffic coming into your website- with some penalties completely de-indexing some of your pages.
But what you need to worry about are the penalties from a spam algorithm update that tends to provide worse results in search ranking. Not only will your rankings dramatically drop, but it could result in Google de-indexing your whole website. So what can you do to prevent this?
6 Ways To Win Against SEO Spam
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing refers to spamming your target keyword all over your content. This is the practice of over-implementing your keywords to the point that it appears unnatural and out of context.
Here’s a painful example of keyword stuffing:
“What is instant coffee? Instant coffee is a ready-to-mix coffee that serves as a low-cost solution to caffeine intake. Instant coffee nowadays comes in different flavors. There are white chocolate-flavored instant coffee, mocha-flavored instant coffee, and even plain black instant coffee. This instant mix drink also serves as a health solution for some consumers. Some instant coffee shops sell slimming coffee in the form of instant coffee.”
This technique of SEO Spam is one of the most common malpractices of any aspiring SEO practitioner. Increased keyword usage does not equate to a higher ranking. A healthy ceiling for keywords written in the body of your content is 1%.
Use AI-generated Content as a Guide, Not as an Article
With algorithm updates favoring topical authority, the popularity of AI-generated content has been growing more and more popular in 2022. Digital marketers all over the internet have been publishing articles that are purely written by technology. This causes frustration for some search users regarding the accuracy of the information they’re looking for and has been catching Google’s attention for quite some time now.
The best way to exploit AI-generated content is to use it as the basis for content writing. You can start by analyzing the points presented in the generated copy. Then utilize that as a means to write your own unique content- publishing an article that’s relatable, relevant to your target market, and most of all, human.
Defer from Cloaking
Cloaking refers to presenting a search result that doesn’t match the expectation of the users. Imagine a user searching for the term ‘medicine for cough’. After searching they chose to click a particular result that they believe best represents the answer they are looking for (because a loved one or they themselves are suffering from cough) then they unwillingly find themselves on a web page that’s making them apply for a gym membership. What the?!
The content and meta tags you set in your pages must always be relevant to the search term you’re targeting. Not only does this prevent unintentionally practicing ‘cloaking’, but it even improves your overall website ranking.
Use Appropriate Hidden Content
Hidden content is sometimes stuffed in a website to manipulate rankings. This is done in a way that the text or link involved in increasing the rankings is stuffed within the HTML of the web page but not appearing (or minimally appearing) in the actual display. It can appear as the following:
- White text on white background
- Underneath an element (images, videos, and other forms of media)
- Placed off-screen
- Setting opacity to 0
It is also important to note that there are particular exemptions when implementing hidden content. These exceptions are the ones that are centric on improving user experience. Such as the following:
Keep Your Redirects In Check
Google only considers a redirect as SEO Spam whenever a user is directed to an unexpected web page. For example, a user clicking on a link text writing ‘SEO strategies’ was directed to a page about ‘farm animals.’ They fell trap in what we call a Sneaky redirect. Sneaky redirects are originally intended to build traffic to a website unrelated to the anchor text or search query.
As one of the SEO factors that can easily be ignored, issues with redirects can accumulate the older a website gets. This is why it’s essential to regularly check your redirect paths- apply the appropriate redirect and make the anchor text relevant to your links. To get the full list of redirects on your website, check out my favorite tool, Screaming Frog.
Avoid Link Spamming
With backlinks being an essential ranking factor, it is important to keep your website safe from link spamming opportunities.
A lot of people nowadays see their authoritative pages as opportunities to make money. They choose to sell the convenience of creating backlinks in a website to boost others. These are exactly the kind of opportunities you should avoid. Google’s purposely improving its algorithm updates to address these types of issues.
Other forms of link spamming include excessive link exchanges between webmasters, automated link-building methods, and widely distributed links within the footers of varied questionable websites.
You must always be cautious about any form of ‘easy’ generation of backlinks. To this day, it’s still best to practice the traditional ways of reaching out to webmasters to build guest posts and diligently creating good-quality backlinks.
Learn more about the SEO malpractices of link building and how to fix them!
A famous writer once said, “Tradition is a guide, not a jailer.” What early practices of SEO teach us, is that search engines should service the users. It’s all about bringing them the relevant information that they need. As SEO professionals, we are obligated to fulfill this duty through appropriate practices in digital marketing. We should resort to being more creative in our craft and abstain from the tempting boost in rankings that the SEO spam methods offer.
If you want to learn more about how to recover from Google Penalizing your website, try checking out our guide on How to Fix Google Penalties.
How to Achieve 7-Figures with Your Law Firm Website
Many law firms are simply leasing space when it comes to their online marketing.
Your website, on the other hand, can be a 24/7 selling tool for your law firm practice. It can effectively become your greatest asset, getting leads and cases while you sleep.
In this guide, we’ll talk about how to turn your website into the ultimate marketing tool for your law firm practice and generate seven figures in revenue for your business.
A Well-Optimized Law Firm Website Can Yield Huge Results
With your law firm’s website, you can use content marketing to your advantage to generate lucrative results for your business. Content and SEO allow you to attract users organically and convert traffic passively into new cases for your law firm.
As an example, a high-ranking webpage in a competitive market getting 1,000 users per month can get huge results:
- Convert visitors at 2-5% = 20-50 leads.
- Convert even 10-20% of leads = 2-10 cases.
- Average $8000 revenue per case = $16,000-$80,000 monthly revenue from one page.
Over the course of a year, this could lead to high six-figures to seven-figures in revenue!
The Foundations Of A Revenue-Generating Law Firm Website
At its core, your law firm website should serve to speak to the needs, struggles, and interests of your target audience. It should be laser-focused on your practice area, who you serve, and what you have to offer.
With this in mind, a well-crafted website content strategy should define:
- Your business goals (the cases you want).
- What competitors are doing.
- What pages to write and keywords to target.
- How to use your content budget.
- Your editorial calendar.
- The purpose/intent of each page.
- PR and backlink strategy.
Below, we’ll dive deeper into how to develop this strategy, build out amazing content, and achieve your seven-figure revenue goals.
1. Define The Cases You Want
The first step to developing a successful website marketing strategy is to define the types of legal cases you want.
This activity will help you determine the types of people you want to reach, the type of content you should create, and the types of SEO keywords you need to target.
That way, you end up marketing to a more specific subset of potential clients, rather than a broad range of users.
Not sure where to set your focus? Here are a few questions that might help:
- Which of your cases are the most profitable?
- What types of cases are you not getting enough of?
- In what markets are you strongest?
- In which markets do you want to improve?
- Are there any practice areas you want to explore?
At the end of this activity, you might decide that you want to attract more family law cases, foreclosure law cases, or DUI cases – whatever it is, getting hyper-focused on the types of cases you want to attract will only make your website marketing even stronger.
2. Identify Your Top Competitors
One of the best ways to “hack” your website marketing strategy is to figure out what’s working for your competitors.
By “competitors” we mean law firms that are working to attract the types of cases you’re trying to attract, at the same level at which your law firm is currently operating.
I say this because I see many law firms trying to out beat and outrank the “big” fish and this can feel like a losing battle. You want to set your sights on your closest competitors, rise above them, and then get more competitive with your strategy.
Here are a few ways to identify your closest competitors:
- Conduct a Google search of your legal practice area + your service area (e.g., “family law Kirkland”, “DUI lawyer LA”, “Denver probate attorney” etc.). Take note of the top-ranking domains (i.e., websites).
- Use SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to search your domain name. These tools will often surface close competitors to your domain.
- Using the same tools above, conduct organic research on your domain to see what keywords you are already ranking for. Search these keywords in Google and see what other domains come up.
- Use these tools to determine the domain authority (DA) of your domain. Compare this to the other top-ranking domains to see which domains have an authority score that’s similar to your own.
Be sure to look at your known business competitors as well.
These may or may not be ranking well in Google Search, but it’s still worth a peek to see if they are targeting any high-priority keywords that your website should be targeting.
3. Conduct A Content Audit Of Your Website
Your next step is to conduct an audit of your current website. This will allow you to take stock of what content is performing well, and what content requires improvement.
First, start with your main service pages.
Use SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs again to review the rank (position), performance, and keywords of each page. Identify any pages that are ranking low, or not at all.
Then, find “low-hanging fruit” pages. These are the pages that are ranking around position 5-10. They require less effort to optimize to reach those higher rank positions – compared to pages ranking at, say, position 59.
This compares your website’s performance to that of your closest competitors. It will show you a list of keywords that your competitors are ranking for that your website is not ranking for at all.
Finally, create an inventory of what pages you already have, which need to be revised, and which you need to create. Doing so will help you stay organized and stay on task when developing your content strategy.
4. Plan Your Content Silos
By this step, you will have a pretty good idea of what pages you already have, and which pages are “missing” from your strategy (based on the list of keywords you are not yet targeting).
From here, you will plan what’s called “content silos”.
Here is the basic process:
- Review an existing service page (if you have one) and optimize it as best you can. Ideally, this is a page that’s already performing well and is otherwise a “low-hanging fruit” page.
- If you don’t have any existing service pages, create one based on one of your high-priority keywords. Again, these should be a keyword that is meant to attract your preferred type of cases.
- Next, build a “silo” of content around your main page. In other words, create new pages that are topically related to your main service page, but that target slightly different keywords (ideally, “long-tail”, lower competition keywords).
- Add internal links between these pages and your primary service page.
- Over time, build backlinks to these pages (through guest posting, PR, content marketing, etc.)
Below is an example of a content silo approach for “personal injury:”
5. Identify Supporting Topics
As part of your website content strategy, you’ll then want to create other supporting content pieces. This should be content that provides value to your potential clients.
FAQs, blogs, and other service pages can support your main pages.
For example, if you are a DUI lawyer, you might want to publish an FAQ page that addresses the main questions clients have about DUI law, or a blog post titled “What to Do When You Get a DUI.”
There are a few tools you can use to research supporting topics:
- Semrush – Use this tool to identify untapped keywords, content topics, and more.
- AlsoAsked – Identify other questions people have searched for relevant to your primary topic.
- Answer the Public – Use this search listening tool to identify topics and questions related to your practice area.
Below is an example of how the full content silo can come together for “Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer:”
6. Build An Editorial Calendar
Once you have all of your content ideas down on paper, it’s time to develop your editorial calendar.
This is essentially a plan of what content you need to create when you want to publish it, and what keywords you plan to target.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Always prioritize main pages. These should be the first content pieces you create on your website.
- Create or revise your main pages and monitor their performance. Use Google Analytics and other SEO tools to keep your eye on how your content is performing.
- Depending on budget and urgency, you might start with all main pages, or go silo by silo. Determine which service pages are most important to you. You can create all of your main pages at once, or develop the entire silo as you go.
- Keep a record of your target keywords. Just because you “optimize” for them doesn’t mean your content will automatically rank for your target keywords. In your editorial calendar, keep track of the keywords you wish to target – by page – so you have a record of your original SEO strategy.
What Makes A Winning Law Firm Website Strategy?
The key to achieving seven figures with your law firm website is content.
Content allows you to target your ideal clients, attract your preferred cases, engage your audience, and so much more.
A well-thought-out content strategy will empower your website to achieve more for your business than any other marketing channel could!
Above, I outline a few steps to developing this type of winning strategy. But, achieving excellence takes time.
I recommend keeping your eye on the prize, monitoring performance, and making updates as you go along.
This will help you reach your desired result.
Featured Image: PanuShot/Shutterstock
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