We all know that content is the driving force behind great search engine rankings and the best way to be found online is to write prolific and informative content while doing your best to become an authority on the topics that matter most to your business. It’s a great recipe for success, and one we’ve been espousing since the beginning of time. That being said, this article is not about content. By all means—whether it’s blogs, publications or any other type of article that adds valuable keywords to your website—keep creating great online content. Just don’t forget to pay attention to the little guys too (and by little guys, I mean non-content-related items like metatags, on-page linking, headings etc.). In a vacuum, none of these serfs of the SERPs (sorry) will bring about great change in the grand scheme of search engine results, but, when combined with a cohesive digital marketing strategy, they can make the measurable difference between a page one ranking or finding yourself buried under an avalanche of more aggressive SEO marketing.
Of course, we get it, writing content is a time-consuming endeavour, one that we, ourselves, often let fall by the wayside when we find ourselves so busy doing what we do best: marketing law firms and other professional service firms. But here’s a little anecdotal information about how much the low hanging fruit of on-page enhancements can make a difference.
First a little backstory: as a firm that specializes in law firm marketing, we obviously want to rank well for the that term and derivatives like “legal marketing” or “marketing for lawyers”. About three weeks ago, I thought I’d check in on how we we’re doing for these keywords and realized that, while we’ve been busy helping our clients rank well for their own keywords, we have let our own rankings suffer and had dropped all the way to page seven with an average ranking of 72.1 according to Google Insights for our all-important keywords. Obviously not great. We still get a lot of great traffic from Google and a lot of leads result from people simply searching for services and stumbling upon us, but I was pretty sure we could be ranking better than we were
So what to do?
We’ll first, we identified that we have to start generating more useful content again (and hey, look, this is content right here). But before we start generating new content, we also wanted to take a quick look at our on-page items to see if there was anything we could be doing better. Turns out there was. In the last three weeks, here’s what we did:
- We identified a small bug in our website that wasn’t passing through keywords to our meta titles properly, so we fixed that.
- We added proper in-page titles to our industry pages (e.g., our law firm marketing page had an H1 heading of “Law Firms” so we changed it to “Law Firm Marketing”). We did this across all industry pages to ensure health care marketing, financial services marketing and the like were all properly identified.
- We added some simple links to these industry pages from the homepage based on related case study. FYI, interlinking between pages is essential for both users trying to navigate your site and search engines trying to get an overview of your specialities.
- We modified the text of our meta description to better reflect the keywords that are important to us. It was as simple as changing “We provide marketing services” to “We specialize in law firm marketing”.
- Oddly enough, we weren’t mentioning “law firm marketing” or our other keywords on our homepage in any body copy, so we fixed that. This is a classic example of spending so much time trying to build a website that ticks all the boxes that you forget to tick any of the boxes.
- Finally, we realized we weren’t using the power of the H1 properly. Our H1 was used in our banner which doesn’t actually mention our keywords, instead highlighting the types of clients we work with (lawyers, doctors and other health care practitioners, accountants, associations, MSPs etc.) That’s fine but casts too wide a net when narrowing down keywords. To rectify, we simply ensured out H1 headings now highlight a list of pertinent industry keywords including “law firm marketing.” Easy.
As you can see, a lot of these were fairly easy changes (and some would say we should have done them in the first place but websites are a complex, living beast and sometimes other priorities take precedence over the fringes of SEO. It’s important to constantly be assessing and improving, so that’s what we’re doing).
Again, all of these were relatively minor changes but as of yesterday we found ourselves on page 1 with an average position of 20 for our most important keywords. That’s a full 50 position change in under three weeks. All in all, pretty good considering we ignored the King and focused on the serfs.