If you have been following us on social media, we’re sure by now you’ve heard about our, ‘EmbryoGraph’. As mentioned in our previous post, ‘The EmbryoGraph: The Accountancy Industry’ we’re aiming to show businesses in Manchester and Greater Manchester how they compare along SEO-related measures such as number of keywords, domain rating and number of links from other websites, in the hopes they’ll act on the areas that need improving. In this post, we discuss the law firms featured on our graph and provide advice for website optimisation.
DISCUSSION OF EMBRYOGRAPH DATA – THE LEGAL INDUSTRY
The law firms featured included those such as Gorvins who offer everything from commercial litigation and debt recovery to conveyancing and guidance with wills, trusts and probate, to companies such as Maguires Solicitors who deal more with criminal law.
To see how the companies we included performed, please refer to the table below:
*DR: Domain Rating according to Ahrefs.
**IP: Number of Links.
As stated on the EmbryoGraph, the number of keywords – the words, terms or phrases a website is found for – is represented by the circle’s shading. The darker the circle, the more keywords a website is found for, generally suggesting the website can be more easily found. The right keywords are also great for better SERP rankings, a guided content strategy and page optimisation.
Companies that are performing well include Stephensons Solicitors (15,635), JMW Solicitors LLP (13,369), Bott And Co (9022), Express Solicitors (4205) and Slater Heelis LLP (3526).
However, companies with considerably lower keyword results include Otten Penna & Co (120), John Poyser Solicitors (75), O’Neill Morgan Solicitors (103), Lyons Wilson Solicitors (118) and TPC Solicitors (74).
DR: Domain Rating
Domain Rating (DR) is a metric developed by Ahref’s that shows businesses the strength of their website’s backlink profile. The stronger the backlink profile – which is the number of websites that link back to yours – the better, as browsers place greater trust and give greater authority to those with a higher number of quality backlinks. In the legal industry, quality backlinks could include links from websites such as The Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority, as well as magazines such as Lawyer Monthly and Legal Week.
Greater trust and authority means a search engine will consider a website more relevant to a potential client’s search query, allowing it to appear higher in a SERP. Other benefits of quality backlinks include brand exposure, referral traffic and the opportunity to build lasting relationships with those websites.
On the EmbryoGraph, DR is represented by the size of the circle. The larger the circle, the stronger the DR.
Businesses that have the strongest backlink profile include Stephensons Solicitors (54), JMW Solicitors LLP (49), Gorvins (46), Bott And Co (45) and Glaisyers Solicitors LLP (42).
Companies with lower backlink profiles include TM Fortis Solicitors (27), Nexus Solicitors (17), Olliers Solicitors (10), Croftons Solicitors LLP (3) and GO-Law (1).
Interestingly (and rather worryingly) some websites, such as Ashcott Solicitors, Martin & Co Solicitors and TPC Solicitors have a backlink profile strength of ‘0’.
IP: Number of Links
We also decided to look at the total number of links a website had, to determine the standard of overall quality. Whereas quality links can really boost a website’s online presence, poor links can hinder this, with bad practice resulting in Google penalties. It’s therefore imperative that website’s detect potentially bad backlinks and clean them up, and we offer advice on how to do this in a section that follows.
In our EmbryoGraph, the thicker a circle’s border, the more links that website has from others. If the border is also solid, then overall, that website has good inbound links compared to others in the industry. If, however, the border is dashed, then link quality may be lacking in comparison.
It was very close between Stephensons Solicitors (626) and JMW Solicitors LLP (619), but Stephenson’s just edged it. Their thick, solid borders suggest they incorporate good quality links into their website. Other websites that are performing well include Slater Heelis LLP (301), Ralli Solicitors LLP (163) and Kuits Ltd (134).
Surprisingly, companies such as Gorvins and Bott And Co that are doing relatively well in terms of keywords and DR, are not performing as well in this respect. Their dashed borders suggest they need to check and improve their link quality.
OUR TOP SEO TIPS FOR GROWING YOUR LEGAL BUSINESS ONLINE
One common theme for the smaller legal businesses was that their link quality was generally quite poor. We therefore offer tips to identify and clean up bad backlinks in this section.
How To Manually Identify Bad Backlinks
- Collect your backlink data by using a tool such as Open Site Explorer, MajesticSEO, Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools. These tools show you which websites are linking to yours.
- Copy and paste this data into a spreadsheet. If you decide to be thorough and use multiple tools, ensure you click on “Data” > “Remove Duplicates”.
- Install SEO Tools for Excel. In the column next to the list of websites, type in the following formula:
4.Then press enter and SEO Tools for Excel will check the URL for any active hyperlinks connected to your website. Dragging the formula down the spreadsheet will repeat this action for the other websites.
5. You’ll then be presented with brief information on each link, such as ‘Ok’, ‘(404) Not Found’ and ‘(500) internal server error’.
6. To identify the potentially harmful links, look out for the following:
- Links from websites whose content is unrelated to law.
- Companies with lacking social media, suggesting limited presence online.
- Low number of indexed pages.
- Whether the page linking to your website is inundated with multiple links, making it less credible.
To actually remove the poor backlinks, you can submit requests to Google to remove them. Ironically, this doesn’t actually remove the backlink, but it instructs Google not to take those links into account when determining your website’s PageRank, i.e. link quality.
This all can be an arduous process and we always recommend speaking to an SEO specialist who can guide you through it.
For tips on how to build quality backlinks, click here.
For advice on how to use to right keywords, click here.
WHAT TRENDS ARE HITTING THE LEGAL INDUSTRY IN 2019?
According to Daniel Newman, a Forbes contributor, we’ll see a focus on:
- Client Relationship Management: Using software that, ‘’makes it super easy to consolidate client files—update them with the latest information—and do a quick read-through before the next big meeting.’’ This ensures trust, confidence and faith in solicitors and lawyers who know their clients from top to bottom.
- Virtual Firms: Due to the improvements in cloud and mobile, they’ll be an increase in firms conducting meetings and cases over the internet, cutting down on travel time to other offices. Also allowing legal professionals to work from home, as Daniel says, ‘’it could lead to a healthier, less stressful lifestyle for an entire industry’’.
- Performance Management: An emphasis on ‘’using technology for analysing data, managing caseloads, forecasting outcomes, and even deciding on whether or not to take on a new client.’’