You have performed the latest on-page SEO practices, technically optimized your pages, and created a variety of authority links to your website. However, you’re still struggling to outrank your local competitors and law firms.
Does this sound like you? If yes, you’re not alone. This is actually a widespread occurrence and it is not specific to your website or even the legal niche. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to fix it. The problem appears because your pages simply do not appear relevant or authoritative to Google’s search algorithms.
Let us introduce you to a couple of new concepts that will help you rank up:
Topical relevance is a ranking factor that Google search crawlers use to determine how relevant your page is to a specific user search intent. The more relevant your pages are, the easier it will be for your website to rank.
Now, you may be wondering how you can make your content more relevant. The answer is simple: implement latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords. In case you’re not familiar with the term, LSI keywords are words and phrases that are semantically related to your main keywords.
For example, if you’re trying to rank for keywords such as law firm or legal companies, you should look to use a number of similar terms in your content. This includes phrases such as law office, law office staff, law practice, etc.
To find more LSI keywords related to law firms, you can use the LSI Graph analysis, a free online SEO tool. However, you can also come up with your own LSI keywords without any tools – just think about what terms and phrases people often associate with your legal practice area and include them in your pages. This means you can implement anything that relates to your practice, from attorney to lawsuit to settlement.
Of course, you will naturally use similar terms in most cases, but it’s advised that you regularly check your content for LSI keyword frequency before you publish it. When it comes to topical relevance, the job is almost never finished and you can always improve your content.
Another easy way to check if your content is relevant in the eyes of the Google bots is to check the top 10 results for the specific keyword that you’re targeting. If the majority of them follow a certain layout or format, you may want to use the same formatting on your page.
When all the top results resemble each other, it means that they optimally serve the search intent behind the keyword. In other words, it will be easier to rank, provided that your content is at least as good as what the top results return.
Similar to relevance, topical authority is the perceived reliability of your content within the law niche or a websites related to legal concepts. It’s fairly easy to improve, but it often means you will have to sacrifice your short-term goals to gain lasting benefits.
To build up your topical authority, you will need to utilize the full power of backlinks. This doesn’t mean that you need to send more backlinks to your pages. It means you also need to include both external and internal links on your website.
Of course, when you selflessly include links to your competitors, you risk losing readers. After all, they may just follow your advice and check out the content you’re linking to. However, that’s a risk you simply have to accept if you want to increase topical authority.
When you include such links in your content, you’re effectively prioritizing the reader and his needs over your own. Google sees this as an honest attempt to improve the user experience and it slightly increases your page value. Still, it’s important that you only include the most relevant links and not spam the reader with a link in each sentence.
As always, try to put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Think about what additional resources your average user may find useful and include them in your post. It’s not exactly rocket science.
To conclude, topical relevance and authority are arguably the most commonly overlooked search ranking factors.
If you can’t outrank your competitors despite all the good SEO work that you’ve done, you may want to check your pages for LSI keywords. More often than not, you can improve the existing content by naturally sprinkling additional keywords related to your practice.
However, be careful not to overdo it. Once you start including LSI keywords, you may be tempted to include as many of them as possible. That’s rarely a good idea. Your content will probably appear spammy to search bots and you may even get penalized. Not to mention that it will also reduce the user experience of your website.
Overoptimization (so much that Google thinks it’s spammy) is a real issue and it may lower your rankings. If you have already done your homework and you still can’t outrank the competition, chances are you are overoptimizing your website.