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Search engine optimization (SEO) can be so confusing that the layperson is often overwhelmed by all the information out there on how to be successful at search. As law firm marketers, though, we know how absolutely essential it is to be up on the latest thinking when it comes to SEO since it changes literally every day.

Obviously, most attorneys are not going to dedicate the time and study it takes to be proficient at SEO. You should either have in-house talent for that job, or you should farm it out to a firm that not only understands all the intricacies of optimizing your online properties for search, but also knows the marketing rules that attorneys must abide by so they don’t run afoul of the bar.

Search Engine Land has just released the 2019 version of its iconic Periodic Table of SEO Factors, which includes more elements and factors reflecting what it takes to be successful at search in 2019:

The table consists of six key verticals that affect SEO:


Your law firm website needs to house valuable, in-depth content that is highly relevant for the terms prospects use to find you online.


How your site is built – the URLs you use, the page load speed, your security and crawlability – helps search engines know what your pages are about and helps ensure these platforms that users will be greeted with a fast-loading, malware-free landing page if they click through from a search engine results page (SERP).


HTML tags are used to signal to search engines what the content is all about, so the search engines can then serve up that content when a relevant search query is made.


The more authoritative your website, the more likely it will rank high in search results. Backlinks, shares, reviews, and the age of your website are used to determine your site’s authority.


The more links you have to your website from other trusted sites, the better it is for your SEO.


Ensure that your content includes geographic information (your NAP – Name/Address/Phone) and that your site delivers a good user experience (low bounce rates, repeat visits).

The elements within each vertical are weighted, with the most important at the top. In addition, there are verticals for Toxins — practices that will negatively affect your search ranking — as well as Emerging Verticals that recognize elements that are increasing in importance.

I suggest you download a copy of the table to help you develop an SEO strategy for your law firm and to check that all the elements listed have been addressed for your online properties.