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SEO for Lawyers | Why you should add structured data to your law firm website

 


Why you should add structured data to your law firm website

SEO for lawyers - is adding structured data and schema markup to your law firm website is a good idea?

Read on to discover the answer …

And then act to optimise for enhanced search results and increased click-through-rates.

In this post, we’ll tell you:

✓ What structured data is; and
✓ Why it’s so important for your search engine optimisation (SEO)

Plus, we’ll give you examples tailored for law firm marketers.

See how structured data and schema markup can build better online brand identity. Learn how it can increase quality traffic to your law firm website.

This is post one of two covering structured data for law firm marketers. Part two will show you how to set up structured data on your own law firm website.

For now, let’s start with …

Search marketing and SEO for lawyers in the age of structured data

Search marketing is the process of getting visibility and traffic from search engines. There are two ways to do this; through paid and unpaid (organic) strategies.

SEO is all about getting organic search traffic to your site. It’s the on-page and off-page technical work done to help search engines find, understand, and match your content to relevant queries.

The cornerstone of good SEO is always producing high quality, authoritative and useful content for your users. But there are also many technical things you can do to boost your chances of good search results.

Good search results are about ranking well (getting on page one). And not only that, your listing has to stand out from the crowd.

Here’s a page one result that does quite well at standing out.

Note the clear title that answers the search query, “property lawyer sydney”. Also, note the bolding of targeted keywords.

Even if you rank on page one, there’s no guarantee you’ll win the search race and get the click.

This listing fails to capture attention and has little information to encourage a searcher to click.

Your listings in search engine page results (SERPs) are "mini ads". Their job is to attract attention and persuade searchers that your page delivers value. That value is a clear and empowering answer to their query.

Take a look at this search result for “need an unfair dismissal lawyer in brisbane”.

The first listing includes the location, “Brisbane”, specified in the query in the title. The second does not. The third result includes “Brisbane” but buried in the description. The first result answers the query clearly. For the query, it stands out.

Now, you can’t dictate to search engines like Google how your listings appear. But you can do a lot to suggest how the content is listed.

In previous posts, we’ve talked about optimising title tags for better search results. You can also read about how meta descriptions can improve your search results.

And in this post, we look at how structured data can enhance how your listings appear even further.

From simple search listings to rich results

In the past, all search listings were quite uniform. They consisted of a title (green), a URL (red) and a description (blue).

Today, though, search engines have upped the game. There are now many different types of listings and search results.

Take a look at SERP for the query, “need an unfair dismissal lawyer in brisbane”.

In top position is what we call a “Featured Snippet” (red). And it's also the same content the second organic result (blue) after the “People Also Ask” section. 

And here’s another example for a search query, “best personal injury lawyer in south melbourne”.

The first listing is a standard listing with title, URL and description.

In the second listing, things are quite different. There’s a lot more information made available. It includes three more elements:

  • review stars and ratings (green arrow)
  • pricing information pointing out that you get a “Free case review” (red arrow) and,
  • breadcrumb navigation, showing the navigational hierarchy (blue arrow)

This is called a "rich result” or "rich snippet".

But there’s more on this SERP. Before these organic listings, you see this.

In pole position is this featured block listing the business details of three law firms. The block includes an interactive map. Ratings, addresses, opening hours, telephone numbers, website link and access directions appear, too. Top notch advertising real-estate!

How did these rich information listings get on the SERP?

Several things are at play, as is always the case with how search engines do things. But what is clear is this; structured data is at the foundation of this rich result.

Star ratings, breadcrumb navigation and pricing information would not appear if the web developer had not added structured data markup. And without it, your law firm will have less chance of appearing in business listings.

What does that mean, exactly?

Let's find out by understanding ...

What structured data is

Structured data is coded language added to a page's HTML. It’s parsed. Search engines consistently understand it.

On-page, it’s not visible.

Law firm homepage, public-facing view.

But behind-the-scenes, the code tells browsers how information should be organised. And web crawlers (search algorithms) learn more about the content. 

Here's some structured data coded in this page's HTML.

Selection of schema markup in the source code of a law firm homepage.

And here's what Google 'understands' (green arrow) from the markup (blue arrow).

Google structured data tool reading of schema markup.

The schema markup, in this case, gives Google vital business information: postal address and geo-location details.

Structured data like this helps search engines determine greater relevancy for queries. They can return more enriched search results.

Enriched results, in turn, help searchers make more informed decisions to click. And the better informed they are, the more likely their click will be meaningful to you.

Breaking it down to formats and syntaxes

Structured data uses standardised formats and syntaxes are deployed. It classifies concepts, relationships and terms (vocabularies).

Search engines typically support three syntaxes; microdata, JSON-LD, and microformats. And two common vocabularies are used: schema.org and microformats.org.

Schema is the most commonly used markup for SEO purposes. It’s Google’s preferred method for Google.

So let’s grapple with …

Schema markup for law firm SEO

Schema markup is a semantic vocabulary co-developed by major search engines, (Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex).

Quick Tip:  See the archive of Schema code here: schema.org.

There’s a section dedicated to “Legal Services”.

Adding schema markup to your pages will help search engines understand your content better. They can use it to deliver enhanced search results. It’s the foundation allowing for the rich snippets and rich cards. 

And it also feeds data into Knowledge Graph results, like this:

Note: There’s no guarantee adding structured data markup to your pages will result in these rich results. But to have a chance, you must add it.

An upcoming post will show you how to add schema markup.

For now, let’s consider …

Why structured data is so important for your law firms website’s SEO

You might ask if structured data will improve your search engine rankings …

And the answer you’ll get from Google is, no.

That is, not directly. Structured data is not a ranking signal in their algorithm. It doesn't (directly) affect rankings.

But this isn’t a reason not to see it as valuable. It is valuable for getting visibility, user-experience and enhancing click-through-rate.

Consider this. While it won’t have a direct impact on your rankings, it can generate indirect SEO benefits by making your page more easily indexed and providing more accurate and targeted information for searchers.

Better search engine results can mean more attention, increased conversions and, consequently, better quality traffic to your site.

They’re more prominent “mini ads” for your page, organically earned with SEO and powered by structured data like schema markup.

That all helps you improve brand appearance online. It helps you stand out in the ever-increasingly competitive and saturated world of search marketing.

And we do know that on-page behaviour like click-through-rate, bounce rate, time on site, etc, do have an impact on rankings. The more qualified and targeted the traffic you get, the better.

Better snippets help people make more solid decisions about the relevancy of your page. It can mean a click to your page has a higher chance of retaining attention. Rich snippets pre-qualify visitors.

With rich snippets, your visitor knows what you do and can see social proof up front.

This additional information can be very persuasive at getting searchers to choose one search result over another.

Example of Knowledge Graph

If you add structured data markup to your site, more of your page’s functional and visual elements appear directly in the form of rich snippets or Knowledge Graph cards. Users have an easier time recognising the value of your page.

Wouldn’t you just love to have your logo and business contact details on prime advertising real-estate on Google?

In our upcoming post, we’ll show you how to optimise with structured data markup to give you the best chance of that happening.

And you’ll also get great value by checking out our other posts in the series, SEO Tips for Lawyers.

For more on SEO for Lawyers, visit our other instalments in this series:


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