With the rise of mobile devices, tablets, and voice search over the past few years, the way we interact with search results is changing. Mobile devices now account for 50 percent or more of all traffic to websites (depending on the industry), and voice search (i.e. using your voice to ask an internet connected device such as Siri or Alexa a question) is projected to account for 50 percent of all searches by 2020.
So what does this mean in terms of optimizing your website for search results? That’s a more complicated answer.
Google’s Taking Over Your Website Traffic
A recent analysis of searches in the first quarter of 2019 revealed 48.96% of all U.S. Google searches ended without a click. This means a searcher most likely found the information they sought right on Google’s results page, without the need to click through to an actual website to find the answer. To put it another way: half of searchers never reach a website beyond Google at all. This is a massive increase from the same time period just three years prior.
How is this possible? Google has spent the last several years adding new elements to search results, including items such as the Google Answer Box and Google My Business listings. These elements showcase more information on Google’s first page of search results and often provide the searcher with sufficient information so they don’t need to visit another website.
All of which means: search engine optimization now involves more than just getting your law firm website to appear on page one of organic search results. It also means optimizing your website content so it provides searchers with the information they seek right in the Google results.
The New Optimization Model
Some of the Google features you can control, such as your Google My Business Listing. Ensuring your law firm’s Listing is completely filled out and verified ensures anyone searching for your law firm by name sees your logo, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and more. This provides searchers with plenty of information right there within the search results. For example, if a client or referral attorney is looking for your phone number and they Google the firm name, your Google My Business Listing appears directly to the right of search results and includes your phone number. The searcher would therefore not need to click through to your website to find that information.
The Google Answer Box, however, is dictated by Google’s algorithm and there isn’t really a “trick” to get your content to appear in one. In order to vie for a spot in an answer box, make sure your content is written in a way that answers a question and not simply for keyword optimization. This may seem counterintuitive to previous search engine optimization recommendations, but it is directly connected to the increasing adoption of voice search. Think about this: when you utilize voice search, you often do so by asking a question. “Siri, what is the temperature going to be tomorrow?
Google has adapted to users searching for information in question format. By anticipating searchers will ask questions, it developed the Google Answer Box to provide an answer. Therefore, your website’s content should be written with that in mind in order to increase the likelihood of appearing in an answer box.
Here are a few tips for updating your existing website to comply with these changes:
• Add frequently asked questions to each of your practice area pages, spelling out the question and answer right there on the page for Google.
• Include relevant facts and statistics. Because Google is optimized to provide a hard and fast answer, including real data is helpful.
• Consider using structured data markup. This is coding that provides explicit clues about the content of a webpage to Google, allowing it to more accurately understand what the page is about and what information is provided to searchers.
Need Help Adapting to Google’s Evolution?
Both Google and its users are evolving, and Google will continue to adapt to how users search for information. A law firm website simply cannot be a static asset anymore and still remain relevant. If your law firm is looking for guidance on how to keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithm, contact us today to find out how we can help.