Creating Practice Area Pages which Rank (Step by Step Guide)
Your law firm doesn’t just want to rank for the firm name. You want your firm to appear for high value search terms. You want to rank for high value keywords or “SERPs” such as “Personal Injury Lawyer” or “Brain Injury Lawyer”. But the task seems impossible. How do you pull that off?
Want to know how? You’re in the right place.
In order to do this, you need to optimize your “Practice Area” pages. You may already have Practice Area pages on your site, but it’s important to optimize them so they can rank.
What is a “Practice Area” page?
These are pages which display the areas of law your firm practices. For example, if you have a Personal Injury practice, some “Practice Areas” would be: Traumatic Brain Injury, Slip and Fall, and Workers Compensation. If you operate an Estate Planning firm your Practice Areas would probably be: Probate, Medicare Planning, and Last Will and Testament.
A Practice Area page is not a “Cases We handle” page. It’s a page with a specific type of law practice featured on the page.
If you want to rank your Practice Area pages, these are absolute musts.
- SSL – Having an SSL certificate is a vital trust signal for Google’s search engine. Ignore having a secure website at your own peril.
An SSL certificate is basically a security certificate for your website, it is usually denoted by the tiny padlock symbol in the URL bar. The absence is denoted by an exclamation point.
These SSL certificates cost very little and are easy to install. 97% of all top ranking “Practice Area” pages have an SSL certificate.
- URL Structure – Your URL structure can be understood as a filing system for your website. A website is usually made up of several categories: Blog, About, Practice Areas, etc.
If you own or manage a law firm website one of these categories are your practice areas, and your URLs should be structured like so: rootdomain.com/practice-areas/.
Once your practice areas are categorized like this, you should then write in your practice areas: rootdomain.com/practice-areas/most-searched-keyword, an example being rootdomain.com/practice-areas/brain-injury-lawyer.
There are several other keyword variations on “Brain Injury Lawyer” as it pertains to a legal practice, primarily keywords which center around “Traumatic Brain Injury.” However, “Brain Injury Lawyer” yields the most search volume or average searches per month.
Utilizing the most frequently searched keyword in your URL gives your site an advantage because you are, in essence, using the widest net to catch frequently searched keywords as well as lesser searched keywords.
Choosing which URL you want is a matter of priorities though. If you know exactly the type of case you want, that should go in the URL for your Practice Area page.
A site which has “/brain-injury-lawyer” in its URL can still rank for both “Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer” and “Brain Injury Lawyer”. Whereas a URL which contains /traumatic-brain-injury-lawyer will struggle to rank for “Brain Injury Lawyer” but will probably rank for “Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer” a little easier.
Again, URL structure is a matter of priority.
If your firm is trying to rank for a keyword in a city where you do not have an office you should use this structure: rootdomain.com/practice-areas/top-searched-keyword/big-city.
- Title Tags – Title tags are important to Google and will continue to be in the foreseeable future. Title tags, in essence, act as one of the first ranking signals.
When writing title tags for your “Practice Area” pages there are a few simple rules to remember.
- Use your most important keyword phrase first
- If you are a truck accident lawyer in Miami, the first words in your title tag should be “Miami Truck Accident Lawyer” this goes back to the rule of casting the widest net for your keywords.
- Integrate call to action
- After you’ve determined your top, most important keywords
- Also use lower volume keywords
- This is a controversial one, but it works. Stuff those keywords. After the most searched keyword shift over to smaller keywords which also indicate cases you’re trying to get. Using the truck lawyer example, here’s what a completed title tag would look like: Truck Accident Lawyer Miami | Trucking Accident Attorney FL | Law Firm for Semi-Truck, 18 Wheeler, Tractor Trailer, Big Rig Accidents & Crashes
- Use multiple locations
- If your law firm is based in one major metro and provides one specific service, include multiple nearby cities you also want to rank in. For example, if you provide Lemon Law services in Miami, you may want to include the surrounding Miami cities. Here’s an example title tag: Miami Lemon Law Attorney | Lemon Law Help Miami, FL | Lemon Law Lawyer Serving Miami Beach, Homestead, Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, Aventura, North Miami, South Miami, Key Biscayne, Pinecrest, Kendall and the Miami Metro Region
- Use your judgment to determine whether or not these towns are big enough to merit their own pages. A good rule of thumb is to go by population and search volume. For example, Cutler Bay doesn’t have a lot of search volume, but the Miami neighborhood of Hialeah does.
- Utilize Your top Keyword in the H1 – This rule is similar to including using your top keyword in your URL, but instead it applies to your H1.
The H1 of your page, like your URL and title tag, is another top ranking signal which should be utilized properly.
For your practice area page your H1 should denote expertise, include something about your firm which sets you apart, and integrate a top keyword, for example “Top Rated Personal Injury Lawyer in Louisiana” or “Award Winning Slip & Fall Lawyer in Miami.”
Be the Expert and Demonstrate Authority – This is a very simple concept but often difficult to execute. In order to be seen by Google as an expert, you actually have to demonstrate that authority on those pages. How do you do that? Here’s a go-to checklist.
- Write the Laws, Link to Authoritative Sources – If you are a Medical Malpractice Lawyer, you should post information about medical malpractice laws on your site. Those laws should be stated in your Practice Area page or at least summarized. Once you’ve written these laws down, cite the source. The best source to quote is the statute itself or a medical resources website.
- Answer questions – Answering common questions as related to your Practice Areas helps your pages rank quicker and for more SERPs. Here are some ideas for question content to put in your Practice Areas.
- Ask internal stakeholders about FAQs they receive – Every firm deals with unique questions related to specific cases, asking your firm’s staff what types of questions they receive from clients about specific cases and include that in your Practice Area pages.
- Use “People Also Ask” – Look at the “People Also Ask” section of Google and look at those for inspiration. Below is an example of the “People Also Ask” for the query “Brain Injury Attorney.”
3. Use Specific Settlement Examples – When you have specific examples of cases your firm has won, use those to your advantage. Make sure they are specific to the types of cases you are trying to get.
Here are examples of Truck Accident related cases…
More Key Add-ons
- Average word count – According to an extensive study of practice area pages, the average word count of top ranking Practice Area pages is 919 words. Make sure you do not unnecessarily extend your word count for the sake of it.
- Table of Contents – Having a table of contents is great for interaction. You can direct searchers towards the part of your Practice Area page they want to engage immediately. This might also result in interlinks on the search results.
- Interlink to related pages – Interlinking your Practice area pages to related blogs and other practice area pages will create a rich link environment. This link environment will help send multiple signals to Google through these interlinks. But what is an interlink? For example, if you have a Slip & Fall practice area page and also have multiple pages which are related to Slip & Fall, you should have them interlinked to each other. These pages might include: Hotel Slip & Fall, Hospital Slip & Fall, Slip & Fall in the Workplace, etc. All of these Slip & Fall pages should be linked to each other through DoFollow links.
- Images – If you can have original images without using stock photos, excellent! If you do not have those resources available, make sure your images are properly tagged using your target keywords.
- Structured Data / Schema markup – Structured Data / Schema markup sends important signals to Google regarding the type of business you have. It can also expand your real estate on Google through FAQ or Review schema.
Conclusion – In order to be the best result, you need to be the best result. This guide provides some good insight into Google’s idea of what that means.
If these tips don’t work then begin testing. A rule of thumb is to keep testing what works and what doesn’t work.