Online marketing consists of many things beyond just search engine placement – things such as your website. All of your online marketing efforts will eventually lead a potential client back to your law firm's website. When that happens, is your website ready for conversion?
Some law firms have been building out their websites for over a decade. They have built-out libraries of tutorials, frequently asked questions, blogs, and landing pages. Their websites' age, quality, and the massive amounts of content they hold have kept them on the first page of Google for popular keyphrases. Their sites get a lot of traffic, but that traffic is not turning into leads.
Having a lot of great content is crucial. It's important for search engine rankings, and it's important for conversion. But, if that content is not organized to follow a professional design, one that is easy to navigate with clear calls to action, your firm's website is the online equivalent of a crowded store with no paying customers.
A New Design Will Not Harm Your Rankings
If your firm's website gets a fresh redesign by a company that understands search engine optimization, you can protect your search engine rankings. The main reason most law firms don't update the design of their well-positioned websites is because they are afraid of losing their positions.
This is a valid concern. A new website design on a new content management system could change your sub-page URLs, which may cause you to lose all of the link value from websites currently linking directly to your internal pages. For example, your car accident sub-page URL may be …/car-accident-attorney.html on your old site. The new site will have a URL of …/practice-areas/car-accidents/. Websites linking to …/car-accident-attorney.html will be linking to a dead link.
If a web design company tells you that Google will simply figure it out, they are wrong. The only way Google will allow you to keep your sub-page search engine placement with the new URLs is if you utilize permanent redirects. The initial setup of these redirects is quite time-consuming, but absolutely mandatory if you are going to maintain your high positions after a redesign. With a redirect, you are telling Google that .../car-accident-attorney.html has permanently changed to …/practice-areas/car-accidents/. With the permanent redirect, Google will pass all of the link value from the old sub-page URL to the new one, thus maintaining your positions.
Before contracting with a design firm, make sure they provide a clear strategy for your website's transition and understand their plan for protecting your rankings.
With your strong position in the search engines and a new conversion-targeted website design, your firm can increase the return on its online marketing investment.
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