There’s no question that lawyers need to optimize their sites for search. That process can be more or less complicated depending on how a website is built.
WordPress is a content management system that makes building and maintaining a website extremely easy.
There are also a ton of great plugins (software pieces that can be added to a WordPress site) that make performing specific SEO for lawyers tasks very easy.
This post will outline some of the must-have SEO plugins for WordPress and their primary benefits.
Disclosure: you must have a WordPress self-hosted site in order to leverage these plugins, otherwise this post won’t make much sense.
Why Attorneys Need an SEO Plugin?
Technically, attorneys don’t need to install an SEO plugin at all. Wordpress already has some pretty good optimization features without having a plugin.
That being said, you’ll either have to do a lot of extra work to get your site optimized properly or miss out on some really basic SEO configuration options without the use of a plugin. And since they are free and easy to use, there is not excuse not to just install one.
The key thing that is lacking when you don’t use a plugin are clear guidelines for how certain onsite elements can be configured along with important integrations to SEO tools like Search Console and Google Analytics.
These are features that leading plugins bring to the table to make WordPress even better for SEO.
Many of the leading SEO plugins are also used by millions of people and are updated regularly by developers who are cognizant of best practices for ranking lawyers well in search.
All of that translates to lawyers not really having to think so hard when they want to make a site that ranks well in search.
What Lawyers Should Look for in an SEO plugin
We’ve outlined some of the key features you should look for in a plugin and there are a few terms worth understanding before you install it.
Onsite optimization: The term onsite (also written on-site or called onpage) refers to the elements of Attorney SEO done directly to a website as opposed to promoting the domain on some other website.
Things like content, keywords, titles of pages, headings on pages, sitemaps, permalinks, meta descriptions, and internal linking are all concepts of onsite SEO for lawyers.
This is important to know because most SEO plugins are geared toward optimizing onsite elements of SEO.
A good SEO plugin will:
- Provide the capacity to, make suggestions on, and actually prompt you to optimize onsite elements.
- A great SEO plugin will do these things and also provide you feedback on how well optimized your onsite elements are from within the WordPress interface.
- Have features for optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, robots file settings, content readability, internal linking, keyword placement, and image optimization.
- Provide suggestions on site and page speed improvements.
Popular SEO Plugins
SEO-Pressor is a comprehensive paid plugin. It’s designed to be sort of fool-proof for new users or for people who just don’t know a lot about SEO for lawyers. It takes you step-by-step through the process of optimizing your site or a single page on your site hitting all of the onsite elements along the way.
Pros of SEO Pressor
Google Algorithm Friendly
Google has made a substantial number of updates to its algorithm over the years (they make around 500 updates a year). While thousands of updates have been made, some notable improvements include the updates code named Panda and Penguin.
Google Penguin – Penguin was introduced in 2012 and was deployed in response to websites gaming search results by purchasing links or participating in link schemes.
Google Panda – Panda focused on low quality content. Sites that used machine-written or spun content that was of little value to users would suffer a rankings loss.
SEO-Pressor was developed with these updates in mind and is continually updated to align with Google best practices for onsite SEO for lawyers.
SEO Scoring Features
SEO-Pressor allows you to constantly monitor the score of your SEO keyword in real time. You can make changes to your post accordingly as you write it. There is also an over-optimization feature included that prevents you from using your target keyword phrase too many times.
A while back Google changed their algorithm to penalize sites that ‘keyword stuff’. The over-optimization feature ensures your keyword is not overused so you are not penalized by Google.
Smart Linking is a feature that stores your keyword anchor text for internal linking purposes. With this feature, you no longer have to go hunting for the relevant keyword phrases you want to hyperlink to other relevant pages of your site.
This is extremely helpful when you publish new content and you want to help it rank well by linking from pages that are already established.
SEO Pressor automatically finds predetermined relevant keyword phrases and inserts the link based on your settings. You don’t even have to think about it.
Controllable Crawler Setttings
Google uses software called spiders that scan the web, read, and index pages. You can control how a spider crawls your website however without a WordPress plugin, that task becomes much more involved and requires programming knowledge.
SEO Pressor’s dynamic crawler control gives you total control over how the crawlers operate on your site. You can choose which pages you want search engines to see and which ones you want to keep private.
This comes in handy when you are working on pages that you don’t want live in search yet like those under development or campaign pages where specific channels are being tracked. The bonus is that you can configure these settings without knowing how to program or getting into your site’s files to edit documents by hand.
Cons of SEO Pressor
- You have to pay for it. This is not a big draw back. After all, you get what you pay for and if you want good SEO software for attorneys on your site, you may have to pay for it. That being said, there are many free options out there and if you aren’t an SEO agency, you may not need something that powerful.
- Support is lacking: There are some reviews on the internet that report SEO Pressor support leaving something to be desired. We all know how frustrating it is to need help and not have someone be there for us.
2. SEO Squirrly
SEO Squirrly takes sort of an SEO plugin for dummies type approach. It is designed for people who want to concentrate on marketing but may not have a ton of SEO knowledge for Lawyers.
Great for beginners
SEO Squirrly’s interface and helpful guides make optimizing pages and posts intuitive and easy. Basically when you are drafting content, you type in the seed keyword that you want the post or page to rank for in search.
The plugin then guides you with relevant images and a series of lights and indicators for article length, keyword density, keyword placement, suggestions for external linking, and so on.
This takes a lot of time and guess work out of the optimization process for someone who would otherwise have to do a lot of Googling to make sure they checked all the onsite elements on the list.
SEO Squirrly has a stock photo gallery available for its users. You just input a keyword related to an image you need and then choose among stock images.
The inspiration box helps provide guidance while you are writing. It uses social intelligence to help you create high-quality content based on what is already on the internet related to the subject you are writing about.
The plugin provides you with a weekly SEO performance audit. It examines strong and weak points on your site. From there, it offers suggestions for improvement. It is a great option for a new blogger or website owner.
Cons of SEO Squirrly
- If you write over 3 posts per month it costs $20 a month. Not all features are accessible on the free platform either.
- It’s an excellent accompaniment to other SEO plugins, but not a stand-alone tool. Managing your law site’s SEO with multiple plugins adds complexity to your workflow and can cause conflicts among each other.
3. SEO Ultimate
SEO Ultimate is a comprehensive plugin with tons of onsite and technical SEO features. It’s a great option for people who have an attention to detail or who are doing SEO for lawyers on a professional level. The plugin covers dozens of onsite elements including canonicalization, 404 monitoring, support for editing .htaccess, permalink and title tag writer, and much more.
When people hit error pages (server code 404), that creates a usability issue which aren’t good signals for attorney SEO. Multiple 404 errors are an indicator to search engines that the site is not managed well. The 404 monitor redirects visitors to a working page if there is a 404 error so your legal niche SEO doesn’t take a hit.
Deep Link Juggernaut and Google rich snippets
The Deep Link Juggernaut feature helps create internal links. Internal links create structure on your site and help distribute link equity throughout your site. Deep linking also allows readers to find related content on your site.
Google Rich Snippets functionality allows you to customize the content that people see in search engine results pages. This is important as it helps improve click through rates on your search results by being able to customize your snippets instead of leaving them to chance.
The code inserter helps you quickly inject code into different areas of your WordPress site. Things like meta tags, Google Analytics snippets, or schema are common examples. For site managers not familiar with editing raw site files, this is a helpful feature. Even experienced coders can save time by being able to insert snippets from the WordPress interface instead of bouncing back and forth between admin panel and an FTP program.
Cons of SEO Ultimate
- If you are a beginner this plugin is a lot to take in and it can feel quite complicated.
- SEO for lawyers is always changing, and this app is a little slower to updates changes (as of this writing it hasn’t been tested with the last 3 releases of WordPress).
4. All-in-One SEO Pack
The All in One SEO Pack is arguably one of the best SEO for lawyers plugins on the market. Even for users of the free version, it has a ton of features that make optimizing your site a breeze. It has over 3 million active installations indicating that it’s trusted by a ton of users. It’s also one of few plugins that come with premium support in the paid version.
Here are some of the pros of the All in One SEO Pack
Easy to use
All-in-one SEO pack is a great choice for beginners or advanced users. The installation is simple, and there are numerous site-wide settings that can be configured all on one page.
For instance you can set crawl rates and pages, Google Analytics and Search Console integration settings, canonicalization settings, meta tag settings, and image settings all in the General Settings section of the plugin.
For beginners, there are also helpful icons that give you a description of what value should be placed in a field.
All in one comes with PHP 7 and Nonce Security making it difficult for hackers to do damage. It’s all inclusive in the plug-in. This probably is not on the radar for many lawyers but WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs on the market which also makes it one of the most popular targets for hackers.
If you choose the paid premium membership it comes with video tutorials and support forums. This support can be very helpful to beginners, especially if they are stuck on how to fix or use an aspect of the plugin.
Cons of All in One SEO Pack
- Some basic features like XML Sitemaps and Opengraph tags are not enabled by default when they probably should be.
- It does not offer SEO scoring or content scrutiny.
- It does offer a substantial amount of social sharing control the options can be overwhelming.
5. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is also one of the best SEO plugins for attorneys available for WordPress. There are over 4.5 million active users of Yoast and it has earned a 4.7 out of 5 rating. It is great for novice and advanced users and the interface is clean and organized. Along with many of the features you would see in the All In One plugin above, Yoast has some additional free features that make it a strong contender for the best SEO plugin for lawyers.
The ‘traffic light’
The traffic light works in real time to help you create a post that ranks high for readability and SEO for lawyers. Yoast uses principles from the Flesch-Kinkaid score to check your post’s readability.
If you scroll down the bottom of the page, Yoast offers real-time tips to improve your post for SEO and readability, giving you the ability to add a title tag and meta description, and checking your post for keyword use. This feature helps you create better content as you gain more experience.
Targeting a specific keyword phrase for each page of your site is obviously important but you have to be careful not to over-use them. When you put your keyword into Yoast it makes sure your keyword density is appropriate and not overly spammy.
Breadcrumbs are a helpful navigational element and they help your visitors navigate through a logical site hierarchy. Search engines use breadcrumbs too allowing them to crawl through a site and map out a picture of how your site is organized.
Yoast automatically adds a canonical tag to your pages which saves you time and reduces the need for technical know-how. Canonical tags let Google know which pages you would like indexed and can save you from some of the hassles of duplicated content.
Yoast has a sitemap generator which is another big time saver. Without it, site owners would have to generate and upload their own sitemap using a third party tool and then manually sending it to Google. This isn’t a huge deal but when you can save half an hour doing it with a plugin and not have to think about it, why wouldn’t you?
If you are running more than one site, you can install multisite through WordPress. That way you can easily manage all your sites on one dashboard and you don’t have to constantly be switching over. Yoast is multi-site compatible so you can optimize all your subsites at once.
Yoast has a lot of free features and the premium features can help you optimize your site even further.
Redirect – You are always changing and improving your website. However, if you don’t redirect the old URL’s too you’re going to have issues with your search traffic. The redirect tool makes it easy for visitors to still find your pages even after you’ve changed the permalinks.
Social previews – Sometimes, when you go to share the post you worked so hard to craft on social media, the wrong picture shows up. How annoying is that? But, with social previews, you can upload the right picture and preview exactly how your post will be shared without leaving your page.
Cons of Yoast
- While it is hard to say that a plugin has too many features, Yoast has become very bloated. This can make it difficult to use for beginners and the same love and care may not be taken with all features.
- It does not alert you to some common optimization no-nos like stop words in title tags or errors in sitemaps.
WordPress is a great platform to build your law firm’s website on and it’s already designed to be easily optimized. Attorneys can get so much more out of their site however if they install a great SEO plugin for attorneys, they can make it a super-star in search. Great directories like SSQ Legal Search and good plugins like the ones outlined in this post help law firms in a step-by-step fashion with optimizing the content on their pages as well as their site as a whole, making for really simple to understand SEO for lawyers. They make the whole SEO process much easier, faster, and higher-quality even for novice users.
Chris Dreyer/Company Bio
Chris Dreyer is the CEO and Founder of Rankings.io. Chris has been featured in numerous legal and search marketing publications such as Legal Ink Magazine, Law Marketing, Attorney At Work, Moz, and more.