By Catherine Bailey, Managing Director at Legal Futures Associate Bar Marketing 
The way the world is now, internet usage is the highest it’s ever been. The first step to tapping into the online marketing opportunities this presents for your law firm or barristers’ chambers is getting your business found on search engines. That’s where search engine optimisation, or SEO for short, comes in.
A robust SEO strategy is about much more than packing your website full of keywords, metadata and links to get to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). When devising your SEO plan, make sure you…
Write for humans first and search engines second
If you rank highly for your keywords on SERPs, that’s brilliant. Your SEO activity is paying dividents. However, if your website content is so badly written that it causes your visitors to bounce immediately, that’s not so good. The key to success is actually writing for people rather than Google algorithms alone. Provide your audience with the content they need, based on their chosen search terms, and you won’t go far wrong.
Make the user experience your ultimate focus
Following on nicely from #1, everything else on your site should be built for the optimum user experience too. Complex navigation, dead links, error pages and messy structures will drive away your visitors. Turn every first-time visitor into a return visitor with tidy navigation panels, broken-up content with headings and short paragraphs, faultless links and pages, straightforward sitemap, and mobile optimisation. Your efforts will be reflected in an uptick in your Google Analytics data.
Aim for ‘featured snippets’ success
In case you’re not familiar, these are the highlighted answer boxes that appear high up on SERPs. There’s no golden ticket to featured snippets. The things which increase your chances of a place in this revered position are bullet points, numbered lists, infographics and providing direct answers to question-based searches. Nothing happens overnight with SEO. Featured snippets are no exception to this rule. Keep at it and improvements will eventually come.
Pay attention to Google algorithm updates
SEO is never static. Requirements are constantly evolving because algorithm changes are introduced regularly. Rankings and penalties are determined by multiple factors from accessibility to content to speed. Of course, other search engines exist but it’s Google you should keep a closer eye on. One seemingly simple algorithm update could throw you much further down the rankings.
Have a long-term content plan
Use your keyword research to devise a content marketing approach that targets existing content and related sub-topics. Each keyword branches off into a plethora of others, each worthy of its own content. A continual-improvement mindset will keep your valuable content evergreen and relevant – both your visitors and search engines will be happy.
We’re only scratching the surface here. There’s a whole lot more to SEO than these five tips, be it encouraging trustworthy sites to link to you, to removing anything that slows down your site, to anything in between. With consistent, ongoing effort, you’ll be on your way to better rankings, more web traffic and loyal visitors.
Catherine Bailey is the Founder and Managing Director of Bar Marketing  Limited, a dedicated legal industry marketing agency utilised by leading law firms, solicitors, sets and barristers across the world. She is also co-author, along with Jennet Ingram, of ‘A Practical Guide to Marketing for Lawyers ’ by Law Brief Publishing, now in its 2nd edition.