Some people hold the mistaken belief that Google is an all-knowing entity. Though the internet superpower has undoubtedly shaped the web as we know it today, it’s important to step back and remember that even the best search engines have limitations. This can become especially apparent for business owners who find themselves on the other side of the search process, trying to boost the relevance of their website and place themselves above competitors in search results. This is why SEO (“search engine optimization”) is such a huge topic among entrepreneurs, web designers, and content creators. Unfortunately, many people approach SEO with a flawed mindset.
To understand SEO, it’s crucial to understand how search engines work—and not all are created equal. The basic idea behind good SEO is that it allows search engines to match keywords and phrases on your website with user searches. So, for example, if someone searches for “lawyer marketing services in California,” the search engine scours every website known to it, looking for any that have those words. With extremely basic search engines, there is no interpretation on behalf of the search engine about what the user means or intended; it’s simply a game of matching. To improve your listings on such basic search engines, you could just spam the phrase “lawyer marketing services in California” onto the bottom of your homepage repeatedly.
Today’s popular search engines, however, are far more sophisticated. Through artificial intelligence, complex algorithms, and schema markups, search engines like Google now function in more abstract, interpretive ways. Search engines can use alternate spellings, synonyms and antonyms, the user’s location, and all sorts of other behind-the-scenes data to fine-tune a user’s search results in increasingly smarter ways. This is great news for someone running an awkwardly-phrased search, but what does it mean for your SEO?
Just as a human can pick up hidden meanings beyond someone else’s words based on their tone, body language, situation, or other cues, search engines are getting closer and closer to interpreting what a user wants rather than simply querying search phrases against the internet to look for a match. Think back to our example where someone adds SEO keywords repeatedly to the bottom of a webpage in an attempt to manipulate search engines. If you were to try that tactic today, it’s more likely that Google would see it as suspicious, and it would actually hurt your listings.
If you aren’t familiar with schema markups, now is the perfect time to learn. This tool is becoming vital to SEO, user experience, and improving your overall website ranking.
What Is a Schema Markup?
Schema markups are a predefined collection of “labels” that help translate human behavior into data that a search engine can use. You apply these markups to your website to make your website and content more obvious to search engines. When properly implemented, schema markups help a search engine interpret the actual purpose of your website rather than simply scan it for keywords. This deeper understanding helps to better match your website with users who need your content or product.
For example, let’s say someone is looking for “legal help in Burbank.” Your website doesn’t contain that exact phrase, but your blog has plenty of information about attorney services in the Los Angeles area. Your content, while relevant to the user’s needs, will probably not appear in their search results without proper schema markup.
With schema markup implemented correctly, however, the search engine can better understand the meaning behind your content. A modern search engine leveraging schema knows Burbank and Los Angeles are adjacent and knows attorneys offer legal help. As a result, the search engine should determine that you are potentially a good match for the user’s needs and will rank your website accordingly in the search results.
It can be helpful to think of modern search engines as humans who are in the process of learning your language. They recognize and understand words, but the interpretation of complex phrases and content becomes more challenging. In this metaphor, schema markups would be like a pocket translation guide that makes communication easier and bridges the gap between word identification and actual interpretation.
One of the most appealing features of schema markups is in the way they make your search results appear to users. You’ve probably already seen schema markups in action when you search for something on Google yourself. Rather than just see a link to a website, Google focuses in on the exact content it thinks you might be looking for and includes that particular snippet in the search results. This helps users access the answers they need without digging through an entire website. In addition, schema-based results allow you to make your pitch to searchers before they ever click on your page—or a competitor’s. Good schema markups help you demonstrate that you have what potential clients need, making them more likely to explore your website for further information.
Using Schema Markups as a Law Firm
Schema markups can be a significant asset for law firms that rely on their online presence to generate business. Attorneys must market in unique and narrowly focused ways since not everyone requires legal services at all times. Schema markups will ensure you’re being listed in relevant searches while also encouraging users who need an attorney to click on your page over other firms’ pages. Even for searchers who don’t need legal services right away, you might use blog content or informational guides to provide essential information that positions you as an authority figure on certain legal matters. In the future, when that user does need legal services, they will already associate your name with trust and expertise.
For example, let’s say an individual is in the preliminary stages of seeking to divorce their spouse. They might casually peruse the web pages of local family lawyers, as well as how-to guides about the divorce process and tips for navigating the pre-divorce stage. If you’re a family law specialist in their area whose website has proper schema markups, you should appear front and center in their search results. They may only use your page for basic information about the divorce process at first but will likely remember you as an option when the time comes for them to hire an attorney.
No matter how users interact with your page, schema markups make sure they quickly find the exact information they’re looking for, building instant trust in your brand. This tool also ensures that you appear on the results pages of your actual target audience. Implementing schema markups is a win-win because it makes searching far more precise for users and gives you a better conversion rate from search engine results versus an outdated SEO strategy based on keywords alone.
Do Schema Markups Differ by Search Engine?
Many people wonder if schema markups are specific to a single search engine. And while some platforms might utilize your schema data differently than others, the answer is no.
Schema markups are predefined, universal tags, sort of like HTML, CSS, and the other code that makes your website work regardless of what browser or device is being used. When you correctly use these markups, they should improve results across all search engines. This means that you not only improve your ranking on Google but also get better results with people who use Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines.
While many people use Google, it’s essential to understand that it isn’t the only search engine out there. Testing your schema changes and other SEO tactics on a variety of search engines can be a significant advantage for a legal business.
RizeUp Media Can Help
Our team at RizeUp Media has a firm grasp on the world of digital marketing for law firms. Our mission is to help attorneys increase their online presence and stand out from their peers. The industry is saturated with attorneys of all kinds, but we can help ensure that you have relevant content and consistently high search engine rankings.
Established firms who partner with RizeUp Media can rest assured they’ll always have a fresh and relevant web presence in an increasingly digital world. Newer practices, through our robust combination of SEO and digital marketing strategies, can gain an immediate edge over the competition and jump-start their organic business growth.
No other digital marketing firm has the experience, resources, and talent of our team at RizeUp Media. So, no matter your legal specialization or digital marketing needs, we can help you reach your full potential online.
For more information about what RizeUp Media can do for you and your law firm, contact us today.
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