If you were paying attention to SEO in the ’90s and even ’00s, you might remember a lot of discussions about keyword density.
Some webmasters theorized that there was a preferred ratio of a keyword to the total number of words on a page.
When that ratio was met, they believed, the page had a better chance of ranking highly for that keyword.
And, for a long time, that method did work.
Search engines in the 1990s and 2000s weren’t nearly as advanced as they are today. They were much more reliant on keywords to determine the relevance of a page to a search engine user.
This is why keyword stuffing was, at one time, useful; if a keyword was featured heavily on a page, the search engines might see it as being relevant in search results.
Search engines are much more advanced than they were even a few years ago. Yet, we sometimes see attorneys who are still concerned with keyword density as a useful SEO strategy.
To learn more about keyword density, watch the video below, or continue reading.
Do attorneys need to be focused on keyword density?
As Google’s algorithms have improved, and AI such as RankBrain has started to be incorporated into search, keyword density isn’t nearly as important as it used to be.
Now, semantic search is starting to play a larger part in providing search engine users with better results. There is much more emphasis on the intent of the searcher and the meaning of a page’s content. Here’s an example from our Law Firm SEO Guide about how semantic search is changing things:
“…Pages on law firm websites can now rank well for keywords that don’t appear even once on the page. For example, a well written article about hiring an “attorney” can do very well in searches about hiring a “lawyer” even though the word “lawyer” is never used on the page.”
Google has long stressed the importance of making pages for search engine users and not for search engines. So, if you’re adding keywords or phrases to your content just to add them, it’s unlikely to sound natural to web visitors. Engaging in practices like keyword stuffing can make it less likely that your pages will rank well in search engine results.
Should attorneys be thinking about keywords?
Keywords will probably always matter to some degree, but they matter less now than they have in previous years.
For example, if a DUI attorney wrote an entire substantive page or blog post about puppies and expected it to show up when potential clients conducted searches about a first offense DUI, the attorney’s page would likely never show up in the results page.
However, if you wrote a keyword-stuffed piece about a first DUI offense that didn’t provide any value to a potential client, your page is also unlikely to show up in search engine results.
Ideally, you would write a comprehensive piece about the penalties for a first offense DUI that uses a natural writing style. The piece could be written in the same way that you might explain this topic to a potential client who’s sitting across the desk from you. When you write this way, your focus keyword and keywords related to it tend to naturally appear in the text.
With today’s semantic search improvements, a potential client might very well find your piece on first offense DUI if they conduct a search like:
“What happens after the first time you get arrested for drunk driving?”
What else should attorneys know about keywords and SEO?
There’s more to SEO than keywords. But good law firm SEO doesn’t have to be complicated.
When attorneys take the time to learn the basics about SEO, they are able to save their time by avoiding strategies that don’t work and save their money on services they don’t need.