Law Firms Must Optimize for Mobile Searches
BY Mike Heuer
Like virtually all law firms with an online presence, yours likely optimized its online content to work with every popular web browser and computer platform. A properly optimized website will load quickly, have all content appear correctly and all links work. That is simple enough to accomplish when entrusted with experienced technicians.
Most people use mobile devices to browse websites, with cellphones the preferred medium. Globally, there were about 4.8 billion people using mobile phones in 2016, and mobile devices accounted for almost half of the world’s web page views in 2017.
In the United States, about half of all consumers use their cellphones to go online. That’s more than the combined number using computers and mobile tablet devices.
Even worse – Google recently adjusted its search engine rankings algorithm to reward websites optimized for mobile devices. Suddenly, your law firm’s ideally optimized website no longer has the reach or impact you planned. Here is what you can do to correct that problem.
Simplify the experience
People who are on the go primarily use mobile technology to obtain information quickly. They might search for a particular store, service or product and want to access the information they seek quickly. That means they do not have time for extended browsing.
Web page content needs to load quickly and provide simple links that quickly lead to exactly what the potential client seeks. Any delays can result in a lost lead. The fewer steps required and the faster the pages load, the better your law firm’s website will perform in the new mobile world.
Google also assesses how quickly websites load on mobile applications, which affects search rankings for all searches. That makes it critically important to ensure your law firm’s website is optimized for mobile technology to maintain or improve your Google rankings.
Law firms also need to market themselves geographically. A potential client will likely search for an attorney specializing in a particular area of law within a well-defined geographic location. Providing a Google maps graphic and link will help a potential client know where you are located and how to get there.
Limit the typing
A personal computer or laptop comes with a well-positioned keyboard that most people can use quite readily. The same is not true of the cellphone. Cellphones have great video resolution, but they do not have great typing programs. Some people are exceptionally good at utilizing the tiny word processing programs, but many find it troublesome to input lengthy text into mobile devices.
The best way to limit typing is to enable visitors to save search terms used while on your website. User names and login info should be able to load automatically to limit the amount of typing necessary. It also helps to speed up the process and generate a more positive experience for the visitor.
Another good tip is to know how people prefer to hold their cellphones. The easiest way to hold a phone is the way it was designed – with the earphone at the top and the voice receptor at the bottom for phone calls.
That is called a “portrait” or vertical format, and vertical format is what consumers prefer. The aspect ration is 9:16, and your law firm’s content needs to fit that format. You should ensure those few who prefer “landscape” or horizontal format can navigate your website, but most content should plan on a vertical presentation.
With mobile technology dominating consumer online searches, law firms that do not optimize for mobile browsers and devices will lose potential clients to those that ensure their websites work well with cellphones and other mobile devices.
By heeding John Mueller’s warning and focusing on producing valuable, informative content for your audience, you can avoid the pitfalls of fluff content and improve your website’s overall search engine performance.
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