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Web Design For Lawyers- W3C Compliance and SEO

There are many opinions about how important it is to design a website using code that's compliant with standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)


//Kevin Quinlan/ 10/23/2009

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Kevin Quinlan, law firm web design expert, offers advice on why it is necessary to design and build legal websites using world wide web consortium (W3C) standards to enhance user experience and search engine optimization efforts.

There are many opinions about how important it is to design a website using code that is compliant with the standards recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the possible impact on search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

The W3C is an organization comprised of member organizations, that was created to ensure that standards for web pages are compatible and that industry members agree on those standards. In the past incompatible versions of code were provided by different website designers creating the potential for inconsistency between web pages and how they appear in different browsers. Websites don't have to comply, but their recommendations are considered best practices.

We believe that websites for attorneys or anyone else that cares about driving traffic to their site should be both search engine friendly and W3C compliant. While Google's Matt Cutts has stated that W3C compliance does not factor into page ranking, Google's guidelines for quality clearly state that websites should be designed with the user in mind rather than constructed solely for the search engines. That means that indirectly there is impact.

Being compliant means that the functionality of the legal website will allow all visitors to see what you intend them to see regardless of which browser they use. It also ensures that your site is accessible from different devices such as cell phones and PDA's. Essentially, your law firm's website will look and function similarly regardless how the website is accessed. With browsers like Firefox gaining prominence consistency is becoming more important than ever.

When a website for lawyers provides a great user experience then visitors become prospects and there is a much greater chance for conversion to client. Keeping visitors on your pages and away from your competitors is just good business. What would be the point of achieving high page rank and providing a less than satisfactory web experience? Driving traffic to legal websites that are not user friendly will have the opposite effect from that which is desired.

While having a compliant legal site may not guarantee higher search engine rankings, as more and more law firm websites compete for the same top positions in the search engines, it is a necessity to utilize every tool in your kit to achieve high first page rankings and to maintain your place against other law firms that want to take it away. In spite of the fact that the search engines may not include compliance in their algorithms, a compliant site uses less code, so your keyword rich content gains prominence and becomes more spider friendly. And no one knows what changes will come in the future to the search engines, and having to play catch-up is never the way to go.

Working with a team that is cognizant of the user experience and expert in search engine optimization and marketing for law firms will ensure that your firm has the best possible chance to grow your business now and into the future.

 

For more information on W3C compliant web design for lawyers or SEO contact Rene Perras.

 



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