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Website Design for Attorneys- Why Redesign or Relocation Presents Challenges

A poor transition can result in your firm’s website losing its natural page rankings and cause the search engines to have difficulty finding your legal website


//Kevin Quinlan/ 11/24/2009

Print & Social Options

Kevin Quinlan, lawyer web marketing guru explains why web designers must keep an eye towards search engine optimization so that law firms don't lose or adversely effect their page rank in the natural search arena when redesigning their websites

Whether or not your law firm has embarked on a web marketing or search engine optimization (SEO) program, your website has likely been crawled by the search engines and has achieved some rankings, although perhaps not on page one. There are many reasons why law firms decide to redesign or change the URL of their website- new partner, re-branding, addition of a content management system, SEO, or simply to update a tired design that has served its purpose but is no longer competitive.

It is absolutely critical to work with legal web designers who have an eye towards SEO, as a poor transition can result in losing the natural rankings your firm's website currently has and could cause the search engines to have difficulty finding your legal website. When changing the architecture, creating new pages of content or changing the URL to one targeted for SEO, the search engines must be told where to go to find your redesigned pages. Many web designers will simply forward all of the original pages to the new home page of the redesigned or relocated site. In order to maintain and improve page rank for the various search engines this is simply not sufficient. Each existing page must be redirected to the corresponding new page.

It is also important to be mindful of all of the external links to your legal website. Google's algorithms, as well as those of other search engines, place great importance on the quantity and quality of links to your site. The creation of an updated XML sitemap will help the search engines locate and index your new pages, especially if you do not have many inbound links.

A Google certified engineer utilizing Google Webmaster Tools can perform an analysis that will indicate problems like duplicate content on your new site and crawl errors that may prevent Google from accessing URL's on your new site. The Webmaster Tools will also list the types of problems and the page where the errors occurred. While inclusion in the natural search results is free, and Google automatically crawls sites on a regular basis, there are certain problems that might cause a site to be missed. These include:

Too few inbound links from sites of authority on the web
New website was launched in between Google's crawls
Design or architecture are impairing the spiders ability to crawl the site
Crawl errors that prevent the website from being accessed.


If your law firm is considering a website redesign or relocation to a new URL, working with a lawyer web design shop that follows all of Google's design, content, technical and quality guidelines and specializes in SEO for attorneys can ensure that your firm has the best chance to achieve high page one rankings and grows your practice.

For more information on SEO for attorneys, or law firm website design, contact Rene Perras.

 

 



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