The Six Pillars of SEO: How You Can Increase Web Traffic

Written by Erik J. Olson. Posted in .
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Most lawyers that want to market themselves online have heard of search engine optimization (SEO). Whether through your own research or the advice of your marketing team, you know that SEO is crucial to potential clients discovering you online.

However, you must ask yourself if you truly understand what the different types of SEO entail. It’s so much more than just showing up in Google search results. Instead, SEO requires both on-page and off-page strategies to see results.

The digital marketing experts at Array Digital will develop and guide you through your personalized SEO strategy. We’ll take care of the complex parts of SEO, so you have the time to focus on your clients.

What Exactly is SEO?

In fundamental terms, SEO means ensuring that your website appears at the top of Google search engine results. Search marketers optimize a website, and the web pages within, to increase the traffic from organic search results.

SEO results in passive traffic to your website without running an ad campaign when executed correctly. There are many types of SEO, and the tactics and guidelines change annually, so trusting in a professional is often necessary to achieve the outcomes you want.

Okay, So What Are the Different Types of SEO?

SEO is not an overnight success situation. A proper SEO strategy takes time and expertise to implement, requiring a dedicated team in which each person can focus on the individual aspects of the optimization process.

Array Digital believes in six distinct pillars of SEO, and we’ll detail those for you here. 

Pillar #1: SEO Strategy

Your SEO strategy is the process of organizing the content on your website to improve the chance of appearing in organic search engine results. There are many aspects to building a successful SEO strategy, and they include:

  • Writing high-quality content
  • Knowing your keywords
  • Carefully composing descriptive page titles and heading structures, title tags, and meta tags
  • Utilizing keywords in your site’s URL structure
  • Improving your user experience
  • Working with an SEO agency that has dedicated SEO tools

An effective SEO strategy will optimize your website’s technical configuration, link popularity, and content applicability. The goal is for your business to become easier to find and more relevant for user searches.

Pillar #2: Content

Ask almost anyone in the SEO industry, and they will tell you that “content is king.” Most search engine algorithms love to rank by using high-quality content. While you want your content to feature relevant keywords, you also want it to be helpful to your audience and avoid keyword stuffing. Quality content almost always generates backlinks, proving to Google that your website is a trustworthy source.

Search engines use your content to determine your industry area of expertise. Each time you publish new, relevant content, you provide Google with additional keywords to describe your services or brand.

Pillar #3: Backlinks

We mentioned backlinks in the previous section, so let’s expand on the concept. Backlinks are essential for the link-building aspect of SEO because they tell Google that another (preferably reputable) source finds your content to have enough value to create an internal link to their own.

As your website gains more backlinks, it signals to Google that it’s worth ranking higher in the search engine results. Backlinks are a critical form of off-page SEO and contribute to a factor called domain rating. Domain rating refers to the overall quantity and quality of your website’s backlinks. It takes into account how many backlinks your website has as well as if those links come from other reputable websites. This is just one of the several metrics that Array Digital aims to improve as we write and execute your personalized SEO strategy.

Pillar #4: Technical SEO

Technical SEO is slightly different from on-page SEO (the optimization actions taken on your website) and off-page SEO (everything beyond that). Technical SEO refers to server and website optimizations that assist web crawlers in indexing your site correctly and more effectively, which will improve your organic rankings.

Technical SEO is quite involved. Some technical SEO tasks that digital marketers do to increase the value of your website is build an XML sitemap so Google can crawl all the necessary pages on your site or create 301 redirects to reduce duplicate content on your website. A significant component of a technical SEO strategy is ensuring your website is correctly built on the backend, confirming that every page functions as it should. Improving page speed and ensuring accessibility for mobile devices also falls under the technical SEO category.

Pillar #5: On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization, also referred to as on-page SEO, refers to every step you can directly take within the pages of your website to improve your search engine ranking position. Optimizing existing content and creating targeted meta titles and descriptions are stellar examples of excellent on-page SEO tactics.

On-page optimization is a pillar of SEO because it helps search engines understand your content and identify whether it’s relevant to a specific search query. The more relevant your content is, the higher your results will be on a search engine results page (SERP). As you can see, on-page SEO techniques work hand-in-hand with content, another critical pillar previously discussed in this article.

Pillar #6: Local SEO

Local SEO is critical and often overlooked by companies that should have a local presence but provide state-wide or national services. A law firm or practice must have local SEO in place, and local SEO can help your business stand out, even if you don’t have a website.

Local SEO focuses solely on drawing in regional clients explicitly searching for your services, increasing your conversion rates, and making you more competitive. These methods are relatively inexpensive and remain prevalent in mobile searches globally.

Connecting the Six SEO Pillars

Now, you are able to see how each pillar plays an important role in your overall SEO game plan. Furthermore, are you able to see how these various pillars are all interconnected? For example, local SEO can be improved by writing high-ranking content, and the content requires on-page optimization so that search engines can crawl the page and understand its purpose more effectively. To go deeper, technical SEO helps web crawlers understand the entire website as a whole and determine the relevance of all its pages to searchers across the globe. SEO has several moving parts, so hiring an agency that offers holistic SEO services will not only provide you with an increase in website traffic but also an improvement in the health of your website.

Designing an SEO Strategy

Now that you understand the six pillars of SEO, we’ll discuss how an SEO strategy comes together. Array Digital will break down the purpose of your personalized SEO strategy and the year-over-year goals to give you a better idea of what we’re doing for your account. It’s important to us that you understand the intention behind each move we make so you know why you’re seeing improvements across the board.

An SEO strategy maximizes the opportunity to gain organic traffic from search engines, organizing the content on your website by topic to improve your chances of appearing on the SERPs. Understanding how SEO works is different than actually developing and implementing a strategy.

Accomplishing SEO goals, without the use of black hat SEO techniques (which some law firms might accidentally do without realizing it), requires time from reliable experts. Black hat SEO is any SEO practice that violates Google’s terms of service. This can include using a false location on a Google Business Profile or using white text containing keywords in your website’s margins that readers cannot see but Google will read. On the other hand, white hat SEO follows the policies that Google outlines and refrains from finding a quick fix to boost website traffic. At Array Digital, our SEO strategies are executed by honest team members who will be transparent with you every step of the way.

Creating Valuable Content

Valuable content is at the heart of SEO. When lawyers create their own blog posts or articles, it’s typical for those particular posts not to yield the desired results. It isn’t easy to gain organic traffic even if you have a general understanding of optimizing content (like targeting keywords through your headings or using long-tail keywords to narrow down a specific audience) and social media posts.

Most lawyers who develop content without the assistance of an outside digital marketing team cannot succeed due to time constraints or a lack of targeted SEO knowledge within their marketing team (which is completely normal). Writing and optimizing a piece of content for SEO takes hours of extensive research while focusing on the following.

Search Intent

One of the most overlooked SEO components, search intent, looks at the reasons or the “why” behind a consumer search. Search intent matters because Google greatly emphasizes results that fit user queries.

Keyword Research

Without the proper keyword research, it’s nearly impossible to craft a relevant piece of content. Keywords are the foundation of a good SEO strategy, and pinpointing the correct ones is an intricate process.

On-Page Structure

Heading structure is imperative, as it helps search engines understand the information on the page. It is essential to organize information in an engaging and valuable way for the reader, too.

Content is one of the most significant pieces of an effective SEO strategy. Without well-organized, high-quality content, you will not rank. A dedicated, SEO-focused digital marketing team will make all the difference.

Building a Backlink Campaign

Also known as off-page SEO (as we briefly touched on earlier), backlinking is one of the best ways to get Google to put its faith in the content you provide. Once you’ve written and curated your content for your targeted audience, it’s time to build backlinks to that content, whether a blog post or a landing page.

Essentially, a backlink is when other websites link back to your site as a resource. Backlinks are important not only for ranking but also for deliverability and referral traffic. A good backlink has authority, relevance, and pristine placement. Running a backlinking campaign is excessively time-consuming, but Array Digital has SEO experts specializing in this process specifically for law firms.

Completing a Technical SEO Audit

Technical SEO requires a deep knowledge of programming and access to specialized software that “speaks” to one another.  Technical SEO audits are intense and include checking every technical aspect, along with ranking factors, of your website’s SEO. With an audit such as this, we’re essentially checking the health of your website to determine which changes will make for a better, more user-friendly, optimized experience.

Optimizing On-Page Elements

On-page SEO asks websites to optimize information on each individual webpage, such as meta descriptions, to gain a higher rank in SERPs. It’s important to note that on-page SEO doesn’t refer to content only but also the HTML code, as well.

We should note the difference between on-page SEO and technical SEO to avoid confusion. Technical SEO refers to any optimization outside of the actual content, or written text, on a webpage. On-page SEO refers to that content, in all of its forms, and optimizing it for better rank results.

Localizing Your SEO

Localizing your law firm’s SEO is crucial. This can be done in a few ways.

Google My Business

Setting up a Google My Business profile is imperative because it allows you to list your brand on Google Maps, which will cause it to show up in local SERPs. You can easily display your location or website, hours of operation, and contact information in your Google My Business profile.

Local Pack for Google Maps

The Local Pack on Google Maps appears at the top of a SERP for a local consumer search. The Local Pack typically consists of three organic matching results, though businesses running a Google Adset can pop up here.

It is impossible to be in the Local Pack without a Google My Business profile. Google bases these results on the closeness of the business to the user, the search query relevance, and profile prominence.

Localized law firms should consider “near me” searches when optimizing for SEO. Array Digital can optimize content with phrases like “Georgia Personal Injury Attorney” or “Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta.” These phrases essentially persuade the Google algorithm to show that webpage to users in the area. For example, when someone in Atlanta types “personal injury attorney near me,” the algorithm will show the optimized page without paying for a single ad.

How Does SEO Compare to Online Advertising?

Online advertising is an effective way to gain paid traffic and new clients. However, with PPC (pay-per-click) ads, you’ll have to set aside a daily spending budget and bid on your desired key phrases, and you’ll pay Google for the conversion when someone clicks on your ad. 

SEO is a natural way of encouraging potential clients to find your services, and there is no additional cost for conversions. However, SEO requires patience as the results build steadily over time, whereas with a paid ad, you’ll likely see new visitors quickly but with less predictable website actions (like higher bounce rates).

SEO value can last much longer than other paid marketing strategies. For example, Array Digital could craft a piece of content today that sees years of views, converting many readers into cases. This viewership lasts long after the initial publication of the piece, and there is no extra effort required within the next several months for that piece to continue to perform well.

Ranking well on Google means that many people will consistently see your name at the top of SERPs, establishing brand recall and building trust. It’s a psychological game that works the same way as television commercials, raising the chance of consumer purchases with increased exposure.

When it comes to SEO and online advertising, one is not better than the other. They accomplish the same goals in different ways, with unique benefits to businesses and consumers.

When Can I Expect to See Results From SEO?

We cannot stress enough that SEO does not work instantly, but we can also guarantee it will work in time. Some professionals hope their SEO tactics work in 30 to 60 days, but in reality, a well-executed SEO strategy can take up to 12 months to show results. Methods differ from company to company, but it’s vital to allow at least 6 to 12 months for noticeable developments.

Waiting for your SEO strategy to kick in is not necessarily bad. In retrospect, the amount of time it takes for a website to build SEO credibility (about a year) is as long as it will take for that same SEO credibility to decline. If you’re running a successful SEO campaign that you stop putting work into today, you’ll continue to see traffic from your abandoned SEO for quite some time.

Remember, organic SEO techniques have a higher click-through rate and produce more consumer trust than running an ad, with organic searches driving over 50% of website traffic. An aggressive search engine optimization agenda offers faster results than a moderate or basic plan. It’s best to speak with a marketing specialist at Array Digital to determine which is right for you.

Call Array Digital to Learn More About Our Custom SEO Offerings

Array Digital marketing packages for our clients, but we also specialize in custom solutions for law professionals. To request a free consultation, call 757.333.3021 or complete the online contact form to speak with an experienced digital marketing expert at Array Digital today.

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Written By Erik J. Olson
Founder & CEO
Erik J. Olson is the Founder & CEO of Array Digital—a marketing agency that enables its clients to achieve their dreams, fulfill their missions, and impact more lives with their services.

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