Five On-Page SEO Ranking Factors for Law Firms
Date: November 1, 2022
Search engines and users alike penalize websites that are slow to load. If you want to maintain a good SEO standing and safeguard your ability to remain top-of-mind with local clientele, then you have to speed it up.
You have a beautiful website. The design feels like an extension of the professionalism and expertise your law firm provides; the navigation allows potential clients to explore your firm’s offerings with great understanding, but there’s a problem: It takes longer to load than you would like. Does that really matter? The answer is a resounding YES.
Not only do major search engines penalize websites that are slow to load — users do, too. With slow site speeds, your potential clients can become discouraged, leave your website, and move on to the next local listing. In an industry where your clients are looking to you for trust, the last impression you want to make is one of frustration.
Even a few extra seconds of load time could have a massive impact on your on-page SEO score, bounce rate, and ability to grow your clientele.
Nearly half of people admit they don’t often wait over three seconds for a page to load. Even just a one-second delay can create a:
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
- 7% dip in conversions
- 11% fewer page views
So, a fast site isn’t a “nice to have,” it is essential — not only for sustaining your good standing with the search engines but to maintain a healthy reputation and continue to connect with the people who need your law firms’ expertise the most.
Why does website speed matter?
We can all agree that fast-loading websites are preferable to slow-loading ones, but the extent to which load times matter is more significant than you might think. Not only do fast load times help your on-page SEO, slow load times are the silent killer of conversions.
So, how slow is too slow? Well, 47% of online users expect a website to load within two seconds or less. According to 2018 research by Google whose findings still ring true today, 53% of people will leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load. Even when visitors do decide to wait it out and stay on your website, slow loading times can be the reason that they choose not to return.
The issue is, the average mobile site can take up to 15 seconds to load, and most websites can take around 8-11 seconds. But, because of the direct correlation between page speed and user experience, Google implemented a page speed update to its algorithm in July 2018 that is still relevant today. Any website with slow load times may find itself sliding down the SERPs, regardless of the rest of the user experience on that site. Poor page speed alone is enough to get you punished.
Sluggish load times are not a complicated problem to fix, but the first step is figuring out what your current speed is. Google’s Page Speed Insights tool will give you a detailed description of how fast your site loads, on both desktop and mobile.
How to make your site load faster
According to research performed in 2020, the recommended size for a website is under 500 KB, but most sites range from 1.3 MB to 2.5 MB. There is a direct connection between site speed and site weight; so, if you reduce the amount of “stuff” required for your page to properly load, then your loading times will be faster, in-turn helping your on-page SEO.
Here are five ways to increase load times and improve the overall performance of your law firm’s website.
Make your images smaller
Images play a big role in your website’s loading times, and large files are infamous for slowing down your page speed. Ensure that your images are no bigger than they need to be and that they are an appropriate file format.
Clear up redirects
Every time a page redirects to another page, users have to wait for the HTTP request and response cycle to complete. The best thing to do is to check all redirects and simplify them as much as possible. Use Google Page Speed Insights to find any redirects active on your website.
Revisit browser caching
Browser caching is when browsers save copies of your website files so returning users don’t have to wait for the browser to reload your entire site. To help speed up your site, check to see if you have an expiration date for your cache. A year is generally an appropriate amount of time before a browser cache expires.
If your code is too weighted or contains unnecessary characters, site speed will be affected. You can use tools to optimize your code and remove superfluous characters, code comments, and unused code to help increase your load times.
Use a content delivery network (CDN)
A content delivery network is a group of servers situated in various geographic locations that store copies of your website so users located further away from your main server don’t have to wait a long time for pages to load. Using a CDN can make a significant impact on the time that it takes for potential clients to navigate through your website, learn more about your firm, and make the decision to work with you.
If you want to improve your website’s load times and its overall performance, these few tips for decreasing your website’s load times will get you started. Decreasing load times can be a daunting undertaking, but take it one step at a time, and you’ll see significant improvement in your site’s overall performance. However, there are still many different strategies you can implement to increase the page speed for your firm’s website, in-turn boosting your on-page SEO, keeping your law firm perfectly placed to make a good impact on potential clients.
Need help optimizing your page speed? Drop us a line.