2018 New Google SEO Ranking Factors for Lawyers – Part 1

Lawyer Google SEO Marketing in 2018 – Top Ranking Factors (1-20)

As many lawyers know, Google has recently once again updated how they rank sites and its now more important then ever to have authority on your site and demonstrate that you are an expert in your legal field.   That combined with links, content and other things will get your site ranked higher in Google these days.

Google recently released a document which shows that there are at least 200 Ranking Factors, 200!   Some obviously are more important then others, and some have almost no influence.   So its key to know what works in 2018 to get your lawyer website ranked higher, so you can start getting more leads from clients looking for your legal services

I am going to cover the first 20 ranking factors today and then make this a 10 part series that covers all 200 ranking factors.


1. Domain Age: In this video, Google’s Matt Cutts states that:

“The difference between a domain that’s six months old versus one year old is really not that big at all.”

In other words, they do use domain age…but it’s not very important.  SO maybe its time to get some new domains?

2. Keyword Appears in Top Level Domain: This doesn’t give the boost that it used to. But having a keyword in your domain still acts as a relevancy signal.

*** So this means that if you are a Las Vegas Accident Lawyer, there is some benefit of having a domain name of Las Vegas Accident Lawyer.com vs. Smithlaw.com.

3. Keyword As First Word in Domain: A domain that starts with their target keyword has an edge over sites that either don’t have that keyword in their domain (or have the keyword in the middle or end of their domain).

4. Domain registration length: A Google patent states:

“Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain.”

** SO This is one of those factors where its a NOBrainer and make sure you register your name for at least 5 years, if not 10.   Its a small thing, but they will add up.

5. Keyword in Subdomain: Moz’s expert panel agrees that a keyword appearing in the subdomain can boost rankings.

6. Domain History: A site with volatile ownership or several drops may tell Google to “reset” the site’s history, negating links pointing to the domain. Or, in certain cases, a penalized domain may carry the penalty over to the new owner.

7. Exact Match Domain: Exact Match Domains may still give you slight edge. But if your EMD happens to be a low-quality site, it’s vulnerable to the EMD update.

8. Public vs. Private WhoIs: Private WhoIs information may be a sign of “something to hide”. Googler Matt Cutts is quoted as stating:

“…When I checked the whois on them, they all had “whois privacy protection service” on them. That’s relatively unusual. …Having whois privacy turned on isn’t automatically bad, but once you get several of these factors all together, you’re often talking about a very different type of webmaster than the fellow who just has a single site or so.”

**** SO This means do NOT use privacy on your domain name

9. Penalized WhoIs Owner: If Google identifies a particular person as a spammer it makes sense that they would scrutinize other sites owned by that person.

10. Country TLD extension: Having a Country Code Top Level Domain (.cn, .pt, .ca) can help the site rank for that particular country… but it can limit the site’s ability to rank globally.


11. Keyword in Title Tag: Although not as critical as it once was, your title tag remains an important on-page SEO signal.

*** This is super key to make sure you have unique TITLE tags for each page and try and utilize these to get higher rankings for a wide variety of keywords. Use YOAST SEO to accomplish this

12. Title Tag Starts with Keyword: According to Moz , title tags that starts with a keyword tend to perform better than title tags with the keyword towards the end of the tag.  —> So this means

13. Keyword in Description Tag: Google doesn’t use the meta description tag as a direct ranking signal. However, your description tag can impact click-through-rate, which is a key ranking factor.   Also Google will point out if you have duplicate descriptions tag, so it makes sense to optimize these all.

14. Keyword Appears in H1 Tag: H1 tags are a “second title tag”. Along with your title tag, Google uses your H1 tag as a secondary relevancy signal, according to results from this correlation study:

**** You should only have ONE h1 tag per page.

15. TF-IDF: A fancy way of saying: “How often does a certain word appear in a document?”. The more often that word appears on a page, the more likely it is that the page is about that word. Google likely uses a sophisticated version of TF-IDF.

16. Content Length: Content with more words can cover a wider breadth and are likely preferable in the algorithm compared to shorter, superficial articles. Indeed, one recent ranking factors industry study found that content length correlated with SERP position.

17. Table of Contents: Using a linked table of contents can help Google better understand your page’s content. It can also result in sitelinks:

18. Keyword Density: Although not as important as it once was, Google may use it to determine the topic of a webpage. But going overboard can hurt you.

19. Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords in Content (LSI): LSI keywords help search engines extract meaning from words that have more than one meaning (for example: Apple the computer company vs. Apple the fruit). The presence/absence of LSI probably also acts as a content quality signal.

20. LSI Keywords in Title and Description Tags: As with webpage content, LSI keywords in page meta tags probably help Google discern between words with multiple potential meanings. May also act as a relevancy signal.

There are 180 more factors that Google uses! We will be covering them all.

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Create a new wordpress lawyer site, Social Media Management, organic SEO for lawyers, PPC Marketing for attorneys, MOBILE For Lawyers, Content Creation, Logos, Chatbot Marketing and Facebook Messenger Marketing.