SEO Cookbook for legal organizations

Are you a court or legal aid group that’s hoping to serve more of your audience with the website you’ve built?

Dave Guarino, a civic technologist, has written an SEO Cookbook that introduces non-technical legal professionals to the essentials of Internet Search & how to optimize your website to place higher when people search for their legal problems.

Our site presents Dave’s SEO Cookbook for you to read & use as you make plans for improving your website & its rank.

Please let us know if you have additional questions or needs, that we can help you solve.


Where do people start on your legal website?

Many legal aid and court groups build their website with the assumption that people will start at the home page. But that might not reflect people’s actual journeys through your website.

Where do people start on your website?

If most of your visitors are coming from Google Search, they are likely being sent to where your detailed content is. Google Search will try to match their search query with the page and content that has the substance that will help them. That means Google Search may be sending them to your pages with FAQs, guides, tutorials, and other areas with high amounts of specific, detailed substance.

Unless a person is searching for your organization by name, Google Search is likely not sending them to your home page.

So what does that mean for your website design? Of course, still invest in a great homepage with clear messaging, design, and support. But on your sub-pages, especially those with lots of detailed content, then be sure to have links, navigation tools, and other important resources there on those high-traffic, detailed pages. For example:

  • Putting other common documents and pages that people with this problem might have Google Search may have put them in the deep-end. Could you give them more context and links, that might give them other context and tools.
  • Adding in an off-ramp to Legal Aid phone numbers or intake processes
  • Emphasizing the jurisdiction of the site, so that the person coming to this page knows if it applies to them or not.
  • Signaling the authority of the site so that the user knows that it is trustworthy, free, and authoritative.

Even when people are starting at the “end” — by going straight to the detailed resource end-point rather than the starting home page — your design can support them wherever they land.