Findlaw’s Problem Law Websites

Findlaw is a large company that offers legal practices website design services. Unfortunately, they charge a lot of money and create extremely poor quality websites that are not up to date with the latest web standards. Further, the websites they create actually can harm their clients’ rankings in search engines. We’ll take a look at the most common Findlaw website design and search engine optimization mistakes, and why you should pick a different company to do your website.

As a brief introduction, I’ve been designing websites since the early 1990s when websites first came out. I can write in HTML5, javascript, vbscript, active server pages, .Net, and CSS3 in notepad. I’ve been designing websites since the early 1990s as well and have been optimizing for search engine results since then. I’ve seen everything from Altavista search engine, to Google sprout up, to every iteration of the Google search algorithm, all the way to social media marketing. All the websites I design and optimize do very well and appear as the top choices for the keywords they are optimized for on Google. I give lectures at national conferences on search engine optimization for professionals and professional websites. I know what I am talking about.

Poor design, Slick marketing

The biggest problem with Findlaw’s web design is that there is a huge disconnect between the sales team and the web designers. The sales team will come to your office, put on a slick, state of the art presentation, and sell you a mountain of products. They will promise you the world. “How would you like to rank nationally for divorce attorney?” The web design team can’t deliver on those promises, and worst yet, don’t have the knowledge and experience to deliver. The web design and search engine strategies they employ actually will make you rank lower (or not at all), for the words you want to rank well for. I have analyzed a number of different Findlaw legal websites and their strategies for better ranking, will actual harm the clients.

Outdated technology

Using outdated technology is the second biggest problem. They use one single platform to run all the websites that they design for all their clients. The technology and web standards they use are outdated and wont rank well. As a simple example, they use flash and shockwave animations on their websites. Apple products can’t display those animations. They could have easily used HTML 5 or CSS 3 animations, but chose not to adopt the most advanced standards. Even android phones and tablets refuse to display flash now. It’s an outdated technology that is going by the wayside. Yet, Findlaw continues to use these in their design even in websites designed in 2013.

Not responsive

Their websites only display properly on desktop computers. They do not even have mobile versions of their websites. Sixty percent of all search and internet traffic is mobile now, and your website has to be responsive and adapt to smaller screen sizes. None of their websites are responsive and none of them even have a mobile version redirect. The term “responsive” means the website will respond and change based on the screen size you use to view it. You don’t need a separate mobile version. Here is an example: Now try it on your phone or desktop. Everything adapts. Even the menu.

Recycled design

Findlaw’s websites are cookie cutter websites that they just adapt to your practice. They all look the same and act the same. None of them are unique. Every “general law” website they create uses the same templates. Every “immigration website” looks like every other website. Google will rank you poorly, or remove you because you are copying others. They even name everyone’s logos the same. They are all “logo.png” as opposed to a meaningful word that will rank well on Google, like “immigration attorney”.

Images are not named appropriately

If you want to rank for “divorce attorney Wyoming”, your top logo image should be called “divorce attorney Wyoming.jpg” and not “logo.jpg”. They don’t seem to understand this simple concept. Their images are never named properly. You office building image should be called “Wyoming Attorney Office” as opposed to “office small”. Rather than using this simple technique, they try to stuff keywords in other areas of the website, which causes poorer rankings.

Keyword stuffing

Findlaw’s team seems to think that if they stuff keywords in the visible text on your website, that they will cause you to rank higher. This isn’t true and in fact, hurts your rankings. Google’s latest search engine algorithm updates hate keyword stuffing in the readable and visible text. Naming an image is fine, but stuffing the word “family law” into every sentence is inappropriate and will cause you to fall off the search engine result pages. It can even get your website banned.

No unique content

All the great articles that they are generating for you are not unique. There are hundreds of other law practice websites out there that re-use the same articles. Findlaw has a article repository and they just drop articles into it, and the articles are pushed out to your website and others. if you focus on business law, all the business articles are pushed to your website. Repetitive and non-unique content is punished by Google. Google will drop you from their result for having plagiarized and non-unique content. You need content, in context, to rank well. Not someone else’s content on your domain. Huge mistake.

Poorly worded Title tags

The most important search engine optimization element on any web page is still the Title tag. It’s the very top title of each web page. Google weighs that heavily. Findlaw doesn’t word these properly. If you want to rank well for “Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer”, that should be your title. Not “Finestein Law Offices”. Why waste the most valuable piece of internet search engine real estate? It’s inexcusable to not optimize the title tags.

No meta tag descriptions and keywords

Findlaw doesn’t even bother to enter meta tag descriptions or keywords. This is what shows up on most search engines when someone is searching for you. This may or may not be used to rank you, but it certainly can be used to draw people into clicking on your link when presented with a list of various options to choose from in a search engine result page.

If you are looking for a website, use a custom shop that is not law specific. Don’t fall into the Findlaw marketing trap and end up paying thousands of dollars a month for a poorly optimized, cookie-cutter website.