Boost Your Law Firm's Google Rankings: The Importance of E-E-A-T and YMYL

March 12, 2023
min read

As a lawyer, you know that the advice you provide your clients has the power the greatly impact the outcome of that persons future, for better or for worse. Google knows this too and as a result, sets the bar for content quality higher for legal services websites than many other industries to ensure it's showing the right results to its users.

Why and how do they do this?

Google raises the bar when it comes to the quality of content produced by law firms, particularly due to their principle of "E-E-A-T," an acronym for "Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness." In a notable update in December 2022, "Experience" was added to the principle, making the already stringent guidelines even more challenging to meet.

Additionally, Google employs the principle of "YMYL" - "Your Money or Your Life" - to further set a high bar for quality content. In essence, Google understands that legal information can have a deep impact on a person's life or financial situation. As such, it enforces that websites giving legal advice, which can influence a person's well-being, must provide well researched, truthful, up to date content. This places a substantial responsibility on law firms to meet these standards with their content.

Why is this so?

When turning to the web for legal advice, users are placing their trust in the information they encounter.

If someone spends $50 on a bedside lamp they end up liking it's not the end of the world but if someone makes a poor decision relating to a legal matter based off information received online, it could have a hugely detrimental impact on their future life.

Therefore, Google prioritises content from credible sources. It plays a crucial part in guiding important decisions related to a person's rights, legal choices, or even their income.

But we are experts, surely Google know this?

Ironic though it might seem, Google is not always privy to your expertise— not without clear and unequivocal evidence.

Demonstrating your expertise and authority goes beyond simply claiming you are the best lawyers in your area of law. Google assesses it based on the quality of your content, the level of onsite search engine optimisation (SEO), and numerous other factors.

What can we do to demonstrate our experience, experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness?

As with any industry, you need to get the basics on on-site technical SEO right such as implementing proper metadata, including title tags and meta descriptions.

  • Use Article Schema: Implementing article schema helps to outline the structure of your site content in a way that is beneficial for search engine optimisation. This typically involves showing users who wrote or legally checked the content on articles and then having code in the background which provides Google with more information such as the authors Linkedin URL, where they studied law, what year they qualified, industry memberships, awards won and so specialist accreditations or certifications. Tip: Author information should at a minimum be shown on blog/article pages but could also be included in a more subtle way on other information pages on your website.
  • Showcase Legal Credentials and Achievements: Prominently display the credentials and awards of your lawyers on your website. These can be in the form of individual bio's on a dedicated "Team" page. Further, you can emphasise their specialty areas, years of experience and client testimonials. This not only exhibits expertise but also enhances the "Trustworthiness" of your firm.
  • Link to your solicitors Linkedin profiles as this will show Google detailed information on their experience, education and endorsements (assuming your team keep their profiles up to date).
  • Link to original website of any awards won to help Google verify these claims - As an example, if you won a Doyles Award for family lawyers in Sydney then you'd want to include a link back to the awards list at (I did check this for the top ranked lawyer on the list and they had done this, nice job Paul!).
  • Deliver Insightful Legal Content: Regularly post content that provides valuable insights into various legal matters. This could encompass blogs, articles, short videos, or podcasts. Well-researched and easily understandable content shows your expertise and enhances the "Authoritativeness" of your site.
  • Think about your audience before you start writing any content: An article aimed at others within the legal profession is likely to be very different to one aimed at potential clients, especially for consumer law topics such as family law, wills or personal injury. Dry text heavy content full of legal jargon is likely to lose people pretty quickly if they don't have a legal background.
  • Answer questions people are already looking for: Tools such as SEMrush or AnswerThePublic can help you find questions people search for every month. By providing quality answers you can attract traffic from a far wider range of searches than just the top level searches such as 'family lawyers sydney'.
  • Keep Content Updated: Stay updated with the most recent legal changes and rulings, and reflect these changes in your content. Regular updates demonstrate your firm’s commitment to providing accurate and up-to-date information, showing your "Expertise". Try to ensure your content gets an update from time to time rather than your website remaining stagnant and aging until you do a major web design update every few years.
  • Utilise Trust Signals: Incorporate elements like client testimonials, case studies, and successful verdicts to establish credibility and trust. These 'trust signals’ show you are reliable and successful in your field, contributing to your overall "Trustworthiness".
  • Emphasise User Experience: Ensure your website is user-friendly. It should be easy to navigate, load quickly and be mobile-friendly. A site that readily guides visitors to sought-after information conveys "Experience", the newly-added fourth consideration. Tip: Run your website through Google's Page Speed Insights tool to see any major issues and take a look within your Google Search Console account (used to be called Webmaster Tools). If you don't have access to Google Search Console then make sure this is set up.
  • Good reviews demonstrate trust: Getting regular good Google reviews can be a way of demonstrating to Google you are creating positive outcomes for your clients.
  • Try to earn high quality backlinks: No, I'm not talking about dodgy backlinks from those SEO agencies or guest post providers you get three times a day (sigh)! I'm talking about links for other sites that will give Google the confidence you should be trusted. Here are some ideas:
  • Write articles for legal publications or associations: Offer to write articles for legal journals and magazines or the blog of legal associations.
  • Event sponsorships and charities: You may be able to get a link by sponsoring an event such as a legal industry conference or from a school, university or charity.
  • Links from awards: By entering into reputable legal awards then you may receive a link back to your site if you are a winner.

Want more traffic to your legal website?

Request a free strategy call and get some initial insights into what could improve your website by booking a free call with our Director, Richard Greenwood - book call here.

Richard was SEO Manager for Australia's largest travel agency, Flight Centre Group and massively grew the organic traffic while heading up marketing activities in-house for two fast growing personal injury law firms in Queensland.

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