Is your firm’s mobile device website ready for 2019? Do you have your AMP game on? If you aren’t sure what an AMP is at this point, there’s a good chance you NEED to step up your game a bit when it comes to a mobile website for lawyers in 2019, because Google has!

For the last few years Google Analytics has reigned supreme in the world of Digital Marketing Everyone, it seems, finds themselves trying to figure out the Google Mystery so they can keep their law firm relevant when it comes to potential client’s searching for legal services Online.

With technology changing at what can feel like the speed of light, it can be challenging to try and stay current, much less to get ahead of the curve!

But here are some tips to help you make the grade when it comes to maximizing your Google standings and rankings these days. A properly built mobile website for lawyers is more important than ever before.

In case you missed the “Memo,” Google Indexing made a HUGE change this past year; Welcome to the world of MOBILE DEVICE INDEXING!

Google is all about encouraging and rewarding the user friendling experience. Over 60% of ALL GOOGLE Searches are now coming from mobile devices! So it’s no great wonder that this past year Google changed the way they index/evaluate websites: They have now shifted to a Mobile Device Indexing system: This means that Google evaluates your law firm’s website based on the condition/ content/ load up speed of your mobile device website, and not your traditional desktop or laptop viewed website.

This shift is HUGE and means that you MUST make sure any potential client that searches for your firm and visits your firm’s website from their phone has an exceptional experience. Your mobile site needs to be fast, full of organic content and user-friendly! What follows is a primer for constructing a proper mobile website for lawyers:

1. GET YOUR AMP GAME ON:
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): It’s Google’s Project aimed at speeding up the time it takes for users to load your website and content pages. Firms whose Pages make use of AMP coding improve their search rankings.

AMP is open source technology with its own mini form of HTML designed to speed up the user’s experience. More than 2 billion AMP pages have been published by 900k domains, and with loading speeds of less than .5 seconds, things are speeding up!

You will want to make sure your web designer/manager is maximizing the use of AMP pages, and then keeping their eyes on this ball by tracking performance with appropriate Google analytics. The game has changed, and Google nalytics now includes an AMP analytics library via its amp project.

Google gave us a clear heads up in their “best practices” posting updated November 16, 2018: “Mobile-first indexing means Google will predominately use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.” See e.g., developers.google.com Prepare for mobile-first indexing.

Google’s rationale is simple: most Google’s users now access Google via their mobile device, so Google will now use the mobile version of a page’s content for its indexing. They will NOT use multiple indexing systems, so desk top versions will NOT be evaluated at all unless that’s all your firm has to offer.

Google spells it out for us: “With mobile-first indexing Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent.” Id.

Google gives us another clear directive:

“Your mobile site should contain the same content as your desktop site. If your mobile site has less content than your desktop site, you should consider updating your mobile site so that its primary content is equivalent with your desktop site. This includes text, images (with alt-attribute), and videos -- in the usual crawlable and indexable formats.”

2. MOBILE CONTENT IS KING:
Here’s what might surprise you: When your website was set up, it’s likely that your designer was working on his or her desk top or lap top. When they were setting up your firm’s mobile site, they were probably still working on their desk top or lap top…. SO, you want to check and make sure that you aren’t losing valuable content in the translation.

Organic content is critical; we know that already…. But all that great content will be rendered irrelevant, from a Google perspective, if it isn’t now accessible quickly and easily on a mobile device! You must be designing your website with the mobile device user in mind.

Is your mobile mite user friendly and responsive? Is it up to date? This is the critical direction you must take your firm in 2019, unless you want to lose valuable ground in the Google world. (and lose the ideal clients you are trying to attract in the first place.)

3. PERFORM A USER TEST:
Red Alert: You as a firm owner need to know how well your mobile site is going to perform in this new mobile device analysis: Pull up your website on your own mobile device. Look at how user friendly it appears and check to make sure that a potential client can easily access all the valuable content you have been posting on your firm’s site. What good are your Blogs, Q and A videos, free legal guide lead magnets, etc. if Google or your user can’t find them?

The bots that are scanning your firm’s web content must be able to find your organic content for it to do any good in the Google analysis. (not to mention the ideal client you are trying to woo)

USE DROP DOWNS: Obviously, it is challenging to attempt to design mobile pages that deliver loads of great content clearly and without junking up the experience. That’s where drop down menus can really help you. Using drop down menus will give you an opportunity to streamline the accessibility for a great deal of organic content more easily.

Also check the perimeters and ease of use: You want to make sure that the ideal clients attempting to access your firm via their mobile device aren’t having to do a scroll and zoom dance to try and access content. If it’s too difficult to get to the content, they will move on to another firm’s site, and Google registers this inaccessibility. And, like a ball, you’ll be bouncing, but NOT scoring.

Even if you think your firm is good to go because you have adjusted your website pages to accommodate mobile use, you need to check and see what you really have: Pull up your firm’s site on YOUR mobile device: look at the URL in the address bar at the top: if it says “ mobile” unfortunately, you are in the 8-track or cassette world! Given the increase in mobile device use and Google’s responses to that evolution, you must evolve, too!

A whopping 62% of the WORLD has gone mobile, and it’s projected to hit 67% this year! With over 60% of paid Google search clicks originating from mobile phones, the time is NOW to make sure you are taking all the reasonable measures you can to maximize your presence.

Get prepared to stay ahead of the curve and your competition with PILMMA’s SUPER SUMMIT, June 25-28, 2019 in New Orleans!!

PILMMA is committed to helping you navigate the legal marketing world with greater knowledge, including the world of Google analytics, AMP, SEO, PPC and the rest. We have put together our 2019 Super Summit being held June 25-28, 2019 in New Orleans, to help lawyers just like you stay up to date on the latest marketing trends for 2019.

If this article has sparked your interest, raised questions, or has you thinking about whether you and your firm have a properly built mobile website for lawyers -- and you are staying ahead of the curve -- then let PILMMA help you! Come to this year’s PILMMA Super SUMMIT and bring your thinking cap and your legal pad; there’s a LOT to learn! For more information and to register, just go to www.pilmmasummit.com.


About the author

mobile website for lawyers

Tiana Hinnant Hardison

Tiana Hinnant Hardison practiced law for over 27 years, with an emphasis on personal injury and disability law and now focuses her time and energies with PILMMA. You may contact Tiana at tiana@pilmma.org.

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