Understanding basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of taking control of your law firm’s web presence.

Google’s website ranking process involves hundreds of different factors — but one area that website owners have control over is ensuring their website follows Google’s quality guidelines.

The notion that potential clients only type in keywords to Google — and that keywords alone affect ranking — is outdated. Potential clients ask Google a lot of complex questions and phrases, and Google is listening: the company is seeing major increases in its ability to process complex and obscure queries to give search engine users the most relevant results.

Knowing what search engines are capable of — and what their limitations are — can help law firms properly build and format their web content in a way that search engines recognize and appreciate. The result may be better rankings, more traffic, and an increase in your law firm’s business.

With algorithm updates and new additions to search guidelines, 2016’s search engines will be smarter than ever before — and that means lawyers will want to be sure their websites are communicating the right message to search engines — and to potential clients on the web.