An SEO glossary

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. This glossary explains all the terms relevant to that practice and more generally to website development. There are many more useful articles on these topics on the Hallam Blog. 301 Redirect – […]

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Right to be forgotten on Google only applies in EU

Much has been written about the problems surrounding permanence of data once it has been uploaded to the internet – whether it’s a misjudged Twitter comment by a politician from 10 years ago, or a risqué photo from bacchanalian university days which emerges when someone is looking for a job. The difficulty of erasure impinges […]

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The building blocks for more intelligent legal research

We live in a world of facial recognition, genome sequencing, and automatic fraud detection. You can talk to your phone out loud have it translate your words into any language you like. Your car can drive itself (almost …).

That is to say – the machines are getting clever. Very clever indeed. Tasks previously thought to require human intelligence and intervention are being automated at a spellbinding pace. Businesses, governments and academic institutions around the world are seeing operations turned on their head with better algorithms, more computing power and more data. Whether you think that’s exciting or terrifying, what isn’t up for discussion is that it’s inevitable.

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Getting the best from GOV.UK

The Government has been transitioning its published web data to the GOV.UK platform over the last few years. Since the move of departmental websites over to GOV.UK, which completed in December 2014, documents and information have become increasingly hard to find. Collections of information on certain topics that previously could be browsed on departmental websites have mostly disappeared and the emphasis seems to be on the user to use the search function. Information also went missing in the transition, with decisions made not to move certain documents to GOV.UK, allowing them to be found and accessed only via the UK Government Web Archive. Yet the search functionality of GOV.UK is not particularly sophisticated, with minimal filtering options (the only current filter is “by department”) and you’ll need to navigate through the Archive to re-find information you may have bookmarked previously.

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Google’s mobile-friendly updates

Google has rolled out another significant update to its algorithm, the rules it uses to determine the rankings of websites in the search results. The “mobile-friendly” update went live on 21 April of this year, and it is designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly web pages in the Google mobile search results.

More than 50 per cent of all searches on Google take place on a mobile device, and this change only impacts mobile searches, not desktop or tablet searches.

The mobile-friendly update is designed to address websites with a poor mobile experience like text that is too small, having to scroll horizontally, or Flash content that won’t play.

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SEO: law and good practice


Humans love miracles. Even if you don’t believe that Jesus turned water into wine or fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish, miracle cures still attract many. The 19th century gave us snake oil salesmen whose products could cure all ills. Even today people still believe in losing weight through taking obscure supplements, or preventing illness and disease with a tablet (probably organic).

The desire for quick results was always going to appeal in the digital arena, no more so than when the Holy Grail is not shedding a few pounds but getting to the top spot on Google (organically of course). In a world where being found easily online is seen as the essential route to business success, it is not surprising that so many modern day snake oil salesmen offer their services alongside the genuine and knowledgeable. Search engine consultants offer modern digital miracles, enticing new punters with promises to get your business to the top of Google’s organic search results.

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Who links to my site?

Hallam Internet

With webmasters and site owners talking about the signals that links are sending to Google about their website, it is very important to know who is linking to you. We find that many business owners do not know how to check the links to their website and often do not even know that they can do this.

Finding out who links to your site can give you lots of information that you can work with. The information allows you to judge your successes and also to identify some problems that you need to work on, fix or avoid in the future.

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Long tail SEO for law firms

As reliance on the internet becomes ever more prevalent and Google is considered to be more of an authority on all matters than ever before, reaching the upper echelons of search engine rankings is of paramount importance to legal firms.

The competition is high but the attractive Google real estate is extremely limited so implementing a successful Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) campaign is very necessary to attract online interest. If your legal firm does not have the same level of marketing budget as the big boys then ranking well for popular key terms such as “London Solicitor” or “Compensation Specialists” may not be possible.

This is where long tail search terms come in handy as there is often not the same level of competition as the shorter, more popular key terms but they are still effective in directing the relevant traffic that may lead to enquiries.

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Getting local in search

The internet may be global, but for many firms of solicitors their most desirable customers are right on the doorstep in the local area and their potential customers are using the internet to find a local legal services provider. Google reports that more than 20 per cent of all searches have local intention, 92 per cent of Americans use their mobile phones to search for local business information and nearly 64 per cent of tablet users conduct a local search at least weekly.

A search for local services triggers a number of different results in the Google search results and your firm should be addressing each opportunity to maximise your visibility. The local results will vary depending on the device used to search: a PC will display different results to those showing on a mobile phone. Local SEO is all about helping your firm to rank well for local searches, irrespective of the device used to search.

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Google Hummingbird takes flight


As the world’s most popular search engine celebrated its 15th anniversary in September 2013, it revealed a new search algorithm named Hummingbird. According to the head of search at Google, Amit Singhal, Hummingbird represents the most dramatic change to Google search for over a decade. Google has been reluctant to disclose any specifics of the changes, but provided the following statement:

Hummingbird pays more attention to each word in the query, ensuring the whole query is taken into account – so if a resulting page is a bit less strong in general, but it’s the most relevant to your search terms, that’s the result you’ll get ”¦ And if there are plenty of relevant matches to your search terms, Hummingbird does a better job picking the strongest page for you.

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A solicitor’s eye view of SEO

In December 2007 I finally decided I knew enough about my chosen field to open up my own firm, Driving Defences LLP. My partner, Philip Trotter, and I, opened the door and waited for the work to flow in. I made my website as good as I could, plastered my phone number all over it and waited for the telephone to ring. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

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Guide to SEO for law firms

This article is intended as a step-by-step guide to optimising your website from a Search Engine Optimisation point of view (SEO) – in other words, how to be “found” by the major search engines and given a good position in the results page.

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