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law firm websites, Seo

Https: Are law firms’ websites secure?

The wwworld has changed.

Time was when a www. before something and a .com at the end was all you needed to conquer the internet. No more. Beyond a hashtag and an influencer, the latest must-have accessory for a law firm website is the letter ‘s’.

https:// is how your web address should begin nowadays. It means that information passed between your machine and the server presenting you the webpage is secure.

There’s a load of technical reasons for this being the right approach, and you can read about them at your leisure (here and here, for example).

Now, while I don’t want my data harvesting or people guessing who I am by interrupting my data during a browser session, my main issue is much more about the top of the sales funnel. If you don’t have an SSL certificate on your website, then:

  • Some users will navigate away; and/or
  • Chrome – the world’s most-used web browser – won’t even display your page; and/or
  • Some people will think it a little odd that you are presenting yourself as a firm that can handle cyber attacks and confidential information, and yet you can’t lock down the basics.

In other words, you’ll lose web traffic. And at TBD, we hate it when law firms lose traffic.

Consider that for a minute: how hard is it to bring traffic to your site? How hard do you have to work to differentiate your posts from other firms’? Hours and hours spent writing the right kind of posts or content only to have them navigate away because of a technicality. That’s crazy.

Let’s put it to the test

We ran a survey of the top 25 UK law firms’ websites, and scored them on the following points:
Q1 – does the brand name along resolve to their web address? (i.e. does typing just cliffordchance.com in your browser take you to their website)
Q2 – is the site an https website? (i.e. does https://cliffordchance.com or https://www.cliffordchance.com exist?)
Q3 – is the default Google result an https website? (if you google ‘Clifford Chance’ is the first result one that starts with https:// ?)
Q4 – does http resolve to https? (i.e. if you type in http://cliffordchance.com, does it resolve to the secure site ?)
Q5 – does www. resolve to the https site? (i.e. does www.cliffordchance.com resolve to a site that begins https:// ?)
Q6 – does https without www resolve to an https site? (i.e. does https://cliffordchance.com take you to the secure https site?)

Results for the top 25 law firms

Perfect https scores

With six out of six, we have Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, CMS, Ashurst, Clyde & Co, Gowling WLG, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Irwin Mitchell, DAC Beachcroft, DWF and Stephenson Harwood.

Imperfect scores

Five of the top 25 firms do not have a secure website. If you’d like to know if your firm is on the ‘not secured’ list, then please get in touch.

Converting your site to https isn’t too hard. There are a variety of different ways that people could and do type in your web address, and if you fail to redirect any of them, you’re killing off traffic unnecessarily.

Thoughts

I asked Nicholas Kosar, founder of MarketKulture, a digital consultancy for his thoughts on this:

“Most attorneys would probably agree that the best client-lawyer relationships are built on trust”, he stated  “https is a real ranking signal that Google uses to rank sites in its organic search results, and recent studies have shown that as many as 75% of search results are from these favored https domains. So not only is https an increasingly important factor in SEO, but an https connection assures Google that visitors to a website can trust the site, not to mention the law firm behind that site.”

Bram Vanoirbeek, founder of TheThingAboutDigital.com adds that:

“Https is also essential if you want to jump on the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) wagon, a framework that allows mobile pages to load superfast. Since mobile is the future, and AMP likely the future of mobile, I wouldn’t miss out on that initial step to get your firm’s website ready.”

Next steps

If you’d like a modern, quick website which lawyers, future lawyers, clients, and Google will love and trust, but which doesn’t cost the earth, then please do get in touch.

Maybe one as beautiful as this: HimsworthScott.com