The Two P’s of Law Firm SEO: Professionalism and Patience

三月 28, 2011 by  Filed under: SEO 

When I went to law school, there was very little instruction on marketing, let alone search engine marketing. Which is very unfortunate, considering the impact that search engine marketing has had in the legal profession, especially within the last few years. This lack of understanding has led many legal professional to engage SEO techniques that are, well let’s just call them, less than professional.

So what’s ok and what’s not ok in terms of law firm SEO? This question is open to much debate. If this is your first time diving into search marketing, I recommend that you check out Google’s webmaster guidelines and read their beginner’s guide on the subject. I would also refer you to SEOmoz and SEObook (although you mind find the information there a little bit over your head).

Before we get into what’s ok and what’s not ok, let’s do a quick oversimplified run-down of search engines and marketing on search engines. First, it’s important to understand that most search engine results pages (the pages served up after you perform a search) contain two primary areas, paid listings and organic listings. Admittedly, most search engines are adding new areas of functionality, but understanding the simple paid vs. organic distinction is a good place to start.

Paid listings are pretty easy to understand. You pay the search engine to list an advertisement for your business, in our case law firm, on the search engine results page. These listings should include a “sponsored ad” tag and usually have a different background color to distinguish them from organic listings. Interestingly, many search engine users don’t even know the difference between paid and organic listings (an issue for the FTC to further investigate). On Google, these ads generally show up in the top three spots on the results page and down the right-hand column.

Organic results, on the other hand, cannot be achieved by paying the search engine. They are generated by Google’s proprietary algorithm. In other words, Google’s software arranges these results and decides what to display based upon the phrase that the user entered into the search query box. It has been said that complex search engines may use over two-hundred signals to determine which web pages are served up for a particular search.

Search engine optimization includes all the methods and techniques that someone can use to “influence” their organic listings in search results. You may see the words “rankings” and “positions” used to describe organic listings. However, it’s worth noting that rankings alone shouldn’t be the primary focus of your law firm SEO campaign.

Now that we’ve established a basic foundation, let’s discuss how to properly perform search engine optimization for your law firm.

In my opinion, the best place to start your law firm SEO campaign is with a blog. There are many definitions and concepts for what a blog entails, but for the purposes of this article, we will think of a blog as a website that allows an author to quickly, easily, and frequently add new pages and posts in an organized manner. Search engines love blogs, especially blogs built on the WordPress platform. There is a lot of information out there about legal blogs. If you’re looking for a good resource, check out Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs.

If you’re looking for an expensive way to get started with blogging, all you’ll need to do is register a domain, set up a hosting account (I recommend hostgator, but godaddy will do), and install WordPress (which both HostGator and GoDaddy make exceptionally easy to do).

You should put a lot of thought into your legal blog in terms of the subject matter you will right about and the voice your blog will take. You should also take a quick minute to review your state’s rules of professional responsibility in order to add any advertising disclaimers that may or may not be applicable to blogs depending upon who you ask.

Once you’re up and running with WordPress, and assuming that you have changed your privacy settings to allow search engines to crawl your blog, you’ve already started your SEO campaign off on the right foot. I also suggest that you stop by and do some reading on permalinks and look up some WordPress SEO plugins (I recommend yoast’s). You should also consider including some contact information and a contact form to allow visitors to get in touch with you.

Now it’s time to write your first post. But before you write, you will want to research. Sourcing for your blog posts is often the difference between successful and unsuccessful blogging. Be sure to include citations or links to your sources.

The quality of your blog posts and other content on your legal blog or website will be the primary factor in your ability to have success with online marketing. I have always boiled all of SEO down to one simple concept:

“Develop great search-mindful content on an organized site architecture and get it in front of those who are ready, willing, and able to link to and further publicize it.”

If you use WordPress, you will take care of the majority of the site architecture issues that you might face. If you are careful to use keywords in your titles and throughout your posts, you will do the majority of what needs to be done to make your content “search-mindful”. If you publicize your content through social media and other online channels to the right audience, you will attract links and further publicity.

It is these links and publicity that will provide the primary signals to search engines that will influence your web pages’ position in organic listings.

The two most important things to remember for SEO specifically for your law firm are professionalism and patience.

Don’t publish anything that you aren’t proud to attach your reputation to. Have patience. Search marketing doesn’t yield huge results overnight. However, if you stick to the basic plan of developing great content and getting in front of an audience that can link to it and further publicize it, you will start to see increases in traffic to your website, your search rankings, and eventually to new clients for your firm.

Gyi Tsakalakis is a law firm seo consultant with AttorneySync.

2835 N Sheffield
Chicago, IL 60657

Law firm web strategy.

Article Source:

Gyi Tsakalakis - EzineArticles Expert Author

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Prev Post:
Next Post: