Give A Thumbs-Up To Adaptable SEO

thumb-up-605738_1280Search Engine Optimization can stymie even the most savvy legal marketers.  This is due to the fact that SEO does not behave like other forms of marketing.  It takes a completely different set of skills in order to succeed, and there’s always the chance that, without warning, Google will change the rules of the game, forcing you to scramble in order to adjust to the new reality.

Imagine that a game at a casino worked the same way.  You’re sitting there playing blackjack, and in the middle of a hot streak, the pit boss comes over, whispers something in the dealer’s ear, and suddenly the dealer tells everyone at the table that face cards are worth nine instead of ten.  You have to alter your strategy entirely, realizing that getting a black jack is not as easy as it used to be.

That’s how SEO tends to work.  You could be putting forth an excellent strategy that has you ranking for a few of the keywords that matter to your practice when suddenly that strategy becomes devalued by a search engine.  This may not seem fair, but the truth is that everyone engaged in SEO is beholden to what Google decides to emphasize in the search results.

Law firms therefore have to be realistic about how an SEO effort might play out, and to that end, you might consider some of the insights contained in a recent report in Search Engine Land.  The author emphasizes the importance of being realistic with one’s expectations about SEO.  You can move mountains with the right strategy, but the problem is that too many people expect mountains to be moved instantly if only the correct shortcuts are applied.

You know what they say:  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  It takes a little bit of time and a lotta bit of work in order to achieve true success in a search engine.  Today, we’re going to look at how that might be accomplished in a way that doesn’t hinge on shortcuts or tricks.  In doing, success won’t be fleeting; it will be yours for months, years, and hopefully, even decades.

bale-191199_640A Helping Land

We’ve talked before on this very blog about how law firms that really want to scale the search results need to offer a helping hand to their visitors.  But maybe even that doesn’t go far enough; in the modern landscape, a legal practice has to make their online presence an entire helping land.

By offering a free consultation, buying Pay Per Click ads, and using social media to drum up awareness for your law firm, you’re extending a helping hand.  The problem is that people have to be willing to take the hand you’ve extended.  Instead, build a helping land.  No matter where a person turns, contact with you should bring them the answers they seek, perhaps even before they know precisely what they’re seeking.

Use your website to describe exactly what you do in great detail.  Make a list of every single practice area that you have experience with and that you’re qualified to oversee.  Then, once you’ve listed every practice area, take each of those and break them down further into the topics that make up each area. Then break each of those down into questions that an individual might ask when they ask for your help.

You should have a pretty extensive list when all is said and done.  And that’s okay, because this will make up the full totality of the keywords that your law firm will be attempting to rank for and that prospective clients will be searching.  At the top will be the most common terms, things like “personal injury lawyer” and “family attorney.”  At the bottom will be less searched but not necessarily less important phrases to cover on your website, terms along the lines of “how to pay my medical bills” and “filing a restraining order.”

This is the content marketing effort that will ensure your SEO proves successful for a long time into the future.  Google may change the rules of the game, but one thing that’s not likely to change anytime soon is an emphasis on bringing people the most helpful results possible.  This requires keywords and great content surrounding those keywords on your website.  Do a better job offering assistance than anyone else in your area and your position in the search results should be assured over the course of time.

hands-600497_640A World Of Change

Google has a tendency to change the rules, and while that might not be true of the importance of helpful content, it’s certainly true with other aspects of SEO.

Today, there’s somewhat of a debate over the value of social media for SEO efforts.  Most people seem to believe that Google isn’t really counting links and keywords that pop up on social channels.  That being said, there’s some consensus that social signals have a small role to play, as a company that’s able to insert itself into a conversation may perhaps reap a little bit of an SEO payoff.

Imagine if tomorrow Google decides, yep, links on Instagram and Twitter are the new SEO currency.  Suddenly the law firm with the most links on those platforms will skyrocket to the top, and every other law firm will be forced to play catch-up.

This probably isn’t going to happen, but it illustrates an important point about the ever-changing nature of the game.  Tomorrow, Google might lose its mind and determine that social media is more important than anything, and you must adapt.  Or, more authority could be given to directory links or anchor links from a news organization.

Slight fluctuations occur all the time, with larger shifts happening with regularity that you might be slightly astonished by.  Google doesn’t always make these changes clear, but if you follow the right blogs, you can bet that there will be hubbub surrounding the changes.  Be ready to drop what you’re doing at a moment’s notice, and don’t neglect any part of online marketing, as it could soon become the primo indicator of search result position.

SEO Work Is Never Done

SEO is never done, but that’s okay. With every change comes a new opportunity to reach clients, and with every client comes another chance to increase search standing.  That’s a process you want to be a part of.

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Posted In: law firm SEO