Search engine optimization (SEO) describes all the strategies that can be implemented to increase your law firm’s visibility within organic search engine results, as opposed to, paid search or sponsored listings.
To us, successful law firm SEO strategy is all about publishing great search-mindful content and developing creative strategies to get that content in front of people who are ready, willing, and able to consume, link to, share, and publicize it.
- Great - More easily said than done. Make your content useful, helpful, informative, and interesting.
- Search-Mindful - Don’t write for search engines, but keep them in mind. Organize your content and provide search engines the signals they need.
- People – Remember, to write for people. When you write, think about all your possible audiences.
- Consume - Getting people to regularly consume your content should be one of your highest priorities.
- Link to – Consumption isn’t enough. Make your writing link-worthy. Why would someone want to link to this?
- Share – The web is becoming more and more social. Social signals are becoming more important to getting found online.
- Publicize – Write in a way that can spread. Share your content and engage with others who might be interested in further sharing.
Choosing to hire an SEO professional for your law firm is an important decision that can have a significantly positive impact on your firm’s web presence. On the other hand, hiring the wrong SEO consultant can cause damage to both your site’s visibility and your professional reputation.
That is why it is so important to both understand the basics of SEO and research the possible consequences and risks that retaining an irresponsible, incompetent, or unethical law firm SEO consultant can have. Here are some of the services that a law firm search engine optimization professional should provide:
- Inventory of your existing web presence.
- Analysis of your website’s content and site architecture.
- Technical assistance on website development.
- Content development, publication, and publicity.s
- Keyword research, strategy, and optimization.
- SEO training
- Local SEO strategies.
It’s also important to remember that search engine results pages typically include both organic, as well as, paid advertisements (usually identified as “Sponsored Links”). When interviewing prospective law firm web consultants, be sure to distinguish between organic SEO efforts and paid search management.
While there are a multitude of SEO resources online, many are out-of-date, misleading, or just plain wrong. If you’re looking for more free resources, I recommend checking out Google’s Webmaster Tools, the official Webmaster Central blog, and their discussion forum. These free search engine resources contain a wealth information about how search engines work and how to properly optimize your law firm website. I also recommend following SEOmoz and SeoBook.
As previously stated, before you choose a law firm SEO professional, it’s critical to get some basic education on SEO and become familiar with how search engines work. Here are some more helpful resources from Google:
Once you have decided that you need a search engine optimization consultant, you should get them involved with your web presence earlier rather than later. Preferably, your law firm seo professional will be involved with your website redesign or at the launch of a new site. With the assistance of your SEO, you can be confident that your website is designed and implemented to be search engine-friendly. However, an experienced web strategy consultant can also provide great value for an established website.
Here are some basic questions to ask your prospective law firm seo consultant:
- Show me examples of your previous work and share some case studies.
- What is your philosophy on the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- What expectations should I have in terms of time and results? How do you measure and report results?
- What’s your experience working in the legal industry?
- What’s your experience in my geographic location?
- What are your primary SEO strategies?
- What is your communication process?
- Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site?
- Will you provide recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
While a reputable law firm SEO can have a significantly positive impact on your web presence, hiring an unethical consultant may cause a significantly negative result on your law firm website’s search visibility, or even the removal of your site from search engines altogether. Here are some common traps to avoid:
- Be skeptical of unrequested law firm seo solicitations.
- No one can guarantee a #1 rankings.
- Avoid companies claiming to be using secret strategies and special relationships with search engines.
- Follow your money, where is it going, what is it being used for?
Like hiring other service professionals, the more you know about search engine optimization, the more informed hiring decision you will be able to make.