adjective – PHILOSOPHY
characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
— Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Everyone wants their law firm website to rank high for free on search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc…) in the organic results section of the SERP (search engine results page). Who wouldn’t?
This is a major advantage for any Lawyer marketing his or her practice. To be on page one of the SERP is what every Attorney marketing plan aspires to…and it should.
The question is how do you accomplish it?
For some legal marketing strategists (in many cases this means Lawyers, like you) the answer is:
“well, I’ll just cram a ton of content by topic on my site and become the source of legal information on the subject.”
You’ve been to these legal websites, with so much content you would not even know where to begin if you were researching a legal problem or trying to hire an Attorney: 50 links on each side bar on every legal topic known, five videos, gif animation, links to every blog post they ever wrote…ugh!
Listen to the Law Dog when I tell you that your clients don’t want to get an undergraduate degree on their legal problem. You’re not teaching a CLE class and that’s not what your prospective client wants. They want a solution to their legal problem. Yet that’s how so many Lawyers approach SEO on their website.
Take a look at how you approach law practice in general. In practice, I would say “I take my clients as I find them” and then, like a Medical Doctor, treat the patient, not just the symptom or the problem in isolation. Search Engine Optimization is no different.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t provide certain legal information that prospects in the information gathering stage may actually be looking for, but stop trying to think you can put up more topic based content and rank higher than the major publishers and directories; you can’t. If you think you’re going to rank higher on a particular legal topic than Nolo, Findlaw, Justia, Avvo, or even Legal Zoom or Rocket Lawyer…you’re not! Your domain strength will never equal theirs and neither will your budget on paid search to promote it.
I know what you’re now asking…“So Law Dog, so what can I do to search engine optimize my law firm website to rank organically on the SERP?”
First, take a deep breath, take a step back and think holistically. What does that mean, you ask? It means, before thinking of what technical tweaks and tricks you can implement to boost your lawyer SEO, think about what your overall approach should be to help your potential client and build your site and content around that.
Your Client’s Problem & the Solution
Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) relating to Their Problem
What Experience You Want for Your Users on all Platforms, as it relates to solving their problem
Even if you can land on page one of the SERP and the searcher clicks, if your site is overwhelming and doesn’t focus on the things I just mentioned, they will leave, quickly! CLICK!
If you are not focused on the legal problem of your prospective client and the solution and then weave that into every aspect of your website, your story is like every other Lawyer’s story; you have no USP and you have no good quality content that is both informative and enjoyable to consume and so, the legal consumer will click and move on. So think holistically. Plan their experience, create a good site experience with good content consistently published in a variety of media formats from the overall approach of what your prospective client actually needs to believe in you and word will spread.
All Internet Marketing is Changing
Of course, you have to do all of the technical things correctly for good SEO, as always; this is now assumed and I understand that many of you don’t fully appreciate what that entails. I will get into those details in an upcoming blog post, but it is becoming more important to create an enjoyable and informative experience and to realize that social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube are now some of the largest search engines and contributors to SERP rank and being “found” in general. This will only continue to be more true and why you have to be found in more places than Google search, and to create something worth their time if they do happen to show up on your legal website, Facebook Page, Twitter Page and YouTube.
What this means is that the 2015 legal consumer will look for you in more than one place, and if you’re not there, with a consistent message focused on solving their problem, you’re in trouble no matter what your Google SERP ranking is.
Think about it. If you find a Lawyer on Google but they are nowhere to be found on social media, would you feel they are connected and credible? Social media, especially Facebook, is becoming very important in SERP rankings and cannot be ignored. Of course, you have to tailor your Facebook message to be more “social” in its approach. This is an art but it just requires thinking of why people use social platforms and fit in, in other words, be social, not salesy. But you have to understand that SEO isn’t just related to your website only…things have changed.
Old Habits Die Hard
Sometimes we all get stuck in patterns of complacency and habit. We assume what worked five years ago will still work; until it doesn’t. It’s the same for legal marketing. But some things do remain the same and there are many do’s and dont’s every Lawyer SEO manager knows must be present. Here are a few of them:
The Most Important Technical SEO Tip
Keyword research is knowing what people search for and what words they really use to look for you and this is all important. This stuff can be tedious and most Lawyers think they already know the keywords but I can guarantee you, they’re wrong. Don’t assume you know, look at the search volume, which words and phrases are the most searched and incorporate those keywords in everything you do: Page titles, Blog titles, page descriptions, photo descriptions (alt-tags on WordPress). It is critically important to know this so you know what content to create that will cause you to rank in search. If the topic or keyword is part of the substantive law topic but never searched, why would it rank? Nobody is looking for it and you are just copying what everyone is doing. That’s not a winning plan.
Don’t forget what Google, Bing and Yahoo’s business mission is: to provide the best and most relevant search result the searcher is looking for. This affects your quality score, SERP rank and is based on how well your content matches what’s being searched. This permeates all content creation (SEO), not just what’s on your website although that’s where it should reside and be spread from into other channels.
You must blog and you must publish that content consistently but don’t waste your time publishing things prospective clients don’t search. Do the keyword research or hire someone who can and this will be well worth the effort for your SEO ranking.
WEBSITE USER EXPERIENCE
But beyond the technical, make the experience worthwhile and spread the word on other web platforms and watch what happens. You will be surprised what happens when you take a more holistic approach and don’t just do what everyone else does. Who you are, what you bring to the conversation already in progress by the searcher and how you deliver that message is everything!
Look at the moving parts in relation to the whole and have a strategy for content, what’s on your site, social media and how the experience makes the prospective client believe you are the one to trust to solve their legal problem.
DO YOU LIKE BAD WEBSITES? NEITHER DOES GOOGLE
We’re all too busy these days for another bad experience on a website so spend more time on creating content your prospective clients are looking for, creating a good user experience and using social media platforms to be found in other places. In other words, break it down but look at each part in terms of how it relates to the whole. In other words, look at SEO holistically in every level of your approach to law practice and your Lawyer SEO will improve and you will see better results in your legal marketing.
A FAVOR IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE
If you enjoyed this blog article, do me a favor and please share this on social media with other Lawyer friends so they can benefit from the lessons I have tried to teach in this blog post on Attorney marketing and SEO. I also welcome your comments here and will respond if you post them.