Definition of SEO:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.
Organic search – is the process of achieving, improving and maintaining the visibility of a web asset (e.g. website, Facebook Business Page, Google+ Page, YouTube video channel) in the highest-possible organic search results of Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
Search Algorithm Changes can and do KILL a Lawyer’s Google Page-ONE results
Regular updates to Google’s search algorithm will routinely result in a changing landscape for those who live and die by “organic search.” As an attorney and business owner, you need to understand these changes, or at least understand that you should never run afoul of Google by jumping on the next bandwagon — and believe me — the next bandwagon will be calling your law office on the phone —Ahem… likely tomorrow! Lawyers are bombarded and deluged with snake oil calls. So sad. 🙁
OMG! My website was Google Page ONE for ‘San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney’ and now we are Page 33…
Following every Google update, we are contacted by frantic, panic-stricken Lawyers who had –for whatever reason– a good Google Ranking and overnight their phones ceased ringing!
Many lawyers, out of desperation, will fall for a cold-call sales pitch from these ENDLESS STREAMS of phone spammers that pester law practices virtually daily. Many lawyers become, understandably, desperate after paying thousands of dollars for a website, and yet they’ve NEVER had a new client result from the expense! If that’s you, it may be that the only website visitor your website regularly has is YOU — only to double-check that it is still there…
The panicked calls we receive – are from lawyers who have paid some outrageous sums of cash to pay for the Google-GAMING exercise of the month followed by some calls, maybe some better ranking and then POOF: their site is gone from the search results with no explanation.
Time for a Lawyer Joke?
Things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down by court reporters:
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year. **
Hiring Cold-Calling SEO Experts can get you De-Listed or “Punished” by Google
The typical reasons why a lawyer’s well-positioned website is no longer showing in a GOOD ranking –usually a short-lived GOOD ranking– is often laid at the feet of some hired-hand you fell victim to. Their efforts may have gotten your website some “traction,” but in the end your website was “busted” as using gray-hat or black-hat mechanisms that Google determined put your site unfairly ahead of sites that were practicing no SEO efforts whatsoever, or sites that were being totally ethical and Google considers the site honorable to share.
Each Google Update is released, in part, to look for and SHUT DOWN the latest Google-GAMING tricks. Lately, those tricks are: link farming, paid links, keyword stuffing, cloaking and duplicating content. Such tricks are analogous to pouring sawdust in the crank case of a car to sell it before the new owner discovers they bought a a pile of crap. These practices, sometimes called “black hat,” are deemed unethical by people like me that do the time-tested ethical steps that we learn about by attending Google conferences, watching the 1,000’s of Matt Cutts’ videos which will reveal “actual clues & alluded clues” to what are Google’s NEWEST SEO expectations are so that we can get our lawyer-client’s phones to ring by being the model web citizens that Google is actively looking to promote.
If you are able to stay in lock-step with all the Google Updates and implement “best practices web marketing,” you can leverage the web to connect with your ideal demographic that can:
- improve your life financially — dramatically, and
- your loftiest business aspirations can be realized
Is that possible? Yes. It absolutely is.
SEO is the cumulative effect of having ALL the BASICS in Place
If you are flailing around the Internet because you “Google’d” SEO and yet you don’t really know what SEO is. Maybe I can help debunk some misconceptions and help get you focused on the BIG PICTURE.
A Professional SEO Person’s Definition of “SEO” may not be what you expect
SEO to those of us who are paid to perform so-called SEO Services is not what some think. Some readers who find themselves here were likely searching for and expecting VERY SPECIFIC advice such as: “can I have multiple H-1 tags?” Maybe you are looking for “best practices for writing [meta TITLE] in less than 70 characters,” or “should my [meta DESCRIPTION] include some of the meta title’s keywords in the 156 characters?”
Other visitors will be lawyers (my specialty) who are actually considering paying one of the dozens of cold-caller sales people who pester law firms weekly $500 to $1,500 a month for SEO services for his non-performing law practice website and s/he is here attempting some due diligence before agreeing to the pricey crap-shoot service.
My Personal Definition of what SEO is to people like me?
SEO, for me, is a more encompassing term that means that I will be orchestrating ALL the PIECES of someone’s web presence in a cohesive and interconnected manner to meet the high expectations of the Search Engine’s algorithms. The better you meet all the “signals” the search engines are looking for, the better you and your web presence will be rewarded.
In 2011-2012 we believed that Bing/Yahoo were more reactive and responsive in rewarding better-ranking for our efforts in fewer days. Thus we would use Bing/Yahoo as a leading-indicator measuring tool of what we would expect from Google —eventually. Google’s massive and sea-changing algorithm changes have ended that. Fortunately, we find in 2013-2014 when we are meeting the various “signal thresholds” of Google numerous plateaus we now see measurable results in hours or days. Sweet. Nirvana. 🙂
SEO for Lawyers: We Want to Work at Obtaining Google’s TRUST as a First Priority
Upshot? – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is getting all your online ducks in order so that they are “understood” by Google’s Search Algorithm as functioning as a sensible and united WHOLE. The Google Algorithm looks for hundreds of signals that allow Google to get to know WHO you are, WHERE you are, that you are an AUTHORITY in whatever profession, service or product line that you are promoting. Google will see if your content quality is fresh, unique and dovetails well with the other parts of your websites. A critical PIECE of SEO is meeting those ‘signals” that establish a “Google Trust Score” for you and your web presence. Google’s clients are the hordes of searchers. Google’s due diligence to their clients propels Google to deliver search results that include a high predominance of “People, Businesses and their Websites” that are pre-screened and then indexed as “Google Trusted.” Does Google trust you?
So Then… What is SEO and Why Should I Care ?
SEO is not a what, but is, in fact a series of “best practices” that you as the owner of a law practice must embrace if you want to tap into the only marketing venue that really matters: the WEB. You can actually leverage the Internet to your advantage where lawyers and clients go to seek out and find each other. You can do it yourself; you can assign a trusted and capable staffer to work the process; or you can hire a person or firm that understands that there are no shortcuts to gaining the trust of Google (and other search engines) and following through with a plan that keeps Google interested is sharing you with its clients: Google Searchers.
SEO is just as critical as paying your state bar dues – or your electric bill. SEO, for lawyers, is a process that needs to be addressed weekly as a part of your routine business processes. Success will benefit your law practice from now until you retire.
Are You Ready For Prime Time? If not…, First Gain Google’s Trust
In my next article: SEO Begins By Earning Google Trust – I will share what hoops you need to step through to gain Google’s Trust. Then you can use my basic minimum LIST of web assets you will need to set up and tie all your web assets together that you will want to incorporate into your own quality-based Web Marketing program…
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** from a book called Disorder in the Courts Disorder In The Court!