Having done my own SEO for the past little while and having tried so many different techniques, I can honestly say that organic growth is the best way to get traffic, while paid search has a lot of problems. Here are my thoughts…
Yes, I’ve written 2 FREE eBooks about law firm search engine optimization (which you can find here) which detail a lot of different techniques I employ or have used in the past. One thing I wasn’t really doing was paying for searches on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. I figured that paying for those things was kind of like renting an apartment: sunk costs month after month without seeing tangible results. If you need traffic to be on your website to encourage people to buy your legal services, then paid ads should send tons of people your way (assuming the ads are set up correctly). What I found, after experimenting for a few months and spending a lot of money, was that my organic results fared better and were much cheaper. When you’re paying $5 or $10 per click on your add, it can ADD up quickly. But I was finding that I was getting TONS and TONS of impressions, but not many click-throughs. I tried to change up my ads. I included pricing to entice my customers. But nothing seemed to change the fact: I was wasting my time and money on paid advertising.
So that’s why I came back (quite quickly) to building my organic search results. I want to build an asset, not waste money every month renting an apartment. Granted, I’m sure there’s a place in every marketing strategy for paid advertising – particularly when you don’t rank high on those keywords that you must absolutely have. But in the long run, I prefer a niche strategy (a la Michael Porter). Pick those keywords that are in high demand but which you can target relatively easily. Focus, focus, focus. Simplify as much as humanely possible. Once you’ve dominated “one beach” (a la Geoffrey Moore), move on to the next one!
So what are the key aspects of law firm SEO? Well, it’s the same with other industries: you need content and links. But you need them to be high quality. You should also avoid quick-fixes by hiring people or using software that employ black-hat or unethical practices. Search engines like Google are constantly finding and punishing websites who use these techniques. One technique, for example, involves using automated software that spiders or crawls blogs looking for high ranking blog posts where you can leave meaningless comments (like “Great Blog!”) and the ability to create links back to your own website. Today, most serious bloggers wouldn’t allow such comments to appear without first moderating them. Or they have installed plugins like Akismet or Spam Karma to kill them on site. Finally, building links too quickly could land you in Google’s SANDBOX. So beware of drinking the Kool Aid that some people try to sell you!
Finally, you need to think of the end-user or consumer of legal services: are they more likely to contact you if you have a one-sided and meaningless ad located on a website? Or are they hungry for meaningful knowledge and want to ask a few questions (perhaps in a forum or on Dynamic Legal Forms) before engaging your services? Me thinks that prospective clients are smart and want to read as much about you and their legal issue before making a decision to contact someone. That’s why you need to be ‘up there’ on Google, Yahoo and Bing with respect to the keywords that they will be entering. Make it fresh and interesting and you’ll get your rankings in a short period of time. You also need to be patient. Search Engines don’t trust new websites and won’t rank them as high as older ones. So be patient.
Remember: if you’re a lawyer or law firm and want to grow your online presence organically, give me a shout at 647-680-9530 (I always strive to be on the cutting edge of law firm SEO and can help you achieve your goals). I share a lot of information FREELY, but I’ve still got a lot hidden up my sleeve!