Posts Tagged ‘Search Engine Optimization’

SEO for Lawyers: Start with Google & Drill Down

January 23, 2011

Here is Google’s 2010 Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide which not only includes lots of great tips but more importantly conveys key principles when thinking about SEO.

Focus on your website visitor first

This is the key message from Google both for SEO and the user experience.  There are lots of companies offering SEO and if they are employing “tricks” to push your website up in the rankings, there will be a cost and the nonmonetary portion will most likely be paid by your website visitors.

Specific terms related to your practice

If you just follow Google and their various optimization tools they will suggest you use terms very common to your area of law. For example, if you are a divorce attorney, they include lots of variations on “divorce” but they may not look at “legal separation” or “annulment.”  They won’t look at more granular terms like child support, visitation rights, alimony, spousal support and the like.

Think about someone facing a divorce

They may have a specific issue that they are trying to understand before they hire an attorney. They may have heard about legal separation but not understand what it means.  If you spend a few sentences helping a visitor get the difference between that an a divorce and annulment, they will have a positive opinion about you and be more likely to contact you if you are nearby.

Don’t Obsess about Keyword Popularity

Many times it will be your specific discussions that grab people not your sprinkling “divorce lawyer” liberally on every page so don’t be a slave to popularity.

Remember to think like a non-lawyer

If your client base isn’t other lawyers, then remember to translate your legal terminology into plain english.  Don’t exclude legal terminology because often people hear a legal term and want to learn more but don’t focus on those terms exclusively either.

Quality Content Helps Your SEO

December 20, 2010

We are passing through the time where loading a blog with content filled with keywords and little else will help your search result standings.  As this Nolo blog post states, Google has changed its ranking algorithm to focus on quality rather than merely quantity. 

How Does This Impacts Lawyers?

If you have a blog called, “Personal Injury San Jose” and feature posts about recent car crashes with a boiler plate paragraph at the bottom about why you should contact an attorney immediately if you are the victim of such an accident, then this is bad news.  However, if you provide quality articles about how people can work with their car insurance adjusters and ways they can protect themselves through how they purchase their insurance, then you probably are helped by these rules.  Google is looking to promote content which contains professional and technical expertise rather than that which is merely saturated with keywords.

Tout your legal practice expertise

April 10, 2010

I’ve noticed that many solo practitioners and small firms create a “practice areas” page for their website where they list a variety of practice areas like: wrongful termination, whistleblower suits, employment discrimination and leave it at that.

This is a missed opportunity for a couple reasons:

  • Google likes web-pages devoted to specific practice areas.  If you offer whistleblower lawsuits then create a practice page specific to that topic.
  • Visitors to your website want to know if you can help them with their issue and “whistleblower” alone may not be specific enough for them to understand that this applies to their situation.

Some tips in creating these pages:

  • Consider your audience: if you want defense work and are looking to appeal to in-house counsel, then using legal jargon is fine but if you are looking for plaintiffs to join a class action, you need to use plain language in your descriptions.
  • Check Google’s keyword tool and see how people are searching for the practice description you are using.  Make sure you include the popular ones on your page to devoted to that practice.

Google Local Search – Pay for Play?

March 10, 2010

I have been touting free Google’s local business directory to attorneys for months.  It only takes a few minutes and it is a quick and easy way immediately increase your online visibility.  However, according to Jim Jantsch, there are now sponsored links showing in some cities for some listings. 

He points specifically to  “Attorney Houston, Tx” which shows several sponsored links among the featured top seven.  I’m not surprised since the Findlaws, Martindales and Avvos are charging attorneys considerable amounts for premium listings in their directories but this trend may make the value of free Google local listings less valuable.

Adding Google Analytics to your website

January 17, 2010

A company that specializes in SEO and law firm websites is touting its inclusion of Google Analytics, a traffic reporting tool, into the websites it designs.  This is a free tool that is easily implemented, so I’m not sure that I would make this the subject of a press release about my company’s offering.  But since they have, here are five ways a law firm website can utilize Google Analytics to improve their search engine optimization.

1. Track your traffic over time: is there a pattern to your traffic?  Should you post news items on Wednesday because that’s when most people come to your site?

2  What browsers should you optimize your site for?  Are 98% of the people coming your site using only one of three browsers?

3.  Which pages draw the most traffic?  Are there pages you would rather they view and what some strategies to get visitors to go there?

4.  What sites are referring traffic to your website? Are you missing any obvious referral sources like LinkedIn?

5.  What keywords drive people to your site?  Are ones that should be but aren’t?  Should you run a pay per click campaign on those terms?

SEO lessons for law firm

December 1, 2009

Habush, Habush & Rottier, is suing the law firm of Cannon & Dunphy claiming that Cannon has been paying Google and others to direct people who search on Habush’s name to go to the Cannon website.

The Cannon law firm is claiming that this was done through a “marketer” and that they didn’t request the use of the competitor’s name a paid search term.

Lesson 1.  Make sure your SEO strategy is an extension of how you market your services generally.  Good SEO is also good marketing.  If true, Cannon, by redirecting search results hits from a more popular law firm, is surrendering on its marketing efforts.  It is saying that it can’t compete legitimately with Habush so it needs to take a surreptitious approach.

Lesson 2.  Learn about the basics of good SEO and make sure to hire reputable SEO companies.  Perform due diligence and don’t be dazzled by claims that suddenly the firm’s phone will be ringing nonstop with new business.  The phone might ring instead with complaints about the firm’s SEO tactics.