It’s a beautiful thing when attorneys can collaborate and share marketing information to help grow their practices. Today +Brain Zeiger of The Zeiger Firm was gracious enough to share his experiences on marketing a criminal law practice in the digital space. Check out his tips for generating leads using search engine optimization for lawyers.
1. There are a lot of factors in optimizing a website for search. As an attorney, what are the most important elements that I should be focused on?
I do not think that there is one single issue that stands out to me. Instead, my goal is make sure that all bases are touched on my sites. I don’t want to stand around and watch the paint dry on my beautiful fence while the plumbing on the inside is crumbling like a snow covered mountain during an avalanche. Every aspect of search engine optimization and conversion are all equally important.
2. I know I can get links from directories and social media but where else can I go about getting high-quality links?
Links are a tough subject for me. I am not sold on where one gets “good links.” All you can do is submit your business to good sites for listing and hope the link back is viewed as a positive link on search engines. Having bad links will catch up with you and you will eventually see your site (subsequently your business) suffer in the long term.
Like any other method of bringing in business and generating leads, the concept is a constant hustle. By that I mean, whatever you are doing to make it rain, you have to check that forecast everyday, and make sure the clouds are pouring on you. If you just sit back and and wait for the business to come, you will be very lonely and your pockets will be dry.
4. Most of the information I see online is talking about SEO for Google but what about Bing and Yahoo?
Not much. The combined yahoo and bing is about 25 percent of the market. Yahoo seems like a sinking ship. Bing seems like it only has its share because on many new PCs, internet explorer with Bing is pre-installed, so the non-tech-savvy consumer might be using bing and not even know it. Further, all new cell phones with android have google pre-installed and always logged in with geo tracking, so I imagine that google’s share has more worth, regardless of market share.
Also, I haven’t read any articles on how optimizing your site for google seo effects your seo on bing and yahoo in a negative way. Conversely, I have never read anything that suggests that your seo on bing or yahoo will suffer as a result of your google seo efforts. Therefore, I am further convinced that seo for bing and yahoo is not nearly as important as google.
5. Are social signals important for SEO and if so, how much time should I spend on the task of getting engagement on social media?
I think they are. I recently read a study that definitively showed that facebook likes were a huge factor in search. However, google continues to deny that facebook likes are super important and continues to claim that facebook likes are just a single factor. Therefore the only logical conclusions are either that sites that are getting a lot of facebook likes are doing well for other reasons and a magical correlation has occurred with all of the other stuff they are doing, facebook likes, and google search; or google is lying.
Don’t cheat and look to all aspects of your site. If you see a quick way out, don’t do it. If you want a quick result, spend money on pay per click advertising. Cheating on your own site’s seo will eventually come back and bite you. Also, when you see seo checklists or diagnostics for your site, read the entire checklist, and make sure you are at least doing something for every aspect of the list. If there is one item that you think does not apply to your type of business or site, think again. Brainstorm with your business partners, life partner, kids, friends, and figure it out. Do everything.
7. Are there activities that I should avoid that could get me in trouble?
Do not buy links in mass bulk. Links are the biggest way to get in trouble. Google constantly changes its rules. About 4 times a year we see meaningful changes that effects search. If you buy links and google changes the rules, how do you know you will be able to get the links removed?
8. I’ve heard that having a blog is good for SEO. As an attorney, what types of things should I be posting and how often?
I am torn on this topic. The first is called evergreen. Everyone I speak with seems to think evergreen is the best way to go. Evergreen means that you write about subjects that are relevant to your core business concept and explain difficult subjects in simple terms.
The second type of blogging subject is news. There are mixed opinions about blogging on news. However, if you can find a news story that is directly relevant to what you do well, why not write on it? The search engines can’t tell the difference between evergreen and news. If the goal is to get more indexed pages and greater social engagement, certainly news has a greater upside. The problem is that news also has a much less likely chance of real engagement because news goes stale.
Further, some folks talk about their posts going viral. Its very rare. It has only happened to my posts about 6 times, but when it does, the results are awesome. Therefore, if you are a gambler, try some news articles. Like grandma says, “it doesn’t hurt to try.”
9. How can I use my specific professional status and industry relationships to help my SEO efforts?
Special sites might provide good reliable better links. For example AVVO, martindale, superlawyers, county bar assoications, etc.
10. Are there any other general SEO tips that would be valuable for attorneys to know?
Go all in. Don’t dip your toe in the water–dive in headfirst. Can you imagine if you only dipped your toe in on one of your cases? How would that client feel? Why would not make a full effort on something that effects your money?