Distilled's Kate Morris reviews a year of changes in SEO at SEOmoz. Here is what Kate takes away from the last 365 days:
- Put Users First - plain and simple, if you keep them in focus you won't go wrong by Google or Bing.
- Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - Small changes in ranking, site speed, or any future algo changes should be taken with a grain of salt. Follow the first lesson and these changes should have little effect on you.
- Keep Your Ear to the Ground - But after that last note, I do recommend always knowing what is going on in the industry and with your own site. You should know at all times how your site is performing so that when the boss comes calling about not ranking for a keyword (personalized results FTW!), you can back things up with hard data and related industry trends.
- Create Good Sites, Good Content, and Get People Talking - Marketing. It's all about marketing. Do it right the first time and don't cut corners. Integrate your whole marketing plan and you will have many opportunities to get "real estate" on a SERPs page.
Unfortunately, many legal professionals still haven't figured this one out. Content for the sake of search engines still abounds. Spam tweets are rampant. And law firm website content is still lawyer-focused instead of user focused. If you want one tip that can have the most significant impact on your online business development, spend more time listening to and thinking about the people that will use your websites, blogs, and interact with your social media profiles.
While I agree with Kate that hyper-focusing on secondary signals is largely a waste of time, it's important to be sure that you're not hurting yourself by ignoring a simple component like site speed. In a competitive search landscape, like legal, these secondary factors can have a more significant impact than many law firm website admins probably would care to admit. Build a clean site architecture and make sure your hosting account is "up to snuff". Implementing a strong foundation can only help your visibility online.
The Internet is undoubtedly the fastest evolving environment. It's a place where things can greatly change from week to week. Stay informed about what's going on. Even more importantly, stay informed about your subject matter. Publishing out-dated information on your website, blog, or social media profile is a great way to destroy your professional credibility.
While this is much easier said than done, it's absolutely essential to winning online. Whether you are blogging, tweeting, or sharing, do it in a way that sparks conversation (and hopefully links). Regurgitating boring updates, messages, etc. is a losing game online. Encourage your users to interact with YOU online. This is guaranteed to lead to better visibility in search engine results pages, as well as, a stronger professional reputation amongst peers and potential clients.
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