You don’t have to perform many searches to recognize that the folks at Avvo know seo. So when Nick Perone, Online Marketing Manager at Avvo, is conducting a free SEO Best Practices for Lawyers Webinar, you know it’s going to be worth your time.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Nick some quick questions about his experience and how he sees SEO fitting into a lawyer’s overall marketing plan:
Could you give us a brief description of your general SEO experience?
I’ve been working as Online Marketing Manager at Avvo for a bit over three years, where I’ve been heavily involved in SEO strategy and execution. Prior to that I was running marketing for an online marketing agency in Houston.
While I was in college, I fell in love with online marketing just as a hobby. I never thought about doing it professionally until I received an unsolicited offer to do consulting for an engineering company in Houston. They asked me for help taking their purely “brick and mortar” business online. That’s how I got started in this industry – I enjoyed helping them with their online marketing so much that I decided to make a career of it. I’ve been lucky enough to work with hundreds of websites in a variety of industries since, but obviously the past few years at Avvo have been all about lawyers and doctors.
In your opinion, how much time should lawyers dedicate to SEO efforts?
As much as they can, with the caveat that I don’t think SEO should be thought of as a distinct form of online marketing. Especially as time goes on, SEO is becoming more holistic, as it’s merging with branding, product development, social media, conversion optimization, copywriting, customer service, referral marketing and content marketing. So I think all marketing is SEO, or at least heavily overlaps with it. This is especially the case after Google’s Panda update.
So, to me, this question really becomes, “How much time should lawyers dedicate to marketing?” In a hyper-competitive profession like law, for better or worse, lawyers need to spend a lot of time on marketing.
What do you think is the single most important thing lawyers can do to have success with SEO?
It may sound counterintuitive, but make sure that everything you do for SEO serves a purpose other than SEO. Follow this rule, and most of the risk and mystery associated with SEO will disappear. If ever you find yourself doing something that serves no purpose other than attempting to manipulate search engines, at worst you’ll waste a lot of time and money and at best your success will be fleeting.
For example, if you’re putting up content on your blog or website, you should do it because you think potential clients would find it useful or because it demonstrates your expertise. Don’t do it just because you heard that having pages full of stuffed keywords will raise your search engine rankings. The same thing goes for Avvo. Claim your Avvo profile because it’s a way for new clients to find you or because it’s a platform to show off your expertise, not just because you’ll get a link to your website that could help your rankings.
What do you think is the single most important thing lawyers should avoid with regard to SEO?
Having unrealistic expectations. Matt Cutts of Google once said that your website is like your resume, and SEO is like polishing your resume to be read by search engines. Following that analogy, you can’t expect a resume writing service to take a new college grad’s resume and get him a job as a Fortune 500 CEO. There are “quick fix” elements to SEO just like there are in resume writing, and they can make a significant difference, but the real substance of your resume can’t be changed overnight.
We’ll cover most of the quick fix things you can do for SEO in the webinar, but don’t be fooled into thinking that tinkering with the code and keywords of your website will make you rank #1 for “mesothelioma lawyer” overnight.
What factors should lawyers consider in whether to handle SEO in-house or outsource?
I think time and desire are the two most important factors. Do you have time to dedicate to marketing? If you don’t, then handling it in-house is a nonstarter. The second factor is desire. Do you want to be working on marketing? If you have no desire, then you’ll probably do a poor job, if you do it at all, so it’s probably better to outsource.
Trying to figure who and what to listen to on the subject of SEO can be daunting. So when the opportunity to hear someone that has experience generating results in the online legal space arises, lawyers should take some time to listen.
- SEO fundamentals
- SEO challenges and opportunities unique to the small law firm
- Highlight common mistakes
- Reveal unethical practices which may get your site penalized
- Cover free and easy to use tools vital to SEO success
- End with 10 things you can do in under 10 minutes to improve your site’s SEO performance
Whether you handle your Internet marketing in-house or work with an outside consultant, this webinar will arm you with the tools to make informed decisions about growing your professional reputation online. I recommend that you register for this SEO Best Practices Webinar today.