Like Lawyers, Everyone Hates SEOs Until You Need One

Gyi Tsakalakis
October 28, 2009

Have you heard the one about the...

"Blanks" are safe from the threat of automation taking over their professions. No one would build a robot to do nothing.

If it weren’t for "blanks", we wouldn’t need them.

Talk is cheap…until blanks get involved.

It is the trade of "blanks" to question everything, yield nothing, and to talk by the hour.

Two "blanks" were walking along negotiating for their clients. “Look,” said one, “let’s be honest with each other.” “Okay, you first,” replied the other. End of discussion.

"Blanks" are the only profession where the more there are, the more are needed!

What do you call 100 "blanks" at the bottom of the ocean? A good start!

Lawyer jokes? Nope. We're talking about SEOs.

Like the legal profession, attitudes toward the SEO community are filled with skepticism, distrust, and a general sense of negativity. And, like the legal profession, at least some of this reputation is deserved. Take for example the following SEO paid-search ads:

"Rank #1 In Google In 48 Hours!"
"Top Ranking Internet Marketing Firm We Bring Websites To The Top!"
"#1 Ranked Internet Advertising Firm Results in 24hrs. 30% off Today!"

Hopefully by now, most of us realize that such claims are misleading, irrelevant, and generally dishonest. The truth is that no one can guarantee rankings in Google except for Google. Furthermore, getting "ranked" doesn't necessarily mean more business for your law firm.

However, as is the case with hiring a lawyer, asking the right questions and being armed with some basic knowledge can help you avoid dealing with shady SEOs.

And, like having a good lawyer, having a good SEO firm on your side can make a all the difference.

As you know, people hire lawyers to navigate the complicated waters of the legal system. Likewise, SEOs perform services that most people typically don't have a handle on, or more often, don't have the time to execute. Getting new clients from the internet requires a full-time effort. It's competitive out there!

When you have a good working relationship with your SEO, you maximize the benefits that the internet can provide to your business.

Here are a couple of basic questions that can help you hire the right SEO for your law firm:

1. Does your service include organic seo? The first thing to make sure is that we're talking apples to apples and not apples to oranges. Some "SEO" firms will talk "SEO" but are really offering paid-search solutions. Paid-search is fine, but it's simply not the same thing as organic SEO.

2. How quickly can you get me a top ranking? This is really a trick question. If the SEO responds with anything short of 2-4 months, be wary. The truth is, good SEOs won't sell on ranking. Further, getting "ranked" is only part of the picture. You can probably get yourself "ranked" for your name in a couple of days. But unless you're Brittany Spears, or President Obama, chances are not that many people are searching for your name (In fairness, branded law firm campaigns can produce results if implemented properly).

3. What specific strategies do you employ? What are you planning on doing? There is a wide spectrum of activities that an SEO might employ. These can range from benign and ethical, to flat-out malicious. Find out exactly what strategies your SEO plans to use and make sure you are comfortable with them. Ask them how they plan on obtaining links to your site. If you don't understand their terminology, look it up. The internet is filled with information about SEO strategy. Make sure you are on the same page.

4. How do you charge for your services? Don't lock yourself into long-term service contracts with your SEO. Make them prove value to you on a regular basis. Insist on reporting metrics. Just like every other form of marketing, you need to measure the value of your SEO's services.

Photo by Hartboy

Gyi Tsakalakis
Co-Founder of AttorneySync
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