Lawyers know that pro se litigants have fools for clients. However, when it comes to pro se web marketing, well, that's a different story.
Over at SearchEngineLand, Andrew Shotland walks through a great example of a client who lost search visibility due to site redesign:
I was prompted to write this because we recently took on a multi-location lawyer client that had relaunched its site without understanding the SEO implications. Earlier in the year, its old site had lost about 80% of its organic leads.
I hear the "lawyers shouldn't outsource SEO, web design, marketing, etc" all of the time.
Didn't you hear? Today, everyone's an expert:
My company provides web marketing services to lawyers. Therefore, you should have a healthy skepticism of what I say. I obviously have a dog in this fight. But that's not a justification for lawyers to do crappy web work.
Can Lawyers Do Their Own SEO?
Yes! But, it depends on what we're including in our definition of SEO.
Some lawyers certainly can:
- Register a domain.
- Set-up a web hosting account.
- Install WordPress.
- Click Publish.
- Share their URLs on Twitter with people who might link to them.
Is this SEO? Sure.
However, most lawyers I know can't, or don't have time to:
- Analyze organic traffic in their location(s).
- Create GA goals that track phone calls and form fills by source.
- Prospect valuable link targets and execute effective outreach campaigns.
- Manage their local business listings.
- Optimize their sites' architecture.
- Fix technical SEO issues.
- Regularly follow web technology and search engine updates and guideline changes.
If you've been "doing SEO" yourself, ask yourself whether you are confident that your site doesn't have any technical issues. Ask yourself whether you're growing meaningful organic traffic to you pages and converting into an action that has meaning for your firm as a business.
If you're in this group, I salute you.
Should Lawyers Do Their Own SEO?
If you're growing your organic search traffic, conversions from organic search (i.e. phone calls, form fills, downloads, subscriptions, etc) and connecting these to retainer agreements of types of clients you want, maybe you can and should do your own SEO.
If you have the knowledge, skill, experience and time to fix local SEO issues and improve local search factors, maybe you can and should do your own SEO.
If you have a background in web design and development and understand how search engines crawl, index and deliver results, maybe you can and should do your own SEO.
On the other hand, if you're a busy practicing lawyer, without any technical web marketing background or experience, perhaps you should get some help.
In case you skim this post and missed my point, I'm not suggesting that lawyers should blindly outsource their marketing and turn a blind eye to the "stuff" that marketers are doing on their behalf. Lawyers must, by professional obligation, understand everything that their vendors are doing on their behalf, and hopefully, the reasons why it's being done.
Furthermore, as the person responsible for your professional reputation, as well as, the success of your practice, the buck must stop with you.
Do YOU need to hire an online legal marketing agency?
I have no idea.
Do the people you want for clients look for lawyers like you online?
Does your professional network regularly interact online?
Do you lack the knowledge, skill, experience and time to put your best foot forward online?
If so, then maybe.
But again, my company sells web marketing services to lawyers. So don't take my word for it.
Just don't put out crappy web work, create server errors, get manual web spam penalties and then conclude that search marketing doesn't work for lawyers...