I talk to lawyers on a daily basis about marketing a law firm online. What is interesting is that for all the various complexities and unique considerations that arise for each individual firm, the same misconceptions about SEO and rankings appear time and again.
The problem is two-fold. The first part of the problem is that rankings are the most tangible, easy to understand component of search engine marketing. It makes sense that I type in "Chicago personal injury lawyer", a list of lawyers pops up, and a potential client calls a lawyer on the list. The second part of the problem is that rankings are what the majority of SEO companies are selling. The end result is a community of legal professionals that are obsessed with their firm's rankings on Google.
The truth is that your rankings on Google are a component of a good search marketing strategy, but they do not define the totality of a well executed SEO campaign. There are many ways people search online for an attorney. Some search Google as if it were a yellow pages directory as in the example in the previous paragraph. However, far more users are utilizing Google as a research tool. They are looking up answers to their legal questions and researching their specific issue. A good SEO campaign takes advantage of both of these segments. Unfortunately, an obsession with rankings often ignores the individuals performing research and solely focuses those that are typing in a specific search phrase.
Additionally, rankings for a keyword phrase are only valuable if they are resulting in increased traffic to the site. All too often, lawyers are sold on attaining rankings for a particular keyword phrase only to find after getting the desired rankings that there is not an increase in site traffic as a result. Rankings are important in so much as driving targeted visitors to your site. The next step is having an engaging website (with great content) that turns those visitors into phone calls and emails, eventually resulting in revenue for the firm. All of these factors are important considerations when assessing your law firm's SEO. Rankings for the sake of getting rankings doesn't help.
Finally, Google is moving more and more towards personalized search results. The results for each individual user varies depending on their search history, location, social connections, etc. As mobile search grows to become a more significant percentage of queries and Google continues to build the social layer on top of it's search results, having a universal ranking for a particular keyword phrase across all searches is going to become more difficult. It's important to think about where search is headed when putting together your strategy instead of focusing on where it's been. Instead of obsessing over your ranking for a specific keyword, think about SEO as a way to position your website, blog, profile, or other “professional online presence”, as a source of information, answers, and solutions to a potential client.
Over the years, law firm prospects have sent us reports from just about all of our competitors. Unfortunately, even today, some law firm marketing agencies still mislead their clients via "reporting." One particularly egregious example comes in the form of ranking reports. Which prompted this LinkedIn post. To my surprise, I received a lot of […]
John Wanamaker supposedly said "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." In an an effort to figure out "what half is working," attribution was born. Coupled with a transition from traditional, offline ads to digital media, attribution became the holy grail for analyzing advertising spends. But […]
I recently asked ChatGPT, "What are some of the top personal injury law firms in Chicago?? Actually, first I ask "who are some of the top personal injury lawyers in Chicago?" ChatGPT couldn't handle that one, so I modified the prompt. ChatGPT listed five very well-known firms downtown. Can you guess the other four? That's […]
If you're like me, you have some degree of AI, ChatGBT, Bard, exhaustion. Now don't get me wrong, this is stuff is remarkable and is changing, well, a lot. But before you hook up the ChatGPT API to your WordPress API and crank out 10,000 pages, here are a few things to think about. Let's […]
If you know me, you know my opinions about links and SEO advice from Google. If you don't, here's the TL;DR: Meh, links! Meaning, all things being equal, links still remain a competitive difference maker for ranking. Take Google's SEO advice with several grains of salt. Google has no economic incentive to help your site […]
The best marketing advice I can give you is to be authentic. Of course, you don't find that very helpful in terms of meeting your growth goals. So, you might decide to game the system. As I'm writing this, one of the more popular ways to gain the system is to pay for engagement. This […]
The following post was written by ChatGPT. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a state-of-the-art language model that can generate human-like text based on a given prompt or context. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way that businesses, including law firms, market themselves to potential clients. One way that a law firm could use […]
How long does SEO take? When can I expect to see results? What results should I expect to see? These are all reasonable questions that we field from lawyers every day. And, like many legal answers, the answer is: It depends. Yes, I know that's not the answer you wanted. But it's the most honest […]
And how much time should they spend doing it? I recently had the privilege of chatting with Tyson, Jim, and Conrad for an upcoming episode of The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. If you're not familiar with The Maximum Lawyer community, you should definitely check it out. Jim asked a really great question about who should do […]