This is a quick post in my series which is meant to provide a guide for attorneys trying to improve their SEO. My last article served to provide an understanding of search engine optimization for law firms. It is important to understand that a legitimate provider will a) build a site which adheres to Google’s published guidelines and b) help you with a content strategy that is meant to attract potential clients. As long as you have a provider following these concepts you’ll be doing ‘da happy dance while your competitors wind up looking like this:

attorney with sign

In this post I’ll offer a few things that you should make sure you avoid when selecting a web developer.

Attorneys should avoid “SEO companies” which don’t build their website or manage their content

I won’t re-hash my last post in this article but there is one point that is important to understand – legitimate search engine optimization, again, entails a) building a site in accordance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and b) developing a content strategy which provides the type of information which potential clients are looking for. So when someone calls you promising to “get you to the top of Google” as many snake oil salesmen SEO companies do, ask whether they are going to build your website and write your content. If the answer is not “yes” to both questions then you have to ask yourself exactly what it is they are going to be doing to help you. The answer? Not much. The truth of the matter, at the end of the day, is that such people are likely only going to engage in “black hat” tactics which will get your site dinged in the next algorithm update.

One thing a bad professional will do is tell you about all of the back links that they will get for your website. I’ve written before on why back links matter in search and I’ve discussed the right way for law firms to get more back links. It’s crucial to understand that building back links should never be a website owner’s goal. By this I mean that a good content strategy will result in back links organically (which is what Google wants). A good web developer won’t talk about back links; they’ll talk about content and how your site will provide a good user experience. Those things, in turn, will result in quality back links.

Questions lawyers can use to weed out bad SEO companies

It’s understandable that lawyers can’t tell a good web developer/SEO company from a bad one. When you think about it, the situation is really no different than a consumer of legal services. The layperson may have a hard time telling the good lawyers apart from the bad ones. When trying to pick a web developer, here are a few questions to ask them:

  1. How often will they be updating the law firm’s blog?
  2. How do they go about choosing topics for the firm’s blog?
  3. What are some changes they made in existing client websites, in recent years, to deal with changes made by Google?

Just as examples, our clients typically receive blog updates 2-4 times per month. We leverage data analytics to create law blog content and do not simply pick topics out of thin air (nor do we simply try to emulate what the firm’s competitors are doing). One change we made to our client’s websites was to switch over to HTTPS so that they would comply with Google’s decision to begin using SSL usage as a search ranking factor. If a developer can’t provide specific answers, to the three questions above then you shouldn’t give them the time of day in my humble opinion. Avoiding such developers will help prevent you from looking like this:

Woman frustrated with computer

What steps do you take when interviewing a web developer? Chime in through the comment form below.