Today, we’ll be continuing the series on SEO for lawyers.
In the last article, we discussed why search engine optimization is essential to law firms.
The bottom line is that building up a web presence that you own is crucial to your firm’s long-term success. If you rely entirely on third-party advertising, such as pay-per-click ads, you’re putting your future in the hands of others. And considering 81% of people do online research before making a large purchase, your law firm needs SEO.
As things continue to get more challenging for attorneys, those who don’t take control of their marketing assets will find themselves in quite the struggle.
To make sure that you don’t wind up in that boat, it’s important to make sure you hire a web developer who looks like this:
and not the typical snake oil salesman who looks like this:
The problem is that those snake oil types aren’t as easy to pinpoint as it may seem. And what makes it more challenging is that most attorneys don’t know what to look for in a web developer. So let’s look at how you can make sure you hire the former and not the latter.
Most legal professionals get tons of calls from people with promises to “get them to the top of Google.” The problem is that the majority of these callers probably won’t deliver on those promises. So understandably, plenty of attorneys are unsure of which claims to trust.
The key to weeding the good developers out from the riff-raff is knowledge; by understanding what it is search engines are looking for, you can determine whether a potential developer is credible.
While many “snake oil salesman” web developers will throw around jargon to make it look like they understand the web, the talented ones should be able to describe things in simple English to help you understand too.
Law Firm SEO Tip: Know What Search Engines Are Looking For
Law firms trying to choose a web developer need to put themselves in the shoes of a search engine. If you are Google, Bing, or any other search engine, then your entire goal is to give your users relevant and usable information.
The reason for this is that if someone comes to your search engine and queries “My City Divorce Attorney,” and you give them irrelevant results, they’ll just switch to another one.
And for every lost user, it’s one lost impression for potential ads. So search providers’ goals are purely to show you useful information so you stay on the platform.
Legitimate search engine optimization focuses heavily on these areas. Developers who don’t focus on content and user experience are merely going to get you in trouble with the search engines (a topic I‘ll be discussing in this article).
What To Look For In A Legit SEO Specialist
A legitimate web developer/SEO specialist will do two things.
First, they’ll develop your site in a way that follows Google’s user experience guidelines.
Second, they’ll focus on generating content that provides information that people are looking for in the way those people want to digest it. Don’t worry; this is easier than most developers make it sound.
While many make it seem that Google’s criteria are one of the great unanswered mysteries of the universe (right up there with whether extraterrestrial life exists, whether there is a true meaning of life, and what happened to Biggie & Tupac), the truth of the matter is that Google’s guidelines are no secret.
In fact, many of them are in plain sight; they’re published and available here.
Google makes these standards publicly available for one simple reason — they want a web full of relevant and usable information so that people will keep using their service.
To further aid webmasters in meeting this goal, Google maintains its webmaster’s blog, which provides regular tips and updates.
So, in short, real search engine optimization revolves around content and the user experience that your website provides. If a web developer’s strategy doesn’t revolve around content and user experience, then they’re not following the strategy that Google wants.
SEO Tip #2: Find a Developer That Gives Meaningful Feedback
It’s important to understand that your law firm needs to hire a search engine optimizer who will give meaningful feedback.
I speak with many attorneys who have a website that actually hurts itself in the search results.
Often, that happens because they told their web developer about a feature that they thought would be neat to have. Rather than explaining why such a feature may be a bad idea, their so-called developer simply said, “OK.”
If you’re serious about your law firm’s SEO and search performance, then it’s crucial that you hire someone who will provide meaningful feedback.
As a lawyer, it’s your job to give meaningful feedback to your clients; the same is true of a web developer.
Ask yourself when the last time was that your developer offered content advice and whether features should be added or removed from your website. If you’re not receiving such advice, then you may want to ask your developer what it is they are doing.