At the start of an SEO strategy is when many law firms may be wondering if they made the right choice. Did they pick the right law firm marketing company? Did they select the appropriate plan? A couple of months go by, things are slow to improve and they get worried.
Search engine optimization is not like advertising. An honest SEO consultant cannot come to you and say, “If you spend x amount on SEO, we can deliver x number of impressions and leads.” Of course, pay per click proposals may be able to generate such predictions, but search engine optimization is different. With SEO, your goal is to get Google to place your website high in the ranks simply because you are the best.
In this case, the “best” would be your law firm’s website. Based on the quality of the website, the quality of the content and the quality of the websites that link to your content, you want to prove to Google that, when someone is searching for a lawyer in your practice area, your website is the best.
To prove this, inbound links are very important, so important that many online law firm marketing companies start taking short cuts to speed up the link building process. If they can rush through the link building, their clients will see instant results and be happy.
That happiness will only last until the lawyer gets an email from Google titled, “Google Webmaster Tools Notice of Detected Unnatural Links to http://www.example.com.”
To rush to the finish line, some companies do link exchanges, indiscriminate link building, buy links or may use third party brokers that are buying links. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t do these practices yourself; Google’s terms make it clear that you are responsible for everything that is done for your website.
This year, Google has launched two major algorithm changes and multiple versions of those changes. Google Panda and Google Penguin have been penalizing websites for content abuses and link building violations. The websites that skyrocketed to the top of search results because of cheating SEO companies are now experiencing a rankings free fall.
When Jean de La Fontaine wrote The Tortoise and the Hare in the mid 1600s, ethical search engine placement was furthest from his mind. Over the last few years, some of the competing “hares” on the web seemed to be winning the race, but it’s the websites that took the slower and steadier path that are now enjoying results.
Search engine optimization is about long term results. The company that gets your law firm’s website to the top should use link building strategies that will not harm you in the future. These taboo practices have been widely explained by Google for almost five years. Now they are doing something about it. For the lawyer websites that didn’t game the system, many are seeing their rankings increase since the prior high ranking sites have lost their positions.
Steady wins the race.
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