- Truth 1: No one cares about you
- Truth 2: Google is the source of essentially all traffic
- Truth 3: SEO isn’t rocket science
- Truth 4: SEO can be affordable
- Truth 5: SEO is a zero-sum game
Truth 1: No one cares about you
Roughly speaking, Google is an advertising company. You may think google.com exists to help users find useful websites. You are mistaken. It exists to sell ads.
The same is true for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and every other social media company.
These services may make sense for your business. Realize that their goals are not your goals, and set your expectations accordingly. Google, in particular, is notoriously bad at customer service.
And the companies who explicitly want you to pay–Scorpion, FindLaw, Juris Digital, LawLytics, et al? At least they’re being honest.
Truth 2: Google is the source of essentially all traffic
Microsoft claims that their Bing search engine has 33% market share in the USA.
They are lying, or, at best, being very sly in their accounting. Searches done by real human beings happen on Google. Remember those consumer-facing websites I worked on? Our organic traffic numbers showed that Google drives about 97% of traffic.
For you, as someone who provides services in a defined geographical area, the most important thing will be to have an effective Google My Business listing, and secondarily, a good website.
Truth 3: SEO isn’t rocket science
If you wrote the LSATs, passed the bar, and are working as a lawyer, you are smart enough to understand the basics of SEO. They are:
- Build a website
- Write multiple pages, in plain-spoken language, each focused on a specific aspect of your practice
- Convince people to link to your law firm’s site
It’s tedious, but straightforward.
In very competitive markets or practice areas, it’s unrealistic for a lawyer to do it themselves. In those cases, you will need to engage a firm that provides copywriting and public relations services.
Truth 4: SEO can be affordable
A website should cost you somewhere between $5 and $50 per month.
The only person who expects a custom designed website is your ego, not your customers.
You definitely don’t need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars per month for a proprietary Scorpion, FindLaw, or Juris Digital website.
You may want to pay a firm to manage your PPC ads. They should operate out of your Google Ads account, not theirs. You should be able to see (but not change) the campaigns, keywords and performance.
You may want to pay a firm to write articles for you and promote them to build links. You will want to be very careful about the qualifications of the people writing the articles, and whether the firm is “spinning content,” or doing other black hat SEO practices.
But the truth is: you don’t necessarily have to do any of this.
Truth 5: SEO is a zero-sum game
Every time that your law firm’s website goes up in the rankings, someone else’s law firm goes down.
It’s a hamster wheel that never stops spinning. Be honest about what you’re willing to put into it, and thus what you can expect to get out of it.
Play the game, but work towards building a reputation that exists outside of the ten blue links on the Google search results page. Your goal should be to build a network of satisfied clients who will refer you business or use your services again.
It’s great to have a website with lots of content reassures potential clients that you are the expert they need.
It’s terrible to be dependent on the black box that is Google for your business flow.