Asking enough of the right questions is the only way lawyers and law firm marketers will close the SEO knowledge gap, avoid snake oil and get better results.
When it comes to asking questions, lawyers are supposed to be at the top of the heap. It’s a huge part of what good lawyers do. But when it comes to asking questions of their SEO vendors, they tend to clam-up. Or so it would seem. How else could so many law firm SEO vendors be getting away with what they are doing?
Perhaps it’s their pride. Perhaps it’s their interest level.
For whatever reasons, lawyers just aren’t asking enough of the right questions about search engine optimization.
I posted a deck on the subject back in March of 2013:
Please feel free to download it, share it, etc. Heck, I know some of you might even want to print it out. Whatever works best for you. Take those questions to anyone who is working on your website or marketing.
Since it’s been about a year, I wanted to update the list and add some new ones. I might follow-up with an updated slide deck too.
Since I’m not going through the deck with a fine-tooth comb, there might be some overlap. Also, if you have some questions that helped you vet and SEO or get better results, by all means, share them in the comments below.
What can I put on my site that people will like?
This is the most important question to ask yourself.
If you can’t create pages that people want to actively engage, share, link to, etc, you are going to have a very difficult time improving your visibility in search.
Some of you who have a bit of experience might think to yourself:
Pssshhhhhh. That’s crap. I can get pages ranked without regard to what’s on them.
And that’s true. Spam still works. Google isn’t perfect.
But do you want to go to war with Google?
They are smarter than you.
They have more money than you.
They have more to lose than you do.
Sounds like a formidable enemy to make.
Once you face this simple truth, you can move onto the hard work of fixing and enriching your pages.
Would you be inclined read, share or link to your own pages?
If you don’t think your pages are awesome, why would you expect strangers to?
And I’m not only talking about writing here.
One of the biggest mistakes lawyers make is turning their web assets into advertisements.
Some of you will shout things like:
What about conversion? What about calls to action?
We’re direct response marketers! We’re trying to generate inquiries here!
Armed with this rationale, many lawyers and marketers go out and create law firm web billboards.
No one likes these. Not even the lawyers who make them.
And certainly no one wants to share them with their friends or link to them.
I’ve seen law firms who actually do a pretty good job of publishing worthwhile “stuff.”
But then they surround a decent post, article, whatever with, “Call to get your FREE CONSULTATION:”
Some lawyers, who are smart enough not to put ads directly in their posts, don’t realize that the very essence of their site’s design screams tasteless television legal commercial.
Unless it’s for a laugh or other entertainment value, do you share lawyer websites with your friends?
I’m not talking to you lawyers who have agreed incestuously re-tweet, circle, +1, like and share every crappy update.
Do you really think that’s SEO? Do you really think Google is that dumb?
Do you have experience marketing a law firm?
This applies equally to lawyers and marketers.
Being a great lawyer does not make you a great marketer. End of analysis.
Yes, being a great lawyer should mean providing excellent service and competent representation to clients.
And providing excellent service and competent representation will cause people to refer other people who they know to you.
But where in there does that mean that you are capable of building a website? A fast website. A website that renders properly on smartphones and tablets?
Where in the definition of being a great lawyer does it say that you are capable of writing “stuff” that people want to read and share online?
How does being a good lawyer mean that you know about optimizing HTML, robots meta tags, rel=”canonical” and structured data?
Oh you think WordPress handles all of that stuff for you… Right…