Here is an advanced strategy that will give you an edge over your competition: build your own legal information hub. There are a number of good reasons for doing this, such as just attracting traffic, but for this discussion the main advantage is that it gives you a way to guide search engine spiders to pages you want them to find.
If you use social networking, article distribution, or any of the other content-based strategies that we recommend, then you want to make sure those pages get found. But you’d like to make that happen without directly linking to those sites. Otherwise, you’ve created two-way links, when what you want are one-way links.
If you own an information hub site, then you can use it to guide the search engines to any site you want without having two-way links between your main site and sites that link to you. It may become that the information hub itself ends up ranking higher than your main site for numerous long-tail keywords, which is another advantage. Even though the site will be very focused on providing information, it will still feature your brand and a very soft marketing message.
RSS feeds give you an easy way to display content on your information hub that updates itself. We may cover the technical aspects of how to do that in another post (or you can hire Work Media to do it). It’s really not difficult.
Google just released a new feature for AdWords that is in beta trials called automatic matching. This could be useful for your the promotion of your law firm’s web site if you are not maxing out your budget every month.
The feature is intended to help you capture traffic that you may have missed because you didn’t have certain keywords in your account. It works by analyzing your account and displaying your ads for keywords that Google deems relevant, even if you have not specified to show ads for those keywords.
The amount of traffic your existing keywords receive is not supposed to be affected. So if you already spend all of your budget, then the feature probably won’t have any affect on your account. However, the pay per click market for legal terms is very expensive, so this might be a good way to get some additional traffic by letting Google automatically manage any budget that may be left over.
Google wants you to spend every dollar of your budget, so this is certainly helpful for Google because it helps the company maximize its revenue.
But is it good for law firm advertisers?
It depends. I would certainly not recommend increasing your budget just to let Google manage some of it for you. If the economics of your account are working in your favor, then it probably won’t make much difference. But if you are in a very expensive market (as most legal markets tend to be), then it might be a way to generate some additional targeted traffic.
The following links contain more information about pay per click placement:
Here are some strategies you can begin implementing immediately to build a catalog of links to your law firm’s web site:
1. Create a very useful, informative, or entertaining web site. The more valuable and useful your web site, the more likely it is that others will link to you. As a lawyer, you know all kinds of things that other people need to know. So use your web site as a forum to reveal your awesome knowledge. Don’t worry about giving information away for free. It won’t cost you any clients.
2. Publish a blog. Carefully include specific keywords in your blog posts and link to other relevant blogs.
3. Write and distribute articles. Make sure your articles have a byline with a keyword link back to your site.
4. Build pages on social networking sites. Sites like Squidoo.com and HubPages.com let you build pages about anything you want. Those pages will, of course, link back to your main site.
5. Post comments on other blogs. If possible, locate blogs that allow “do-follow” links.
6. Link swap. This is the classic technique, but it still works. Contact other law firms or companies in the legal industry and offer to swap links.
Link building is hard work, but it is definitely doable if you are systematic and force yourself to spend a few hours per week doing it.
Here are some questions you should ask any SEO firm you are considering hiring to promote your law firm web site:
1. What exactly will you be doing? Make sure the firm can explain how it plans on promoting your site.
2. Who will be doing the work? Make sure it is not going to be interns or junior employees working exclusively on your site.
3. Do you have any referrals, testimonials or case studies? You can’t go wrong by asking for proof.
4. How do you charge? Make sure you understand what you are paying for.
5. Are you promoting other law firms for the same market? This one is huge. You want to hire a company that is ONLY going to be promoting your web site for your geographic market.
If you find a law firm SEO company that can explain how it works, that has some referrals, and that is going to be promoting your site EXCLUSIVELY for your market, then you may have a winner.