Law Firm Marketing

Search Engine Marketing Strategies For Law Firms

Law Firm Marketing – Do you know alllllllllll the benefits that legal directory listings provide for your firm’s website?

Posted by Tom Crandall on May 28, 2006

Legal directory listings should be an imperative for your law firm marketing strategy–but not just for the obvious reason. The majority of attorneys and legal marketing professionals striving for online success are under the impression that the reason for procuring a listing on a legal directory is targeted traffic.

Legal marketers educated in search engine optimization know the primary reason to get a link from a legal directory is to boost your website’s link popularity with a one-way link from a trusted, legally-themed website. This practice increases the ranking of your firm’s website in the search engines. First page visibility in Yahoo or Google for a law firm’s website, along with a professional looking web presence and compelling marketing copy, equals rain-maker for many.

Not All Links Are Created Equal

In order for a directory link to increase your link popularity and transfer the strength to your firm’s website rankings it has to satisfy three conditions.

1. It has to be a static link, not a dynamically generated link. A dynamically generated link does nothing for your link popularity and ultimately, search engine rankings. An example of a dynamic link would be a listing in a “sponsored links” section of a website, or the link you’re provided with in paid advertisements on Google and Yahoo.

2. The link to your firm’s website must be indexed by the search engines. Kevin O’Keefe wrote an informative piece on Martindale-Hubbell’s resistance to indexing their clients’ directory listings. As Kevin writes, Martindale-Hubbell is doing a disservice to their lawyer clients and shielding their clients from search engine exposure. Most importantly, the directory listing does nothing for their clients’ link popularity and does not help to increase their clients’ search engine rankings.

3. The page that links to your firm’s website must have PageRank. This is a Google measurment that displays the strength of a web page and is indicated on the Google toolbar. It attributes every web page on the internet a PageRank between 0-10. A link on a web page between PR1 and PR10 (the highest) will increase your own firm’s rankings in the search engines. This is where FindLaw drops the ball for the majority of their directory listings. While their premium and spotlight listings link directly to the attorney client’s website, the masses of standard listings link to “Law Firm Profile” pages, which have a PageRank of zero and do little or nothing to increase your website’s search engine rankings.

There are many directories on the web that will give you exposure and targeted traffic, but most importantly, increase your firm’s link popularity to boost your own website’s rankings in the search engines.

Some excellent legal directories are free! Get a free listing on Washburn University’s legal directory, or on the Open Directory Project website (DMOZ).

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Law Firm Marketing – What is the single most important factor to increase the search engine rankings of your law firm’s website?

Posted by Tom Crandall on May 26, 2006

There are literally hundreds of factors that impact your ranking on Yahoo, Google, MSN, and others. It is important to point out also, that each search engine is different in attributing weight to any given factor. Some of the most important factors include:

> keyword rich content

> title optimization

> meta and alt tag optimization

> header tag optimization (H1, etc.)

> keywords in anchor text of internal links (example: law firm marketing)

But, without exception, the number one factor, even if you excluded all of the other factors, is inbound links pointing to your site from other sites. Let me qualify this because we’re not just talking about links from any old site–in fact reciprocal links with the wrong sites can penalize your site. Here is what you need:

1. Links from trusted directories: DMOZ.org, Yahoo Directory, Best Of The Web

2. Links from Legal Directories.

3. Links from legally-themed, or geographically related websites*

Getting quality inbound links is the biggest obstacle for most. Avoid a “Get links quick scheme.” The key is to write compelling copy and advice so that your peers and consumer-targeted websites and media properties naturally link to your pages.

*While most experienced internet marketing practitioners agree that having some reciprocal links isn’t a bad thing, the consensus is, based on Google’s own comments, that reciprocal links help very little, if at all.

We will break down weighted factors for search engine visibility and inbound link “best practices” in coming posts.

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Law Firm Marketing – Is search visibility on Yahoo & Google becoming a better business development tool than the yellow pages?

Posted by Tom Crandall on May 25, 2006

Let me clarify what I am asking. If you go to Google and type in “Phoenix attorney,” and your law firm’s website (if you lived and worked in the Phoenix metro) is displayed on the first page, be it organic result or paid search ad, will you generate more business than a listing in the local yellow pages? Will you get a better return on investment (ROI) than yellow pages advertising?

That answer certainly depends on where you live. Let’s say your firm wasn’t based in Phoenix. Let’s say you were in North Dakota, the “Peace Garden” state. If you lived in Dickinson, North Dakota, chances are, the answer to my question is “no.” Not yet, anyway. According to the Kelsey Group, local search volume will double in 2006 in excess of 20 billion searches. This trend is expected to quadruple in 2007 and plateau around 2010.

By the way, variations of the phrase, “Phoenix attorney” were searched approximately 314 times today on Yahoo alone. Variations of the phrase, “Dickinson attorney” were searched approximately zero times today on Yahoo. 😉

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