The following is excerpts from our FREE ebook, The Path: A Step by Step Search Engine Marketing & SEO Guide Book for Law Firms
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
Much is written, and many hands have been wrung over this topic. If we can be quite honest for a moment, there are a lot of people giving advice on SEO and only a few that can demonstrate results. Why is that so?
SEO: A Marketing Tool Above All Else
First, SEO is a catchall phrase. You can have an “Optimized” picture, but what good would that do you? Likewise, you can have an “optimized” website, but if it’s irrelevant to your target demographic, it’s irrelevant to your business. In reality, what we’re talking about when we say SEO is the idea of Search Engine Marketing. But, for the sake of keeping it simple, we’re stuck, for better or worse with the acronym, SEO.
Back to the point, why is demonstrating results using SEO challenging? Well, it’s not difficult to see marginal results from a couple easy to implement best practices. Beyond that, however, you need a commitment to an SEO strategy, a methodology to measure results, and a commitment to grinding away on the fundamentals for months before you see sizable results.
If you do commit to the effort, however, you will see your firm, your business, on that coveted front page of search results. You will have placed your website in the best real-estate Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo and other search engines have to offer. If you have done this correctly, you will have pulled off your marketing masterstroke for less expense than any pay-per-click advertising campaign.
And that’s the goal of SEO. More clients, less $ outlay?
Elements of SEO
If you’re committing to dominate search results (like Google), these are the three core concepts for which you will need to have a firm grasp. Of course, there are many more abstract concepts that will help you climb/stay on top of the search results, but mastering these three items will be the 20% work that gets you the 80% results.
The three SEO tenets you should initially concern yourself and your business with are Content, Website Optimization, & Community.
The most important thing you can EVER do for SEO is to answer the questions that your readers, your clients, are looking for when they use their search engine. Your answer is not a phone number; it’s not a picture of your team; it’s not a picture of you standing stoically with your arms folded. If you’re getting the gist here, quality content is King. This statement will never, ever, be untrue. As you explore SEO, you’ll see a lot of “tips and tricks” lists. Be cautious if any of these lists do not ultimately ground themselves in the utility that high-quality content provides for your client base. Every part of your website should answer questions that your clients are asking, or should be asking, especially your blog!
Your website needs to be under control. It is best if it is scalable (you’re going to be developing content and bringing in a lot of traffic). Your website needs to capture people’s attention, and it needs to convert that attention into action. Your website also needs to speak to different audiences: stakeholders, peers, clients, potential clients, among others. Beyond speaking to your audience(s), you also need to make sure your website speaks the ‘language’ of Search. Search is not a person; it doesn’t understand the context of what you’ve written. Search is an algorithm that takes keywords from your content and builds an intricate web using math and experimentation. If Search does a good job, it delivers answers for searchers’ queries. If it doesn’t do a good job, e.g., it delivers a poor result for a query; it cycles through other possible answers (websites). This is the very short way in which sites climb or fall from the graces of search engines’ top page. For these reasons, each piece of your website needs to be structured in ways that teach search engines what your message is, and to whom it is targeted.
Your content and your website need to be sharable, and they need to be seen when and where they are shared. More to that point, if your site is not listed somewhere, you’ll need to make sure that is addressed, asap. Your website and your content site need to be listed on directories, search engines, maps programs, basic social media profiles (at a minimum), review aggregators, forums, and more.
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