Earlier this week we talked about law firm website basics such as domain name, design and content. Now we get to the fun stuff -- SEO, or search engine optimization.
Why SEO Is Important
Key to SEO strategy is making changes to your website to increase its visibility to search engines, resulting in your site getting ranked higher in search results. This is especially important because many people begin their hunt for legal representation online by searching for local attorneys. Not only that, but online searches are a free way for your firm to have huge exposure.
How Google Can Help
Google has been getting a lot of slack lately, but its importance and influence in search cannot be denied. If you want good SEO, you're going to have to become buddies with Google for three reasons:
Google offers a host of services that all integrate and work together to help you bump up your SEO; and
Google offers many of these services for free.
Here are some of the Google services you'll want to set up (if you haven't already):
Gmail. If you want to use any Google services, then you're going to need a Gmail account. Select a username that is professional such as your name or firm name.
Google Analytics. Google provides a host of metrics including audience demographics and search terms used to get to your site. This type of information is invaluable when it comes to SEO and planning other advertisements and marketing strategies.
Google Webmaster Tools. You can improve your site's visibility and analyze search results with Google Webmaster Tools. The first step is to verify that you own your website through Google and creating a Sitemap (a list of pages of your website so Google can find them easily). By accessing Webmaster Tools, you can also see if Google is having any problems accessing any of your pages.
Google Places. When you look at results of a Google search, you'll see that ads have premium placement -- but you'll also notice that on the sidebar, you may see a business listing with a map. That's a premium search location that is free. Yep, all you have to do is list your business on Google places, and if someone searches for your business, you'll be guaranteed premium placement without spending a dime.
Google+. If you thought of Google+ as just another social media waste of time, think again. It's a great way to promote your business to your network (and your network's network). You can set up Google+ accounts in the Local and Business categories, giving you a means of free advertising.
Google is continuously expanding its product range and offering more services to boost SEO. All you have to do to access the information and to learn more is to, well, Google it.
Stay tuned for more information next week on tags, keywords and links -- all ways to improve your SEO. If it seems like maintaining your SEO is a full-time job in itself, you are correct. If you need help with your website, consider FindLaw's marketing services so that you can focus on your clients.
Top Trends in SEO: What Law Firms Need to Know (The Official FindLaw Blog)