Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Secret of Search Engine Optimization (Shhhhh, don't tell anyone)

If you are like most lawyers, you are constantly being barraged by offers from SEO "experts" who know the secrets of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Here is the biggest secret about SEO that I am going to share with you....

There is no secret. Despite what all the experts say, Google, Yahoo, MSN and every other search engine out there do not want a website to show better in their search results because of superior SEO. These search engines make their living by bringing back relevant websites to a particular query. If these results are skewed and not relevant, then the searcher will look elsewhere and not continue to use the search engine.
This creates a cat and mouse game between the SEO Experts (mostly Spammers) and the search engines. I would suggest you do not get caught up with all this.

Remember from my last post, above all, Content is King. If you are adding relevant content, have a Google Site Map (table of contents for Google), and are listed in a few good web directories then your lawyer website or blawg will do just fine. Stay away from trying to guess "keyword density" and other SEO methods. These strategies come and go. Trying to keep up with them will be frustrating, complicated, and in the end, not beneficial to your overall web traffic.

If your hobby is to SEO your law firm website on a frequent basis and the art of SEO interests you, then go ahead. Otherwise, put your head down, and refresh your relevant content. If you build it, they will come.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Relevant Content Trumps Everything for Websites

What do Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines want to see on a website above all else? A pretty picture? Repeating key words? Great search engine optimization?
The title of this post is a hint...Yes, it is Relevant Content. What I mean by this is that your website needs to contain information that is relevant to a search engine query. Search engines do not want to bring back poor results to their searchers. Search engines make their money by having searchers return and continue to do web searches. Google is a multi billion dollar company because more folks on the internet use Google which drives up Google's pay per click (think "Sponsored Links" when you do a search) revenue. If the results Google brought back to the public where not relevant, then searchers would stop using Google and use another search engine.

So what does this have to do with you attorney or law firm website? If you want to capture web searchers that don't know you or your firm, you need to have content on your site that is similar to what they are searching for. An example of this might be a description of your criminal practice or an article on bankruptcy. The more information you have on your site that is relevant to various web queries, the more likely you will be found on the search engines.

How do you get content on your site? Write articles, describe your practice in great detail, or post frequently on your blog. Write about your practice and what you know about. If you don't have time, "make time". Content is king when it comes to search engine optimization. Incoming links are great (if done correctly) but content will usually trump any SEO tweaking.

I would recommend that you avoid:
1. Posting duplicate content. Search engines will penalize your website if they find the same content somewhere else (ala article submission site)
2. Steal content from another website. I'm stating the obvious here
3. Write content with too much emphasis on "key words" that your potential clients may use. Write in an informative manner in whatever tone your clients would want to see.

If you commit to adding a few pages to your website a month, and publish a blog post weekly, you will be ahead of the game.

Remember, Content is King on the internet. If you don't believe me, check out Wikipedia.