SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is a highly cited, often misunderstood marketing tool. When a firm jumps straight into launching an SEO campaign without understanding its nuts and bolts or, due to negative pre-conceived notions, avoids a campaign completely, it typically misses out on the multiple ways SEO can increase website traffic and brand awareness. For this reason, it’s important to combat some of the more common myths floating around about SEO before investing in SEO for a law firm website.
It’s quick and easy. Some attorneys expect to achieve a top Google ranking in just a few short weeks. Length of time depends on your objectives and the competition for certain keywords and long tail keywords. As is the case with any marketing tool, it’s important to be concentrated, put in the requisite time and effort, and launch a sustainable campaign that focuses on content.
SEO is a “black hat” tactic. Another damaging misconception about SEO is the belief that spammers manipulate search rankings. Although there are ways to “black hat” your way to a first or second page, the best, sustainable campaigns employ “white hat”techniques. Law firms should not be using black hat tactics to move up in the ranks. Doorway pages, link schemes, and multiple pages with duplicate content are all easily detected by Google’s Panda and Penguin search algorithms, and usually lead to a site being banned from search engines. While black hat SEO tactics exist, there are a number of ways to improve search performance while staying in line with search engine guidelines and keeping the website ethical, such as using keywords, backlinking and writing quality content.
Website appearance or content isn’t important. It’s often mistakenly assumed that SEO and other tools are mutually exclusive and play no role in an integrated marketing strategy. Employing a strong SEO campaign doesn’t mean that other vital components of a website can now fall by the wayside. Good, regular, keyword rich content and a responsive, visually appealing design all work hand in hand with SEO to help a firm show up in search.
The more keywords, the better. See above (operative word being “focus”). One of the most persistent falsehoods about SEO is that it’s all about loading content with as many keywords as possible. Repetitively littering phrases such as “best entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles” on a page can make content seem artificial or gimmicky. The importance of keyword density is frequently overstated, and keywords should be incorporated into the site as seamlessly as possible.
SEO can be tricky, and it is constantly changing with the barrage of modifications to Google’s algorithms (Google wants its search engine results to be legit). SEO is not a passing fad especially as people look for service providers, including lawyers, on mobile devices (where the same SEO rules apply).