As you are probably discovering yourself, the old ways of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are no longer serving you / your law firm in terms of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). And by old, we mean 2012. If your SEO company is guaranteeing results via linking, directories, and other vague promises, RUN (this is not an acronym and it is very important :)).
Not only did Google release a number of algorithm updates last year (including the Exact Match Domain (EMD) update, one dozen plus Panda updates, changes to actual search results pages, and unnatural link warnings through Google Webmaster Tools), but it has shifted its focus to content and SMO, or social media optimization. Therefore, the right social media campaign for lawyers will include a diverse and holistic perspective to SEO. One that favors quality over quantity, and community engagement over key word spamming.
If you are interested in building your law firm’s web presence, read on for 6 SEO tips for top SERP placement.
Google is using data gleaned from Google+ to return more socially-influenced search results. With Author Rank (see below) becoming more of a factor in search engine optimization, leverage the Google+ Communities feature to build your own community of influencers and content sharers. For more information on Author Rank and the importance of Google+ in your law firm’s social media campaign, contact expert legal marketing pros.
Google has shared that data from social sites (think the number of followers your law firm’s Twitter account boasts) is being used to influence SERP. Social signals are one sliver of the overall ranking pie and should be part of your law firm’s SEO strategy for 2013.
Data from Searchmetrics:
Google is using Author Rank to measure the authority and reputation of the content an author shares on the web. Lawyers who blog about specific topics will be able to increase their authority (and therefore their Author Rank) by linking their content to their Google+ profile and through +1s on the content itself. Don’t believe us? Then believe Google, whose Authorship Team recently said, “As part of the Google Authorship pilot program, we’re experimenting with different ways to identify and highlight authors in search, such as having people implement authorship markup or signing up on our authorship page.”
Graphic from Mike Arnesen:
We work with many law firms whose SEO companies have engaged in various ‘unhelpful’ SEO building tactics. One of the most popular: link building through unnatural links. Law firm websites that host unnatural links, and have been notified by Google about a ‘manual spam action’, can now disclaim those links through their Google Webmaster Tools account. Talk to your legal marketing team about the SEO shift toward link earning.
Ever wonder why one of your friends ALWAYS shows up in your Facebook newsfeed? The answer: Facebook’s “EdgeRank” algorithm. EdgeRank determines how Facebookers see content in the news feed. Want to guarantee that you are seen? Perhaps it is time to consider Facebook as a part of your law firm’s social media strategy.
Page SEO vs. Site SEO
Increasing the authority of specific landing pages on your law firm’s website is important, if not vital, to the health of your SEO campaign. However, this cannot be the only strategy your law firm’s SEO consultant should have. Consider a holistic, site-wide approach to SEO, with links built to pages across the site.
SEO cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. Make sure that your law firm’s quest for Page 1 of a Google search is customized to your practice and reflects the current ‘rules’ around building a strong web presence for your law firm.