I read with interest the informative article on legal Internet marketing in the February issue of Res Gestae. And I applaud RG for helping attorneys make sense of this New Frontier.
One critical piece of the puzzle that was not addressed is the need for high-quality original content in any legal Internet marketing strategy. As Find Law’s Erica Butcher points out, some areas are saturated on the web and “It’s very difficult to rank with DUI right now.”
Yet it’s not going to be any easier tomorrow! What if you are a Fort Myers criminal defense attorney and DUI is your bread and butter? (And I can assure you personal injury is no less competitive). Meanwhile, the competition for bankruptcy and foreclosure representation has skyrocketed since the beginning of the downturn.
It’s all about the content. The truth of the matter is that most of these mass-market platforms will suffice, whether Find Law, Justia, Scorpion, or an independent site builder who knows what she’s doing.
But attorneys typically buy these sites, leave them sit with several paragraphs of content on half-a-dozen pages, and complain they are not showing up in search results. Your work is not finished with the purchase of a site, it’s just beginning! Five years ago, a 30-page site was good enough to show up in some of the largest metro markets in the nation, including New York, Chicago, Miami and Boston. Today, those sites are 100+ pages. And, while a 30-page site still dominates a market the size of Fort Myers, the writing is on the wall.
“If you haven’t been going at it for the past four years, forget about it unless you want to spend a lot of money,” is fine as far as it goes. But it’s the sustained, ongoing effort that counts. Doing a great job on a website that has sat for four years is no better than the firm that spends $3,500 on a new site and expects to rule the world. Until law firms are willing to spend as much money online as they spent on yellow pages, many will continue to be disappointed with the results. It does not yet take that much money, but it does take that kind of commitment.
You want to show up well for DUI? Write 10 pages of DUI content. Or 20. “What to do if I get a DUI in Fort Myers,” “Second-offense DUI in Lee County,” “Underage drinking and DUI in Southwest Florida.” This gives you 10 or 20 more bites of the apple when it comes to Google and has the added bonus of addressing the various inquiries of potential clients. In that same vein, blogging is a great way to add content to your site on a regular basis. When you do so, Google scans your site more frequently, and ranks your site higher. There are also linking and other technical benefits to blogging.
Two-thirds of clients who are not getting a personal referral are finding an attorney online. And that number is growing by the day. Social media, website videos, website press releases and unique, quality content are all worthwhile investments. Beware of duplicative content. If your content exists elsewhere on the web, Google will ignore you. And why shouldn’t it? You have nothing to say.
Google wants to display the most relevant search results for a given term. Yes, researching keywords and finding a balance between relevancy and competition is critical. As is link building. But the overarching question when it comes to legal marketing — both traditional and electronic — has not changed. What can I do to best reach the client? If you are answering that question with a dynamic web presence, you are a step ahead of the competition and are likely to stay there.
Law Firm Ghostwriter is located in Fort Myers, FL and has provided website content and internet marketing services to law firms since 2007. Today we work with law firms in more than 30 states and in 20 of the nation’s 25 largest metro markets.
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