Posted Apr 28, 2014 11:00 am CDT
Small firm and solo practice lawyers don’t need to break the bank to maximize their Internet presence: The good news is that there are already plenty of online tools at their disposal if they wish to promote themselves and their brands.
On the final day of Avvo’s Lawyernomics conference in Las Vegas, speakers from both the legal and marketing worlds made it clear that effective advertising on the Web was well within attorneys’ reach and did not entail having to learn a completely new set of skills. Instead, there are already plenty of free and pay services available if they wish to increase their search engine optimization and ensure that the right audience sees their advertisements.
Greg Finn, director of marketing at Cypress North, guided attendees through the process of paying for advertising on search engines, cautioning that it wasn’t as simple as paying a rate and then hoping for the best. For instance, Google uses targeted advertising and promotes effective ads while punishing ineffective ones. As such, lawyers must choose the right keywords and exclude irrelevant ones to make sure their ads target the right audience. “Quality matters,” said Finn. “If you are a smart marketer, you can outrank your competitors.” Finn also noted there are plenty of advertisement opportunities for lawyers on popular websites like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
Maximizing search engine optimization is a little more complex and requires lawyers to stay on top of the constant changes from Google. Gyi Tsakalakis, founder of AttorneySync, and Mike Ramsey, president of Nifty Marketing, noted Google’s recent decision to integrate its Knowledge Graphs into individual search results and its implementation of the fast and precise “hummingbird” algorithm in September 2013 mean SEO is more important than ever for lawyers.
Tsakalakis and Ramsey emphasized that reviews matter for SEO, and told attendees not to be afraid of responding constructively to negative reviews. They also pointed out that Google+ was a key factor in SEO and that information from verified profiles would be ranked higher than content from unverified ones.
According to the two speakers, blogging is a good way to connect with the audience, but didn’t have a demonstrable effect on SEO. However, good content can cause well-known and highly trustworthy sites to link to you as an authority, thereby increasing your SEO.
The best SEO practices, however, are no substitute for good lawyering. “Providing great service is the foundation of legal marketing,” Tsakalakis said.
Meanwhile, Drew Keller, founder and president at StoryGuide.net, advised attorneys to make use of videos on their websites, stating that: “Video is greatly rewarded in search.” While noting that video previously was believed to not reach lawyers’ target audience, “that case has changed in the last 12 to 18 months.”