Why Attorneys Shouldn’t Obsess about SEO
I recently had a law firm client ask me to come in and help them to better understand how SEO (search engine optimization) works. I thought it was great that attorneys were interested in this level of marketing detail. And I was happy to help explain the unexplainable (how Google works).
But I didn’t want attorneys obsessing about SEO and the more than 200 ranking factors that go into it — that’s their marketing team’s job. Rather, I wanted them to obsess about their clients and the information those clients need — and to consider creating more specific, relevant and truly useful information to share with their clients and potential clients.
Where Does SEO Fit In?
Certainly understanding where SEO fits in their attorney marketing strategy is a useful discussion. But, I told them that SEO is the last thing that they should think about. (Remember that’s the marketing team’s job.) SEO is a tactic that supports each attorney’s marketing strategies and objectives. Each attorney’s business development goals should be driving his or her marketing activities and web marketing, which can benefit from attention to SEO.
Want To Raise Your Visibility as a Subject Area Expert?
Here are 5 steps to help you create more specific content that your marketing team can then distribute, promote and optimize.
1.Identify your goals:
- What are your goals as a firm?
- What are your goals as a practice area?
- What are you goals as an industry group?
- What are your goals as an attorney?
2. Identify your target customers:
- Who is your target client?
- What do they need to know?
- What is your area of expertise?
- Where do those intersect? (This is where your content comes from)
3. Create a content calendar:
Attorneys, practice areas, industry groups — commit to write, speak, present, and create tools, videos, checklists, etc. on SPECIFIC TOPICS that resonate with your IDEAL clients.
4. Be strategic:
- STOP practicing random acts of publishing
- START positioning yourself as a specific expert
- CARVE out a niche…
- Really OWN it!
5. Differentiate through quality not quantity:
- Make your content definitive
- Make it the best
- Make is “share worthy”
- Make it unique
- Write/edit for business audience (not legal).
What Clients Look for on Your Website
Don’t lose sight of this basic truth: Clients (and search engines) come to your website looking for recent, relevant evidence that you are the expert they are looking for. Even in a referral situation they are coming to your website looking for proof that you are good match — as a firm and/or as an attorney. Make sure you show them:
- Evidence of recent work
- Evidence of industry knowledge
- Demonstration of subject matter expertise
- Other clues that you are a good fit.
Differentiate by Demonstrating Your Expertise (Better than the Other Guy)
You may ask, “but if every other lawyer is doing the same thing, how do I stand apart?” By demonstrating your expertise, better.
- Write more
- Write more recently (that 10 year old article may be great, but it doesn’t look so great to someone perusing your site — update it!)
- Write better (make the complex simple)
- Write to a more targeted audience
- Show you understand that specific industry / business needs
- Illustrate using relevant examples
- Write in easy to understand style
- Have fun! Show some personality
- Curate others’ content — be visible/engage on Twitter/Linkedin
- Be the friendly helpful expert that they will reach out to.
So Where Does SEO Fit In?
When your marketing team knows how you want to be perceived and the type of content you want to create, then they can better assist you in optimizing and editing your content to be positioned for search engines. Write to your client’s needs. Then let your marketing team…
Legal Marketers: I’ve included a link to a worksheet that I created to help attorneys better define and describe their web visibility goals and objectives to their marketing team. You can use this worksheet to develop your own process of understanding and assisting attorneys with their marketing efforts. Download at: Attorney Branding Worksheet.