By Ian M. Bardorf
Do you Google? More and more people do. In fact, search engine use around the world is growing. Last year there were more than 131 billion searches worldwide, representing a 46-percent increase over the previous year according to comScore, a leading digital marketing intelligence provider. This number represents more than 4 billion searches per day, 175 million per hour, and 2.9 million per minute!
Search engine marketing allows you to reach and engage the searchers who are looking for you. And the process of creating the most relevant site that is also the most search engine friendly is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Because this is a sophisticated, on-going process, there are plenty of misunderstandings about how it all works. Read on to get the answers to four common myths about SEO.
Myth #1: The more someone clicks on my site, the higher my site will rank in Google.
False: There is absolutely no correlation between the number of “clicks” or visitors and how well a site ranks for keyword searches. Web sites rank well when they are properly optimized through a process known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
There are three pillars of optimization: good code, good content, and good connections. Good code refers to search engines’ ability to access and index your web pages. If the search engines cannot read your site’s code, then it will simply not appear in the search engine results. Good content means that the information on your page is useful and relevant to those searching for particular terms. Good connections means keeping good company based on the number, type, and quality of other sites pointing to your site. Google takes all these factors into consideration when determining which sites will appear and SEO helps create the most effective sites.
Myth #2: Search Engine Optimization is a one-time event. Once my site is optimized, we’re done.
False: Done properly, SEO is an ongoing activity. Think of the Internet as another market place. Like the real estate market or the financial markets, the Internet is dynamic and constantly changing. For consistent and long-term results one needs to keep up with the changes or risk performance and results to the marketplace. The fact is creative link building, creation and promotion of new content, integration with other online and offline marketing, and social media are key to improving your site and making the most of search engine marketing.
Myth #3: Search Engine Optimization is a collection of tricks to fool search engines.
False: There are people who try to “game” the system to appear higher in the results, and they may get away with it for a short while. They may even get exceptional results, for a period of time. But it will catch up to them. The best SEO is one that looks the most “naturally aggressive.” This means creating good content that is useful and interesting to people and will naturally be indexed correctly. It makes sense to build sites and pages in the most SEO-compliant way without crossing the line into techniques that Google views as unacceptable — overly aggressive or deceptive practices. Google’s goal is to weed out and drop artificially ranked campaigns. If you treat the Internet as a “marketplace” you will better understand that it takes work and commitment to establish the results you want. There are no shortcuts for long-term performance.
Myth #4: My potential clients really don’t use search engines.
False: Not only do the vast majority of Americans have access to the Internet (whether it be from home, school, office, library, phone) nearly one third of Americans now use high speed Internet access. In fact, the U.S. represents the largest individual search market in the world with 22.7 billion searches, or approximately 17 percent of searches conducted globally. Analysts have found that people tend to research their medical, financial, and legal issues online before speaking with a professional. Most significantly for attorneys, most people seeking assistance start their search on Google by entering their location and the specialty they need. For example, someone looking for help with a will in a Boston suburb may type “Needham Attorney Wills.” And Internet use continues to grow each year.
We can help.
The tools and techniques of Search Engine Marketing are continually evolving and it’s a challenge to stay up-to-the-minute. But if done well, it’s an incredible resource for attorneys and small law firms. Success requires strategy, tools and experience, not to mention integration with other elements of marketing. To find out more about Search Engine Marketing, contact Ian Bardorf at www.BardorfMarketing.com.
Ian M. Bardorf is an Internet marketing and social media advisor to attorneys and law firms seeking to grow and advance their business via the web. This article is copyrighted as original content by Ian M. Bardorf and Bardorf Legal Marketing. This article may be reproduced or republished with appropriate attribution and credit.