You’ve Earned Your Rank, Now Keep It!

Google, the big kahuna of search engines, has a challenge for everyone with a website. It updates its search algorithm 500 to 600 times a year, almost twice a day, every day. [http://moz.com/google-algorithm-change] Most of these changes are minor, but some are major updates that significantly affect how your website ranks and the visibility it has earned compared to all the other sites online.

For anyone marketing their business online, this is big news. It means that Google is constantly tweaking how it ranks your website and that a site with strong visibility and a page one ranking today might not have the same visibility and ranking tomorrow. This makes it a challenge to maintain your firm’s visibility month over month. But there’s one straightforward way that attorneys who are marketing themselves online can ride out this rollercoaster – by consistently adding quality content to their websites.

“Quality content” is information that is new, useful and relevant to your visitors. Publishing content that is meaningful to your prospects and clients and updating it regularly will improve your visibility in the highly competitive search engine market.

Maintain Your Rank

Did your website obtain strong visibility in the search engines but now you find your website slipping to page two, three, or even four? This may be because your website has been determined to be stagnant since it hasn’t been updated recently or worse, you’ve been penalized for lousy content (irrelevant, spam, duplicate, sparse, illegible, etc.). Remember, your website is being compared to all the other attorney sites – your online competition.

Think of Google as a marketplace. Unlike a directory in which you can claim a profile once and be done, Google search results are dynamic and constantly changing. Keeping up with the marketplace is an on-going effort that requires regular attention. There’s always someone who is trying to obtain better visibility than you and who is willing to put more resources into it. Once you’ve earned your ranking you need to keep working to maintain it. [Read more…]

Why are client reviews so important for attorneys?

With more consumers using the web to post reviews, you need to make sure you are protecting your good reputation. Avvo, LinkedIn, and your own website are the best places to have reviews. When someone searches for “your name and review” you want these websites to come up first. I can’t emphasize enough how important reviews have become, especially for attorneys. In fact, 85 percent of consumers say that they read online reviews for local businesses to determine whether these businesses are good or not. (This is up from last year’s 76 percent).

Yelp is a common review site for everything from restaurants to hair salons. They have recently started to expand in to professional services including attorneys and law firms.  It’s the least friendly to account holders in terms of managing your reviews compared with Avvo and LinkedIn.

Being proactive and having several good reviews is critical. Many times I see that the first review of an attorney is unfavorable, followed by a spurt of positive ones. I know that instead of asking clients for reviews regularly, he or she has had to scramble to get good reviews published so as to push the negative one down. Take the time now to get some good reviews before this happens to you. Remember, given the nature of your business one party usually is not pleased with the outcome.

You may learn more about client reviews in my blog post, “How to Manage Your Online Reputation.”