The days have passed when attorneys could largely avoid using the internet to recruit new clients. Many, both those entering into the field, and those established, are now finding every aspect of an online strategy moving back to more of an offline strategy vital to their survival. Being able to place your site at the top of Google in your area used to be the most important part of attracting attention for attorneys doing well online. But the game has changed. Google gas created an environment of fear, uncertainty and doubt insofar as ranking for organic traffic, unless you are their friend, for example, and had your site “white-listed” by Google.
Modernly, unless your parents are rich oil sheikhs and/or you don’t care about money, it is highly unlikely a new lawyer will ever perform well online organically, at least on Google. Of course, PPC is always an option for the rich people. Too bad they at Google have done virtually nothing to place the minds of the less wealthy at ease insofar as “click fraud” is concerned.
It’s no question that Google owns the search engine trade. In utilizing many different tools to measure search engine rankings, attorneys will be able to bend this stream their way. Google Trends is able to track many aspects of internet traffic as well as the causes and effects of site rankings. By sifting through the many data points regarding how traffic moves, a firm will be able to better understand why and how their site is operating how it does.
- Google Analytics and Trending Keywords?
Google Analytics for many years was as far as many site owners would take their understanding of underlying trends. However, Trends expands this functionality further. Its design is intended to function on behalf of the account holder and not be bogged down in minutiae. Google Trends tracks the hottest search terms on the internet. It is able to show how topics emerge, the regions where they are looked up the most, and if and how they decline. This can further be dissected by topic, including entertainment, news, markets, and others. This functionality is especially important to specify what your potential clients are looking for.
For a legal site, this can be invaluable. The trends themselves also include the specific search terms that internet users are searching for to get to their destination. Here we can see a bit of the thought process behind each search, including the use of approximate terms, spelling errors, and where the users wind up. You can specify the particular market you are looking for and automatically see related terms and how they interact with your term. So if you are advertising San Diego personal injury attorneys, you can see that other users might be looking for “top SD injury atty” or “Southern California injury lawyer.”
Being able to approximate the search without being artificial is vital. By being able to cooperate with many of these related terms your sites can skyrocket to the top. Of course, be careful about using exact match anchors to get those keywords. After all, Google says you shouldn’t even build links, because that is “unnatural.” But it’s not unnatural, at least to Google, for you to bid $50 to $100 per click to using PPC for those same keywords.
- Tracking Potency
Furthermore, tracking the levels of traffic and interest in a trend can show how its relative potency. You can also, with some practice, get to see the terms that have been reduced in efficiency due to changes in Google search algorithms. You can set the Trends site to integrate with your Google account, having it send automatic emails to your account when there is a change in how certain terms change in attention.
- Google Correlate
Web developers can also use Google Correlate, a related product, to see how these search terms relate to wider social trends and global events. There is no silver bullet for building the top legal website. However, with the use of the tools that Google and other developers hand to you– free– you can get a sense of how traffic moves and how to bet get it moving in your direction. As we see the end of the “happy times” on Google, we will start looking at better, more affordable mediums for advertising.
As consumers get more and more fed up with Google’s “Zombie Traffic” and new algorithms that “improve” search, and place the businesses the consumers were searching for into bankruptcy court, in favor of directories like Yelp and Findlaw, attorneys are scrambling to find a legal type of search engine based upon the original link/vote based system that made Google great.
Posts by Michael Ehline
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