by David Host, Search Engine Marketing Manager for GetLegal.com
Professional search engine marketing can increase your website’s natural results ranking on search engines including Google, Yahoo! and MSN’s Live Search. “Natural” results are those produced by a search engine through its standard algorithms without taking into account any special placement for paid or sponsored listings.
The formula that determines which web pages show up naturally, and in what order, is complicated and differs for each search engine. Paid placement, by contrast, allows a website to pay a search engine company to display its site prominently in response to a particular search. Such results typically are designated as “sponsored” links or results.
Although paid placement has the obvious advantages of being quick and easy, a high natural placement is key to your long-term success on the Internet. Searchers trust natural results more than paid results and are more likely to click on a natural result. These factors increase traffic to your website and give you the potential to gain more clients.
Successful search engine marketing requires an understanding of the different search engines and how to get your web page to rank naturally high on them. Here are a few tips and strategies used by the search engine marketing professionals at GetLegal.com.
Search engines scan the content on your site and index it based on the keywords and keyword phrases found. The specificity and location of keywords on your site will influence the search engine indexing. Putting “Dallas DWI attorney” or “Orlando bankruptcy” near the top of your website’s homepage increases your chance for a higher ranking when someone searches for those keywords.
Incoming links to your website from other sites will increase your search results ranking. Search engines are intelligent, however, and consider many factors when reviewing these incoming links. A link from a legal help site or a site relating to the type of law you practice will increase your ranking more than a link from a site having nothing to do with your firm or the practice of law. In other words, the quality of incoming links is better than the quantity.
A number of things can be done with the coding of your website to increase your search results ranking. First, give your homepage a title that might be searched by a potential client. “Boston Family Law Attorney” will get better results than generic titles such as “Index” or “Home page.” Also, carefully code the meta description and, to a limited extent, the meta keywords for your site. This data, while not visible to users, is scanned by search engines and used to analyze and index the content on your site.
Video is a powerful medium that can grab the attention of potential clients. Once you have their attention, it is far more likely that they will review the other content on your site and contact you. Used effectively, video can convey your firm’s personality while also delivering specific practice-area information. Also, you can gain additional exposure in search engine results pages by uploading your videos to sites such as YouTube and tagging them with descriptive keyword phrases.
Search engines constantly change the algorithms that determine where a web page ranks in its results. You should periodically check your website’s search ranking and take appropriate steps in response to any change.
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