The Importance of Optimizing Law Firm Web Sites for the Search Engines

11:58:59 14-08-2014

Imagine your disappointment if you were to spend big bucks to throw a fancy party to entertain prospective clients with such things as expensive champagne and beluga caviar, only to have no one show up when the big day arrives.  In the same manner, imagine your disappointment if you spend a lot of money to design a great web site with all kinds of bells and whistles, but no one looks at it.

Many of my clients have in fact invested in a web site, only to be disappointed because little or nothing was realized from it.  The design and content of a web site are certainly important, but the foremost reason so many law firm web sites are unproductive is that they are not optimized for the search engines.

The Holy Grail for any law firm web site is a high search engine ranking in the firm’s practice area and geographic location.  The vast majority of people making a search never go further than the first page, or the top ten or twenty sites listed.  Therefore, like the tree that fell in the forest, the reality is that if your web site doesn’t have a high search engine ranking, it basically doesn’t exist.  As someone recently wrote, it will simply “join the thousands of law firm sites that collect electronic dust on the internet.”

Search engines such as Google use arcane methods such as algorhythms to assure that the sites that are most on target rank higher on their search lists.  The way to get a high ranking for a web site is to have it optimized for the search engines.  Achieving a top rank is not a simple matter, however, and there are many secrets of the trade.  It’s technical stuff that needs to be handled by someone who knows what he/she is doing.

The keys to search engine optimization include such things as designing a site that provides descriptive, keyword-heavy “metatags” as well as segregating topics and placing them on different pages, along with links from other legal sites and directories like Yahoo.

Even if a web site initially achieves a high ranking, however, you can’t stop there.  The process of optimizing a site also requires someone to constantly monitor its progress to keep it at the top, including such things as resubmitting certain pages after tweaking the optimized code, and developing links to the site from other high ranking legal sites.  Search engine rankings are always in a state of flux, and competing web sites will constantly move up and ahead of sites that are not optimized.

The operators of the search engines are as enigmatic about their ranking algorithms as companies like Coca Cola and the Colonel are about their exclusive recipes.  Therefore, as I have said, just as people need lawyers who know what they’re doing to handle their legal matters, lawyers need people who know the ins and outs of the internet to optimize their web sites if they expect to get results.

Many good web designers will insist that they can do it, but just as it wouldn’t make sense to have a foot surgeon do a heart bypass, it is critical to have a web site optimized by a person having the requisite knowledge and experience.  I personally rely entirely on my web site for my marketing, and I employ a web consultant who optimizes my site.  He does an outstanding job.  My site consistently pops up in the first ten, frequently ahead of my larger competitors.  I would be glad to provide his name to anyone who wishes to email me

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