Part 8 in a continuing series on improving your firm’s website.
When you search for something online, what makes you decide which link to click? A catchy name? A recognizable company? Your absolutely terrible lack of impulse control?
For most people, it’s about what appears first. In fact, a recent (massive) study on click-through-rates (aka CTR) put the issue in stark terms. Only about 5% of all users even clicked on a result appearing in the 2nd or 3rd page. On the other hand, nearly 70% of users clicked on a result in the top 5 listings on the first page.
The obvious takeaway: a better Google search rank is critical if you rely on business from the internet. Oh, and in case you haven’t been paying attention, that’s where people look for lawyers now.
So how do we do it? Well, a year-long study on Google search rank has these suggestions:
1) If you don’t have one, start a blog.
I’ve already given you four great reasons to add a blog to your law firm’s website. You can build your firm’s brand, establish your authority, and get your younger associates some excellent exposure. Moreover, it will likely increase your firm’s Google search rank.
Another great reason? The tips that follow work best if used in conjunction with a blog!
2) Make sure your site is managed properly.
Content may be king, but Google places a lot of value on how your site works too. Generally, unless you have someone in your firm with particular expertise, you probably want to begin with a professional. One option is using a managed platform on WordPress.
A lot of things can impact your Google search rank, and you need to think of that from the start. Google actually tends to rank sites higher that have a shorter URL. Google also does not like subdomains, so use a sub-domain for your blog. Make sure that you’re website is optimized to give the fastest performance, and that each page contains title and description meta tags.
3) Fill your site with high-quality content, regularly updated.
Have a good website. Great tip, right? But how does Google know if what you’re writing is good? Technically, it can’t (although sometimes I wonder). What Google does know is how many other people think your content is good.
It knows based on how many quality sites have linked to your site. The more links you have from other sites, the better your Google search rank. The boost is even bigger if those links come from unique domains and IP addresses. The biggest boost, though, comes when the links come from other authoritative sites.
The better your content, the more people will link to it. The more links, the better your Google search rank!
4) Utilize the right Search Engine Optimization tools.
You’re kidding, Brian! You’re telling me that I should use search engine optimization to optimize for search engines? No, I’m telling you to use the right tools. The best way, in my opinion, to utilize SEO is to not even think about it until you’ve written your content. Black hat SEO tactics can get you penalized by Google. Kind of the opposite of what we’re trying to do here.
First, you need to make sure to have sufficient content. Longer posts get higher rankings. Also, make sure your content makes judicious use of your keywords within the text. Another way to boost your rank is to include outgoing links in your post (do it, it’s the easiest way to cite your source anyway!). Lastly, make use of images and videos, with appropriate meta tags, to augment your text.
5) Implement a social media strategy.
Yep, even Google favors the cool kids. So you need to be one of them! A good social media strategy will reap its own rewards – it’ll allow you to connect with your clients, improve your authority, and expand your networking and referral base.
And if done right, it’ll boost your page rank. Any engagement on social media provides a boost to the content’s page rank. Naturally, the biggest boost comes from “+1″s on Google+. The next biggest boost comes from Facebook shares, followed by Facebook “Likes,” Pinterest shares, and Twitter mentions.
Any social engagement, regardless the platform, or even the level, will provide a boost to your Google search rank.
In the end…
Google works very hard to make sure there is no magic bullet for search rankings. Anyone who tells you they can guarantee a higher rank isn’t being completely honest. However, thanks to some great research, we know what is likely to increase your rankings.
The single, best possible thing you can do is to consistently add high-quality content. However, by following these tips, you’ll increase the chance that it gets read!