In a recent article, former Google Quality Analyst Pedro Dias writes that it doesn’t take a Google outage to understand how much power that little Google search box has over the web — and how much power it has over our lives.
“If you run a website, and you’ve made your way up in search rankings, you likely know what I’m talking about,” he writes.
What Dias describes is familiar to many attorneys who are developing their web presence. Whether they’ve spent time, money, or both making their website visible to potential clients, many attorneys are frustrated with Google’s role in driving more business to their firms.
Some express their fear of Google’s algorithm updates and what each change means for their marketing progress. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Having a website isn’t a competitive advantage, but understanding your website’s purpose — and using it accordingly — is.
Here’s what you need to know about reaching more clients through Google in 2021.
Successful law firm websites meet (and exceed) the expectations of search users.
Imagine a new website in 1999.
What we considered “high-quality” in 1999 is outdated in 2021 — both in terms of the site’s design and the information that’s presented.
Some of these sites still exist on the web, but Google isn’t likely to return these as relevant search results. That’s because Google understands that the concept of quality degrades over time: What was “new” in 1999 is no longer “new” in 2021. Not only are those sites from 1999 outdated, but millions of new websites have also launched since that time.
Search users have access to better technology and more information than they did even five years ago. As a result, they expect more from websites. The law firm websites that eclipse their competitors’ sites provide a superior user experience through easy-to-use technology and up-to-date information. (The LawLytics platform makes this problem easy to solve.)
If you launch a law firm website — but never update its information and infrastructure to meet modern demands — you’ll struggle to succeed in attracting more new clients from search. Competitors who understand and embrace this concept will continue to thrive.
What Google wants from lawyers: User-focused websites with original, high-quality content.
Google has made many changes to its search engine in the past two decades. But its mission has remained the same:
Organize all the world’s information and provide maximum access to it in the easiest and most accessible way.
Its mission is user-focused. Yet, there’s often confusion about what Google wants from websites. The online marketing industry often reacts to every change the search engine makes without considering Google’s broader mission. If you’ve ever felt confused and frustrated after chasing algorithms, then you’ve experienced this red herring. when they’ve made changes that don’t yield results.
While Google cares about technical concepts like site speed, responsive design, and SSL certificates, a technically sound website without useful information doesn’t help Google in its mission to organize — and provide access to — the best content on the web.
From its guide on SEO, Google writes:
“The key to creating a great website is to create the best possible experience for your audience with original and high quality content. If people find your site useful and unique, they may come back again or link to your content on their own websites. This can help attract more people to your site over time.”
Understanding Google’s algorithm updates will help you drive more business from the web.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and to make that information universally accessible. Its algorithm updates help the search engine with that mission by providing a better user experience to those who rely on Google search.
Yet, many attorneys chase individual Google algorithms instead of focusing on user experience — the thing that Google cares about most.
Google doesn’t design its algorithm updates to reward or punish websites arbitrarily. It develops its updates to provide a better user experience, answering search users’ queries comprehensively and without frustration.
When attorneys understand what Google is trying to accomplish, it becomes much easier for them to succeed online. Instead of chasing algorithm updates, these attorneys know that the secret to online success is providing comprehensive legal information in a digestible format.
When attorneys do this, they discover that attracting more potential clients to their firms is about providing educational information — the information that potential clients are looking for when they turn to Google.
Tired of leaving the success of your firm’s website up to chance? LawLytics can help.
Using our software, support, and strategy, LawLytics members build thriving, information-rich websites that drive potential clients to their firms. The LawLytics platform makes it simple to follow Google’s best practices without struggling with technology or overpaying for website marketing.
If you already have a LawLytics website and you’d like guidance around creating content (or help taking it to the next level), we’re here to help.
If you don’t have a website (or if you’re using a platform or agency that makes your online marketing complicated), switching to LawLytics is easy and affordable.
See how easy it is to grow your practice through Google by doing a quick interactive demo of LawLytics. To learn more about how to reliably attract and convert clients from free search engine traffic, see our 2020-2021 Guide to Law Firm SEO.