This blog post is the first a series about common online legal marketing myths. It will include general myths, as well as myths about SEO, disposable marketing, content, and more. Revisit our Silver Bullet Myths series introduction page in the coming days for more posts in this series.
Overnight success, in general, is unrealistic. But it seems the internet era is about instant gratification, and the instant gratification mindset can affect how attorneys view successful online legal marketing.
Overnight success in online legal marketing is sold to attorneys in a lot of different forms, and it’s one of those online legal marketing myths that refuses to disappear. Attorneys may be susceptible to this idea when they don’t understand search engine and internet fundamentals.
Are you an attorney who believes these online legal marketing myths?
Ask yourself the following questions to see if you might believe in the idea of “overnight success.”
There’s a “top” of Google — and your law firm can get there.
For any Google search you make, there is a number one ranking position.
But there’s no “top” of Google.
If you search for a basic keyword phrase such as “DUI Attorney California,” the results you’ll receive are different based on the day you search, the location that you search from, the browser that you’re using, and the device you’re searching on, among other factors.
Your potential clients will have a similar search experience.
To assume potential clients search for basic keyword phrases like the one above assumes that they know that they need an attorney and search for exactly those terms. (That’s not always the case.) Potential clients often search by asking Google questions about their case or problem. Those questions may include basic keyword terms. Those searches are often completely unique. And, for each unique search comes a unique set of search results.
A related myth is that you can earn a top ranking for a popular law firm keyword in just a few weeks. (Again, potential clients do not always search for popular law firm keywords.) There is a lot of competition for law firm keywords, and, if you’re choosing marketing methods like PPC or other forms of disposable advertising, you’ve probably seen that competing for popular law firm keywords can be expensive.
With so much competition, it’s nearly impossible to have a new law firm website rank organically for those popular terms. And, if you pay to compete for those terms through disposable advertising, you’ll be paying a lot of money to compete for web visitors who may or may not click on your ads and may not be potential clients for your law firm.
There are small law firms that rank well for popular law firm keywords, but how they got there is often a by-product of publishing lots of original, useful content related to those terms. That content may focus on longtail keywords and phrases.
For example, a small law firm may not be able to compete for a term like “DUI arrest California,” but the attorney can compete for related searches when they write a significant volume of content that addresses questions such as:
- “I got arrested in California for drunk driving and I had a suspended license. What do I do?”
- “Do I have to explain a DUI arrest on a California job application?”
Learn more about longtail keywords for law firms.
Useful, informative content and time are the keys to good online legal marketing. When attorneys produce that content on a regular basis, it keeps search engines returning to their law firm’s website to index that new material. The more search engines have to work with, the more they are able to offer your potential clients when they conduct relevant searches.
The more pages you create on your law firm’s website, the better you’ll do in search engine rankings.
Not only is this myth untrue, it can also harm your law firm’s web presence.
More pages is not always equivalent to a better search engine ranking. Yes, there are large law firm websites that rank well with the search engines. Those law firm websites do have thousands and thousands of pages. But the key difference is that those pages are filled with useful content for potential clients, and have been built up with quality content over time. These pages were not hastily assembled — they were carefully crafted to provide potential clients with the information that is most important to them.
A website can be “large” in terms of the number of pages that it has, but simply adding pages without good content to support them can be a recipe for trouble. Publishing lots of pages without the quality content necessary to make those pages valuable to web users is unlikely to bring your law firm better rankings. In fact, it may even hurt your law firm website’s rankings. According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines:
One of the most important steps in improving your site’s ranking in Google search results is to ensure that it contains plenty of rich information that includes relevant keywords, used appropriately, that indicate the subject matter of your content.
However, some webmasters attempt to improve their pages’ ranking and attract visitors by creating pages with many words but little or no authentic content. Google will take action against domains that try to rank more highly by just showing scraped or other cookie-cutter pages that don’t add substantial value to users.
Confused about what’s fact and fiction in online legal marketing?
At LawLytics, we know that good online legal marketing requires good content. We show attorneys how to predictably grow their law firm’s business through content-based marketing while preventing them from wasting money and time on methods that don’t generate revenue for their firms.
There is no “top” of Google, but there are lots of potential clients who ask questions your law firm can answer. When you do, you provide them with useful information that increases the chances that they’ll contact your law firm.
There are no magic tricks to get ahead in search engine results. Don’t fall for the myth of “overnight success.” If you’re confused about what’s real — and what really works for law firms — let’s talk about how to improve your law firm’s online marketing. Contact us to schedule our call.