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Legal Marketing


Key to Search Engine


Optimization:


Visit the Zoo Robert K. Jenner


W


hether you are an attorney seeking new clients or a widget maker looking for a buyer, everyone is seeking the holy grail of Search


Engine Optimization (SEO) for a website. A long time ago (i.e., 2009), SEO was all about programming, keyword stuffing, and irrelevant backlinks from China. If your site has fallen off the search engines’ rankings,


heads up. It has only just begun. Today, search engines are more focused than ever on user experience and helping users find the best resources on the web. As a result, SEO has changed dramatically. The keys to surviving and flourishing in this new environment can be summed up in three points:


1. Listen to your inner Panda and Penguin.


2. Engage socially—the more people “like” you, the higher Google will rank you.


3. Use Google tools and properties like AdWords, Analytics, YouTube, and Google+.


Listen to Your Inner Panda and Penguin Let’s start with the basics. SEO refers to ways of


boosting your website’s visibility to people who are searching by using general search terms and not necessarily a specific name. For example, someone looking for a medical malpractice law firm in the D.C. area might search for “birth injury lawyer, Washington, DC.” Whether your firm appears as number 3 or 33 on the list is due in large part to how well your website is “optimized” for these search terms.


The results of queries using such search terms are


called “organic.” Search terms can also trigger paid Internet ads (pay per click) appearing on the page. These look a lot like organic search results, and appear at the top or down the right side on the first page of results. The goal of SEO is to have your firm’s website appear organically on the first or second pages of someone’s search using general terms – a goal that has spawned an entire industry.


Google Searches—It’s A Jungle Out There


There is no end to the emails/phone calls/ads you


will get from experts who claim to know a secret passageway to a #1 ranking on Google. But my experience is, there are no short cuts. You’ve got to go the whole distance, and that means a combination of organic search and paid ads, plus social media. Most people use Google (67%) for searches followed by Bing at 17% and Yahoo at 11%. How do these search engines find your site? They use super secret algorithms for “ranking” results of search queries. The Internet is a very crowded place and getting more crowded by the minute. The bottom line is that search engines want searchers to find what they are looking for on Page 1. Since Google has the lion’s share, let’s look at their algorithm—the bane of SEO experts and a blessing for users. In the last two years, Google has implemented major updates to its search results algorithm called Penguin


Trial Reporter / Winter 2014 7


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