Google’s latest update, called “Penguin,” which rolled out in April of this year provides interesting opportunities for law firms that market their services on the internet. Seldom has a business segment been better positioned to gain advantage from a Google search algorithm update than law firms are from Penguin.
How are Search Engine Results Affected?
Historically, search engine results have been primarily keyword driven, and this fact made it possible for websites to improve their search position through such “black hat” tactics as hidden text, website redirects, or stuffing a web page with irrelevant keywords. Google’s recent updates, however, have placed the emphasis on the actual quality of search results, in other words, pages are ranked according to how useful they are to the person performing the search.
How is this Beneficial to Law Firms?
Due to the level of competition between law firms, and the ethical and professional nature of the business itself, most law firms have endeavored to always deliver useful content to their visitors. Potential clients could view the use of sneaky tactics to increase internet traffic as a reflection on the law firm itself, thus defeating the purpose of attracting the traffic in the first place. Now websites that provide a high level of quality content will be rewarded with higher page rankings and better search result positions.
Blogging to Create Quality Links
Everyday more and more law firms are discovering that blogging gives them an opportunity to communicate with potential clients on a more informal basis as well as impart information that may not be easily communicated through the main website. Blogging also provides an effective way to link your page to other quality pages on the internet. In order to illustrate how this strategy can help to improve page rankings, let’s look at an example. For the purposes of this illustration, let’s look at two hypothetical personal injury firms, one in San Antonio, Texas and the other in Syracuse, New York, and assume that both of these firms maintain blogs. Since it is doubtful that a personal injury law firm in Texas is in direct competition for clients with a New York personal injury lawyer, each posting on the others blog will probably not affect the pool of potential clients each enjoys, but this strategy, called “guest posting”, will improve the search position of each firm in their local market. By providing quality content on web pages and in blogs, and linking to other web pages and blogs with quality content, each firm will be able to increase their Google page rank and the overall quality score of your web page.
The Overall Effect of an Improved Page Quality Score
By building quality links to the pages on your website you also improve your search result position in your local market, making it easier for potential clients to find your firm when doing internet searches. If an injured construction worker performs a search for a construction accident lawyer, the search will probably prioritize results in his local market whether or not that market is specified, so there is little risk of this potential client contacting a firm that is in another state. This means that allowing a law firm from another market to post on your blog will have little or no effect on your business, and vice versa, however the fact that the two firms have posted on each others blogs and have linked back to each others sites will help each firm to achieve higher search engine positions in their local markets.
Google’s latest updates are designed to reward websites for providing quality content, something that most law firm websites have been doing for some time. By taking this a step further and creating links to other informative sites, law firms are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the Penguin updates to improve overall page rank and quality score of their websites, resulting in better search engine position and thus more clients.
Alan G. is an internet marketing consultant and a contributing writer for The Perecman Law Firm of New York.