Illinois Bar Journal

The Magazine of Illinois Lawyers

March 2016Volume 104Number 3Page 56

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Biz & Tek

Search-Based Tips for Better Website Marketing

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Most attorneys know that their firm's website needs to be optimized so it's appealing to consumers and shows up in Internet searches. But how do you accomplish this when consumers' preferences and the algorithms behind search engines (e.g., Google) are constantly evolving? In a recent post on Attorney at Work (http://bit.ly/1NZMUbh), Mike Ramsey provides six tips to help ensure that your website is serving your marketing needs.

Use responsive design. Research shows that a growing number of consumers are accessing websites via mobile devices. For your website to have its greatest impact, it must look good on smartphones and tablets as well as traditional desktop computers. You do this by using a "responsive design" for your website, which means that it can adapt to different devices and look good on them regardless of their screen size.

Speed up your site's load time. If your website takes too long to load, you not only risk consumers going elsewhere, but you'll also end up lower in Google's search results. To help speed up your site, Ramsey suggests removing oversize images that "are just wasted space on a website." Google provides a free tool to check you site's speed, which you can access at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/.

artwork for articleGet good backlinks. A key to increasing your rank in search engine results is to have other websites "backlinking" to yours. This means that other websites are hyperlinking to content on your site. While it's often difficult to control backlinking on others' sites, you can request that colleagues do so on their sites. You can also accomplish this yourself by writing guest posts for others' websites and including links back to your own site.

Increase your content. When Google delivers search results to a consumer, it wants to make sure that it's delivering quality content that answers the consumer's question. Because of this, you need to make sure your website includes quality, substantive content. And when you create this content, you should use headings and subheadings that include keywords that consumers are likely to be searching for.

Social media searching. We probably haven't yet reached the point where consumers are searching for lawyers on Facebook on a large scale. Nonetheless, consumers are increasingly turning to social media sites to find local services. At this point, you should be positioning yourself for future developments by at least claiming your business name on social media sites like Facebook and Google+. For more tips on how to use social media to your benefit, see the cover story of the January Journal.

Stop worrying about rankings. As search engine results are becoming more personalized and localized, you need to stop worrying about whether your website appears on the top of Google's search results. While you might keep an eye on your search result rankings to monitor trends, don't loose sleep over your placement. As Ramsey says, "to get a valid read on [your] success…focus on traffic and conversions rather than placement."

SOURCES

Mike Ramsey, Law Firm Marketing: Six Hot Search Tips for 2016, Attorney at Work (Feb. 8, 2016), http://www.attorneyatwork.com/law-firm-marketing-6-hot-search-tips-2016/.