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10 SEO Questions All Attorneys Ask

Expert Witness:
At we work with a lot of lawyers. During our onboarding process for a client, there are always questions about services, about SEO, and about the whole process. We pooled together some of the most common ones for this post.

Can you Guarantee Me First Page Rankings?

This is both a very common question and a very common claim throughout the industry. The fast answer is no, first page rankings are not guaranteed. While Google’s algorithm (and those of other search engines) can be influenced, they cannot be controlled absolutely. This is sort of the same as asking if we run this super bowl commercial, are we guaranteed to increase sales by 100%?

Google uses more than 200 factors in determining the order of search results in their pages. There could also be dozens of different phrases that consumers are using to find an attorney’s
website. Further, even if your site does show on the first page, that does not mean your goals will be accomplished. Lawyers still need to get people to click on the listing, come to their site and convert.

Based on the program that an SEO uses, there is a strong probability that a site will start ranking on the first page of Google for a particular keyword phrase. Lawyers should be skeptical of SEO companies that lead with this claim (or make this claim at all). A good SEO will have a conversation about your business goals and how optimizing a website in search can help accomplish those goals.

How Long Does It Take To Make My Site Rank for A Keyword?

The quick answer here is “it depends”. The amount of time it takes for a page on a site to rank in any given position for a keyword phrase will depend on a number of different factors including:

•The current condition of the site as it relates to SEO

•The popularity of the keyword phrase (i.e. it would be much more difficult to rank on the first page for the term “lawyer” than it would be for the phrase “real estate attorney Ann Arbor, Michigan”
•The amount of effort and time put into the SEO program

A strong SEO program that involves both on-site and off-site SEO, a push on social media and a consistent approach can move the needle on a fairly competitive keyword phrase in a matter of months. Typically campaigns can take many months if not more than a year to see tangible results.

Does Every Page On My Site Have to Rank For A Keyword?

No. Search engines rank documents or pages and not entire websites. So lawyers should be targeting keyword phrases at the page level and not every page will be well-suited to rank for a keyword phrase. For example contact us pages, terms of service pages, product or service pages or pages with thin content may not be the right pages to rank for specific keyword terms.
Also, just because one or more pages on a website do not rank for any keyword term does not mean other pages will be negatively affected.

What Is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is a term that defines the unfavorable or immoral tactics used to manipulate search rankings. Some common examples of black hat SEO tactics include:

• Keyword stuffing
• Cloaking
• Buying links or link exchanges
• Using automated programs to build links

How Do I Do SEO for Other Search Engines?

Google leads the way in terms of market share in search with somewhere around 70% at the time of this writing. Ranking factors from company to company differ however odds are that if a page is ranking well in Google search, it will also perform well in the dozens of other search engines out there.

Does Social Media Help SEO?

Yes but not for the reason you might think. Simply being active in social media does not equal high rankings however there have been some correlation studies done that are very compelling. Instead, social media amplifies a lawyer’s ability to expose their content to a broader audience. This increases the chances that more organic links will be built to the content and that it will be distributed across other networks.

Does Having A Mobile Site Help My SEO?

As of April 2015, it will. Google has always had an interest in helping webmasters make sites that are easy for their audience to use and mobile design is an extension of that. If your site does not have a good mobile experience, chances are it will not rank as high as one that does (all else being equal of course).

What is a good price to pay for SEO services?

What is a good price to pay for a car? There are many pieces of information required to answer that question. How many miles are on it? What kind of car is it? How old is it? Has it been in an accident? And so on. It is difficult to put a standard price on SEO services just as it is hard to put a standard price on many other service-based industries.

Many factors influence what an agency will charge for SEO services including:
•The agency’s clientele
•The scope of work

Naturally a more experienced agency is probably going to cost more than one (or an individual) who does not have as much expertise and is hungrier for the work. The size of the agency can also play a role in pricing. Large agencies typically have offices, staff, and other expenses that drive their costs up (hence driving up their prices).

The clientele that an agency works with can also influence the price that all customers pay. This may seem odd however if a typical client is paying 20K per month for SEO services from an agency without batting an eye, that agency is probably not inclined to take on clients who have much smaller budgets.

The scope of work is probably the most influential factor in price. How much do you want the agency to do and how much is necessary to accomplish the firm’s goals? Some SEO work can be done one time and not have to be changed much over long periods whereas other tasks require ongoing and committed attention.

How can I tell if the agency or professional I hire to do my SEO is legitimate or qualified?

Unfortunately there is not an easy way to tell if someone is a “real” or “qualified” SEO. The practice is not new but it is new enough to fall outside the realm of regulation and even lacks a strong prevalent academic presence in fields of marketing.
There are some good ways to find out if an agency or individual is the right fit and has the expertise you are looking for.

•Look for web-based certifications on the agency’s site
•Get references and follow up with them (get at least three with at least one being in your industry). That may not be a deal breaker but it is always helpful to talk to someone who has faced similar challenges.

What is negative SEO?

Negative SEO is a real thing and people actually do it. It involves performing the same off-site, black hat tactics except doing it to someone else’s site. This could be in the form of pointing bad links at a site to spamming a blog with gibberish comments and spammy links.

I began my Internet marketing journey sometime in 2004 working at a small high school in Southern Illinois when the allure of making money online took hold. In the time since, I have been developing the skills and acquiring the experience that have allowed me to build one of the premier SEO agencies ( dedicated to law firms, medical practices, and small businesses. As an SEO consultant, I’ve worked with 100’s of attorneys all over the country.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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