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Lawyer Marketing Today - Why You Need a Strong Web Presence

Modern lawyers and law firms must build a strong web presence to be competitive in the Internet age. This article explains why this is so important, and also offers some tips for building a highly visible web presence.

The Internet has grown at an incredible rate over the last ten years or so. Today, there are literally billions of individual documents online -- web pages, PDF files, videos and more. As a result of all this content, it is becoming increasingly difficult for small businesses to be found online.

Many in the legal profession have experienced this firsthand. Ten years ago, there weren't very many lawyer or law firm websites online. Today there are thousands of them, with new ones coming online every week. As a result, there's a lot more Internet competition for the same pool of potential clients.

The modern lawyer must find a way to rise above all of that "noise" in order to attract clients via the web. By combining a variety of Internet marketing strategies -- such as blogs, websites, search engine optimization, and online PR -- legal professionals can create the kind of web presence that gets noticed. This is the first step to Internet marketing success in the modern legal industry.

The Need for Internet Visibility

Here's an example of what I mean by Internet competition. Let's say that I operate a law firm in San Diego. Once upon a time, there may have only been a handful of legal firms in San Diego with websites. Web development was more expensive back then, and websites took longer to build and put online.

On top of that, there weren't as many Internet searches taking place. Google wasn't a household name back then. Most consumers relied on the Yellow Pages to find lawyers and other businesses. As a result, few law firms felt the need to go online. So it would be pretty easy for people to find my website when looking for a lawyer in town.

Now flash forward to the present. Things have certainly changed!

It's 2008 and dozens, possibly hundreds, of San Diego law firms have websites and blogs online. In fact, when I search the phrase "San Diego law firm" in Google, I get more than 300,000 results. That means there are more than 300,000 individual documents online (and in the Google database) that mention the phrase "San Diego law firm." Talk about a crowded marketplace!

When you further consider that search engines only list ten results / websites per page, you can see how the vast majority of those websites are buried in obscurity. In other words, only a small percentage of the legal websites in that city will ever be found through Google or Yahoo. Anyone who is part of that small minority on the first page of results can count on a steady stream of web traffic. Everyone else better find some other way to attract clients.

The point is, that's some stiff competition!

From a research and communication standpoint, the legal industry is rapidly moving online. The same thing has happened with other industries, such as real estate. These days, if you're a real estate agent without a web presence, you're an agent who is missing out on a lot of business. This is what's happening with the legal industry, albeit at a slower pace.

The Parts of a Web Presence

Given the stiff competition outlined above, you can see the need for a highly visible web presence. But the question most lawyers have is, "How exactly do I go about it?" Here's the secret to online marketing success in a crowded marketplace. You must use multiple strategies in concert to achieve maximum visibility and traffic.

You must have a professional website, perhaps with a blog attached to it. Then you need to work on your search engine optimization to ensure your website comes up in Internet searches for relevant phrases. On top of that, you should create an online publishing program by using articles and press releases to broaden your exposure.

Here are some of the key components I often recommend to my clients:

* A well designed website with plenty of keyword-rich content
* Search engine optimization to increase rankings in Google, Yahoo, etc.
* A lead generation program to convert website visitors into clients
* A legal blog to showcase your knowledge and grow your web presence over time
* Some type of online PR program, using press release and articles
* Patience, persistence and a strong desire to succeed

This overlapping approach to web marketing is the key to getting results. Some lawyers and law firms have already realized this, and they are reaching new levels of business success as a direct result.

By Web Smart Lawyer
Lawyer Marketing Advice
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brandon Cornett
Brandon is the author of "Web Smart Lawyer," an Internet marketing guide that offers 120 pages of advice on the topics addressed in this article.

Copyright Web Smart Lawyer

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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