Search Engine Optimization
Last Updated: Monday, March 23, 2015
Quick rhetorical question: What good is your law firm's stunning new website, and what was the point of pouring all of that time, effort, thought, and money into it, if no one will ever see it?
Simply put, search engine optimization ("SEO") is the process of giving your website its very best chance to be found by Google, Yahoo!, and all of the world's other major search engines, and displayed as prominently as possible among organic results when a query is performed for one of your keywords or phrases.
If all of that was a wee bit confusing, just remember that you want your website to be displayed as high up on Page One of organic search results as possible when someone seeks out an attorney in your town and in your area of expertise. After all, organic search results are free. They don't cost you a single penny.
(Paid search results are also something worth considering, but only if your law firm has a sizeable advertising budget. G.O.A.L. Web Design recommends a minimum monthly spend of $1500 for small law firms and at least three times that amount for large ones. For more information about having our company manage every aspect of your paid search results campaign, please visit our Google AdWords page).
SEO entails a long list of steps, many of which are well-known to the web marketing industry at-large. Others are not so commonly practiced. And there are still other strategies that we employ on our clients' websites that we consider proprietary that we do not share with outside parties.
Among the more rudimentary steps involved in effective search engine optimization are:
- The writing of appropriate title tags on every page of our clients' websites
- The writing of appropriate keywords and page descriptions in the META tag section of our clients' websites
- The writing of appropriate "alternate" text on top of every image and every hyperlink on our clients' websites
- Effective and liberal use of "H2" tags on our clients' websites
- Placement of sufficient content (at least 400 words) on every page of our clients' websites
- Effective use of "intra-linking" of relevent anchor text from page-to-page of our clients' websites
- Reliance on plain text for all content, as opposed to containing words within images, which cannot be read by the search engines
- Installation of Google Analytics code on every page of our clients' websites
- Liberal placement of every keyword and phrase in at least one location on the homepage of our clients' websites
- Creation of a site map for our clients' websites.
- Placement of a Google Map on all of our clients' websites.
These are merely some of the basic on-site strategies of any effective SEO gameplan.
Our company maintains a checklist of more than three dozen other components that are part of the SEO work we carry out for our clients. Of course, we also highly encourge our clients to actively promote their websites on social media and to any friends or colleagues who have ties to local or national media outlets, as inbound hyperlinks (from reputable media websites) are hugely important when it comes to improving your page rank.
A word of warning about black-hat SEO tactics
All of the aforementioned search engine optimization strategies are considered "white-hat" and are approved for usage by Google, Yahoo!, and all of the world's other major search engines.
Back in the dawn of the popularity of the World Wide Web, in the mid- and late-1990s, it was rather easy to trick the search engines. For instance, the operator of a website desperate for online visitors could simply write misleading title tags to gain more traffic. An example of this would be someone who ran a sports betting website putting the title tag, "Official New York Yankees Statistics" as the title tag on the pages of his website. That would lead people looking for baseball information to the wrong place.
That all changed around the turn of the millennium as the algorithms used by the search engines became much more sophisticated. As such, a new term, "black-hat" was coined, which is used to describe any deceptive or unscrupulous method of gaming the search engines to return a website higher among organic results than it would on the strengths of its own merits.
G.O.A.L. Web Design has never employed any "black-hat" tactics and never will.
Any website that utilizes "black-hat" SEO runs the risk of being penalized, or delisted altogether, by the search engines. So why do so many web design companies still employ these immoral ploys? That's a great question. Every circumstance is different, but our experience has taught us that most occurrences are simply attributable to a naïveté and overeagerness to please on the part of recent college grads anxious to make a name for themselves in this business.
For sure, a small percentage of others are solely looking for a quick buck and don't care about the consequences of their unethical actions.
Whatever the reason, you should run away, at top-speed, from anyone who tries to sell you on their SEO prowess with gimmicks like: inclusion in a link scheme, link farm, or link wheel; the aforementioned usage of misleading title tags; or placement of dozens, or hundreds, of keywords camouflaged onto the pages of your website, which is known as "keyword stuffing."
We would welcome the chance to learn more about your interest in having G.O.A.L. Web Design optimize your website for Google, Yahoo!, and the world's other search engines. To learn more about how our team can help yours, please either call us today or complete our Free Quote Form and a member of our team will contact you immediately.