What is SEO? If you're maintaining your law firm's website, you've almost undoubtedly heard about search engine optimization. However, there is a lot of contradictory information out there about what is SEO capable of and how SEO can help your law firm. With over 80 percent of consumers reporting that they research products and services with search engines before making a final decision, SEO is a tool you'll need to run your law firm effectively. Here are eight tips that can help you make search engine optimization work for you in 2012.
Tip #1: How to Choose Your Keywords Effectively
When you're optimizing your content for search engines, you'll want to focus on keywords that clients are actually searching for. There are a wide variety of tools that can help you do this, ranging from just using Google Instant to see what other keywords pop up as likely variants to using special tools for keyword development.
If you're still in the “what is SEO?” phase of learning about search engine optimization, you may not be able to do a great job with keyword hunting yourself. This is one of the best reasons to ask for help from an SEO company that specifically helps attorneys work on their search engine optimization efforts.
Tip #2: The Metadata and Why It's Important
When people first start to learn what is SEO, they often think it's all about visible keywords. While that's partially true, SEO goes further than that. Metadata is extremely important for search engines, which will scan the metadata not only for relevant keywords but also for evidence of keyword spamming or other SEO abuse.
If you're keyword spamming in your metadata or otherwise appear to be gaming the system, Google's new algorithms will punish your website in the search rankings. While SEO metadata is still important, the answer to “what is SEO metadata supposed to look like?” has changed substantially. You should now focus on not just keywords, but making sure your metadata is clear and understandable.
Tip #3: Generating Inbound Links
What is SEO depending on today? Not keyword density, the way it was a few years ago. After many companies started overusing keywords, Google decided to base SEO page rankings more on the number and quality of inbound links, rather than the sheer keyword density.
So what is SEO looking for in a quality link? Mostly, search engines want to make sure that you're not just using article marketing services. So-called “article marketing” or using “article spinners” for your SEO will now get you flagged by Google's indexing as a likely spammer. It's fine to do guest blogging where the articles you're creating are real contributions to the blog, but don't just submit articles to websites to get more links.
Tip #4: Why You Need a Site Map
One of the easiest ways to get Google to index your page well is to have a comprehensive site map. This site map, in addition to helping with your SEO, can make your website more easily navigable for potential clients.
Site maps are particularly important when you're first learning what is SEO. Using a site map can help you choose where to have your links lead. You'll want to make it easy for you, not just search engines, to use your website effectively in order to drive conversions.
Tip #5: Don't Keyword Stuff
Many old guides to “what is SEO?” will mention keyword density extensively. That's because in the early days of search engines, most SEO depended almost exclusively on how often you were mentioning a keyword. The more times a keyword was used, the higher you could expect your result to be in search engine results pages (SERPs).
However, today's search engines have become much more sophisticated in order to stop spammers. If your SEO keyword density is too high, today, you could be listed as spam and see your SERPs drop sharply. What is SEO keyword density, optimally? Try using a keyword about 2-3 times per page. This is plenty for search engine indexers without making you look spammy. Ignore any articles telling you to overuse keywords—these articles are likely to be old and outdated in several ways.
Tip #6: Get Help If You Need It
If the person in charge of your website is still doing research about what is SEO or the basics of SEO, consider hiring SEO marketing gurus to make your work easier. Even if you don't want to hire someone on an ongoing basis to handle your search engine optimization needs, you can at least find somebody who can review a new redesign of a website before it goes live.
Tip #7: Monitor Your Rankings
Once you've started using SEO to change your SERPs, you need to monitor those results so that you can be sure your strategies are working. If your SERPs are actually lowering even though you've been using your SEO strategies, you need to step back and figure out what you're doing wrong.
If it seems that a competitor is suddenly ranking much higher in searches than you, you should also keep track of their SERPs. You may be able to figure out what you're doing wrong by basing your new strategy on something similar to what your competition is doing.
Tip #8: Quality Matters
What is SEO for? Getting your website into the top page of Google results. Keep in mind that as Google's SEO algorithms improve, they're looking for one thing: quality content. The recent success of Google's Penguin and Panda initiatives at lowering the SERPs of spammers shows that Google is continuing to be diligent in the fight against low-quality results.
That's why when you're learning what is SEO, you're really better off just designing your website to be used by real people. Make sure you're monitoring keywords, yes, but don't make your site SEO-friendly at the expense of making it user-friendly. Your users are the people who will eventually become your clients, and it's critical that you make your website for them, not for Google.