For a decade, the pinnacle of search engine optimization was keyword loading, which depended on using a certain search term as a particular percentage of your overall content. However, as search algorithms have become more sophisticated and search engines have begun using humans to curate search results, especially for popular search terms, keyword loading has become a worse and worse strategy. In some situations, keyword loading can actually lead to your website being reduced in ranking by Google. That's why you need this list of alternative methods—in this guide, you'll learn how to have good search engine optimization even without counting instances of keyword phrases in your content.
#1: Getting Social
The internet has moved in a very social direction over the last few years. While just several years ago, Myspace was really the only main contender in social networking, today's web is actively, almost dizzyingly interconnected along lines that involve an array of friends, relatives, co-workers, and others. In order to effectively do search engine optimization today, you'll need to get involved in social media. Social networking websites have become some of the highest-value sites for gaining traction in the search engine optimization world, and social sites can also help you more effectively target people in your local area or those who are more likely to hear about you through word of mouth.
In order to go social, you'll want to sign up for several different social networking sites—not only for your own personal account, but also to give your law firm its own social networking presence. You can begin building your brand personality on these websites, giving you a leg up on your competition that hasn't yet figured out how to use the newly social web.
#2: Going Viral
Viral content is content that essentially starts to distribute itself, via people who are so engaged and mesmerized by it that they choose to share it with other people that they know or are connected to on social media. When your content goes viral, you'll share it initially with as many people as possible, but they will then do the bulk of the work—think about it this way. If you share your content with 100 people, and 50 of those people share it with 100 more each, and 50 of those people from each connection share it again, you're soon talking about tens of thousands of people who have seen what you're producing. Every time someone shares the link, it's likely that you're getting “link juice” through backlinking, which increases your chances of getting onto the first page of search results.
There's no secret formula for building viral content, no matter what scammy marketers might try to tell you. Virality is unpredictable, and largely relies on having content that people don't just want to see—they want to share it as well. This means that humor is often good for viral content, as is telling people important information in a new or unorthodox way.
#3: Old-School Press Releases
While many law firms have gotten so invested in the idea of online marketing that they've diverted huge amounts of resources toward it, you shouldn't neglect older forms of marketing as well. For example, the humble press release is not to be ignored. For some time, press releases were used as “article spinning” SEO spam on various websites that would accept simply any press release content. However, these websites are often regarded as negative rather than positive by search engines today, and you are no longer likely to gain significant traction for search keywords by spamming these sites with poorly designed press releases.
Instead, you should work on real, genuine press releases that tell a part of your law firm's brand story, discuss someone at your law firm, or include information about a recent case or change to the law. These kinds of press releases are more likely to be picked up by legitimate news sources, which will add significant amounts of link juice to your law firm's website.
#4: Microtargeted Advertising
Traditional forms of advertising for lawyers leave a lot to be desired. For one thing, the vast majority of people aren't looking for a lawyer, and even if they are, odds are that you know a lot about the kinds of clients who walk into your door. Estate attorneys see different demographics than divorce lawyers, who in turn see different demographics than lawyers who are focused primarily on criminal defense or dog bite cases.
If you're working on search engine optimization, microtargeted advertising can help to stop the gap while you work your way up the search rankings. With microtargeting, you can niche market to the exact people in the geographic area and demographics you think are most likely to respond to your ads. You can also target different advertisements at different audiences or A/B test your advertising better. Of course, these ads—like any ads—won't work after you stop paying for them, but they are better than nothing while you work out how to get your firm's website at the top of Google's results for common search terms.
#5: Guest Blogging
Consider guest blogging on other websites in order to build your search rankings. By guest blogging on a website where you have expertise and the website has link juice to spare, you'll be making sure that your law firm website climbs the rankings without resorting to spam techniques or keyword loading.
#6: Reviews and Ratings
In order to get the best search results today, you'll also need to cultivate positive reviews and ratings on websites designed to help people sort lawyers by client satisfaction. Reviews on these sites count a great deal toward your overall search engine optimization and search rankings, and are often some of the first things that potential clients will look at when they're considering several different attorneys and deciding who to call.