You're trying to keep up with the latest SEO strategies, but you keep getting conflicting information from different sources. Why do different SEO strategy guides suggest completely different ways of doing things? Why are guides looking forward to 2013 suggesting different strategies from articles written just a few years ago? Keep reading to find out.
Why Old SEO Strategies Stopped Working
Some law firms were very early adopters of web technology and have been quick to jump on some of the web's biggest marketing and advertising bandwagons. If you started using an SEO strategy in, say, 2004, it's time to realize that there's a whole different world now. In 2004, Blackberries were the only smart phone, Facebook was in its infancy, and Google's search indexers used very different algorithms to rank pages.
Back during that time, it was critical to get keyword densities just right, and to use the same keyword repeatedly. Now, Google and other search engines are much more likely to recognize this SEO strategy as “keyword stuffing” and lower your rankings in search results.
Other SEO strategies of years gone by included “article spinning,” also called article marketing. This involved paying a service to post your copy in many different places online. Article marketing was never a particularly ethical SEO strategy, and is now considered spamming.
What SEO Strategy Looks Like Today
Now, mobile traffic is expected to soon eclipse desktop web traffic, both in the United States and around the world. Social media has begun to dominate the web footprint of many users, and “pure” SEO has fallen out of favor, replaced by efforts that integrate SEO, social media, and web advertising.
This kind of mixed strategy has become very important even for companies that used to do pure SEO, because Google now bases much of your ranking on the quality of your inbound links. To get the best results from SEO strategies today, you'll also need to promote your site so quality sites know about it.
Combining Your SEO Strategy With Social Media
Because inbound links are so important, your law firm should work on making firm profiles on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as some social bookmarking websites. Even just having completed profiles can be a significant boost to SEO strategies.
Social media can be a great way to interact with potential new clients and to project a clear, consistent image of your law firm. Avoid having paid content creators write your tweets and status updates—your readers will be much more likely to believe what's being said if it's clearly from someone who really works at your firm.
SEO Strategies That Don't Work
In the same way that it's considered bad marketing to have your SEO strategies involve fake “article spinning” services, it's also bad practice to buy followers for your social media websites. Many companies think that they can augment their SEO strategy with social media quickly by purchasing guaranteed followers on Ebay or elsewhere.
In the end, these SEO strategies are doomed to fail. You need a social media plus SEO strategy that works by gaining real followers with real influence over their circle of friends and family. That's a way to build real, quality inbound links—the foundation of all successful SEO strategies today.
Mobile SEO Strategy
A few years ago, SEO strategies didn't need to pay much, if any, attention to traffic from users of mobile phones. At that time, using the internet on a phone was considered something of a techie novelty. Today, many people couldn't imagine life without their iPhone or Android phone, and that's starting to have a huge impact on the web.
In 2014, because of the continued expansion of 4G networks throughout the United States and the expansion of 3G even into remote and rural areas, forecasters predict that more bandwidth will be used by mobile users than desktop users. This is a crucial change for your SEO strategies. You now need more than ever to have first-page SERPs, because mobile users are even less likely than desktop users to click to a second page of search results.
Local SEO Strategy
Most law firms today would benefit from using local SEO strategies. Tying in your location with your other keywords can ensure that you're getting seen by the right clients, rather than working hard to build web traffic with highly competitive non-local keywords. Today, though, you can build a local SEO strategy that goes significantly beyond this kind of basic keyword touch-up.
Building a local web presence now means creating ties to other websites that are local to your community. Think of other local businesses that you could partner with to trade guest blogging opportunities. Most attorneys have at least some interaction with another type of business, and having someone talk about where their job intersects with the law can be a very interesting post that can go viral, generating even more links and ensuring the success of your SEO strategy.
If you are located in a city and have the ability to travel to some suburbs, you may also want to consider SEO strategies that incorporate geographic keywords for those suburbs. This market sometimes goes untapped by attorneys who are competing hard in a struggle for survival with big city keywords for large practice areas.
The Future of SEO Strategies
In the same way that a 2008 SEO strategy looks very different from 2012 SEO strategies, it's likely that a 2016 strategy will look even different. While no one knows for sure what brand-new startup will be worth a billion dollars in a few years and change the face of the web, we do know that users are starting to do the web differently, focusing on apps rather than search. This may decrease the need for SEO strategies in favor of app advertisements.
Even if search becomes less popular, the idea of searching online is here to stay and has been with the internet since very nearly its beginnings (when “phone book” style paper directories of websites were printed and distributed at computer shows). As long as you make a commitment to adapt your SEO strategies as times change, every step you make toward good optimization is a step that will pay off in the future.