SEO. You’ve heard it from every web marketer you’ve spoken to. You probably know it stands for Search Engine Optimization and it has to do with your website’s priority on Google, Bing, and other search engines. But do you actually know what it is?
Many web marketers will use SEO like “secret sauce” – something they’ll sell you at a premium, but never tell you the ingredients. In reality, the idea of SEO is not so hard to understand.
SEO is all about keywords. Keywords are the words ordinary people use to find websites like yours. Technically, every word could be a keyword, but the important keywords are the ones the most people use.
For example, let’s think about a litigation firm, Jones & Smith, PLLC. They’re a full-service firm with lawyers handling every kind of in-court legal issue. Their website is peppered with the word “litigation.” It’s even in their tag line.
But if you look at an analysis of search terms, “litigation” scores very low. It is not competitive and not that many people search using it. The word “lawsuit” gets over 3 times as many monthly searches on Google.
So what is Jones & Smith to do? On first blush, no one is searching for what they do. Really they are, just not in those terms.
If Harry falls in the grocery store and breaks his leg, he is not going to pull up his web browser and search “litigation firms.” Instead he might type “accident lawyer.” The word “accident” gets 16,600,000 global monthly searches. Jones & Smith’s “litigation” filled web page won’t even register.
Rather than thinking about what you call yourself, or how the State Bar classifies your firm, think about the people you are trying to reach. Use a service like the Google Keywords Tool to figure out what words are popular (compare litigation vs lawsuit or attorney vs lawyer). Then make sure your web copy and blog contain those keywords.
But you should also consider how many of your competitors are using the same word. Consider “Slip & Fall.” Plaintiffs’ lawyers love this phrase. Google marks it as highly competitive. That means placing ads using the word will be quite expensive per click.
But what is very interesting is that the word is almost never searched. Its global monthly searches number a mere 74,000. That’s lower than litigation. So perhaps some of those “slip & fall lawyers” should consider becoming “accident lawyers” instead. They’ll get more bang for their advertising buck, and will appear more frequently in the organic searches done by their clients.
Keywords and SEO are not such hard concepts to understand. The calculations behind the scenes that rank one company’s page higher than another are very complex. But there is nothing to stop bloggers and small firms from incorporating good keywords and boosting their SEO all on their own.