In early 2012, Google slammed websites and SEO companies that used excessive link building. Michael Waddington discusses why traditional SEO and link building methods no longer work and what to be aware of when hiring a company to market your online business. Call 1-800-977-1851 to speak with a law firm marketing expert today.
Michael Waddington talks about why claiming to be a “white hat SEO” company is a sales gimmick.
http://www.legalnichepros.com – Where is Your Site Ranked? In this video, law firm marketing professional, Michael Waddington, Esq., discusses why tracking site rank, site performance, and other data is crucial to a successful law firm Internet marketing campaign.
In the current economy, lawyers are struggling to find clients. Some law firms are getting by, others are falling apart. Without a steady stream of paying clients, a law firm cannot survive. In this video, Michael Waddington discusses why some why older lawyers, who once dominated, are struggling to get clients and find themselves losing clients to less experienced, younger lawyers. Visit http://www.legalnichepros.com for more videos about law firm marketing.
Since Google was founded, a website’s rank was determined primarily by the number and quality of links pointing at the site.
Billions of dollars are made annually by the sites ranked at the top. Law firms spend many millions of dollars annually on link building. Like the Cold War’s costly Arms Race, lawyers are involved in a Link Building Race.
To facilitate the Link Building Race, entire cottage industries popped up that included SEO software companies, expensive link networks, link exchanges, paid links, blog networks, and armies of virtual workers in Indian and China, ready to build links for $3 an hour. Link-building became cheap and easy.
Anyone with a laptop and Internet connection could claim to be an SEO expert. Lawyers were bombarded with SEO phone calls and e-mails. You have all seen this e-mail: “Want to be #1 in Google, we can help.” I still get 10 of those a day in my inbox.
It was out of control. In early 2012, Google started an aggressive war against the link building industry. The war is ongoing and will continue until Google wipes out the link building industry.
In their War On SEO, Google is systematically attacking all sorts of links and SEO techniques.
TRADITIONAL LINK BUILDING IS DEAD: SEO IS NOW VERY DIFFICULT
In March 2012, Google increased the War On SEO by attacking hundreds of major link networks that are used by 95% of website marketing and SEO companies. Most law firms with a top 20 ranked site have used these types of services, whether they know it or not.
On March 20, 2012, Buildmyrank.com, one of the largest and most reliable link building companies was put out of business, overnight. See http://www.buildmyrank.com/news/its-been-a-grea…
What does this mean?
High quality SEO just got much more expensive
Cheap, easy to build links are worthless
Experienced SEO experts will push ahead of the amateurs
Inexperienced SEO companies will flounder and go out of business
To succeed, you must go BACK TO BASICS and rely on:
A large, high quality website with lots good content, pages, and internal links
You need content that PEOPLE want to read and watch
You need high quality, hard to get links
You need lots of videos (on and off your site)
You need quality blogs
You need quality social media and Google + involvement
Desperate, law firms are turning to high priced “Law Firm Marketing Consultants” that have no hands on SEO experience
The word SEO makes most lawyers cringe. Lawyers hate Internet marketers and rightfully so. Many alleged SEO experts are frauds. In addition, most lawyers don’t exercise due diligence when hiring an SEO company. Therefore, they get ripped off.
Lawyers see SEO companies as scammers, promising the world and delivering nothing. After all, there is only one top spot in Google for “Atlanta divorce lawyer,” how can every law firm be #1. Law firms are tired of being ripped off by SEO shysters.
This dilemma has created new breed of consultants who are ready and willing to take advantage of lawyers, but in a classy way. They call themselves LAW FIRM MARKETING CONSULTANTS. Most are white collar workers, jobless from the recent recession.
These consultants have a few things in common:
1) A college education (often an MBA)
2) Professional looking (they dress up well and are usually attractive)
3) They give great Powerpoint presentations at law firm board meetings
4) They have no training, background, or education in marketing
5) They are smooth talking salesmen
6) They know little about proper website design, Internet marketing for lawyers, and advanced SEO
7) They know nothing about running a successful law firm or being a lawyer
8) They are middlemen
9) THEY DON’T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING, other than “consult” (i.e. talk a big game)
10) They charge 3-5 times the actual cost of SEO and then outsource to the cheapest bidder
A typical consultant charges $5,000 a month. They take most of the money and then scramble to find someone to do the job at a cut-rate price.
Over the past month, I received four calls from self proclaimed “law firm consultants” that have ALREADY SIGNED UP law firms in expensive SEO contracts. The problem is, they don’t know how to do SEO. They called me because they saw me on Linkedin and figured I could help them for a small cut of their fee.
Confused, I asked one such consultant, “What do you actually do as part of this deal?”
“I work with you and the law firm to make sure the marketing plan is on track and we are reaching our goals,” he replied. In other words, he does none of the actual work.
Law firms are falling for these hustlers more and more as they grow weary of failed SEO efforts.
Another consultant boasted that a midwestern law firm (he would not mention their name) signed a $5k a month, one year, SEO contract with him. He said he is looking for someone to help with the job for less than $1k a month, because he knew little about SEO. He wanted the firm ranked #1 for a bunch of competitive keywords in various large cities. He would literally do nothing, take all the credit, and keep $4k a month.
Like the others, this consultant was smooth talking and a butt kisser. He was a sales rep at a Fortune 500 company. He had lost his job in 2010 and became a law firm marketing consultant. He was a con artist and he was doing very well financially.
He bragged that he recently signed up 5 similar law firms at a big CLE conference and they needed SEO work as well. He then asked if I offered a package deal.
I was shocked at his audacity and surprised that a law firm would pay someone that kind of money with no actual SEO experience. His clients are getting ripped off and it is their own fault.
You usually get what you pay for, one way or another. In this case, the firm is paying $5k a month for $1k of cut rate work.
BOTTOM LINE: Before you hire anyone to do SEO or marketing, ask for references from current clients. Ask to see current sites that they personally got ranked in Google. Finally, hire an SEO expert that is personally responsible for the work and the results.
Google made major changes in their search engine algorithm in late February and early March 2012. The changes are ongoing. These changes have impacted law firm websites across the United States.
The algorithm change caused some law firm websites to drop from page 1 to page 7+, overnight.
Historically, the more links that pointed at your site, the higher you ranked in Google. This is still true.
However, as of March 2012, Google stopped counting various types of links that were heavily relied on by SEO companies. Therefore, some sites have dropped dramatically and others have risen overnight, depending on their chosen SEO strategy. Google has not specifically stated which links no longer count, but they gave clues.
MANY LINKS ARE NOW WORTHLESS
After carefully analyzing the updated algorithm’s impact on over 100 law firm websites across the USA, it appears that MOST LINKS THAT CAN BE BOUGHT, LINKS FROM LARGE PAID BLOG OR LINK NETWORKS, and MANY LINKS BUILT BY AUTOMATED SOFTWARE ARE NOT BEING COUNTED BY GOOGLE AND WILL NOT HELP YOUR RANK.
If your SEO company used any of these techniques, then your site will likely be impacted. In addition, the updated algorithm puts much more emphasis on Google Places results, than it does on organic search results.
WHICH WEBSITES INCREASED IN RANK?:
Sites that were well built, SEO optimized, with lots of unique content and internally linked pages
Firms with optimized Google Places accounts with lots of business listings (citations) throughout the internet
Sites that have links from numerous respected directories such as Yahoo Directory, DMOZ, and the Cornell Legal Directory
Sites that have diverse and natural looking links from legal websites and legal directories
Sites that have links from numerous quality blogs
Big Factor #1: Sites that have a robust and active Social Media presence. The social media presence must be integrated with the main website, Google Places and Google+
Big Factor #2: Sites with numerous SEO optimized videos on YouTube and various other video networks (these must be properly integrated with the main website and Google Places)
LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES:
As Google cracks down on cheap, easy to build links, the price of HIGH QUALITY SEO will rise. Most cheap and easy to get links are now worthless.
Proper on site SEO, Social Media, videos, and quality link building are crucial, but expensive and time consuming, if done correctly. If you cut corners, then you will get poor results.
All things being equal, a law firm that pays $2,000 or more a month for HIGH QUALITY internet marketing will crush a firm that pays $500-1,000 a month, both in the short and long term. The $2,000+ firm will get more clients and get their SEO investment back sooner.
Firms that invest in long term, high quality SEO will dominate the competition and will gain momentum over time.
Right now, the majority of small law firms with websites spend $500-$1,000 a month on internet marketing. This budge is inadequate to compete long term after the March 2012 algorithm update. The majority of law firms are in the middle of the pack, fighting over the scraps. The firms that invest the most time, effort, and money are getting the big cases and clients. These firms usually reinvest their profits in additional websites, SEO, videos, and social media and they get more cases and clients.
With the updated Google algorithm, law firms must take a back to basics approach and invest in a long term, high quality internet marketing strategy that will pay off now and in the future.
Many people think that if they ignore a problem, then the problem does not exist or it will go away. This is called denial. However, denial does not fix the problem. It usually makes it worse.
We see it every day. Some common examples are:
An overweight person won’t step on the scale in their bathroom for fear that they gained weight.
An unhealthy person won’t visit a doctor for tests and treatment.
A person in debt won’t look at their credit card statements.
The list is endless.
This same thing happens with law firm websites. Most attorneys are in denial about their poor online presence.
Here is what typically happens. A lawyer pays a lot of money for a website, usually monthly. The website generates no business.
Months and years go by. The lawyer keeps spending money and he still gets no business online. However, the lawyer does nothing about it. The cycle goes on and on. Then, the lawyer then becomes frustrated, bitter, and hopeless. Many lawyers will idly sit back and watch other attorneys succeed as their own website fails.
Commonly, the lawyers that fail never diagnose and fix the problems with their website.
Instead, lawyers that fail like to blame:
1) the economy
2) other lawyers or their law partners
3) their web designer or SEO company (who is often at fault)
4) they will blame anyone but themselves
Blaming is a waste of time. It does not fix the problem.
It is the lawyers responsibility to make sure that their SEO company is doing their job and trying to get them new clients. (Note: It often takes several months to succeed, but over time, you should see solid improvements.)
A seasoned SEO professional can easily diagnose and fix the problems with your website.
As a baseline, you must know the following in order to diagnose your website’s health:
1) What keywords am I targeting (i.e. “Miami bankruptcy lawyer”)
2) Where does my site currently rank in Google and Google Places for these keywords? (You must check this weekly!)
3) Is my site 100% optimized for these keywords? If not, what needs to be fixed?
4) Is my site properly designed for Google? What can be improved?
5) Is my site properly designed for my customers? What can be improved?
6) How many inbound links do I have?
7) Who are my top 7 competitors?
8) How many inbound links do my competitors have?
9) Where do I get inbound links to beat my competition?
10) Is my Google Places claimed?
11) Is my Google Places optimized? What needs to be done?
12) Why do my competitors beat me in Google Places? How do I fix this problem?
Answering these questions will give you an idea of how healthy your website is. Once you determine your site’s health, then you can fix any problems and start to get more clients online.
EducationDynamics Names Bruce Douglas Chief Marketing Officer
During his 15-year tenure at Vertrue, Douglas was deeply involved with all aspects of online marketing and lead generation, including: search engine optimization and marketing, affinity marketing, product management, new product development, …
Read more on MarketWatch (press release)
topseos.com Ranks ResultFirst as Best Pay For Performance SEO Company for …
The independent authority on Search vendors, topseos.com, has named the best pay for performance SEO companies in the online marketing industry for the month of January 2012. ResultFirst has been named the best SEO service which offers services on a …
Read more on Press Media Wire
Three Keys to Business Center Marketing Success
The bright idea is to integrate your business center's public relations and social media campaigns—and use Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, whenever possible. What does that mean, exactly? For many business centers, the first step is to develop …
Read more on ABCN’s Officing Today
Dumpster Rental Service in Indianapolis Works with SEO Firm to Increase …
The objective of the Internet marketing campaign is to streamline the time it takes for customers to find the dumpster rental and trash removal services that Joe's Hauling provides. Using search engine optimization techniques (SEO), Prospect Genius is …
Read more on PR.com (press release)