Just like having your own marketing department working in your law firm

How to Perform for the Ringmaster

It might sound like a stupid question, but what is your business being found for?

To put it another way, “What keywords or phrases would a potential client have to type into Google Search to find your or accounting firm?”

If you don’t have a clue, that’s by no means unusual and in fact is the most synonymous response to the question. But it invariably is the case for those firms who are oblivious to what they’re being found for who usually rank so poorly, or not at all in Google listings.

There are of course exceptions to the rule, particularly in the case where through sheer luck the firm registered a domain name that had some pretty potent keywords contained in it, or when the internet was a pup, jumped on quickly, got a site up and have been adding content it ever since. For example, we’re working with a firm at present that has got exceptional positioning in Google through no real concerted effort on their part other than being around for a very, very long time online.

When it comes to online search, Google is the ringmaster. Sure, there are other search engines and platforms, but by and large Google is who your law or accounting firm has to perform for. She is a tough ringmaster, but fair, even though at times she is prone to changing the rules without broad consultation.

Her organising methodology has two main functions: –

1. Indexing (identifying the type of information it finds and analyses it)
2. Authenticating (assessing the usefulness of the information and its quality)

In the identification of the information, her spiders or bots crawl through all the pages and posts of your website, grabbing at key messages embedded into the code of each entry. More specifically, the spiders primarily pull keywords denoted in the titles and descriptions that you have purposely placed there. These titles and descriptions referred to in geek speak as meta-descriptions and meta-titles appear in the Google Search listings.

Now, the search term you wish your information to be found for should be placed first in the meta-title and the meta-description, in a commercial sense should be somewhat of an elevator pitch. It’s this description that has the job of primarily persuading the searcher to open up the site.

In conjunction with these key elements, the spiders and bots examine the content on the page or post and in the absence of a title and description they will grab at anything they think defines what the information is about, and then of course broadcast their interpretation of it to the World.

The meta-title and meta-description can be added easily via the content management system on your website. If you haven’t one, you most definitely need one or a developer close by who can add them. Remember, this isn’t just the home page, but every page or post on your site requires these key characteristics. Don’t wrongly assume that all traffic will enter via your homepage. Every page or post on your site has a job to do.

It follows that those firms who are attentive to the keywords they wish to be found for and place them both in the meta-titles and meta-descriptions and in the text content itself, all things being equal, they will get found for those keywords or phrases. Better still, if the firm has conducted some keyword research and as a result consider they can rank well for those words, then they may find excellent ranking opportunities for them.

Let me explain a little more. If you’re a criminal law firm and intend to write content in relation to drink driving, then instead of just writing it up and posting it on your website, head across to Google Adwords here:

Google Adwords Keyword Tool provides a useful gauge as to how popular particular search terms are. If your law firm is already involved in a pay per click campaign, then the keywords in your advertisement should derive from this tool or equivalents.

Enter the keyword or keywords and ensure the search location is Australia. Let’s say it was “drink driving.”

Following the first return of results, go to the left hand side of this page, uncheck “broad” and check “exact.” You will now be provided with an exact local monthly search of people entering “drink driving.”

According to the Keyword tool, 3,600 people every month are entering this exact phrase into Google each month. But it may well be likely that the term is still too broad to really acquire good conversion given that you’re a Brisbane law firm.

Accordingly, you may now wish to be more specific and search “drink driving Brisbane.” This is what commonly is referred to as a “long tail” search. It returns approximately 58 monthly searches. Now that is the return for people typing that exact phrase and there will be of course significant variations that people will enter which will translate into a higher volume of people potentially hitting on your page or post if you had titles, descriptions and content relating to this keyword term.

The Google Keyword Tool also provides an information bar relating to competitiveness. We have found it to be not that accurate and can dissuade firms from generating content because they wrongly perceive that they would not be capable of penetrating the market for content relating to the precise keywords. We have worked with some firms who because of the weight they hold in Google can literally dominate search results for whatever keyword term they choose sometimes overnight.

Be that as it may, returning to the case of the law firm wanting to dominate the market for “drink driving,” the proposed page or post meta-title should be “Drink Driving Brisbane | John Smith Lawyer.” The meta-description should also pick up the keywords as well and may be something like, “Have you been charged with drink driving in Brisbane? Are you concerned about losing your license? John Smith…”

The meta-title should be no longer than 12 words and the meta-description, 25 words.

In the first paragraph of the content, you would again use those keywords, but be careful not to go overboard. Google can spank sites fairly severely for keyword stuffing. The best rule of thumb is to ensure that it reads well and isn’t too repetitive.

In our experience, most law and accounting firms do not ever consider keyword research when marking up any content for their website. Hence, the firms that have an online marketing strategy with a focus on content, in particular well-crafted content that derives from good keyword research are dominating the market and from all reports, will do so in the future.

 

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