I get a lot of calls from attorneys who understand the importance of a search engine optimization campaign for their law firms, but have been burned many times in the past by SEO companies who overcharged and under-delivered. By the time these lawyers contact me, they are understandably skeptical of the whole industry and of anyone’s ability to get them placed high in the search returns. These attorneys have come to view SEO as risky and are looking for ways to minimize the chance of making another fruitless online marketing investment. Usually, an attorney’s gut instinct is to spend less on shorter SEO programs in order to “test” a new company. But that’s just another risky investment. Below are 5 ways I believe attorneys can mitigate the financial risk involved with investing in an SEO program.
5.) AVOID CHEAP, FAST AND EASY SEO PROGRAMS
Sorry. Real SEO is not cheap, fast, or easy. If anyone tells you different, they are lying or just don’t know what they are talking about. It is a tedious and time consuming process that requires patience and consistency. Avoid programs that let you buy anything in bulk for “cheap”, like content and back links. And be suspicious of anything that is automated. Ask your potential account executive what’s going to be done, when, and who is going to do it (heck, even ask for employee names). This will help ensure that you’re not doing business with someone who is just going to buy their own cheap links and bulk content on your behalf. Your SEO company should know you – and you should know your SEO company. Make sure there is a customer service number and call a few times before you buy to make sure someone is always there to answer. Getting mixed up in anonymous link farms and other cheap SEO programs can get your law firm’s website penalized by the search engines and force you to start from scratch. THAT is never a good investment.
4.) FIND AN SEO COMPANY THAT JUST WORKS WITH ATTORNEYS
You would not hire a personal injury attorney to handle your divorce. You would not let an ear, nose and throat doctor perform your ankle surgery. This is because you recognize that most professions have sub specialties. SEO is no different. “Niche” SEO companies are more likely to be constantly monitoring your market, your keywords, and your potential clients. They are also more likely to already have in place rich, content specific networks of websites from which you can draw higher page rank. They should also already have the appropriate media you need to perform well in universal search. A niche SEO company is going to know exactly what to do and exactly where to do it far faster than a company that handles a wide swath of professions. And my experience has been that the lawyers who generally find themselves burned 2-3 times are the ones that have hired general SEO firms rather than looking for legal specific search engine optimization companies.
3.) YOU SHOULD NEVER GET OFF THE PHONE NEEDING A PROPOSAL
If you are about to get off the phone with a potential legal SEO company, and you find yourself asking for a written proposal, you’re probably not talking to the right company. I know this sounds totally contrary to everything you believe is right and good about business and the law, but it’s not. So why shouldn’t you ask for a written proposal? Because if you’ve just spent an hour or two of your time (which I know is pretty valuable) on the phone, you should not have to spend another hour or two down the road deciphering a proposal. A truly knowledgeable SEO consultant should leave you with no unanswered questions. Everything he or she discusses with you should be explained in a way that makes perfect sense. You should hang up the phone feeling far more educated than when you started the call. In fact, I don’t even provide written proposals anymore. If I am asked for one, I know I’ve missed something important in that attorney’s mind or failed to cover a topic in a way that was informative. If I am asked for a proposal, my response is always to ask what the attorney believes is still confusing – what would they like to see in a proposal that we have not covered or that is still not understood? I do this because I don’t want to waste any of your time – and if you remain confused, then I probably have. You should view this item in the same way you would within your own law firm. If you have set time aside to meet with a client and talk to them about their case, you would probably feel disappointed if they stood up and said, “Great. Now can you put all of that in writing?”
2.) DON’T BE IN A HURRY
A quality lawyer SEO company should measure their success by their ability to educate you and make you feel comfortable with the goals and expectations they have set for your law firm’s website – not by meeting sales quotas. Don’t feel hurried by an SEO company that seems more focused on getting a signed contract than educating you. If you call me and we seem to be on the same page and share the same goals, I AM going to ask you for your business, but getting your business is not going to be the focus of our conversations. Look at your potential SEO company as you would a potential employee. You are going to want to hire the person who seems to have the best understanding of what your firm does, has the qualifications that fit the position, and is going to be around for awhile. During the job interview process you would not put “pushy” as a quality at the top of your evaluation (though “pushy” may be a good quality down the road – especially if a lot of your time is spent trying to get opposing counsel or hospitals to produce records!). The same should hold true with your law firm’s SEO company. Remember rule 5 – that SEO is a tedious and time consuming process. You need to hire a company you can feel comfortable working with into the foreseeable future.
1.) SPEND MORE
If you have found an SEO company with a proven track record, who has been able to educate you, shares your growth goals, and has a clear vision for your law firm’s website – spend as much money with them as you can stomach. For us, the more you can spend, the more we can do, and the faster your website can move up the search returns. The truth is that if you spend a little you get a little (if anything at all). If you spend a lot you can get a lot. It may give you butterflies at first, but once you are well positioned in the search returns you’ll recognize that spending more produces more cases. At this point the online marketing dollars you are spending are no longer a risky investment but an effective tool for growing your caseload and building your law firm. Eighty percent of all clicks go to websites that appear on the first page of the search engine search returns. You could spend $1500.00 per month to get on page two or three where few people will see your website and contact you, or you could double what you’re spending to $3000.00 per month and appear on the first page of the search returns, being exposed to FIVE TIMES as many potential clients! That’s a pretty good investment – and far less risky than “almost” getting in front of people who are looking for an attorney online.
To learn more about Law Father and the ways in which we can grow your caseload through a quality and comprehensive search engine optimization program, call (800) 325-7715. You may also contact us through the contact form along the side of this page. We know that lawyers are busy and that not everything can be accomplished Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, so if it is easier for you, feel free to call in the evenings or on the weekends. Someone will answer the phone or get back to you right away.