You finally got your law firm Web site online and waited for the new clients to come rolling in. But for some reason it just didn’t happen that way. Well, all of our marketing efforts are long term projects, with the possible exception of TV, radio and newspaper ads. Your marketing efforts will hopefully still pay off for years in the future. But the Internet is all about immediate gratification, right? So this week, I’ll have a bit of an online symposium on getting noticed by the search engines.

The first article is The ABCs of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by two of my favorite people Sharon D. Nelson and John Simek of Sensei Enterprises, Inc. SEO is one of those terms that intimidates a lot of people. Sharon and John do a great job of explaining the basics in understandable language. Everyone should read this article even if you don’t have time to start your SEO project this week. And, remember that you don’t have to try all of these techniques. Trying just a few simple ones will no doubt boast your search engine ranking. You may want to print or save this article for later reference as it is hosted at the Canadian Bar’s PracticeLink and may slip into the "password required" area soon.

The Technology eReport from the American Bar Association General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division this month featured two articles on online marketing.

Internet Marketing 101 for Attorneys: How to Reach Prospective Clients Through Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing by lawyer-turned-Internet-entrepreneur Jeff Lantz covers many topics such a PPC (pay per click), the importance of anchor text and questions to ask a SEO company before agreeing to pay for their services. Since Jeff heads a company that does SEO, among other Internet marketing services, I appreciate his sharing of knowledge. This is a quite good in-depth piece. I know how anchor text works to optimize your site’s ranking by search engines. People link to my blog by its name. Do a Google search for "law practice tips" with or without the quotes and see the results.

Marketing Your General Practice Firm Online is an article by Jennifer Black. "Although legal–related businesses are one of the top five topics consumers search for on the Internet every single day, the trick to connecting with these potential customers, involves a successful online marketing strategy that helps improve the ways these local firms can be found online," she states in this feature. I found this interesting. In the early days of law firm websites, the lawyers noticed that they initially got a lot of out-of-state clients who used the Internet because they didn’t have access to local resources like phone directories. But now people use Web searches for local resources because they find the results more easily and quickly than with a phone directory. Want to start the betting pool on the eventual death of the Yellow Pages in print?

These three articles can expand your understanding of how the Internet can bring your clients–if you have a Website. But let’s not forget the basics either. Have a unique and understandable domain name for your law firm website. Then make sure it is included on your stationery, firm brochures and the e-mail signature blocks of everyone in the firm. You might even have a sign in your waiting area "Visit us on the Web at xxx." Update your content regularly and if the domain name is short enough, include it in your Yellow Pages ad, as long as you still have one.