We hosted attorney Jennifer Ellis for our Digital Edge podcast "Website Wizardry: The Right SEO for Your Law Firm." Jennifer manages the online presence of the law firm where she works and also assists law firms with their websites, social media and other aspects of their online presence.
As most lawyers now know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and involves techniques to make it more likely a search engine will direct someone to your site. Every lawyer should do some basic things to promote their website, like linking your LinkedIn page and other social media to your website, including the address in email signature block, and always including the link when you write for publication, particularly online publication. But, while those efforts will make it easier for someone looking for you to find you, they won't bring you to the top of search results for "bankruptcy lawyer" or "divorce lawyer" in your area (unless you practice in a tiny community.)
My reaction to hearing Jennifer talk about SEO as it is today was complete sticker shock. Jennifer estimates that high-quality SEO should cost from $3,000 to $10,000 a month– and if you are only paying $1000 per month, you probably aren't getting much. Many small law firms would consider that wildly unaffordable.
We also discussed Google's recent announcement that its algorithm will change to disfavor web sites that are not mobile friendly when the search is done on a mobile device. If this change is going to impact an estimated 40% of Fortune 500 companies' websites, you can probably be assured it will impact your web site if it is not "mobile-friendly." Jennifer strongly suggests that you check your website's mobile friendliness with Google Developer's Mobile-Friendly Test page. Today's news reports say Bing will be following Google's example.
Jennifer also has suggestions for the law firm that has to operate on a tighter budget, so check out our podcast.
In case you missed it the first time, I would also direct your attention to our 2013 Digital Edge podcast How People Search for Lawyers: The Consumer Law Revolution featuring Stephanie Kimbro.
A small firm lawyer who doesn't know where to start on getting a website could get the basics from my older column Web Site How-To Tips for the Small Firm Lawyer and should also take a look at my 2012 column Getting Noticed Online.