SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” If you set up a website for your legal practice you may have caught sight of this term once or twice and wonder what it means. SEO involves enhancing your website’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs) so your pages get as high up the first page of results as possible.

It takes time to find out all the issues and tricks of this trade and if you are also representing clients you probably won’t have much time to dedicate to the study of SEO. However, don’t panic, accept that learning SEO is an ongoing process, and make a steady progression. Following these simple guidelines, you will become sufficiently knowledgeable so that you can form a strategy to get your law firm’s site at the top of Google search.

1. Stay Fresh

SEO topics change all the time. Last year’s great idea may be this year’s poison. Google is the most important search engine on the Web and they change their algorithm frequently. The main driver for these changes is to block off the cheats that SEO experts come up with. Therefore, checking the date on any advice you read is vital. You don’t want to invest in making adjustments to your site only to find that those changes are now outdated.

This topic is outside your usual comfort zone of the law, but fortunately, James Attorney Marketing has a series of SEO news roundups that are posted every week. Look for the articles labeled “SEO Trends.” You will see links to key articles on those roundups but you should also pay regular visits to the sites of Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land, MozBlog, Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Roundtable to get human-readable information on the current state of SEO.

2. Study Time

Put aside at least half an hour each week to read an in-depth guide on a particular aspect of SEO – if you can get away from your case load twice a week, even better. Search Engine Land has a comprehensive library of guides. If you find yourself a little bewildered by these sources, you might prefer to look at the guides available on the James Publishing site. You are probably used to buying legal guides from James Publishing. However, the site also offers free in-depth guides on SEO, such as Recovering from Bad SEO, written by yours truly.

3. Tailor Your Research

You may start to find that much of what you read on SEO is irrelevant to the needs of your law practice. Don’t let that feeling put you off. This is a good thing. This signifies that you are now able to discern the different specialist topics within the broad field of “SEO.” Just as different specializations in the law require you to advertise in different publications, the circumstances of where your client base originates will also dictate the SEO strategy you adopt. For example, if you are a general practitioner, gaining all of your clients from the local community, you will need to focus on local search technology. If you get a lot of emergency room work, you will need to excel in mobile searches.

4. Take a Class

If you are a sole practitioner, or your firm has put all the success of its Web strategy on your shoulders, you may find that reading one guide a week is not enough to get you to the level of expertise you need. In these cases, you should consider taking a course. You can find SEO courses listed in the “Meet Up” system, like these events registered for the Los Angeles area. Some SEO training enterprises, like Search Engine Workshops have sites all over the world and you may find a location close to your home. If you are unable to take time out from your legal practice to go and sit in a classroom, you could look into online training, a quick scan of YouTube can get you training for free.

5. Socialize

A final phase on getting the inside track on SEO is to get in touch with others in your position and those who specialize in the field. SES Conferences and Search Marketing Expo hold regular events at locations around the world. Attending one of these conferences will enable you to take a break from the day to day pressures of your legal work so you can fully focus on the topic of SEO. If you can’t leave your desk, then search Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find SEO topics.

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