If you are one of the many attorneys who say that your firm does not benefit from its Web presence, I have some bad news: you are doing something wrong.
Given the fact that many consumers of professional services or products perform Internet research prior to making a decision, it is essential that information about you and your firm cannot only be found, but also describe the benefits you can provide to potential clients.
Search engines, directories and portals are highly used by potential clients searching for experts within a specific industry or practice area. Unlike a phone book, search engines and portals do not always produce information alphabetically or by location. Therefore, it is important to consider the common queries used by those searching for information about you, your firm or someone with similar expertise. Once you have determined which queries would be used to locate similar specialists or services, consider where you would conduct your searches.
Once you have determined where potential clients will be looking for your services, you can develop an effective marketing plan that will assist those potential clients in finding information about you and your services.
Search Engine Optimization ("SEO") is the process of increasing the likelihood that your site will be found via major search engines like Google and Yahoo. Some of the common criteria that are used by search engines include: links to other websites, meta tags, how often the site is submitted to search engines and the content on the home page.
However, search engines routinely alter the criteria by which they sort and rank results. In terms of SEO optimization, what may have been effective for you in the past, may not work today or in the future. Therefore, I would advise consulting an SEO expert, as you or someone at your firm probably does not have the time or expertise to continually research ranking criteria and submit sites to relevant search engines.
Directory listings can also be an effective way to drive qualified traffic to your firm's website. Prior to purchasing a listing in a directory, consider the following:
- How often is the directory searched in any given month?
- How is the directory accessed?
- What type of information can be added to the directory? and
- How much does it cost to be listed in the directory?
If you participate in a directory, include sufficient information to differentiate yourself from other attorneys. If possible, include a photo, as there is a benefit to putting a face to a name. Describe your experience in detail so that the potential client can feel confident that they are calling upon someone with relevant experience.
Your Firm's Website
Your firm's website should include information about each practice area and industry for which there are experts within the firm. Make sure to include biographical information about each attorney and links to articles or press about the firm and attorneys. Eliminate introductory pages so that potential clients don't have difficulty navigating your site and obtaining information that is relevant to their interests.