In the last year, Google has made over 890 changes to its search product. This is a lot in comparison to previous years, with Google admitting approximately 500 changes in 2010 and 400 changes in 2009. One of the latest changes, named Pigeon, is focused on local search, and impacts many local law firms greatly. When Google brings change to a specific area, it brings great opportunity for first movers, and those who can interpret what is being rewarded and how to move the ship. This article identifies what is important for law firms moving into 2015.
Content Is Still King
At Ag ConeXus, we have been very successful in assisting personal injury firms rise from zero rankings to dominating their results and generating many cases from search. While we have a process that works, it really can be boiled down to an underlying theme of producing content that people are interested in and will share.
Don’t create content for the sake of pushing out an article for Google. Create content that people are willing to share. At Ag ConeXus, we take things a step further. The content is developed as part of a strategy to acquire high quality, relevant links from legal industry websites. This is what Google is responding to. It is difficult, and it takes time, but its what will work well in to 2015.
Fortunately, you don’t have to despair. The legal industry is really behind in satisfying this criteria. In the last month, we have conducted studies on several competitor sites and while they are generating content, they are not acquiring links of high quality…this is because it is very difficult and requires building a relationship with the other sites.
Think about it…if I asked you to put a link on your site to mine today, would you do it?…probably not!
Local Search Improvements
Local search is one avenue that smaller firms with small budgets should focus on. Organic search today requires a significant investment of resources and time. Local search, if done correctly, can be a more feasible approach. The problem is that Google’s local search pack may or may not appear in a search for your keywords. We’ve seen this fluctuate quite a bit.
With the update to Pigeon, we believe that your physical location relative to the searcher will become more important. In addition, Google has revealed that the ranking factors have incorporated some of the on-site features of organic search. This means, just relying on local without incorporating your web presence may no longer fly.
We believe that reviews from across the web, and not only on Google+ will be a major factor. Make sure these are authentic. In the legal space, reviews are not commonly done. If you implement a protocol in your office to obtain reviews upon settlement, you will see huge benefits.
Video Will Become Even Bigger
Google’s acquisition strategy is another place we look when making predictions on what will affect search. It has not been a secret that video search is important. Most lawyers we speak to are quick to point to the fact that YouTube is the biggest search engine. However, YouTube is one provider. We have seen Vimeo grow greatly and in fact we have seen single Vimeo videos outrank websites in certain competitive searches. We believe that there are some grey to black hat strategies at play on that one!
Google recently acquired Directr – a mobile video platform that allows you to make video directly from your phone so you can use it on your website or social media platforms. Directr is a platform that made video more accessible to businesses. In the past, video production was expensive and a significant investment. Now, with Directr we believe that a volume of resourceful videos on your site via a YouTube and / or Vimeo platform will be a high ROI strategy.
As a premier provider of search engine optimization services to the legal industry we have seen what can be achieved by executing strategies like the above. If you have any questions on any of these strategies, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Thanks to our friends at Arnold Van Dyk Law, tax lawyers in Irvine, for their contributions to this post.