Episode 167 – Law Firm SEO Fortune Tellers

Episode 167 – Law Firm SEO Fortune Tellers

Just like a fortune teller, hunched over their crystal ball, attorneys get reports from SEO companies that scare them with generic statements, such as: “Your website is not optimized for the right keywords”, or “You are not showing up in the search engines properly”, or “Your law firm’s listing has serious errors in these 84 directories”. When you look deeper, you see most of these reports are shams, full of generic statements, like “I can sense you have had trouble in your life, but you overcame it”, or “You tend to react harshly to bad news, but at times you keep your emotions in check and react with professionalism and restraint”. Seriously? Who DOESN’T fit these statements? Today’s podcast discusses just how complicated it is to successfully market your law practice in 2016 and beyond.


We had a really interesting call today with one of my clients that I want to tell you about. He says I got this report from a SEO company and they said my site is not localized for the right keywords. It’s more statewide so we need to localize it for the right keywords. I said okay, what does that mean? He said I’m asking you, you are the expert. I said Alright. The reason why I say that is a very nebular statement and we get tons of people sending reports to our guys and gals and everybody making these gypsy fortune teller type statements over the crystal ball. Your site is not set properly for this set or the other.

Let’s dissect what they just said. Your site is not geared towards local keywords, it’s geared towards national. I said take out your phone, I said put in Starbucks. okay what do you see? He said I see Starbucks listings. I go okay, what do you notice about them? They are in distant order to you right? He said Yeah. First one is 0.8 miles away on ABC road, second one is 1.4 miles away on XYZ avenue. I said exactly. So by using Google we can tell what Google does and we can figure out why. So based on where you are, Google knows your location and knows where you are searching from your phone.

Most people search nowadays from phones. It knows that, first of all. Other people that search for lawyers, it knows where they are searching from too. I said now do the same search again but first turn off the location settings from your phone. Okay, he does it, does the search. He says the phone is asking me to turn on my location. I say exactly because Google wants to know where you are searching from. If you don’t let it know which most people don’t do, they don’t leave the location on, it’s going to ask you. It’s the same thing as using a laptop or tablet or Smartphone.

Google knows where you are searching from. I say let’s try it again. Keep location settings on but log out of your email account. He does it and then he searches and he’s like okay, Google’s prompting me to log in. I say exactly. Because Google wants you to be logged in so it knows your search history and it knows your location because it is going to customize what you see based on that. Again, it looks at your location. So that lady is right. That fortune teller is right. Google is highly into local.

But here is how it actually works. The address on your website is what Google looks at. It says that’s where you are located because you told it that’s where you are located. So if I have my Smartphone and I’m sitting looking at my computer or I’m doing my research, where am I in relation to your office address? am I down the street? Am I 10 miles away? Am I 15 miles away? Just like that Starbucks search, Google is going to show me all your searchers’ local results. Why? Because think about it. If I want a Starbucks, I’m not going to drive 30 miles away. I want Starbucks now. I want it a half mile away. I would love it if it was 50 feet away.

That’s how people search and Google will show them the stuff that is physically closest to them. So if you think about your law office now, you will naturally show up most strongly in Google, the closer someone is that searches to your location. So one way to expand your presence and get more business is to have more locations. I’m not talking about a full fledged office, I’m talking about an executive suite, a regent suite, a by appointment only conference room that you can rent from a friend or a fellow business owner etc. Google will send a post card to that address with a pin and if you verify that, now you have a new address and you put a second address on your website.

Now what does Google see? Google sees you are in City A and it sees you are in City B. So now you’ve got two bites of the apple. Two places where people can see where you are and Google can see it and it can localize information for them. So we continued on and he said they said something about keywords and I said let’s talk about that. If I come to a page on your site and you are in let’s say Los Angeles, let’s say you are a divorce lawyer. I come to your site and I see “Facing Divorce in Los Angeles? A Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer Can Help You With Your Los Angeles Divorce Case. Call A Los Angeles Divorce Attorney Now.

I said how does that read to you? He said that sounds like crap. I said exactly. That’s what a lot of people do because they think, Local, local, local or keyword, keyword, keyword. That’s not how Google wants things to look because as a searcher it looks like garbage and you would leave that page. As a human being, if you need legal help, you would much rather go to a page that does identify Los Angeles divorce attorney, sure but then it immediately goes into how you can help and why you are different and all this other stuff. It doesn’t want to see a page chalk filled with keywords stuffed in there.

That’s not a good solution. So I go what else? Where are you getting clients from? He says I really want to get clients from this one city. I said alright office address is why you are not getting any clients from there. It’s about 17 miles away. You are really not going to have much power there. We can try to stuff your site with keywords and all that but it’s really not going to have a good effect. It’s trying to force Google to do what you want instead of you doing what Google wants and it rewarding you. Google is far bigger and uglier and more capitalized and meaner than you. If you mess with it, it’s going to flick you like a gnat off it’s back and you will smash and be dead.

This happens to websites, they get de-indexed and get lost. Then he says what else can we do. So we keep going into this conversation, I won’t go on forever but I’m going to tell you a few more things. I said alright. Let’s look at your top 10 pages that people look at when they hit your website. he said what do you mean? I said when someone Googles something they don’t always go to your homepage. They go to different pages of your site. He said oh really. let’s go look at the top 10 pages.

One of them will always be the homepage. Yes it is true. he said, go. I see a lot of people go into my attorney bio page. I see a lot of people go into my divorce page, I see a lot of people go into my child support page. Those are crap cases. I said that’s fine. You don’t want to deal with child support. You’d rather deal with divorce. You think that’s more relevant. But now at least we know. These 10 pages, they comprise 85% of all the people visiting your website. I said that’s called the 80/20 rule.

When we are going to work on your website, what should we work on? The top 10 pages. Of the Top 10 pages there are a few here that we should work on amongst others and a couple that are not helping you. Maybe we can kill off those pages or redirect those pages. On the pages that are good, what can we do to improve them. Can we add a video to those pages? Can we write more about that subject? Can we provide links to related articles on those pages? Are there any clutter on those pages? are they hard to understand? Are there any tables we can include? Calculations or numbers?

How do we flush out those pages to make it really good and really compelling? What is the best bang for your buck? So we get into that. Then he goes, Oh. I’ve heard about bounce rate. My site has a high bounce rate. I said what is high? he said I don’t know it’s 75%. I said actually bounce rate is the culmination of all the pages in your site. Some have low, some have high. How long do people spend on a page? anyway, I’m getting into the weeds here but at the end of the conversation he said to me, My God. This is really complicated stuff. I said yeah you are right.

You see how many different ways there are to approach this and what goes on beneath the hood. I said that’s why when people tell you stuff like a fortune teller saying I sense a disturbance in your site or I sense that you have had good business and bad business or I sense that the keywords are not optimized, take it for what it is. A meaningless statement backed up by nothing without any deep facts. I hope this helps you, I hope this hasn’t bored you but it is important for you to know that there is a lot going on in your marketing, in your website and no you can’t pay attention to all of it but yes you can work with someone that knows enough of it to even pay attention to all of it.

If things aren’t working out for you there are people out there who do know what is going on and how to diagnose and not just give you boiler plate generic aphorisms. So that’s what I would seek. If you are having a problem and you need help diagnosing it, we are one of the companies out there that can help you to do that. So if you want this help for your website and your business call me (888) 225-8594 or email Richard.Jacobs@speakeasymarketinginc.com. Please make sure you subscribe to this podcast and review it. It helps us get in front of more attorneys just like you. Than You.


Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)