Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Search Engine Optimization: How Realistic Are Your Goals?

For most lawyers, getting "found on Google" (through the organic results) is their ultimate online marketing goal. There is no question that obtaining free traffic from a user searching Google is incredibly valuable to any business. However, before you rush out and spend ANY money on a flashy SEO consultant, think about the following:
  • Google's has made billions because it returns the webpages that match the user's keyword search the best. Their entire business depends on continuing to be the best at this. Forgetting about SEO jargon, tactics and black magic, if you want a page on your website to be listed in the search results, it needs to be one of the "best webpages" in the eyes of Google.
  • "Best webpages" is completely relative to a) the other pages that are out there and b) what the search term (or "keyword") is.

SEO projects start with determining what keywords you want your site to rank for. Although it seems simple enough, this is where most SEO projects don't deliver on the lawyer's expectations. I did a little analysis of the legal sites in the ExpertHub network and I compared that to a few sites of the lawyers that I had access to analytics data on.

  • The average lawyer's website had about 40 web pages in the Google index. Some had as few as 10.
  • The average lawyer's website (and all of these spent more than $5,000 on SEO consulting) received traffic from 75 keywords in the last month. About 75% of these keywords, and over 90% of the search traffic came from keywords that included the name of the firm or a name of an attorney in the firm.
  • The sites in the ExpertHub network (such as and have about 40,000 pages in the Google index.
  • These sites in the ExpertHub network received traffic from over 225,000 keywords. About 98% of these keywords and almost all of the traffic came from keywords that were informational in nature (such as "medical malpractice" or "reasons for deportation")

Conclusion: Whatever you spend on SEO, the majority of the traffic you get is going to be from users that type in a keyword that indicates the user is looking for you by name. You are also unlikely to get a lot of traffic from keywords that do not include your firm's name. (unless you have a website that has article depth that rivals sites like ExpertHub). In that sense, Google works!

Unfortunately, this also means that there are lots of consumers that will never find your website when they are looking for a keyword that is legally related. About 4% of the visitors that come through Google to the ExpertHub network end up contacting a lawyer. These are clients that your SEO efforts are likely to miss.


  1. I agree what you said. There is a significant difference between the Seo and Internet Marketing for a Law firm and any other business firm. Internet Marketing and Seo is the integral part of promotion of law firm or Attorney services providing firms to run their business successfully. For a legal law firm it is essential to choose the right professional legal expert for their advertisement and promotion. One should not be snared in the fake promises of sky high ranking and should make sure about the seo they are hiring. Apart from Internet Marketing and seo, legal web design is also important and can be treated as one of the tools of is among those who are providing all kind of professional legal practice internet marketing services and seo services in affordable prices.

  2. This is very great thing you have shared with us. Now I found enough resources by your tips about this issue, Thank you.