Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 54 seconds

When someone performs a Google search for a certain attorney or law firm, there isn't any magic or secret voodoo involved when that law practice’s website appears atop the search results.

Simply put, “it’s hard work” to get on there, says Stacy Stern, President of Justia, a California company that helps law firms improve their marketing strategies. Along with her husband, Tim Stanley, who serves as CEO of the decade-old entity, Stern and crew also strive to make legal information freely available by advancing the availability of legal resources for the benefit of society.

According to Stanley, there’s one primary reason attorneys with websites should strive for theirs to appear atop a Google search. “Most users don’t go too far down on a (search) page of results," he says. "If you’re on Page Two, you probably won’t be noticed.”

Not being noticed means fewer phone calls, emails and requests for representation. In other words, not being noticed translates into less money coming in the door.

Chris Dreyer, president and founder of Attorney Rankings, LLC, likens the positioning of an attorney’s website in Google rankings to lucrative real estate. The higher a lawyer’s website appears in a Google search, the more likely the attorney is highly sought. Therefore, he says, it’s imperative for lawyers to have someone on their team monitor Google’s ever-changing algorithms.

How Technology Impacts Website Rankings

Simply buying a URL for your law firm and creating a website for your practice aren’t enough to get your firm noticed online. Attorneys need to be proactive in order for their site to gain a spot on that coveted first page of a Google search, and technology plays a role in that.

Dreyer says lawyers should use specific technological tools to try and improve the ranking of their law firm’s website. For example, Dreyer suggests lawyers utilize technology such as:

  • Basecamp, for project management. Basecamp is a cloud-based program for storing files that can be accessed remotely from anywhere
  • AHREFS, a software program that scopes the Internet to help the user determine what sites link to a particular domain
  • Google Analytics, a free tool informing users how people found their website. It also tracks the location the user came from, which pages the visitor looked at and how much time they spent on the site overall
  • Google Webmaster is another free tool Dreyer labels as “required.” It diagnoses the health of a website and provides insight into the key words and phrases typed by users in order to locate a website

The importance of the Internet in today’s technology-centric world cannot be underestimated, says Stanley. “The Internet is a great resource for people seeking to find a competent attorney,” he says. Another component of that is reputation management, says Stanley. “Being online helps in reputation management,” he says, because it allows an attorney to demonstrate their knowledge and successes.

Still, Stanley says it’s not enough for lawyers to utilize certain software to track web visitors' patterns and make other determinations that impact an attorney’s ranking online.

“I cannot over-emphasize the importance of content,” he says. Stern agrees. “There is no magic trick to get the highest rankings. It’s about hard work and good content. I liken it to going to the gym. You have to put in the work to get into good shape,” she says. ​​​​​

Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer. 

Last modified on Saturday, 04 July 2015
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