Earlier this week I presented to the Glasgow Sole Practitioners’ Group at The Royal Faculty of Procurators on the subject of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Sole Practitioners: Getting You Found Online.
The main theme for the evening was the maximisation of online business and my co-speaker was Dr Peter Galloway of Cloch Solicitors who delivered an insightful presentation on trade marks in the digital age.
The discussions in my presentation (the slides are published below) were:-
The concept of today’s high street lawyer
Is it defined by physical presence on the high street or when someone looks for their solicitor via Google? This part of the presentation was introduced with our recent video on ABS and opportunities for lawyers, which was featured in various legal publications across the UK (see e.g. Legal IT Insider magazine’s blog The Orange Rag here and our blog here and embedded below).
One of the lawyers (and indeed leading legal bloggers) attending, Brian Inkster, noted in a tweet that
What is SEO?
Some audience members noted that they had been bombarded in the past with spam emails regarding SEO (which is unsurprising) but they had never understood the concept or the benefits. The main point, as per an SEOmoz quote, is that SEO is “the practice of improving and promoting a web site in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines.” I also explained the fundamental and significant distinction between paid search (Adwords) and organic search (Free) and how Adwords positions will get around 10% click throughs in any given search, with organic search receiving 90% of the click through share.
The search landscape for legal services
I explained how many people are searching Google for main legal services keywords in Glasgow and across the UK (e.g. 1.8million searches each month for ‘solicitor’ in the UK; over 12,000 searches for ‘glasgow solicitor’ each month; and variations on more specific phrases such as ‘employment lawyers glasgow’ and others, the further into the ‘long tail’ you go). Also explained was why we are talking mainly about Google and not other search engines like Bing or Yahoo (Google’s c90% share of the search engine market being the key reason).
SEO best practices
I explained the importance of the website as being seen as the hub of all web marketing activities, with SEO being a key part of generating more business online. At this point, in addition to featuring a screenshot from one of Stephen Moore’s videos on the subject (‘think like an octopus’), I took the audience through SEOmoz’s SEO pyramid and explained the benefits of taking a strategic approach: Accessible, quality content, presented effectively to search engines should always form the base of all activities. Then comes keyword research and implementation into the content, followed by link building and accompanied by social signals.
SEO worst practices
A crucial understanding of what not to do when it comes to SEO was discussed next. My list of what not to do was as follows:-
- Building your site using Flash
- Using mainly images that can't be read by search engines instead of text
- Improper use of meta titles/descriptions
- Hiding content from search engines
- Publishing pdfs that can’t be searched
- Not updating your website's content/blog
- ‘Over-optimisation’ (Avoiding penalties from Google’s Panda, Penguin and Exact Match Domain Updates)
- No social signals (LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and more)
Case studies/SEO success stories
I concluded by outlining where I and our clients have found benefits from implementing effective SEO campaigns.
Questions and Answers
This was followed by questions covering topics such as ‘How much does SEO cost?’, ‘Isn’t the number of people searching for employment lawyers online even higher than the figures shown?’ (indeed, the figures presented were for searches which included the keyword ‘Glasgow’), and ‘How can I, as a sole practitioner, find the time to update my website myself?’.
Contact our legal SEO specialists in the UK
If you’d like to get in touch to discuss any of these points in more detail or for a free SEO audit on your website please contact us here.
Our next blog post will discuss transitions in the legal market with large commercial law firms and failings in their website/SEO strategies despite enormous amounts of useful content.