Articles Posted in Straight Talk about SEO

Okay, so maybe drawing a comparison between Santa Claus and Google is a little bit of a stretch, but there are far too many businesses and private practitioners out there who believe that they can get away with black-hat SEO (search engine optimization) in order to increase their search engine rankings faster. And even if your website rankings were to increase due to unethical techniques, your claim to fame won’t last long. After all, Google sees you when you’re sleeping…

Using unethical Internet marketing strategies doesn’t benefit anyone. While the idea of surpassing your competitors and being on the first page of search engines could definitely be considered the best Christmas gift of all to some, the consequences of having your website removed from a search engine index, also known as “delisting,” or otherwise being penalized by Google just isn’t worth it. Also, what would your clients think if they discovered that you had reached the top by cutting corners?
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The importance and relevance of legal Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for attracting qualified clients and helping a law firm become more successful is very well known, but it’s not enough to simply know that it is effective. In order for legal professionals to really understand how legal SEO helps them, they need to know why it works and why it provides a significantly better return on investment than traditional legal marketing methods. So we’ve compiled a list of some of the things that every lawyer should know about legal SEO:

  • Legal SEO lets you compete with the big firms – Legal Search Engine Optimization levels the playing field for your firm and allows it to compete successfully with larger law firms with huge marketing budgets. Smaller, savvier, more nimble firms can use legal SEO strategies to thrive in a hyper-competitive field.
  • It is the most cost-effective form of marketing – Traditional forms of marketing are expensive and may or may not achieve the desired results. Once the proper foundation has been established for your site’s success, your legal SEO keeps working for your firm 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • It helps your site attract local clients – Web users are becoming more sophisticated at finding local goods and services on the Internet. Modifying legal SEO keywords and phrases with the names of local cities makes it easier for potential clients to find your site!

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The old saying that “bad news travels fast,” has never seemed more relevant than it does in the Information Age. These days, a legal professional’s reputation not only can precede him or her, it can also directly influence a potential client’s decision to contact or not contact him or her. The rising popularity of Web sites that allow people to share their positive or negative experiences with products or professionals of any stripe makes it easy for people to share their opinions. Those opinions, whether based on fact or not, show up in search results and can have a profound impact on the success of a law firm or legal professional.

To that end, we’ve compiled a list of proactive reputation management tips that are inexpensive, enhance the effectiveness of other legal Internet marketing techniques, and allow legal professionals to take charge of their reputation management. These tips for lawyers include:

  • Harness the power of social marketing – Social marketing sites are becoming increasingly relevant for any lawyer’s or law firm’s Internet marketing. Consider creating profiles for yourself and/or your law firm on social networking sites that cater to legal professionals as well as the heavyweights like MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others.
  • Host informational videos on your site – Consider hosting informational videos on your legal Web site that address some of the questions your clients often ask you about. These add value to your site, engage your site’s visitors and also rank well in search results!
  • Add a legal blog to your site – Whether you write the legal blog’s posts yourself or have your legal Internet marketing company compose them for you, they benefit your site, rank well in search results, and allow you to address topical issues in the legal industry and provide valuable information to your site’s visitors and potential clients.

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With today’s economic woes affecting seemingly all aspects of business, many law firms large and small are struggling with exactly how to spend their marketing budgets. A solid indicator of where to spend your money can come from looking at other industries, gauging the climate of search engine marketing budgets across the board to get a feel for how much of your budget should be spent online.

A report published on regarding a study conducted by Econsultancy and SEO firm Guava, indicated that online marketers around the globe are increasingly turning to search marketing tactics.
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In an Internet-saturated world (and one in which Google changes its mind all the time), the value of organic Search Engine Optimization is sometimes questioned. Many law firms elect to simply do Pay Per Click and disregard the need for organic search. Does your law firm need professional legal SEO? The answer is a resounding YES! Here are ten reasons why:

1. The Internet market is bigger than ever before. Gen Y is reaching legal age; litigation is on the rise despite a slowed economy and more people are using search to look for options when they need a lawyer.

2. It’s cost effective. Have you ever researched how much it costs to get TV spots? Radio? Yellow Pages? All of which are gone as soon as your marketing budget is. Given the return on investment and the longevity of the benefits of SEO (if done right), it is the single most cost effective marketing available today.
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Build your site around a theme that’s neither too broad, nor too narrow.
Be sure this theme meshes with the mission statement of your law practice. If, for instance, you’re a personal injury lawyer who specializes in serious injury and wrongful death suits, focus your content writing and SEO efforts on that niche of personal injury. This sounds intuitive. But you’d be surprised by how many legal websites fail to settle on a consistent, optimized theme.

Update your site regularly
Your web site is an organic, fluid object. Optimizing today doesn’t mean that it will rank well next week. Search engine algorithms change frequently and your SEO must keep current. Search engines reward sites that are updated regularly.
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I field thousands of questions a week about how to game the Google system for fast law firm marketing results. While you can achieve great things with the granddaddy of Web search, SEO isn’t a quick fix – it’s an investment in your Web presence and your business. One of the most overlooked factors is the quality, not quantity issue.

What do I mean when I say quality, not quantity?

It’s simple: listing a ton of search terms meaninglessly strung together will do nothing for your search engine rankings! Why not? Because Google PageRank and searchability depend on the perceived value of your website. If you have a website that’s long on search terms and short on actual information, beprepared to be left in the dust by other web sites that are doing it right.
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