How to Keep Your Law Firm Site Relevant in 2017
As we near the end of November and the weather starts to get colder, it’s time to start thinking about how your firm will survive and thrive in 2017 and beyond. There’s a lot of advice on keeping your SEO up to date out there on the internet, but we’ve got the best of it for you here.
Be Aware of Google’s Semantic Search
What is semantic search? It’s changes to search engines’ algorithms that allow the engines to understand more of the context and intent behind searches, as explained by Search Engine Journal’s Sergio Redondo in his article on semantic search. This type of search gets away from using just keywords, and instead considers synonyms, the phrasing of the search query, common searches, and the ways potential answers to searches are phrased and presented on websites.
Although semantic search was first debuted in 2013 with the launch of Hummingbird, an update to Google’s algorithm, semantic search has spread to other search engines and been refined on Google slowly over the past couple of years – and semantic search is set to become more important than ever in 2017 and beyond.
Although all the changes, challenges, and opportunities presented by semantic search aren’t fully understood by any SEO experts yet, there’s a lot of information out there already, and we’ll be sure to do a post regarding semantic search for lawyers in the near future.
For now, it’s enough for you to be aware, and to check up on your SEO more often than ever before to make sure your site hasn’t lost its ranking on Google due to algorithm changes.
Keep Blogging – and Start Soon If You’re Not Already!
Keeping a blog can be time consuming and involve a lot of hard work, but it’s usually worth it – the top site in almost any field or geographical area almost certainly has a blog.
Why is it so important? A blog is one of the biggest opportunities you have to engage with customers and potential customers, and to bring web browsers your way. It’s much easier to blog with lots of relevant search terms than it is to construct the main pages of your site that way, and blogging regularly and consistently also engages your customers and shows browsers on your site that you care and are involved in your work.
Be Aware of External Properties Related to Your Site
External properties related to your site include your business’ social media accounts, reviews on sites like Yelp, and your business’ presence on Google Maps.
When it comes to social media, make sure you have social media set up and are running it properly, keeping things professional, relevant, and consistent.
As far as other companies’ properties go (Google Maps and Yelp, among others), it’s important to claim your business on those sites so you can have control over the information they’re putting out about you. Each site has a feature allowing you to do this.
With Google Maps, you’ll only need to check that basic information such as your hours and location are correct. Yelp can be more complicated, but also a great deal more rewarding, as it gives you a chance to directly engage with your current and former clients.
Yelp reviews can have a huge impact, positive or negative, on the way your firm appears to the world. First, you’ll need to provide excellent service to all existing clients. Second, encourage them to write positive reviews for you.
When negative reviews do come up, you should respond, but not aggressively or defensively – responding with contrition and professionalism, and showing that you are working on fixing any real problems a customer has brought up, will make your firm look good even to people reading its bad reviews – and may change the initial reviewer’s mind about things.