Google alerts is one of the most popular services the search engine giant offers to webmasters and ordinary users alike.
Never heard of Google Alerts, or have you just never signed up? Believe it or not, the popular tool offered to any Google user (at no cost, I might add) can work wonders for your law firm’s SEO.
Of course, it doesn’t affect your SEO directly, but it can be a huge indirect help by letting you keep track of how well your business is doing SEO-wise.
You can set up Google Alerts for any search terms you could type into the regular Google search bar!
Sounds great… but what does a Google Alert actually do?
When you’ve set up a Google Alert for a given search term or phrase, Google will let you know (“alert” you, hence the name) whenever the SERP for that term or phrase changes. You can use this as a great big-picture way of looking at how well your law firm is performing for a variety of keywords.
For example, you want to make sure you stay at the very top of a SERP for your business name. You’ll also want to make sure you get close to the top of the SERP for “lawyer in [your town]” or a similar search phrase.
They’re useful whether you’re just starting out with SEO or you’re already at the top of the SERPs. If you’re just starting out, you can check every week or so to see if the SEO work you or your marketers are doing is having any effect on your SERP ranking. If you’re already on top, you can use Google Alerts to make sure you stay there.
How do I set up a Google Alert?
If you go to the official Google Alert page (we linked to it at the beginning of the article for your convenience), there are instructions to set up there. I also found a very helpful article earlier that gives you all the steps in great detail.
What search terms and phrases should I set up Google Alerts for?
You should set up Google Alerts for any SEO keywords or search phrases you want to appear in the SERPs for. However, it can be a bit overwhelming to get a lot of Google Alerts at once, so you might want to only set up Alerts for the most important phrases and keywords first, so that you can get used to managing all the extra information you’ll have pouring in.
You can also choose how often you get Alerts. It might be safe to get Alerts for stable or unimportant search terms or phrases once a week, but for very competitive keywords you’ll want to be updated once per day at least.
You can set the Alert to notify you as soon as something changes in the SERP as well. This is highly recommended for search terms that are both important to your firm and highly or moderately competitive.
Just a few shocking but 100% true statistics about online reviews.
You know that local SEO is hugely important to your law firm, and you know sites like Yelp and Facebook (including Facebook’s review feature) are important to that – but how much do reviews matter for law firms? It’s not like you’re a restaurant and your clients are making snap decisions about which firm is better than another, right?
That’s right to an extent – but wrong in that it assumes reviews don’t matter. The simple fact of the matter is, online reviews matter for lawyers and virtually every other type of business that deals directly with an end consumer.
In fact, because hiring a lawyer is such a big decision, customers may even put more time into reading lawyer and law firm reviews online than they would into reading shopping or restaurant reviews. Your potential clients know that they’ll be spending a good deal of money on and time with a lawyer, and they want to be sure it’s worth it.
What’s the upshot of all this?
It’s simple – but often harder to implement than it sounds: you need reviews. You need a lot of them, and they need to be overwhelmingly positive.
There are a lot of quick, unethical ways to get reviews for your law firm, but the fact is that those methods very rarely pan out very well in the long term, and can often get you in big trouble with Google and/or the site hosting the reviews.
The best way to honestly and effectively get good reviews is to provide excellent service to each and every one of your clients and to make clients aware of your presence on review sites and how important reviews are to you.
You should particularly let clients know that you’re on Google Reviews, Yelp, and Facebook, as those are the three most frequently used and widely trusted review sites. Also, Google Reviews’ relationship with the rest of Google’s web properties may help boost your ranking in the SERPs directly, though there’s no way to definitively prove that Google prioritizes its own content. The evidence is there, though.
What if I lose a client’s case?
This is a particularly problematic situation that obviously affects lawyers and not the rest of the business owner population. However, here’s a quick and handy guide as to how to make sure you don’t get negative reviews when your firm inevitably loses cases.
Always do your best for your clients and establish a meaningful personal connection with each of them.
Do not overinflate client expectations or use unethical sales techniques to get clients to purchase your services if there is little hope you’ll win their case.
Be sure to educate customers about the ins and outs of the legal system and the possibility of failure.
Respond courteously to negative reviews on forums that allow you to do so – never defensively. Let your former clients know you’re fixing any problems they may have with your firm.
Consider working with a reputation enhancement service if negative reviews get out of hand or start to impact your bottom line.
A perfect example of the kind of boring, computer-focused link that won’t help your site’s SEO.
If you’re a regular reader of our blog then you know we’ve recently posted on the importance of mobile friendliness and explained how backlinks boost your site’s SEO – so it only makes sense that when the two are combined, a huge SEO boost comes out of it.
If you haven’t read about mobile friendliness and backlinks in general yet, please do that first – this article is about an advanced SEO tip that will send your law firm SEO through the roof, but to do it, you’ll need to have a firm grasp of the basic concepts first.
Now that you understand the basics, let’s march ahead.
The big thing lawyers need to know about SEO is this: backlinks from mobile friendly sites have the biggest impact on your SEO – bigger than keywords, bigger than links from other sites, and definitely bigger than internal links. There are a lot of factors that determine a site’s SEO, but backlinks from mobile friendly sites are the biggest one.
What that means for you is simple: to boost your SERP ranking, you’ll have to aggressively pursue links from mobile friendly sites – especially mobile friendly sites that are also very popular and seen as legitimate by Google’s spiders and the general public.
Why does this work? Because Google prioritizes backlinks to your site based on the sites they come from – anyone can get backlinks from sketchy, pay-for-a-link type doorway pages, but if you have backlinks from sites like Wikipedia or the web versions of major news outlets, then your site is something Google thinks its viewers will likely want to find in searches.
While that may mean a lot of work for you in the beginning of 2017, there is some good news too – links from your social media accounts and external properties related to your site are very good for your main site’s SEO because essentially all of these sites are hugely popular and are at the forefront of mobile development.
Making sure your SEO is proficient in those areas is a great place to start a new mobile friendly link building campaign to boost your law firm’s SEO – and once you’ve ensured that all external properties are up to date and registered in your firm’s name, you can move on to trying to get the big links.
If you’re ready to undertake this endeavor and boost your law firm site’s SEO, head over to Google and check out their steps to a Google-friendly site – try to implement a few of these while you’re chasing big name, mobile friendly backlinks to give your site an even bigger boost in the SERPs.