Search Engine Optimization has changed a lot since the early 2000's. Obviously Google has become bigger and more important, and will probably continue to grow for years to come. Tech firms knew this, and grew their businesses to dominate page 1 on Google. It is nearly impossible to rank above AVVO as a solo or small firm attorney, even if you are the only attorney within 50 miles. This doesn't mean you should give up on SEO, because it is still important. It just means that there are no more shortcuts. SEO is hard, hard work that requires your daily attention.
How to "Outrank" AVVO on Google
While you can't beat AVVO at the SEO game, you can beat AVVO on Local Search. Google has retooled their algorithm to focus on local, because that is what serves internet users the best. They know that someone in your home town doesn't want to see a vast web directory of lawyers, they want to see the lawyers that are nearby. Local results are more relevant to the internet shopper.
That is why you should use tools like Moz Local or Yext to find out how well you show up in local search. Update your local profiles, this includes Google My Business as well as YP.com. Make sure these profiles are complete, including images and text about your law firm. Finally, make sure people are visiting these pages are leaving positive reviews of your business.
It may be tempting to hire or outsource this work to a "SEO expert." Be careful! While SEO is a new game there are a lot of black-hat SEO companies that still use the old methods that do not work. Buying links does not work and keyword stuffing does not work. SEO is now much more complex, requiring someone with technical knowledge to do schema markups and HTML5. There is no quick way to page 1. SEO is a long game that will take many months to payoff. AND, you need to maintain your SEO efforts for years and years. There is no "set it and forget it" method.
What Really Matters With Modern SEO
What mattered 10 years ago in SEO is very different from what matters today. In 2006 we talked about keywords, meta descriptions, header tags, and other things that would help your website rank higher. Google is much more sophisticated, and now it is a whole variety of factors that influence how your site appears online.
- Website load time. Users hate slow websites, and as a result, Google puts a priority on fast load times. If your websites takes more than a few seconds to load, you may be in trouble. Talk to your webmaster about making your site faster.
- Mobile responsive. Hopefully, you already have a mobile responsive website. Google considers mobile websites mandatory, so if you don't have a mobile site get one today.
- Local listings. Showing up on Google Local is very important. Make sure the information on your profiles are accurate and complete. Include images, videos, and other information if you can.
- Schema markup. This is a lot more technical, so you will need to talk to a web developer about using Schema to optimize your website.
- Content. Content had always been important for SEO. 10 years ago content meant keywords. Now, content means links, user engagement, and answering the client's questions.