After investing tens of thousands of dollars into a complete overhaul of our law firm's website, and implementing SEO best practices, we've rocketed from the 20th to the second page of Google results for our key search term. What can we do to make it onto the first page?

It's probably not the answer you or your partners want to hear, but your best option is to simply wait and pursue other marketing initiatives in the meantime.

No doubt, it's a major accomplishment to climb from the 20th page of Google search results to the second page, especially if this happened over the course of a few weeks. The problem is that potential clients who search on your main key phrase (say, “San Diego car accident lawyer”) won't be inclined to click through to the second page of results; they'll either choose a firm on the first page or type in a different search term. Also, it will be extremely hard to dislodge the firms on the first page of results, which have had a significant head start and are probably using equally cutting-edge SEO techniques.

The good news is that, over the next few months, you may well see your site lifted up to the first page of results. This is a common Google effect; sites that have “staying power” and that have built up a large library of internal links and quality content tend to rise in the rankings over time, though not as quickly as most webmasters would like. This is just more evidence that the best marketing for lawyers is self-reinforcing over time.

Once you've made it to the #9 slot on the first page, your next target will be to get “above the fold”; believe it or not, many impatient searchers are too lazy even to scroll down to the bottom five results! (It's also possible that you may find your placement improved by a change in Google's search algorithm; these rollouts tend to have unpredictable effects, though, and you may just as well find yourself demoted to the third page as promoted to the first.)

Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.