When it comes to the Internet, we live in an increasingly impatient, time-starved environment. People are accustomed to finding information virtually instantaneously, and are increasingly reluctant to proceed past the first page of Google results—on the premise that if these are the results Google has chosen, they must be the best ones out there! As you can imagine, this mindset will do you no favors if your law firm isn't on the first page of Google results; whether you're on the second or the 200 page, you might as well be invisible.
How Important Is a First-Page Ranking in Google?
No company implements a search-optimization strategy so they can go from being the 47th result on Google for a particular search term (say, “lawn tools”) to the 15th result. Even though that number 15 ranking puts them on the second page—nothing to sneeze at—the real goal is front-page placement, and preferably a spot in the top five. Why?
- First-page placement connotes reliability and authority to most Internet users.
- If they don't see what they like on the first page, most searchers will change their search term rather than going on to additional pages of results.
- First-page results translate into an order-of-magnitude more page views and “clicks,” and thus more client referrals.
- If a potential client doesn't see you on the first page, he may assume that you're not a “good” or reliable law firm, or else Google would have put you on top.
- Website links appearing on the first page of results tend to be shared and forwarded more by potential clients, which increases your traction in social media.
If You're Going to Play on Google, You Need to Play to Win
Improving your law firm's Google ranking from #147 to #34 may be a moral victory, but it won't translate into significantly more client referrals. You need to aim for the first page of results for your primary search term, a strategy that requires content, commitment, and quality.