15 Feb 17 3:59 am
Search Engine Optimization vs. Internet Marketing / Google Adwords for Law Firms
What is SEO?
When someone searches for your name or your firm’s name, is your law firm website the first result? (Hint: it should be; if it’s not, you’re SEOing wrong and should get SEO help)
Even more critical, when someone does a Google search of your practice area, where do you show up? When someone searches for “New York personal injury lawyer” where does your NY injury law firm show up in the results? Is it on the first page or is it buried on page 7? Note: barely anyone goes beyond page 1 in search results, so showing up on the first page is extremely important.
Benefits to SEO
SEO doesn’t theoretically “cost” you anything like PPC does. If you do the bare minimum of SEO, you should see some organic search traffic coming your way. It won’t be a lot, and it probably won’t net you any business, but you should at the very least appear somewhere in search engines, and people should be able to find your firm website when they type in your firm name or attorneys’ names into Google. You won’t likely lose that kind of SEO gain, nor will you have to pay anytime someone types in your name to Google and clicks on your website.
Drawbacks to SEO
Right away you may be thinking “Once I’m on page 1 of Google, I’m done.” That’s not the case. To get to page 1 of Google search results, you have to actively displace whoever was in that spot before. This is tough for competitive practice areas and regions. Do you think the person you displaced won’t realize what happened when their traffic plummets? Do you think you won’t have to keep SEOing to keep your spot on page 1, to get to the top of page 1, and to stay on top of page 1?
Internet marketing is a blanket phrase that usually covers anything related to reaching new clients online. In some broad definitions, “internet marketing” encompasses SEO. But, most often, internet marketing is used as a term that covers PPC and search engine advertising. PPC or “pay-per-click” refers to paying for ads on search engines to reach buyers.
Benefits to PPC
PPC does work overnight, unlike SEO. I can pay $10 per click for Google Adwords so that when someone types in “Des Moines maritime lawyer” I get the top spot today and get traffic to my site immediately.
Getting to the top result of a Google search for PPC is easy – you just pay more per click than the next guy, then your shaded ad box appears first.
Getting to the top result of a Google search via SEO can be incredibly hard, and realistically may be unattainable for some practice areas and cities. To do it you may need to spend money. While you may say “Yeah, I’ll SEO to get to page 1 of Google,” guess what? That’s what everyone wants to do.