Litigation PR: Google algorithm updates and what it means to your web copy

Nick Augustine is the principal of Pro Serve PR Marketing, a firm that provides marketing and public relations advising and services for law firms. Nick’s niche in litigation public relations grew out of time spent in litigation trenches. Nick is a frequent national speaker on law firm public relations, risk, strategy and public opinion management. Nick earned a communications and rhetorical studies degree from Marquette University and a law degree from The John Marshall Law School where he is an active Alumni Board member.

I write and speak about Google’s new algorithm. The technology meets consumer demands for truthful and honest websites. Have you ever been annoyed by website copy full of keywords? Do you lack trust in attorneys who say they can help you in Chicago, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Ravenswood Manner, Ravenswood Gardens, etc.?

Sorry, no more Black Hat SEO and no more Google bombing – the name of the game is honest hard work. I spent some time stripping unnecessary links and over-keyword-written copy from my website. It is not hard if you really know what you do and how you can help people without puffery.

Problems and Solutions: Follow these simple rules and you will be at a lesser risk of being marked as a spam website.

Problem 1: Attorney has a website built by one of the major vendors and attorney is concerned they drafted their web copy for an earlier SEO algorithm. Attorney is afraid Google will mark their website as spam.

Solution 1: Call the vendor and ask them to talk to you about the changes at Google or drop them. Quality providers anticipate change and work with clients to redraft web copy and architecture.

Problem 2: Someone told attorney that keywords are no good anymore and attorney is receiving information from all directions and does not know whom to trust.

Solution 2: Research the Google updates. Understand the important of keywords and balance with web copy written in plain English. Think of questions clients ask. Answer those questions in web copy.

Problem 3: Attorney heard that links are important on websites and attorney has an incredible amount of links, and after hearing about the Google update, attorney is concerned.

Solution 3: Do not be too worried about links, unless the amount of one-way outbound links is excessive. Resource links to the ABA, for example, are common and Google expects to see these. Two-way links are good when one of the domains is a high-page rank link. Do some research on links.

Problem 4: Attorney’s website lists every local neighborhood or suburb listed and is now concerned about earning clients in each area but not at the expense of losing site rank.

Solution 4: Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, most people chose providers reasonably nearby. Say “Chicagoland” or “Chicago Area” or “Lake County” as relevant to the end users’ real needs.

Problem 5: Attorney is concerned their website is not perfect. The marketing people keep calling and attorney is not sure to whom they should listen.

Solution 5: Like investing or fishing, legal marketing works best with a diverse net. Lawyers are not web enterprise merchants. Spend more time building referrals and attending public events. Digital marketing and media do not remove the face to face element of building your practice and book of business.


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