Being the leader is tough. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every so often, I read a blog post, tweet, or email from a competitor who has set their sights on FindLaw. What I read is usually speculative and nearly always incomplete. These attacks are usually an attempt to gain business at FindLaw’s expense, but I guess that’s the nature of being a market leader. And when it comes to helping small law firms attract new clients and grow their business, FindLaw is on top.

A recent example was Google’s Panda 4.0 update and observing everyone’s take on the impact it may have had on our clients’ sites. In some cases, the claims have just been wrong. In other cases, competitors concluded that FindLaw simply must have been negatively impacted by Panda 4.0. But what’s important to keep in mind with any of these claims is that the people who are making them aren’t Google. And because they aren’t Google, or FindLaw, there are a few things they misunderstand.

Let’s start with Panda and search rank. FindLaw has long since moved on from using rank or visibility in Google as an indicator of client value. In fact, we’re taking the industry lead in educating the rest of the market about predatory tactics that promise or sell on rank. This perspective is outlined in a first-of-its-kind, quantitative study by FindLaw, which you can read here.

Rather than focus solely on the rank metric, FindLaw is committed to becoming an integrated marketing provider to small law firms. We evaluate client performance against the quality of traffic and contacts we deliver, as well as their overall return on investment. By that standard, I can say unequivocally that the Panda update has had no impact on our ability to deliver value.

It’s an approach that we’re committed to and demonstrate when we partner with our law firm clients to strategically integrate the right marketing options for their business needs: Internet, TV Advertising, Lead Generation, Mobile, Online Chat, Paid Search, etc. Competitors trying to understand the “impact” to our clients by looking at search rank alone are only viewing one piece of the puzzle.

Another popular topic competitors pass around is about FindLaw’s longer-term contract commitments.  The truth is, we offer a variety of ways to work with us depending on the business need. The picture is different for every client. Some of our marketing solutions are designed for clients whose practice area requires fast, high-impact results resulting in a shorter commitment. We have contracts that include pay-as-you-go options with Lead Generation and short-term contracts that span only three months.

But several customers are looking for ongoing support with their marketing because they want a broader strategy that is refined over time through multiple tactics. Longer-term contracts may not be for everyone but they do work best for customers whose partnership with us involve time, a deep understanding of their firm and an integrated strategy that continuously evolves with the market to deliver the best ROI for their marketing budget.

Admittedly, it’s tempting to just disregard so many of these competitive messages – Panda 4.0, contracts, etc. – because they’re often one-sided. But, we do read them. And, what many may not know is, we also seek to understand them and ensure that our customers have the truth. Our style isn’t to openly address each and every comment head on. Our style is to respond with results.

As a leader in this industry we are challenged every day by our competitors, our customers, and even our own employees. These challenges make us stronger. They make us better. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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