Debunking SEO Myths in the Age of Blended Search
Search engines have been developing new techniques for delivering results that searchers will find more useful. They’re doing this by drawing information from multiple online sources – sources in addition to websites. And this new world of online search requires your firm to change its search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
Because of that, you might be tempted to get some help from a self-styled “SEO expert.” Some experts do provide useful advice. But many others often spread myths about SEO which even they aren’t sure are completely true. With blended search, believing these myths can be work against your online marketing strategy.
Myths aren’t the same as untruths. They often contain at least a kernel of truth. But believing them unquestioningly can wreak havoc on your online marketing strategy. Let’s focus on three chief myths.
1. Page rank is the most important goal
That seems self-evident, doesn’t it? When someone is looking for a firm with your specialty in your geographical area, you want your firm’s website to rank at or near the top of a search engine results page (SERP).
But as we discussed in this post, blended search makes that much more difficult. That’s particularly true when legal consumers are conducting a search on their smartphones.
Even in the wider information universe of blended search, you still want to be found, of course. But relying on keywords and other “traditional” SEO techniques won’t help. In fact, FindLaw has long discouraged focusing solely on page rank as a marketing strategy.
In blended search, your online strategy includes content—blog posts, articles, videos, and other demonstrations of your expertise. If your content is informative, clear, and written so that legal consumers sense that you understand their situation, search engines will give your firm more credibility. After all, their goal is to provide better information to searchers.
Very simply, page rank won’t bring your firm more clients in the door. Targeting consumer desires and user behavior will.
2. Your website is no longer important
Some experts might offer this diametrically opposite myth as gospel truth. We hope we’ve debunked this myth in this post. A strong website is still crucial to your online marketing. But these days, it should be part of a broader strategy.
3. The basic idea behind SEO hasn’t changed
In a way, it’s true. You still want potential clients to find your firm online—and then contact you.
But blended search reflects the fact that in general, legal consumers are taking an indirect path to your door. In many cases, they’re looking for information first, then looking for a law firm that can help them. That has made SEO a more complicated discipline. And one that’s always changing.
As long as SEO techniques keep updating, these myths will keep manifesting themselves into problems that will make your life difficult. That requires attorneys to take the time to understand how SEO can work in their favor.
As we’ve noted, the goal of blended search is to give the user personalized and accurate results. Page ranks are only a small part of the SEO. Types of content, their quality, their relevance to ongoing trends, language used, and other tactics are a few other aspects related to SEO. And that’s no myth.
Looking for the truth about how your firm can thrive in the era of blended search? You can find it in a new white paper from Thomson Reuters, “Is Your Firm Ready for the New World of Search?” It’s free, and it’s available for download here.