Alyn-Weiss & Associates have just released a new survey that shows “the number of local and regional corporate, transactional and defense law firms using search engine optimization (SEO), and getting cases and referrals as a result, has tripled in the past 24 months”.
Also from the press release:
- “59 percent of firms used SEO over the past 24 months. That compares to 20 percent in the two years prior to then. In 2007-2008, 20 percent of firms said they got cases from SEO, compared to 8 percent in 2005-2006.”
While that’s great news for those of us with SEO services as part of our legal marketing repertoire, it does make for a tougher playing field overall. Five years ago, on-page optimization factors were enough in many legal markets to create a competitive search presence. Now of course, this is simply par for the course.
Where there used to be two or three pages of optimized results for a competitive search phrase, in many markets that number can now span eight to ten pages. Which supports a point I’ve been making for a while now – good search positioning is at least 70% about a website’s incoming link network (and likely more).
Most firms should be asking:
- Do we know what websites are linking to us?
- Do we have a strategy to improve the quality (& to a lesser degree, quantity) of those links?
- How closely aligned, subject-wise, are those links with website content?
As more firms get onboard with SEO, competition is clearly going to be on the rise. Unless Google suddenly decides to change their default result to 20 or 100 listings on the first page. Which seems unlikely to happen any time soon.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with competition. As reputations build and performances are graded, there should be some culling within the industry. Which is good. But unfortunately, I suspect more competition also means more shady tactics from some providers in the short term. And even more unfortunate, SEO services aren’t going to get any easier to evaluate for law firm marketers or practitioners.
Not saying that as a scare tactic. Just a troubling fact. And from my own perspective, I can see how the next couple years are going to be a challenge to differentiate Stem as an ethical SEO option; and related, whether to train out those standards, recruit for them, or both.
Interesting times ahead.