Google Search Engine Optimization Tips
By Bob Schwartz, CRS, GRI ©2007 Promotions Unlimited all rights reserved.
This material is subject to copyright and any unauthorized use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.
Having your firm's Web site rank well in Google takes hard work and a little luck. Due to Google’s huge traffic, a top placement here will definitely pay off in obtaining new legal clients. These tips will help, but unless you or someone you hire follows through, your web site will never be using the full potential high search engine placement affords. Note: most web site designers do well at designing, graphics/colors etc., but do not know much about optimization and look over all or most of these vital steps.
Below are ten tips to get you started on improving your legal web site:
1. Start out slowly. If possible, begin with a new site that has never been submitted to the search engines or directories. Choose a relevent domain name, and begin by optimizing just the home page. *Note – It is very important that you OWN your domain (http://www.sacramento-ca-lawyers-attorneys-directory.com). There are a number of web site design companies that produce sites and register domain names for their clients, but actually retain ownership of the domain. Also, many free/low-cost sites are truly sub-domains of the sponsoring company. One should never use such a sub-domain site . . . even for free! Sub-domains usually look like: www.sandiegolawyerforyou.com/yourfirmname.htm
Most knowing web surfers know sub-domains are free or low cost. You can create a negative impression right at the beginning. Also, you’ll be printing your web site’s address on your business card, letterhead, advertising etc. What happens if the company who owns the top level domain goes bankrupt, or decides to double your cost of the sub-domain? You are not in control under a sub-domain, and in essence are promoting another’s domain. For domain registration and name availability, visit www.websitetrafficbuilders.com. Also, to research domain names, check out our free download of Domain Name Analyzer.
Even though you can register a domain for one year at a time, I would suggest you register for at least three to five years. Keep in mind, if you neglect to renew your registration, you will automatically lose your domain name. Someone could re-register it for their own use and benefit from the traffic and standing you built.
2. Learn basic HTML. Many search engine optimization techniques involve editing the behind the scenes HTML code. Your high rankings can depend on knowing which codes are necessary and which aren't.
3. Choose keywords wisely. The keywords you think might be perfect for your site might not be what people actually use to search for your service. Choose two or three highly targeted phrases for each page of your site. Never shoot for general keywords such as "law" or "legal."
4. Write at least 200 - 250 words of visible text copy based on your chosen keywords. This is a necessary component to high rankings and a successful Web site. The search engines need to "read" keyword dense copy on your pages so they can successfully classify your site. Use each keyword phrase numerous times within your copy for best results.
5. Create a good Title tag. HTML title tags are vital because they're given a lot of weight with all of the search engines. You must put your keywords into this tag and not waste space with extra words. Do not use the Title tag to convey your company name or to say "Home Page." Think of it more as a "Title Keyword Tag" and create it accordingly. Add your company name to the end of this tag, if you must use it.
6. Create Meaty Meta tags. Meta tags can be important, but they are not a magic bullet. Create a Meta Description tag that uses your keywords and also describes your site. The information in this tag often appears under your Title in the search engine results pages.
The Meta Keyword tag isn't quite as vital as the Meta Description tag. Contrary to popular belief, what you place in the keyword tag will have very little effect under which keywords your site is actually found, and it's not given any consideration whatsoever by Google. Use this tag, but do not obsess over it.
7. Use extra "goodies" to boost rankings. Things like headlines, image alt tags, header tags <H1><H2>, etc.), links from other pages, keywords in file names, and keywords in hyperlinks can together boost search engine rankings. Use any or all of these where they are useful for your site.
8. Be careful when submitting to directories such as Yahoo and the Open Directory Project (DMOZ). Having directory listings are a critical component to getting your site spidered and listed by Google. Making mistakes in the submission process could cost you gravely as directory listings are difficult to change later in the game. Therefore, it's important to read Yahoo's How to Suggest Your Site and How to add a site to the Open Directory before submitting.
9. Don't expect quick results. Getting high rankings takes time; there's no getting around that fact. Once your site is added to a search engine or directory, its ranking may start out low and then slowly work its way up the ladder. Some search engines use "click-through popularity," i.e., the more people that click on a particular site, the higher its ranking will go. Be patient and give your site time to mature.
10. Don't constantly "tweak" your site for better results. It's best not to make revisions to your optimization for at least three-to-six months after submission. It often takes the engines at least that long to add your optimized pages to their databases. Submit it, and then forget about it for a while!
If you've used these tips and still can't find your legal web site in the engines, the first place to revise would be your page copy. If you used less than 250 words of visible text on your pages, this is probably your culprit. Also, double check your keyword density, and make sure that you only targeted two or three phrases per page. Eventually, you'll see the fruits of your labor with many top ten rankings in Google and the rest of the search engines!
If all the above sounds too complicated, you can benefit from a free trail download of Internet Business Promoter (IBP). IBP is a multi-award winning web site promotion software tool and offers everything you need to successfully promote your law firm's web site. IBP is a suite of 10 professional web promotion tools that can help you with all parts of web site promotion and search engine optimization.
* Our legal directories have so many page one search engine standings, to preserve computer time, we only run our search engine reports for our page one standings. Not counting the paid 'sponsored listings,' because it is estimated over 60% of web surfers pass over these paid listings, we are always gratified when our key word phrases reach the first position.
The table below will show just a small sampling of our PAGE ONE, POSITION ONE standings on Google, Yahoo & MSN.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bob Schwartz, is the founder of Promotions Unlimited (search engine optimization) an Internet legal directory (CA, TX & Las Vegas) publisher and search engine placement technology analyst. You can contact Bob via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his San Diego legal directory at: www.sandiegolawyerforyou.com
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