COMMENTARY: Do Google rankings matter to your firm?


By Traci R. Gentilozzi

Google is an extremely powerful marketing tool. When Internet users type keywords or phrases into Google’s search box, the world’s most popular search engine then searches and finds the most relevant and useful websites for its users.

So go ahead. Type a phrase relating to your legal services into the Google search box (i.e., Lansing personal injury lawyer). Now take a look at the search engine result page (SERP). Is your law firm listed on page 1? Page 2? Or, heaven forbid, page 3 or later?

If your law firm is listed on page 2 or later of the Google results, you should probably rethink your online marketing strategy (assuming you have one). Ask yourself, “Does ranking high on Google matter to my law practice?”

To help you better assess this question, let’s look at the pros and cons of Google rankings. Then you can decide how important it is for your law firm to be on page
1 of the Google search results.

—Page 1 Advantages:
Increase Website Traffic & Engagement Rate

Page 1 of Google will include about 10 search results. For these first 10 listings, the exposure is enormous.

What about the page 2 search results and beyond? According to studies, about 91 percent of Internet users never go to the second page of Google results. Thus, a page 1 Google ranking can significantly boost the number of people visiting your website.

Highlight Your Expertise

Not every law firm can land on page 1 of the Google results. In order to get on page 1, you have to offer quality content on your website – content that potential clients really want and can use. In other words, there must be a purpose to your website content (i.e., it should match with certain keywords or phrases for which possible clients are searching).

Developing quality content that Internet users want, such as informative blogs and web page content, helps you keep up with emerging trends and legal developments. It also gives you the opportunity to highlight your expertise in a particular area of law.

More Visibility

If your law firm is listed on page 1 of the Google results, you are immediately in front of new, potential clients. Look at it this way. You’ve opened a new business. Would you rather be located on a busy main road or on a less-traveled side street? If you’re on page 1 of Google, you’re on the busy main roadway.

Trust & Authenticity

Google is the most trusted and most widely used search engine. Therefore, if your law firm ranks high on Google, then Google clearly approves of your business. This authenticity helps build stronger relationships with your target audience (i.e., potential clients).

—Page 1 Disadvantages:
Time & Effort

Being listed on page 1 of Google takes an enormous amount of time, effort and dedication. It isn’t something that just happens overnight. And even when your law firm lands on page 1, you may find the next day that you have been bumped to page 2.

Google uses complex systems and changing algorithms that constantly assess the information on your firm’s website. As a result, your law firm’s online presence needs to be consistent. This not only includes consistency in your website content, design and loading speed, but also your social media posts and your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. In other words, everything must work together. And everything must continuously be assessed and tweaked, as necessary.

Staying On Top

Getting to page 1 of the Google rankings is only the beginning. Staying on page 1 is just as difficult. Your SEO strategy must not only get your firm’s website on page 1, but it needs to also keep it there. And that’s a task that takes 24/7 attention. 

Too Much Web Traffic?

It may be hard to believe, but sometimes too much web traffic can be overwhelming. So before embarking on a mission to be on page 1 of Google, be sure your law firm can handle an increasing demand for services. Failing to be prepared for the phone calls, emails and new clients can tarnish your law firm’s brand and reputation.
Attorney Traci R. Gentilozzi owns 360 Legal Solutions PLLC, a company that focuses on legal content development and promotion for sole practitioners and small firms; and is the editor of BRIEFS, the official publication of the Ingham County Bar Association. This column was reprinted with permission from BRIEFS.