I have been negotiating with a vendor that hosts legal web sites to see if I can kick mine up a notch and get it to generate more revenue. One of the things that came up in discussions was Google’s page ranking system. Getting onto that first page of search results is the Holy Grail of Internet marketing for any business, and a good page rank is an important part of search engine optimization (SEO) for your site.
One of the biggest keys to this is inbound links. Google considers every link to your site to be a vote for its relevance and importance. The more authoritative the site that links to you, the more weight is given to that vote. Thus a link from the American Bar Association would probably be given more weight than one from a client’s site. This system is well explained in a blog post here.
Having been enlightened to this, I have been proactive recently in getting more links to my site (as you can see). I made sure I had one from my law school and undergraduate alma mater, as well as other professional organizations. The ABA, as well as your county and state bar associations should be on your list, along with any other legal professional associations. Please also bear in mind that this process takes time, especially if you have launched your site in the past six months or so. The Google bot periodically checks sites on the web to update its database. Check here for the last time it visited yours. If you want Google, Yahoo, and others to check out recent changes quicker, you can request it here. Keep checking your Google page rank here to see how you are doing. There are many different tools that you can use to look at how your site is performing, many of them available at mypagerank.net.
More and more, people are using the Internet, and search engines, to find lawyers. How many times have you used the Net to find contact information rather than the phone book? Sites like Superpages, Bigfoot, and Switchboard.com are often more convenient because you may not have the phone book for that area, or you may not want to get up from your desk. Imagine what your potential clients are doing? Also, web sites are ultimately cheaper than phone book advertising and more dynamic in the ability to change content. Many firms offer to optimize your site or make you the “exclusive listing” in their directory by geographic or practice area; they cost money. Doing this is free in most instances and something you can do for yourself. Look into it.