Promising #1 Rankings is Unacceptable for Legal Online Marketing Vendors
Every reputable search marketer will tell you that a Web vendor promising number one rankings is blowing smoke. Google’s Matt Cutts warned about vendors that promise number one rankings as far back as 2008, then again in 2012. Despite these voices, many companies still guarantee number one search engine spots – which raises the question: “Is promising number one rankings really that bad?”
Vendors who promise number one rankings for their law firm clients set unachievable standards for themselves, their clients and the legal marketing profession. Occasionally these damaging black-hat SEO tactics work for a few weeks or months — until Google catches up with them. When that happens, all the money invested into creating your Web presence is wasted.
You can safely bet that Google’s algorithm will constantly change as the search engine giant places increasing emphasis on user experience. Strategies that may secure top rankings today might be the same strategies that hinder a site tomorrow. No company can be certain as to where their client’s site will rank next, and it is misleading for any company to indicate they do.
A legal online marketing vendor must also account for the fact that high rankings for a law firm website do not necessarily equate with an increase in newly signed clients. Websites have a shelf life. Many factors can affect conversions. If your design is dated or stale, you might need an upgrade before users are attracted to your site again. An outdated site conveys a lack of concern for the firm’s Web presence and image, almost as if you hadn’t refurnished your visitor’s lobby in 20 years. Additionally, a website that does not have calls to action and is not designed for conversions will hurt your ability to convert visitors to clients.
A guarantee of a number one ranking may lead a law firm to have unrealistic expectations of its Web marketing company. A vendor that works incredibly hard to stay abreast of search engine marketing trends, takes preemptive measures to protect their client sites and keeps lines of communication open sets the standard. But even that exceptional vendor cannot, and should not, guarantee top search engine spots. What they can and should do is promise to work tirelessly on a campaign to make it the best it can be. All sorts of factors, such as investment levels and client involvement, will affect a site’s ability to outrank other sites. Those factors are not entirely controlled by vendors, even the exceptional ones.
At the end of the day, what you really want is to be able to convert qualified leads into clients and grow your practice. You may not necessarily need number one rankings to accomplish this goal. What you need is a Web marketing vendor who is just as committed to your firm’s success as one of your partners. If the company handling your firm’s Internet marketing campaign is dedicated, then your campaign will be a success – whether your site occupies the first or fourth spot on a search results page.