By Thornton, Tim
Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing , Vol. 13, No. 8
Imagine that you have just been given the opportunity to promote yourself and your practice to hundreds of thousands of interested parties. Imagine that this opportunity is not a one-time event; rather, it can be sourced by scores of individuals and groups for months. Welcome, or welcome back, to the World Wide Web, where this scenario plays out every day across the globe and the desks of your prospects and clients.
As the title suggests, we are navigating an atmosphere dominated by acronyms that represent methods of attracting interested parties to your virtual doorstep and by law firms that know how to use them. Thus, it may be helpful to begin with a few definitions:
* Search Engines are huge databases that index content on websites so that information can be found through "searches" based on titles, keywords, phrases and text Google, Yahoo and Bing are the main search engines.
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a webpage in search engines via unpaid, or "organic," search results. These results are achieved by incorporating specific keywords or links associated with the website into a firm's web-based content.
* Search Engine Marketing (SEM) involves using a paid search program in which companies "bid" for keywords to drive traffic to their respective websites. SEM is commonly known as "pay-per-click " Google AdWords is an example of an SEM tool.
* Social Media Optimization (SMO or Social SEO) is the methodology of applying social media activity with the intent of attracting unique visitors to website content. SMO is essentially the convergence of search engines with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
* Google+ (G+) is a social media site and Facebook competitor. In June 2011, The New York Times noted that "Google has tried several times, without much success, to take on Facebook and master social networking. Now it is making its biggest effort yet with Google+."
So how can firms leverage the web and its acronym soup to their advantage? This article will highlight some of the important components to consider when using the Internet as a marketing tool.
Selecting Your Vehicle
An unlimited number of websites and blogs allow you to create, post and comment on articles on the Internet. Before you even begin to promote yourself, determine the avenue that most suits your personality and expertise. Here are some options:
* Guest blog on established industry blogs, such as The Dirt Lawyer (dirtattorney.blogspot.com) and Ms. JD (ms.jd.org).
* Create your own legal blog.
* Write bylined articles for various legal and business journals.
This blog content can then be added to an existing social media platform, including Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.
Ensuring Your Material is Seen
Finding websites, journals and blogs that will accept your material may be easy; trimming down to only those most relevant may prove difficult. The Internet has multiple resources available that can help you choose relevant sites. For example, Technorati com has catalogued more than 29,000 business blogs and Quantast. com has amassed more than 6,200 websites related to law periodicals.
The goal of posting business-related content on the Internet should always be to drive traffic in your direction, and there are ways to do this that go beyond merely posting your material. Search engines are constantly combing through new material published on the Internet to index content Search engine indexing organizes and stores data to facilitate fast and accurate information retrieval, which means that lawyers must routinely make sure to include verbiage (i.e., keywords) specific to their area of practice to keep themselves relevant for search rankings.
Think about how quickly Google or Yahoo is able to return results to your search queries. …