The Importance of Client Reviews and the Most Effective Way to Get Them

In law school, the last thing that you were likely thinking about was how to market yourself as an attorney. Instead, you probably assumed that by doing good work and providing effective legal counsel, as well as by establishing or working for a reputable firm, clients would come to you. But the days of word-of-mouth marketing are all but are gone; today, more people than ever before are turning to online information as a resource that influences their purchasing decisions of various types, including who to hire for legal representation.

If your law firm is still relying on out-of-date means of client retention and acquisition, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to reach more people. At Sundown Legal Marketing, our legal marketing team can help you to understand the importance of client reviews and the most effective way to start cultivating reviews today.

Why Are Client Reviews So Important?

When it comes to understanding why client reviews are so important, the following statistics say it all:

  • Those who are in need of a lawyer aren’t just going to ask around to find one; instead, 75 percent of consumers seeking an attorney will use online resources to identify who they plan to hire. Again, by not having online information about your firm, including online client reviews, you could practically be sending clients to your competitors.
  • Not only are ¾ of people who need a lawyer using online resources to look for one, but nearly ⅔ of people say that online reviews greatly influenced their decision in selecting an attorney.

The bottom line: people are using the internet to learn more about a business before making a purchasing decision – this includes those who are in need of legal services. By failing to provide information to potential clients about your business in a variety of forms, including client reviews, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with a potential client in a valuable way; this opportunity will likely be snatched up by other attorneys in your field.

The Most Effective Ways to Get Client Reviews

Now that you understand just how important client reviews are for your legal practice, the next consideration is how to start building a collection of client reviews on your website.

Lawyers often fail to get reviews for a variety of reasons, starting with the fact that they don’t maintain the right spaces for clients to leave reviews (i.e. Facebook, Google, etc.). Second, lawyers often fail to ask clients for reviews, which is a critical step in the process of actually getting reviews. Third, if a lawyer does ask a client for a review, they often go about it in the wrong way. To get more reviews, consider the following:

  • Choose the right platforms. The first thing that your law firm needs to do is ensure that the right platforms for client reviews are in place. Facebook and Google are both great options – Facebook has more than one billion active users, and consumers say that Google reviews is their favorite source for online reviews. In addition to Google and Facebook, also consider using Avvo, which is a review site specifically for lawyers.
  • Start asking for reviews. It’s not just about having the right platforms in place; you’ll need to actually ask your former clients for reviews. This can be daunting and even feel uncomfortable, but there is a way to do it appropriately and effectively.

How to Ask Clients for Reviews

As you start to ask clients for reviews, there are a few key things to keep in mind for maximum effectiveness.

  1. Make sure your reviews are current by asking clients to leave you a review as soon as possible after representation has been completed.
  1. Ask for reviews from clients who had a positive experience – the goal is to have positive reviews reflected on your website and the various review platforms.
  1. Make it personal by asking for a review in person or by picking up the phone and calling them. Simply sending a generic email to a client you’ve been working with isn’t nearly as effective as personalizing it. If the client agrees to leave you a review, then you can immediately follow up with an email containing the relevant links to review sites.

Know How to Make Reviews Work for You

Finally, once reviews start coming in, you’ll need to know how to make these reviews work for you. Make sure that positive reviews are shared on your website in an area that is easy for prospective clients to find. Show recent reviews first.

Another tip for making reviews more effective is to respond to former clients’ reviews, both positive and negative. Be honest, empathetic, and use a negative review as an opportunity to admit fault when appropriate and highlight how much you care about your clients.

Work with a Professional Digital Marketing Team Today

At Sundown Legal Marketing, we are experts at helping law firms like yours improve their online presence and start attracting more clients. Not only are we skilled digital marketers, but we also understand the unique rules and regulations that you face as a lawyer, including client confidentiality rules and the consequences of fake reviews. To learn more about how we can help your firm, reach out to our legal marketing team by phone at (800) 649-1764 or online today.

How to Get Reviews from Clients

Getting reviews isn’t something you can sit back and trust people will do. You have to actively have a review-requesting plan in place, and train their staff – from managing partners down to their receptionists – in the best ways to ask satisfied clients for reviews.

Here are a few suggestions:

In Case-Closing Letters

Do your clients send a final letter to their clients with their settlement checks or copies of final judgment documents? Include specific instructions on how to leave their firm a review within these letters.

If your client sends copies of these letters via email, include direct links to their review profiles to make it easy.

In Text

Part of the problem with getting clients to leave reviews is them knowing how to. Remove those barriers by texting a link to their business’s Google profile. Here’s how.

In Person

The most powerful way to ask for a review is in person where your client can say, “I appreciated working with you. It would really help more people who need my help find me if you would leave a review online.”

Follow up this conversation with a texted link.

Does Your Firm Need to Generate Press Releases….Yes, Yes it Does!

Press releases are a great way to gain publicity and visibility for a law firm, and to drive targeted traffic to the firm’s web properties. A well-crafted press release can attract the attention of widely read media outlets, which puts your firm in the news, helps brand it as a major authority in the areas of law that are practiced there, and reaches legal consumers that could turn into clients. In some cases, press releases can even go viral and lead to other media opportunities, such as a local radio interview.

Press releases are different from blog post articles, area of practice (AOP) pages, attorney profiles, and other forms of online content. A press release is a news story that should be written in the third person with the goal of providing unique and compelling information that targeted readers would find interesting and useful. The primary purpose of a press release is not to sell your firm’s legal services (although that could be one of the results of the story going public), but rather to inform the reader about something important that you or your firm have some involvement in.

Although a press release can be a strong addition to your content marketing strategy, this will not just happen by chance. Media organizations are inundated with countless news stories every day, and if you want your story to gain traction, it needs to stand out from the others. Fortunately, it is not terribly difficult to create a press release that will get your firm noticed, but it does involve incorporating some essential elements.

Here are some important guidelines for writing and publishing a winning press release:

Select a Newsworthy Topic

Since the primary purpose of a press release is to announce something or convey an important piece of information about you or your firm, you need to make sure that your story is newsworthy. Your topic should be unique, timely, and tell readers something relevant and interesting that they could not find out in a hundred other places.

Here are some examples of newsworthy topics that you could write about:

  • Attorney awards and recognitions.
  • A new partner joining the firm.
  • The opening of a new office.
  • An important case that your firm just won.
  • Groundbreaking legislation that your firm was a part of shaping.
  • A special event that you or your firm is sponsoring.
  • Your firm’s participation in a charitable event.
  • A new legal service that you are offering.
  • The release of a book or white paper.
  • Discussion about the legal implications of timely events (COVID-19 is a great example).
  • Useful tips and insights for legal consumers.

A good way to know whether or not you are choosing a newsworthy topic is to ask yourself this question, “why would anyone outside our office care about the topic we want to use?” If you cannot come up with a good answer to this question, then put that topic on the shelf.

Write an Attention Grabbing Headline

Create a headline that is short, to the point, and draws readers in. A good headline should have no more than 15 words in it, around 10 is even better. Here are a few examples:

  • Top Atlanta Personal Injury Firm marks 40-Year Anniversary
  • Leading New York Firm wins Major Lawsuit against Auto Manufacturer
  • Philadelphia Injury Attorney Shares Unique Insights into the Auto Accident Claims Process

Include just the facts in your headline – no exaggerations, hyperbole, or opinions. Give the reader the “who”, “what”, “how”, “when”, or “why” of the story, and if possible, look for a unique angle or spin that will make readers want to click on your news article. You should also try to optimize the headline for a keyword phrase that you would like to rank for in the search engines (more on search engine optimization later).

Use the Proper News Story Structure

As we have talked about already, a press release is a news story; and as such, you need to make sure that it is structured properly and written in the right style and tone. The press release should be written objectively and using a journalistic style. Include the dateline and city/state prior to the body of the article, and include the name of the attorney or law firm that the story is about in the first paragraph.

In the body of the press release, include all relevant facts about whatever you are announcing, and also include quotes from one or more of the attorneys or other stakeholders who are involved in the story. Although the story itself should be strictly informational, including quotations gives you the opportunity to sell yourself and your firm a little bit.

For example, if your firm just won a major lawsuit, whoever is being quoted could talk about the importance of this win, give credit to the other attorneys and staff who worked on the case, talk about how the win helped your client, and discuss some of the keys to your firm’s ongoing success. This is not directly selling your firm, but it does give readers some insight into how you approach cases and emphasizes your successful track record.

After the body of the press release, there should be a few more sections:

  • About: A paragraph talking about the attorney or firm, your services, recognitions and awards, how long you have been practicing, and any other relevant information you want to include. The same “About” section can be used in all of your press releases.
  • Call to Action: One sentence that directs readers to the firm’s website to learn more details.
  • Contact Information: The contact information of the firm, including phone number, email address, and social media profiles (if you have them).

Make your Press Release Readable and Concise

Because of the sheer volume of information that is available online, most internet consumers scan news stories looking for information that is useful to them rather than reading every word. Journalists are the same way when they consider whether to run with a news story that lands in their inbox.

Make sure your press release is easy to read. Limit your paragraphs to three sentences or less and use subheadings and bullet points frequently to separate the text. Be careful not to make your news article too long; a good rule of thumb is to keep it to 1000 words or less, unless it takes more than that to adequately cover the topic without any added “filler.”

Lastly, select an image to complement your press release. This could be a picture of the building where an event is being held, a picture of a courthouse if you just won a big court case, a picture of the book cover if you are releasing a new book, or the picture of an attorney if you are announcing the addition of a new partner for your firm. If in doubt, you can always use your firm’s logo for the image.

Optimize the Press Release for Search Engines

A press release is a strong branding tool, but it can also play a role in your SEO strategy. This can be done through backlinks from authority news websites to your own website (which helps build search engine rankings) or through your press release article showing up for popular keyword searches.

Identify two or three keyword phrases that you would like to rank for in order of importance. Try to work the most important one into your headline and into the article three or four more times. Then work the other keyword phrases into the article a couple times as well.

Do NOT “keyword stuff” or force a keyword into a sentence awkwardly if it does not naturally flow with the text. The search engine algorithms no longer reward this strategy, and more importantly, it will make your article look unprofessional and unappealing. Focus on quality content first, and work your keyword phrases in only where you can find an appropriate place for them.

Send your Story to the Right News Outlets

Be sure to send your story out to the news publications that are most relevant to the region the news story is covering, and outlets that are most likely to publish the story. For example, if the story has something to do with a charitable event that you are participating in within your city, there is no reason to distribute the release nationally. On the other hand, if you were part of a major class action lawsuit with class members in all 50 states, then a national release might be appropriate.

You can send out the press release yourself by compiling a list of news publications you would like to see it in and obtaining the email addresses of reporters at each outlet. But this is extremely time-consuming, and most firms opt to use a distribution service that can guarantee publication in at least some of the outlets that they are targeting. There are numerous distribution services out there, and their prices can range from $100 on the low-end up to $1,000 or more on the high-end depending on the length of your article and how many (and which) outlets you are sending it to.

Set Realistic Expectations

One very important thing that everyone needs to realize about press releases is that they are not a “one off” strategy, and you should not expect every news story to be a home run.

Will your first press release result in a highly lucrative case for your firm or a radio interview?

It could happen and it has happened. But there is also a chance that the first news story you send out will not receive a strong response. Or maybe it will receive a decent response in which you get some good exposure, but it does not result in immediate business.

The point is that you never know what will come of each story you send out. A successful effort will include some singles and doubles, some strikeouts, an occasional home run, and even a grand slam every now and then. This is a long term strategy, and with consistency over time, your efforts will pay off and you will see a good return on your investment.

Do Not Overthink It or Overdo It

The last point we want to leave you with is not to overthink this or overdo it. Creating a press release that will get your firm noticed is not as complicated as it may seem. It is simply a matter of writing a good news story and sending it out to the right places. For some topics, 300 to 400 words is all that is needed to craft your story and have it ready for publication.

By “overdoing it”, we are referring to sending out too many press releases in too short a period of time. For example, if you are spamming the news wires with a new press release every week, you are far less likely to get any reporter to take your story seriously. This will not do your reputation any good, and it will produce diminishing returns on your SEO efforts as well.

Some firms produce a monthly press release, and this could work as long as you have a newsworthy topic every month. But we would definitely not recommend doing it any more often than monthly. We typically advise our clients to shoot for a press release every three months or so as an optimal branding and SEO strategy.

If you feel like writing a press release yourself or having someone in your office do it seems overwhelming and beyond your capacity, no worries. As with distribution, you can always have a professional do the writing for you. And as always, if there is anything we can help you with regarding press releases or anything else related to digital marketing, feel free to get in touch with us whenever it is convenient.

About Sundown Legal Marketing

Sundown Legal Marketing specializes in helping law firms review their current internet footprint, developing a comprehensive internet marketing plan and implementing every aspect of that plan. Contact us today for a free website evaluation and a no obligation assessment of your internet marketing plan. Call us today at (800) 864-1764 or online at Sundown Marketing.

Build Quality Links or Suffer the Consequences

Most website/business owners build a website for a specific purpose. It could serve simply as an online business card, it could be designed to generate revenue, like an e-commerce website, or it could be a website meant to generate leads directing website visitors to call the business or complete a website contact form.

Most law firm websites fall into the latter category, meant to generate leads and convert those leads or prospective clients into actual clients. There are many moving parts in a detailed and comprehensive law firm internet marketing, or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan, but none are more important than a detailed, well thought out linking strategy.

Links are connections between pages within your website (internal links) or connections between your site and another website (external links or back links).

  • Internal links help Google better understand the content on your website and how your content works together to provide web searchers with answers to questions and a quality user experience. Internal links also help Google better understand how to navigate your site. Website navigation is a very important user issue, so Google needs to confirm that your website can be easily navigated and that website searchers can easily find every page of your website.
  • Back links are proof that your website contains information/content worthy of reference from other, relevant websites. Google uses the number and quality of your back links as a part of their ranking algorithm, which determines what website will rank on the first page of Google for any given search word or phrase. Think of back links as an affirmation that your website is worthy of ranking on Page 1 of a Google search.
  • There are good links and there are bad links. When building a linking program, it is important to focus on building back links that will bolsters your overall E-A-T, or expertise, authority, and trust and to avoid the links that may result in a Google penalty. A bad link is any link that either has a negative impact on your site’s rankings, or indirect issues with your, or indirect issues with your site’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) performance. When building links, you need to keep Google’s Webmaster Guidelines regarding link schemes in mind. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines describes link schemes as “Any links intended to manipulate Page Rank or a site’s ranking in Google search results”.

Creating an effective linking program requires careful planning and consistent execution. Your actual link building strategy should be quite simple – “Develop content that is worthy of links”. The planning and execution of the tactics within your link building strategy is a little more complicated. The first tactic of your link building strategy is the foundation of your link building program – Create high quality, well written content.

In our previous article, Website Content – The Difference Maker, we discussed the importance of creating quality content. Well written content is a very important part of attracting traffic to your website. If your content is authoritative and addresses questions that web searchers are seeking answers to, then it is highly likely that other website owners will want to link to your content so they can provide your answers to their website visitors. The benefit of this is two-fold:

  1. The website linking to your site gains the benefit of the informative content you’ve created, thus bolstering their offering to their website visitors.
  2. Your website gains additional evidence that you are a subject matter expert, proving to Google that you deserve to rank higher in organic searches.

Well written content is the foundation of your SEO effort. Using a quote from one of my favorite movies as inspiration – “Write it and they will come”.

Another tactic you need to include in your link building strategy is guest blogging. Writing content for other authoritative websites within the legal community can provide quality back links to your website. Where this effort can provide valuable cache for your site, the work effort necessary for success can be substantial. The steps involved in a successful guest blogging campaign are:

  • Find a site or sites where you’d like to post your guest blog. Criteria for these sites will be – sites that publish legal content, sites that Google considers relevant and sites that do not contain too much promotional material.
  • Contact the owner of the sites you’ve chosen and “pitch” them on the idea of posting your content.
  • Draft your content/blog. Create content that fits the theme of the site where you want to post your content but is still true to your business goals and your practice areas.
  • Follow up with the site owners.

This process needs to be a part of your ongoing SEO effort. Posting your content only on sites that Google considers relevant in the legal marketplace and adding a link back to your website is a slow and steady way to build quality back links. A calculated and sustainable approach is necessary in order to avoid suffering a penalty from Google.

There are other ways to develop quality back links for your law firm website:

  1. Become active in your community. Support a local charity, sponsor a local sports team, or promote an educational event. Beyond the obvious benefits of giving back to your community, sponsorship opportunities often result in a mention on another web property. With this mention come a back link to your website.
  2. Build robust profiles on directories. There are many different types of directories on the web. Some are free, some cost money. Some focus specifically on law firms/attorneys, some focus on any type of business. Directory listings can provide valuable back links to your website.
  3. Get noticed. When you receive recognition for your work it may result in a back link. If you receive a mention for a large settlement or you are selected as one of “100 Best” for a legal publication, then your name and/or your firm’s name may be prominently displayed the company’s website. With this mention you may receive a back link.
  4. Get published. If you draft an article for a legal website, you may receive a back link from the article to your website.

Earning links needs to be the foundation of your link building program. Simply purchasing links is no longer an acceptable practice. You must make sure that your link profile is as natural as possible.

As mentioned earlier, you need to build quality backlinks or suffer the consequences. So what could happen when you build “bad” backlinks?

Simply put, low-quality backlinks can hurt your SEO. Not all backlinks are created equal. And if you aren’t working with a white label SEO company to develop a great link-building strategy, you could unknowingly be harming your business.

Low-quality backlinks, which often come from websites that aren’t seen as reputable in the eyes of Google, can actually make your own site look worse by association. In other words, Google will form a negative opinion of your website because of its connection to those other untrustworthy sites. It doesn’t even have to be a link farm or spammy-looking website to have a negative impact on your SEO; a link that’s added automatically that seems irrelevant could also hurt your strategy.

If Google decides — either through automated or manual review — that you have toxic backlinks, your site could receive a penalty. And while you can try to reverse the damage by requesting backlink removal or by disavowing links, it’s possible your search rankings could take a real hit.

To avoid this scenario entirely, it’s far better to make sure your backlinks are from authoritative and relevant websites from the start.

You need to have a long-term outlook on link building. It is an ongoing project that will evolve over time. Any short term, quick fix schemes may work near term, but eventually will result in Google penalties.

If you have questions about building a comprehensive link building program Sundown Marketing Group specializes in helping law firms review their current internet footprint, developing a comprehensive internet marketing plan and implementing every aspect of that plan, including link building. Contact us today for a free website evaluation and a no obligation assessment of your internet marketing plan. Call us today at (800) 864-1764 or online at Sundown Marketing Group.

A website is just a piece of an overall law firm internet marketing program. In fact, it is probably the most important piece, as it serves as the hub or foundation of your internet marketing program. A website could serve a number of different purposes:

  1. Online business card – Displaying a professional image for the firm across the internet
  2. Brand sharing – A tool to “get the word out” and develop familiarity with the firm in the community
  3. Online lead generation resource – A tool to drive potential clients to the firm

The first step any law firm should take when reviewing their online presence is to complete a review of their website, and this should start with three questions:

  1. Is your website getting any traffic or visitors?
  2. Is your website creating leads?
  3. Is your website converting those leads into clients?

If your website is getting traffic or visitors, but the phone isn’t ringing or the calls you get aren’t good quality calls, then improvements need to be made to your website to improve conversions.

If your website isn’t getting any traffic, then you have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) problem, which is a topic for a later article.

Improving Website Conversions

Improving your website’s ability to convert visitors into potential clients is a complicated undertaking. Building conversion elements into a new website presents a best-case scenario, but most of the elements we will discuss today can be integrated into an existing website.

The overall appearance of your website is a good place to begin when reviewing your website’s effectiveness. A carefully planned, well-structured, professional website is a must if you expect your website to convert. A website visitor (aka potential client) must be convinced that your law firm is capable of handling their legal issue. 

Once you have an attractive, professional website, you need to consider these 11 elements to help improve conversions:

  1. Consistently Add Content to Your Website – Google has made it clear that in order to rank well, a website must have authoritative and relevant content that is regularly updated. When you think about it, this makes a great deal of sense. Google’s mission is to provide the best results possible to their clients, web searchers, when they perform a search. In Google’s world, “best results” are measured by the quality and relevance of the content on your website.
  2. Build Links – Create a detailed, well thought-out link building strategy. Along with content creation, building links from your website to high domain authority, relevant websites, is one of the most impactful SEO tactics you can employ.  
  3. Add Video – Google’s acquisition of YouTube several years ago signaled their commitment to video and the trend since that acquisition has been a consistent increase in video consumption on the web. HubSpot recently released a report showing that the average person watches 1.5 hours of video per day and 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV.
  4. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Ready – Over 65% of web searches performed on Google are done on a mobile device. Google recently announced that they are transitioning to a “mobile first” index, meaning that Google is more concerned about the appearance and effectiveness of the mobile version of your website than the desktop version.
  5.  Utilize Keywords Throughout Your Website – In order to convince Google, and inevitably a website visitor, that you are worthy of hiring, you must first share with them what you do. This is done by creating good quality content written with keywords that describe what you do and how well you do it. But you must be careful not to overuse keywords or else you risk a Google penalty.
  6.  Tell a Story on Your Homepage – Everyone loves a good story. Face it, there are a lot of good lawyers and quality law firms that do what you do. What separates you from your competitors? Why should a website visitor consider hiring you? Offer answers to these questions in the form of a story on your homepage. You probably tell this story several times a day to potential clients and other attorneys, put it into words and strategically utilize it on your homepage.
  7. Utilize Paid Advertising – Combining paid advertising with your organic SEO program will improve your conversion rate.
  8. Review and Track Your Google Analytics Data – Reviewing and tracking your Google analytics data will help you gain an understanding of how your website is performing. It will tell you who is visiting your website, where those visitors are from, how they arrived at your website, how long they were on your site, etc. This data is the foundation for your conversion upgrade, as it provides you with a snapshot of the current health of your website, but more importantly, it helps you track the performance of the changes you make to your website.
  9. Check Page Speed – The time it takes to load a page from your website could mean the difference between a website visitor contacting you or moving on to a competitor’s website. Also, page load time is an important element in Google’s page rank algorithm.
  10. Work with a Professional Web Designer – Just about anyone can build a website today. There are number of quality website building platforms on the market, but in order to have a professional website with all the necessary conversion elements, you really have to work with a professional web designer.
  11. Increase Client Reviews – It wasn’t that long ago that “word of mouth” was the only way to uncover details about a law firm’s reputation. Today, there are countless websites devoted exclusively to client reviews. And, everyone reads reviews. It is imperative that you have an assortment of positive reviews about your firm. Good reviews can mean the difference between a client and a disinterested website visitor.

In summary, it is important to develop a comprehensive internet marketing plan and focus on conversions. Any one of these items may have a minor positive impact on your ranking and conversions, but integrating most or all of these elements will most certainly improve conversions and increase the number of phone calls your firm receives.

Sundown Legal Marketing specializes in helping law firms review their current internet footprint, developing a comprehensive internet marketing plan and implementing every aspect of that plan. Contact us today for a free website evaluation and a no obligation assessment of your internet marketing plan. Call us today at (800) 864-1764 or online at Sundown Marketing.

All SEO’s have, at one time or another, asked themselves “Which is better – Content or Backlinks”? The SEO team at Sundown Legal Marketing recently conducted a study comparing the effectiveness of adding quality backlinks versus adding relevant, robust content. The team selected three client websites for this study and tailored a unique SEO plan for each.

The team applied the following SEO plan to the three selected websites:

  1. For website A our strategy was to add backlinks only.
  2. For website B our strategy was to add content only.
  3. For website C our strategy was to add a combination of content and backlinks.

The SEO work for the three websites selected for the study was done during the same time period: February – April. Let’s take a look at the results for each website.

Work Completed for Each Website:

There are many other factors that go into Google’s algorithm (beyond links & content) that impact website traffic and organic placement, so our SEO team tried to keep everything else as close to uniform as possible. For example, the SEO team continued their SEO efforts with all three websites, which included siloing the pages on the main menu and correcting any 404 errors found in Google Search Console.

Website A (Backlinks Only):

In addition to the normal SEO tasks performed on all three websites listed above, the team created 5 separate and unique backlinks from industry related websites back to Website A. Each of these links had domain authorities of between 30 and 40.

Timeline:

  • These backlinks were obtained during the month of April.
  • There was no content added in the months of February, March, and April.

Looking at the weekly organic traffic for this website there was a spike toward the middle of April, but it was not sustained. However, overall traffic increased, and plateaued at around 80 sessions per week. Before the project began the traffic had plateaued at around 65 sessions per week.

Interesting to note here is that there was content added to the site in January, and that could possibly account for the slight increase of traffic in February. Also, this website plateaued at around 75 sessions/week during February and March (with one slight dip in early March), before spiking up after the backlinks were realized. This tells us that there’s a strong correlation between the backlinks being realized (picked up by Googlebot) and the increase in organic traffic.

Website B (Content Only):

Again, the SEO Team continued their normal tasks that we provide all of our SEO clients, which includes fixing any onsite health issues that are found, but in terms of backlinks, they added absolutely none. Instead, they only added content to this website – lots of content. In fact, during the months of February, March, and April they added close to 20 pages of additional content, each with an average of about 850 words. Here are the results:

Timeline:

  • These articles were added throughout the study February -April.
  • No backlinks were created during the study time frame.

There was a slight rise in organic traffic during February, but then a slight decline in March, then a gradual increase in April, and a huge boost in May. What did the Team do in April and May? They simply went back to adding content, but this time, it was their regularly scheduled 2-3 articles per month. It seems that Google slowly rewarded our content efforts by showing this website higher in the SERP over time. Indeed, here is our average position for relevant keywords we track for this website:

There is a great deal of volatility in the chart above, but at beginning of April, right after we finished adding the large volume of content pages, Google moved the average position of the website from about 21 to about 18.

During this time the Team did not add any backlinks to the website and only did the same amount of maintenance (fixing crawl errors, broken links) that we do for all our other clients, including the other two websites in this study.

Website C (Combination of Content and Backlinks):

You would think that a combination of the above two strategies would be the best strategy – and you would be right! For website C we added substantial content, and obtained substantial backlinks.

In March we obtained 5 backlinks, and throughout the course of March and April we added seven articles to the website, each with an average of about 850 words.

Timeline:

  • These backlinks were obtained during the month of March.
  • The content was added to Website C in March and April.

It seems that Google rewarded this website a little bit in March, and a lot in April and May. The weekly organic traffic plateau went from about 60 to about 100.

After reviewing the results of our study, it became apparent that in order to successfully rank a website, you must institute a broad-based SEO program, applying many different techniques.

We hope this has been an insightful look into the work of a digital marketing firm. If you need any assistance with generating more organic traffic, and being found by your target audience, contact Sundown Legal Marketing for a free consultation. We can be reached at (800) 649-1764 or by using our website contact form.

It wasn’t that long ago that internet marketing success was solely based on a few things:

  1. A website with a lot keyword content crammed into every page
  2. Tons of links to other websites that may or may not be relevant, but received a lot of traffic

Today, success in internet marketing is impacted by a great number of factors and involves a lot of moving parts.  With all of the changes that Google has made to their algorithm (Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird) over the last few years, the path to internet marketing success starts with two simple factors:

  1. Creating relevant and authoritative content
  2. Delivering relevant and authoritative content to potential customers/clients

Creating relevant and authoritative content allows a website owner to convey subject matter expertise.  Consumers utilize the internet to find information and, dependent upon their needs, will work diligently to find a website/business that can provide them with the expert answers that they need.  Subject matter expertise provides a consumer with a sense of security, allowing them to comfortably make a decision to buy, not to buy, act or do nothing at all.  With those thoughts in mind, it is easy to understand why Google now demands that websites provide their customers with good, quality content.

The second point above, delivering relevant and authoritative content is just as important as creating the content in the first place.  Without a mechanism to deliver the content, no one will ever see it.  Here is a list of some of the most important tools for delivering content:

  1. A website
  2. A blog
  3. Social Media

The first tool for delivering content is always a website.  A website is typically the first stop a consumer makes when searching for information online.  A good website will have a number of good qualities (good color palette, uncluttered, call to action, etc.), but the single most important quality will be great content.

Another tool for delivering content is a blog.  A blog allows an author to convey timely subject matter expertise.  A business should blog as often as they can and dependent upon their area of expertise, 2-4 times monthly should fit the bill.

Lastly, utilizing social media as a content delivery mechanism is becoming more and more important and businesses who effectively utilize social media are recognizing the benefits.  Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest to name a few) allows a business to connect with the community.  A community which is made up of potential customers/clients.

Each of the elements above are important on their own, but become incredibly valuable when they are part of a holistic approach to internet marketing.  Bringing consumers to a website from a link on a well written blog, driving potential clients to a blog through postings on social media or pushing potential customers to social media profiles from well displayed icons on a website.  Tying all of these elements together, as a part of a well thought out, well planned internet marketing program is the only way to succeed online today.