How Chambers, Chambers & Chambers, LLP can Dominate Google for “Estate Planning” and other search terms

Hello,

Below is a very detailed analysis of the Chambers, Chambers & Chambers, LLP website.

It is not cookie cutter.  Every image and every description is for your site specifically.  We hope you’ll find it useful.

The explanations are long and detailed but we wanted to ensure you understood every aspect of how to make your site rank better, attract more traffic and turn that traffic into paying clients. Even without our help, many of the recommendations below can be implemented with minimal effort and can make a tremendous impact on your rankings and ultimately your bottom line. We offer this information entirely for free to you, no strings attached.  Of course, the underlying intent is to impress you with our knowledge and expertise to the point where we can at least have a conversation about how we can work together in a more long-term fashion that benefits both of us.  If you choose not to, then we hope you’ll still use the information in this article – it’s extremely valuable and can truly make a difference.

My name is Perry Hurtt and I run SnugData, a Digital Marketing company in Covington, Georgia.  We specialize in helping brick and mortar businesses that serve the local market dominate the Google rankings to help increase traffic flow to their website and ultimately, their business.  It started as a labor of love as I truly love helping folks realize their dreams and what better way to do that than help them with their business? It’s a challenging task, it’s dynamic, there’s no “one size fits all” approach but the result is a tremendous amount of value.

Value is one thing, but you aren’t paying your bills or your employees with value.  The clear result to what we do is money in the bank. We do this by making your website easier to find, easier to navigate, and optimized to turn visitors into clients. We like to think we create an unfair advantage for our customers, putting them at the top of the Google rankings for valuable and important keyword search phrases.

This isn’t light reading.

You won’t finish this in 5 minutes and, in fact, if you take it to heart and understand the potential impact, you’ll never really finish it.  This is an ongoing process but it’s a process that will increase your bottom line by a huge percentage.  The Return On Investment for good SEO is probably one of the most attractive you’ll find.

I should clarify: SEO is Search Engine Optimization, or in layman’s terms the art and science of attracting more visitors to your website and converting those visitors into paying clients.

This is a lot of reading and possibly a lot of new material for you. Probably some unfamiliar terms or ideas.  We’ve tried to break it up and make it interesting so we hope it’s not boring for you. We’re going to review your website, your content, your competition, your linking/backlink profile and other components of the site with an eye toward identifying and describing exactly what needs to be done to help you dominate the Legal industry in Atlanta, GA.

Here’s a overview and a table of contents to help you navigate:

  • Is SEO worth pursuing?
    • Is the Chambers, Chambers & Chambers, LLP website helping create business or is it a static business card?
    • Search results – a more detailed look
    • How big is the opportunity?
    • Keyword overview and research – getting your piece of 5,000 searches per month
    • Large opportunity if played well
  • Website analysis
    • What would I do?
    • Site Speed
    • Social Signals
    • An example of a very well done website
    • 4 questions your website should answer
  • Steps to improve your Google Rankings
    • Tell Google who you are and what you do
    • Create solid content (yes, Content really is King)
    • Optimizing your website
    • Links and Backlinks
If you have any questions about a particular section or just want to get right to work addressing these items, feel free to give Perry a call at 404-849-6615 or send us a note using the form on this page.

IS SEO WORTH PURSUING?

Top of Page

How well is the Chambers, Chambers & Chambers, LLP website attracting visitors and turning those visitors into paying clients?


Let’s start with how “worth it” is it for you to improve your rankings on Google?

How much traffic is there to be had?

Where are you ranking today and for what search terms?  Are there other search terms you should be targeting?

Let’s take a look at your website to see what you are trying to rank for and how you’re doing.  Your site clearly spells out that your primary services are Business Formation, Contracts, and Estate Planning so lets see how the site ranks for each.

Below is the result for “Estate Planning Atlanta GA”:

estate-planning-atlanta-ga

The image above shows what we call the “Google Snack Pack”, or a short listing of sites that have high relevance to the search term. The Chambers website shows up here in the number two spot which is very good.  Nice job!!  However, below that are the rest of the results (shown below).  The items with “Ad” in the little screen square are paid for advertisements known as “Pay Per Click”. Below that are the organic results, meaning results that show up based on the website, not paid advertisements or anything like that (we’ll be using the term organic results a good bit throughout this analysis). The below image is page two of the organic results and The Chambers, Chambers and Chambers, LLP is the first on that page, which means it ranks #11 for the keyword “Estate Planning Atlanta GA”.

estate-planning-chamber-law-firm

As a side note, notice that the title of your listing is shown as “Home – Atlanta GA Attorney/Lawyer, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts…”  We’ll discuss how to optimize that a little later and doing this single optimization correctly…which is easy to do…will dramatically impact your search results ranking.

The next logical question is, how many visitors can I expect from this result?  Numerous studies have been done on how many Google Users click on the advertisements, how many click on the first result, the second, how many actually look at the Page 2 results, etc.  A very well known and often referenced article can be found here by the great guys at Moz. It was done in 2014 but the consensus is that it remains highly accurate.

A few quick numbers from that report are important to understand:

  • 71.33% of Google users click a result on page 1
  • 5.59% of Google users click a result on page 2 or 3
  • On page 1, the first 5 entries account for 67.60% of all clicks while the 6-10 entries account for 3.73% of all clicks.
  • The other 23.08% of clicks go to the Advertisements, users clicking the “back” button, entering another Google search, etc.

By position, the percentages are as follows:

  • #1: 31%
  • #2: 14%
  • #3:  10%
  • #4:  7%
  • #5: 5.5%
  • #6 – #10: 3.73%
  • Page 2: 3.5%
  • page 3: 2.09%

Search Results – A More Detailed Look

Take a look at screenshot to the right and we’ll dissect what the Google Results page looks like and what it means to Chambers, Chambers and Chambers, LLP.

If we look at a basic Search Term result in Google, we can break down how you’re doing with respect to attracting Google users and turning them into clients. By the way, you’ll see this referred to quite often as the “SERPs”, meaning the “Search Engine Results Pages”.

At the very top of the page, you can see we searched for “Estate Planning Atlanta GA”, which is a search term we can expect the average person to use when looking for this service and is a service you offer your clients, so a good search term (on the surface, but there are better ones we can use, which we discuss in detail below).

The Google Keyword Planner tells us that this search term gets between 10 and 100 searches each month for the Atlanta area, so to keep the math simple and to make a point, lets use the high end of that for the rest of this analysis.

As we scroll down from the top, we see a number of entries marked as Advertisements. Notice the small “Ad” in the green square – these are ads that your competition is paying for. They’re not cheap, some companies pay tens of thousands of dollars each month for these ads. The presence of these ads tells us that this is a popular and valuable search term, but these ads will also affect the “click through rate” (how many users click on the results further down the page). With only a single ad, research shows us the click through rate is increased whereas with 2 or more ads the click through rates for the organic results are decreased.  Keep this in mind as we’ll come back to it later. A single advertisement increases click through rates for the organic results while multiple advertisements decrease them.

Below the ads, we see what we call the “Google Snack Pack” that we discussed a bit above. This is a listing of specific and uniquely chosen businesses shown on a local map. In this example, all the businesses have websites but occasionally you’ll find entries in here that don’t even have a website so this placement has less to do with your website and more to do with your “Google My Business” listing and other Google specific areas you use. Congrats on being listed here – great work!

Below the Snack Pack are the Organic Results – search results that are purely driven by the website.

So how many people click on the first, second or third result? If you think of your own past history when searching for something on Google, how often do you click the first item? The second? How often do you go to Page 2 and click something there? How often do you enter a new search without clicking anything? All of these questions come into play and are explained by the rest of this diagram.

Research shows us that the number one Organic Result gets 31% of the clicks. So out of the 100 Google searchers for “Estate Planning Atlanta GA”, we can expect the following:

  • 31 of them will click on the “Lawyers.findlaw.com” site.
  • 14 of them will click on the Avvo site
  • 10 of them will click on the Meyring Law site
  • 7 of them will click on the SuperLawyers site
  • 5 of them will click on the Thumbtack site.

After that, positions 6-10 get about 4 clicks spread among them.

What about page 2? Only 4 of the 100 searchers will look at and click on a result on page 2.

Since your result is on page 2, you are competing with the other 9 sites listed there for 4 clicks each month.

The meaning of this is obvious and I won’t belabor the point – your site needs to be on Page 1 and needs to be in the top three results for a large number of search terms to make your website effective at attracting customers.  Keep in mind that we are analyzing only a single search term here.  The number of visitors to your website on a daily basis is an aggregate of ALL search terms entered by Google users for which your site shows up.  So although we’re saying you’re competing with 9 other sites for 4 clicks, that’s only for this specific search term.

Your website should absolutely continue to focus on “Estate Planning Atlanta GA” because the sites above you in the SERPs are not that strong. However, it is critical to discover more search terms for your site to include. Once those terms are researched and identified, content should be built around them. Elsewhere in this write-up, I identify about 200 such terms.

estate-planning-atlanta-ga-search-20-results-with-ads_annotated-500x2500

With regards to what I said above, that the sites above you are not strong, I should clarify. Google would MUCH rather put a user in touch with an actual business than a directory such as Thumbtack or Findlawyer. So a well designed site has a very good chance at ranking above these kinds of site, even though those sites are technically stronger than your site. The fact that so many directory type sites are shown here tells me that there aren’t many well made sites optimized for the “Estate Planning Atlanta Ga” search term.


With this knowledge, we can look at just about any search results in a new light.  We know that if you’re not in one of the top 3 spots, you’re losing a LOT of traffic to whoever is.  So lets look at a couple of other results (smaller this time)

Below we see that for the search term “Power of Attorney Atlanta GA”, we can see that the top results (aside from the advertisements) are made up of directory type sites.  Remember, Google would rather show a good business site but in the absence of one, they’ll show a directory site.  My guess is that other law firms are content to pay the Pay-Per-Click rates to rank for this term instead of having their websites optimized for it.  Also, as stated elsewhere, the presence of 3 or more advertisements statistically shows a lower percentage of clicks on the organic results.

Notice that there is not an actual Legal firm in the top three organic results for this search term.

power-of-attorney-atlanta-ga-search

How about another one?

For the search term “Probate Atlanta Ga”, we don’t see any advertisements or many directory type sites.  What we do see are government sites (.gov) which are difficult to rank against.  We would want to proceed with caution with this type of keyword.  Do keep this in mind though, government sites (and educational sites “.edu”) are a special breed of site and can become very valuable to us when we start considering your link profile (explained below).  You’ll notice that the very last site on this page is an actual Legal firm (Sanders Legal Group) that is at the bottom of the list.  If you take a few minutes and visit their site, it’s not a very good site at all so I would say that there are very few Legal sites trying to rank for this search term which is probably just as well since it seems to be targeted towards mostly .gov results.

probate-atlanta-ga

For “Setting up a will Atlanta Ga”, we see a single advertisement which is very good for us, (remember, a single advertisement increases click through rate in the organic results), then a couple of directory sites and a government site.  A pretty interesting mixture here.  Your site is also on page one here (congrats!) in the #8 position.  As we learned above, you can expect about 4% of the people who search for this term to click through to your website. I suspect we could do pretty well focusing on this as a keyword for your site. Notice also, Clark Howard’s site is here. Not a great listing for him but his site is very powerful and can be difficult to rank against.  By the same token, Clark Howard may be likely to link to an article on your site that explains how to set up a will if that article was good enough.  We’ll talk about this approach and how it can benefit  you a bit later in this analysis.

setting-up-a-will

…another side note, if you notice the words that are bolded in the descriptions above, they correspond to the searched terms.  Interestingly, you’ll notice that the word “creating” in the result above yours is bolded but that was not a search term we used.  Google is smart enough to determine words that have the same or similar meaning and use those to base their results on.  So although I searched for “Setting up a will”, Google gave me a result that was based on “Creating a will”.  SEO geeks call this LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing which, I guess, is how Google refers to it.  Normal people just call them synonyms and they play an absolutely critical role when choosing keywords and creating content, which we cover in detail below.

A huge opportunity waiting to be capitalized on


One thing I noticed in browsing through your site (and a number of other estate planners here in Atlanta) is a lack of “genuine” content that really related to me personally.

This is an enormous opportunity waiting to be capitalized on.

I see this all the time: the client wants to rank for a search term or a keyword they consider important but since I’m a step or two removed from the client’s business and do this for a living I can usually identify a large number of easier to rank search terms or keywords.  In the end, I usually end up proving the client and I were both initially wrong and we settle somewhere in the middle with a great list of terms that are fairly easy to rank for and have enough volume to make them attractive.

We have to remember that people who are looking for your services are searching for terms they are thinking of, not terms you use every day.  You know what a Testamentary Trust is because you do it every day but the average person probably searches for something like “eliminate estate taxes when I die”.  The content on your website, indeed the very structure of your website, needs to have this in mind to attract the masses.

To drive this point home, the search term “Testamentary Trust’ gets between 10 and 100 searches per month in Atlanta and the surrounding areas.  In the same time frame, search terms such as “trusts to avoid inheritance tax”, “trust inheritance”, “inheritance tax avoidance”, “how to avoid inheritance tax” are getting hundreds of searches each month.  These terms are also easier to rank for and easier to create content for because they are of more of a conversational nature.  We’ll talk more about keyword selection and creating content later on but I wanted to bring this up here so it would be on your mind.  This is critical.

There are a couple of important considerations regarding the content of your site and how Google users do their searches.

  • 16-20% of searches on Google have never been searched for before.
    img1

    • If you give a second to consider this, right now there are about 3.5 Billion searches performed by Google every day.  (I just Googled that!).  Research shows that 16-20% of those searches have never been searched for before. This means that for every “how to create a will” search that has been searched for millions of times, there’s about 700 million people searching for terms that have never been searched.  Just making this up, of course, but searches such as “how do I create a will after I win the lottery but before I die in January.”  I know, odd, but I’d bet somebody searched for it.  The point is that we can do research on the 2.8 Billion or so daily searches that are “common”, but those other 700 million are terms and phrases we cannot predict but we can take advantage of.  I’ll explain how we do that when we talk about Keyword Research below.
    • The information above can be found here: http://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/
  • People search for words and strings of words THEY think of when they think of your industry (which may be very different than what you, your competition, your friends, or coworkers believe that may be)
  • There is also the concept of “Branded” and “Unbranded” searches.  People who know you or have used your services before may search for something like “Chamber Law Firm how to create a will”.  This is a branded search and has a higher chance of resulting in your site showing up very high in the search results.  However, this is not the norm although many business owners tend to think it is.  Keep in mind, you are not trying to rank for “Chambers Law Firm” or “Chambers, Chambers and Chambers, LLP”.  First, you’ll rank for that regardless simply because nobody else is competing for it. But the reason you don’t need to put effort into ranking for that is because most people are doing unbranded searches.  Most of them have never heard of you but you need to make it easy for them to find you anyway.
    • Consider my own site, snugdata.com. I could put effort into ranking for “snugdata” but really, how many people are going to Google that?  I’d estimate about zero.  Anybody looking for our services will Google something like “how do I improve my Google rankings”.  So I put zero effort into ranking for “snugdata”.  Although I put zero effort into it, if you do Google “snugdata”, I come up #1 simply because it’s my brand and nobody else is competing for it.  Likewise, there’s no reason for you to put focus or effort in ranking for “Chambers, Chambers & Chambers, LLP”.

The best plan for success is to create content that answers your actual client’s pain points:

  • What are they struggling with?
  • What questions do they commonly ask you?
  • What are they looking for?

This is the content that will resonate with visitors to your website and I have seen very little of that so far.

We have a content section coming up – so sit tight on that idea!

Okay, so now we know that the your website isn’t ranking very well for a number of popular keywords. Now we need to know how much search volume are those keywords getting? If you are targeting a search term that is getting extremely low search volume, now is a good time to change that up and go after search terms that will attract more visitors and ultimately more clients.

Keywords – getting your piece of 5,000 searches per month


Let’s jump into Google Adwords and take a quick look at how often are people looking for some of the most popular keywords. A keyword is simply a word or strings of words people type into Google when they are searching for something. You’ll see it referred as many different terms, mostly “search terms” but we tend to refer to them simply as keywords.

We will focus on Atlanta and Dekalb Country specifically since that’s the area you can most expect your clients to come from. The information below is taken from Google tools, so this is information straight from the horse’s mouth.

search-atlanta

A key focus for you is “Estate Planning” (per the website).  If we focus on Atlanta and Dekalb County and search for “Estate Planning”, we get the below results.

estate-planning-2

The results here are incredibly useful.  I’ve numbered the items we should focus on:

1 – Showing this is for Atlanta (and Dekalb County)

2 – Shows the search term used (Estate Planning)

3 – Shows the average monthly searches for terms and ideas that relate to the searched term

4 – Shows the average monthly searches for the search term itself

5 – Shows that there are 701 related results available for this specific search

6 – Starts the list of the 701 results – the two results shown in the image are “Power of Attorney” with a range of 100-1000 searches per month and “wills” with 10-100 searches per month in the Atlanta and Dekalb County areas.  In the actual results, there were 700 examples of related keywords that we can consider (I give a good subset of them below)

Keep in mind, the info above is from Google itself, not a tool I created or something somebody else created – this is straight from Google.

As a quick summary, in Atlanta and Dekalb County, there are about 10-100 monthly searches for the term “Estate Planning” but there are between 10,000 and 100,000 monthly searches for terms and ideas that relate to “Estate Planning” and Google is nice enough to give us easy access to 701 of those related terms!

…given this, what terms should we target your site for? A term that gets 100 monthly searches and is highly competitive (because every law firm is focusing on that term) or the other 100,000 or so terms that most law firms are not focusing on.  Easy math!

The above is for the keyword “Estate Planning”.  Below are the results for “Legal Contracts” and “Business Formation”. You can see the results are pretty much identical.

Business Formations Search

business-formations-search

Legal Contracts Search

legal-contracts-search

So what can we do with this info?

#5 shows us that there are 701 keywords provided for each of the terms we searched for.  Why Google chooses 701, I have no idea but we can work with it. When you’re Google, I guess you can do things like that.  Going back to the Estate Planning results, I’ve downloaded that list, ran some filters on it and ended up with a lot of very good and unique keywords.  Below is a subset of that – about 150 of them. Notice the subtle variations of the main keyword – these are all unique searches and, therefore, keywords we can target. Sorry for the long scroll below but I wanted to drive the point home that there are a LOT of keywords we can consider.

Keyword Avg. Monthly Searches
estate planning 10 – 100
power of attorney 100 – 1K
wills 10 – 100
probate 100 – 1K
living trust 100 – 1K
trust 100 – 1K
living will 100 – 1K
estate planning attorney 10 – 100
revocable trust 10 – 100
revocable living trust 10 – 100
last will and testament 100 – 1K
elder law 10 – 100
wills and trusts 10 – 100
living revocable trust 10 – 100
irrevocable trust 100 – 1K
what is a living trust 10 – 100
simple will 10 – 100
probate attorney 10 – 100
family trust 100 – 1K
elder law attorney 10 – 100
estate attorney 10 – 100
probate law 10 – 100
estate planning lawyer 10 – 100
estate lawyer 10 – 100
estate planner 10 – 100
probate lawyer 10 – 100
estate planning for dummies 10 – 100
estate planning checklist 10 – 100
trusts and estates 10 – 100
asset protection 10 – 100
living trust forms 10 – 100
estate law 10 – 100
elder care attorney 10 – 100
wills and estates 10 – 100
special needs trust 10 – 100
executor of estate 10 – 100
estate planning lawyers 10 – 100
wills and estate planning 10 – 100
trust attorney 10 – 100
estate planning basics 10 – 100
what is a trust 100 – 1K
estate planning trusts 10 – 100
elder care law 10 – 100
what is a revocable trust 10 – 100
wills and probate 10 – 100
setting up a trust 10 – 100
estate executor 10 – 100
will trust 10 – 100
revocable living trust form 10 – 100
probate process 10 – 100
asset protection trust 10 – 100
discretionary trust 10 – 100
trust lawyer 10 – 100
estate trust 10 – 100
legal will 10 – 100
life estate 10 – 100
will and trust 10 – 100
wills trusts and estates 10 – 100
testamentary trust 10 – 100
will and estate planning 10 – 100
executor of a will 10 – 100
will lawyer 10 – 100
estate planning documents 10 – 100
writing a will 10 – 100
elder attorney 10 – 100
estate administration 10 – 100
creating a will 10 – 100
legal trust 10 – 100
inheritance planning 10 – 100
probate a will 10 – 100
health care directive 10 – 100
trust law 10 – 100
probate will 10 – 100
trust and estate planning 10 – 100
inheritance tax planning 10 – 100
ilit 10 – 100
what is living trust 10 – 100
setting up a trust fund 10 – 100
trusts and wills 10 – 100
attorney estate planning 10 – 100
living trust attorney 10 – 100
trust estate 10 – 100
pour over will 10 – 100
trust estate planning 10 – 100
what is a living revocable trust 10 – 100
living will and trust 10 – 100
what is estate planning 10 – 100
estate planning information 10 – 100
types of trusts 10 – 100
preparing a will 10 – 100
will attorney 10 – 100
trust planning 10 – 100
tax and estate planning 10 – 100
will estate planning 10 – 100
estate will 10 – 100
estate tax planning 10 – 100
probate estate 10 – 100
will planning 10 – 100
spendthrift trust 10 – 100
trusts & estates 10 – 100
wills & trusts 10 – 100
estate planning and wills 10 – 100
will probate 10 – 100
living trust template 10 – 100
estate planning strategies 10 – 100
wills attorney 10 – 100
wills estate planning 10 – 100
estate probate lawyer 10 – 100
estates attorney 10 – 100
will contest 10 – 100
family limited partnership 10 – 100
estates and trusts 10 – 100
setting up a living trust 10 – 100
the estate plan 10 – 100
creating a trust 10 – 100
planning law 10 – 100
elder law firm 10 – 100
living trust benefits 10 – 100
planning laws 10 – 100
lawyer estate planning 10 – 100
trust documents 10 – 100
elder law lawyer 10 – 100
lawyer will 10 – 100
estate planning law firm 10 – 100
personal estate planning 0 – 10
estate planning and trusts 0 – 10
inheritance tax 100 – 1K
living trust fund 10 – 100
family estate planning 10 – 100
a living trust 10 – 100
executor 100 – 1K
living trust will 10 – 100
trust will 10 – 100
last will & testament 10 – 100
estate planning will 10 – 100
living will trust 10 – 100
benefits of a living trust 10 – 100
trust administration 10 – 100
estate planning 2013 0 – 10
estate planning wills 0 – 10
wills trusts 10 – 100
probate property 10 – 100
family living trust 10 – 100
wills and estates law 10 – 100
estate trust planning 10 – 100
probate of will 10 – 100
living trust and will 10 – 100
financial and estate planning 10 – 100
estate planning resources 0 – 10

One of the early hits here is “Power of Attorney” (near the top of the above list).  Just about every law firm does it, I think, and there are 100-1000 searches per month.  Might be a tough one to derive value from.  But, running the term “Power of Attorney” through the tool gives us a very interesting and approachable set of keywords.

Keyword Avg. Monthly Searches
power of attorney 100 – 1K
power of attorney form 100 – 1K
durable power of attorney 100 – 1K
lasting power of attorney 10 – 100
enduring power of attorney 10 – 100
power of attorney template 10 – 100
medical power of attorney 10 – 100
power attorney 10 – 100
power of attorney sample 10 – 100
durable power of attorney form 10 – 100
financial power of attorney 10 – 100
what is power of attorney 10 – 100
medical power of attorney form 10 – 100
trust 100 – 1K
special power of attorney 10 – 100
limited power of attorney 10 – 100
lasting power of attorney forms 10 – 100
specific power of attorney 10 – 100
power of attorney format 10 – 100
power of attorney document 10 – 100
letter of attorney 10 – 100
power attorney form 10 – 100
special power of attorney form 10 – 100
health care power of attorney 10 – 100
durable power of attorney for health care 10 – 100
limited power of attorney form 10 – 100
dual power of attorney 10 – 100
legal power of attorney 10 – 100
what is a power of attorney 10 – 100
power of attorney cost 10 – 100
poa form 10 – 100
power of attorney letter 10 – 100
revocation of power of attorney 10 – 100
enduring power of attorney form 10 – 100
financial power of attorney form 10 – 100

Thousands of searches per month!

Quite a few searches for forms related to “power of attorney”.  I would bet that any law firm could attract considerable visitors by creating either a downloadable ebook that discusses the various forms, or maybe even provide those forms on their site. The page where these forms reside would have solid content explaining the forms, how they’re used, why they’re used, etc. This page could easily become the #1 page for searches relating to Power of Attorney forms and would attract a large number of visitors to the Chambers Law Firm site.  Keep in mind, the list above is a subset of the overall list of 700 results.  These results represent well over 5,000 searches per month for terms relating to services you offer.  And this is only for Power of Attorney as a single subset of Estate Planning. This is not even taking into account what we could do with “Wills” or with “Business Formation”.

It’s important to note that not all of these results show intent.  A search term such as “need help with estate planning” is much more likely to be a person in search of what you offer whereas a search term like “estate planning” could be somebody doing research, a student, another law firm, etc.  So we want an exhaustive list of search terms from which we can build content around search terms that show intent.

A large and valuable opportunity if played well


If you look at the above sampling there is a TREMENDOUS number of searches related to “power of attorney” right here in Atlanta, GA and not one local company is even trying to fill it or, if they are, they’re not doing a very good job of it. When it comes to marketing online, that is a present being left on your door with a big red bow on top. It’s a natural fit and I believe that with some effort and focus, your website could do very well with that term and many others.

This would be pretty easy to rank for and while your website visitors are getting their free form, they also see:

  • What you need to be aware of with ‘free’ Power of Attorney forms you find online
  • Why Power of Attorney might not be the right answer
  • Questions to ask before you sign a Power of Attorney
  • What if you signed a Power of Attorney and now you wish you hadn’t?
  • Options besides Power of Attorney
  • Read this before you think about giving somebody Power of Attorney

I know very little about Power of Attorney forms and not much more about estate planning so without talking to somebody smarter than myself I don’t know how best to capitalize on this niche. I just know there is tremendous search volume and nobody local is filling that need and there are a number of ways, from an SEO perspective, your firm could benefit from this.

Take a look at the search results for “Power of Attorney Atlanta GA” – you have to go to the 9th spot before you see an actual legal firm’s website.

power-of-attorney-atlanta-ga-results

So now we know your website isn’t ranking on Google as well as you would probably like. And, importantly, we know there is an impressive number of searches per month for pertinent keywords in their immediate area they can benefit from.  Let’s take a look at your website so we can figure out why you aren’t ranking as well as you could be.

SECTION 2: WEBSITE FEEDBACK

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I will start with providing some feedback on the website itself.  There’s not much point in driving more traffic to your site if nobody will like what they see or take action once they get there. There are some very definite steps we can take to improve the user experience once they arrive at your site and entice them to reach out to you.

This might hurt a little bit, but I’m trying to be honest to ensure your firm derives the most benefit.

At a surface level, the website looks dated.

There is a good amount of content and value there, but the initial visual presentation of the site may turn some visitors off. Internet users these days are looking for whitespace, nice images, easy navigation and an enjoyable experience.  What’s important about that is that if that’s what the users want, that’s what Google wants as well and Google will penalize your site if it doesn’t live up to user expectations.  Why would they do that? Again, remember that Google’s only reason for existence is to match up the Google user with the very best results.  If the user is expecting a certain experience, Google will reward websites that give them that experience, plain and simple.  To do otherwise would be damaging to Google’s reputation.

So, I think an update is in order. I suspect you already realized that but I wanted to provide some insights into why it’s important.

What would I do?

  • Add high resolution, clean images of your office.  A building with an office sign stating your firm name is important – it shows the visitor that you are a real business and not some shade tree mechanic of a lawyer doing this in your spare time.
  • Pictures of  your team, your staff, your clients, your dog, your best bowl of chili, etc.  Humanize your site so your visitors will feel comfortable. It’s one thing to know that Mr. Chambers is an Emory graduate, but it’s another thing to know that he also competes every year in the Peachtree Chili Cook off and proudly displays his awards in his office.
    • (Maybe) a humorous side note: I searched around for information about Mr. Chambers to find tidbits to offer about humanizing your website but couldn’t find anything specific, so please take the chili example above with a grain of salt.
  • Credibility indicators are critical.  The site today explains that Mr. Chambers has an AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell, but it would do wonders to have that on the front page, with an image and a link to the Martindale-Hubbell site. Visitors should see this on the front page.
  • “About Us” page – this is often overlooked or not given enough attention yet research shows that it is the MOST looked at page, especially for services related businesses such as yours.  People want to see information about you, they want to see a picture, they want to understand you. A solid about page will not be an afterthought but should actually be a cornerstone to your entire site.
  • Privacy Policy – this is something Google is looking for these days. Websites without a privacy policy are considered by Google to be more likely to be a spam site and so they are ranked lower.
  • Images and Video
    • Users love images and video, and Google loves what users love. Images help break up text, keep visitors on your site longer, and improve the user experience.  Images can also be “geo-tagged” to show where they were taken. This helps Google understand the locality of your business and can greatly increase your rankings.  Every image should be geo-tagged.
    • Videos do the same thing but provide extra value as well.  Also, remember, Google owns YouTube so having YouTube videos on your site is pleasing to Google!
  • Map – you should have a Google map embedded on your site.  Google loves this, it enhances the user experience and it’s very easy to do.
  • Site structure and navigation: I would restructure the site, the pages and the navigation to be more user friendly but to also enable a greater focus on the keywords we select.
  • Links
    • Having a dedicated Links page is a little old fashioned. These days, a “Resources” page is more useful as it provides links as well as additional relevant information.  Linking out to other (credible) sites is very important for your site but again, keep in mind that Google ranks pages, not sites.  With this in mind, it’s actually better to link out to other sites on each page.  Creating a link in the context of a description or explanation on a page is very powerful.  For example, on your “Estate Planning” page, it would be helpful to have an explanation and within that explanation to link out to a credible site that relates to Estate Planning.
    • Outgoing links – having links on your page point to other credible sites shows that you are a hub of information to Google and Google will reward that.
    • Incoming links – this is explained in more detail below but it would constitute a good amount of what I would do to help improve your site’s rankings.  Links from other credible sites to your site are incredibly important to Google.
  • Content: Lots of content. I explain this a bit more below but good content, content that is valuable to your visitors, is what will make your website valuable in Google’s eyes also.  Getting this content onto your site in a regular, methodical and consistent manner will work wonders for your rankings.
  • Mobile friendly – last year Google announced that any website that is not mobile friendly will not be shown in search results from mobile devices.  Couple this with the fact that last year was also the first year that officially, more than 50% of all Google searches were performed from mobile devices and the importance of a mobile friendly website becomes obvious.  This is critical and should not be overlooked.  Fortunately, it’s also pretty easy to do.
    • Importantly, if we understand that over half of all searches are done on mobile devices, and your site is not showing up for mobile searches, you are effectively cutting the likelihood of customers finding you in half.
    • You can check if your site is mobile friendly by going to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and entering your site’s URL.  I saved you the time though it’s not.
    • There are several ways to make your site mobile friendly and since I would recommend a refresh of your entire site, this is something that would be done fairly easily.
chambers-mobile-friendly

Site Speed

One other key point is speed – how fast does the website load for the user.  Obviously, given Google’s emphasis on user experience, this is important and once again, Google rewards sites for having good performance.  I checked your site and it’s good with one exception – I would set it up to serve images faster by configuring a “Content Distribution Network” (CDN). Technical, yes, but very easy to do and free.  If you’re curious, the one I use is CloudFlare (www.cloudflare.com).  This will speed up your site a a good bit and every little bit helps.  It would turn your “C” grade below to an “A” or a high “B”.  If the other recommendations throughout this analysis are taken, then images and videos will be added to your site which naturally slows it down. Having a CDN as well as web optimized images will be important to keep your site load speed optimal.

site speed chambers

Social Signals

Lastly, there is increased indication that “Social Signals” are playing a role in ranking websites. By that, I mean social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  If you have a following on any social media outlet, posting articles and then sharing them on your social media sites is a great approach.  As visitors to your Facebook page, for example, find a reference to an article on your website and then visit it, Google sees that and if it happens often enough, your page rankings will improve.  Google knows when a person visits your site from a Facebook link, for example. I would highly recommend choosing one or two and then committing to using them on a regular basis.

An example of a very good website

Given all that we’ve put together so far, let me sum it up by showing what I think is a very good site.  Let me show an example of a Plastic Surgery site here in Atlanta. When I Google Atlanta Plastic Surgeon, one of the top sites that show up is the Atlanta Plastic Surgery Specialists.  If you look at a few screen captures of their site below, is there any doubt of what they do or how good they are at it? Do you think there’s any Plastic Surgery question they couldn’t answer? Do you think that they think that they have the single best resource on the Internet for Atlanta Plastic Surgery? I bet they do think that – Google thinks it also and has rewarded them with a very high ranking that is worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars to them every year.

This is their navigation system.  Pretty impressive and leaves very little doubt in the mind of the visitor that these guys know their business.

plastic-surgery-site-2

This is a list of blog topics they cover. Again, with an impressive list like this, the visitor’s fears are addressed and there’s no reason for the visitor think that these guys are not the best at what they do.

plastic-surgery-site-3

The front page of their site is attractive, spacious, easy to navigate.  Lots of whitepace, uncluttered, etc, etc.  All of the user experience items discussed before, this site nails them.

plastic-surgery-site-1
  • Is there ANY doubt in the world this site is ALL about Plastic Surgery?
  • Is there ANY chance you will call them with a question about Plastic Surgery they can’t answer?
  • Is it blatantly obvious they have a wealth of real world experience when it comes to Plastic Surgery? Absolutely.
    1. We have useful links that relate to Plastic Surgery
    2. We have a list of different kinds of Plastic Surgery
    3. Icons for industry associations
    4. FAQs
    5. Resources
    6. Blog
    7. Customer testimonials
    8. Photo Gallery
    9. Accreditation
    10. Written reviews
    11. Video reviews
    12. Financing
    13. TON of resources

ALL related to Plastic Surgery!

Granted, Estate planning is not the same as Plastic Surgery, but hopefully you see my point. It is very easy for Google to see that website is very clearly all about Plastic Surgery so when a person around Atlanta is searching for Plastic Surgery related topics, Google rewards this website by showing them very high in the search results.

For your site, we wouldn’t need to go that far but trying to rank for important keywords, that you specialize in, would be much easier with more content that helps Google understand why you deserve to be #1 when it comes to Estate Planning, Business Formation, and Contracts.

4 questions that need answered


Here is an excellent article about four questions every website should answer as quickly as possible – http://menwithpens.ca/questions-website/

    1. Who are you?   Visitors to your website should be able to discern this quickly simply because there are a thousand other legal firm’s websites waiting to be visited and if yours doesn’t provide immediate validation, the visitor will move on.  A solid “About Us” page can help here and allow your Home page to focus on specific topics your site visitors and clients care about.
    2. Why should I care?   Tell your visitors enough about you that they know you’re qualified for the job, and then put the bulk of your efforts on showing people that they’re dealing with a human being who cares about them, their problems and helping them find a solution.
    3. Can I trust you?   While reading your website, your potential client is skeptical. Everyone is. They’re thinking, “Yeah, right. Why should I believe any of this?” Do you answer that question? I think this is another opportunity. The pieces are all there, but it’s hard to quickly find it right now on your site. Some logos or links to some well known industry sites or sites such as local Chamber of Commerce would give the the Chambers site a great deal more credibility. I think a handful of well-placed logos and meaningful testimonials could give this website tremendous credibility with their visitors, which is critical.
    4. What’s next?  Adding a  Call to Action is important.  Without some kind of call to action, the average visitor simply doesn’t know what to do next. This doesn’t have to be a cheesy “Call today, operators are standing by!”. It could be a simple “This is where we are located and these are our hours and this is our number, if you have questions about ‘x’ we are here to help.” Or maybe a friendly guide they can download for free (remember the Power of Attorney discussion above) for the services you offer. Nothing pushy, just a friendly invite or a way to get more information. A few clients of mine were surprised when, after adding an “Ask a Question” box to their site, the questions were coming in late at night. But it makes sense: This is when the kids are in bed and they have a chance to actually work on something. You aren’t around to answer the phone then, so an online form makes sense. With Google Analytics, it is easy to set up these calls to actions as “goals” and then be able to see exactly what percentage of visitors to your site took this action. This can be invaluable in tracking how well your website is working for your business.

SECTION 3: HOW TO RANK BETTER ON GOOGLE

Tell Google who you are and what you do

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Telling Google who you are, what you do and where you’re located is important to obtaining solid Google Rankings. I wrote an article that spells this out in good detail – it can be found HERE.  I’m happy to answer any questions you have about this process.

I would consider this the most important first step to take – and it’s not even website related! As mentioned above, you can land your business in the Google Snack Pack without even having a website, so Google’s intent here is very clear – give the Google Searcher the very best result for their search term, even if that business doesn’t have a website.

Content is King

You’ll see this a lot if you’re researching how to rank a website, and with good reason. The content on a website is what makes it valuable to a user.  A site that has scarce content will not be viewed as authoritative by Google and the search results will suffer as a result. A site with valuable content will do well in the Google rankings.

What is Content?

Primarily it’s the spoken word, or in website terms, the typed word. Along with that are images, videos, recordings, etc.  This makes up the content experience for your website visitor.  When a Google user types in “how do I do estate planning”, this is a highly intent focused keyword – this person is researching how to do it.  If the text, videos and images on the pages of your site explain this in great detail and in a way that is easy to navigate and read, Google rewards you. If not, the searcher will never see your site.

We talked earlier about some keywords we could focus on for your site but we didn’t really discuss how we would do it. First, we should take another look at the keywords themselves.

Long Tail Keywords

Keywords are odd things. The longer they are, the fewer searches they get but the more valuable they are to us and (sometimes) the easier they are to rank for. Take a look at a quick overview of the “Estate Planning” keyword we searched for earlier:

  • Estate Planning” for example is a very general term and has roughly 8,560 searches (nationwide) for this term every month and a tremendous amount of competition (over 67,000,000 website pages all fighting to rank for this keyword).  We saw earlier that there are between 10 and 100 local searches per month.
  • Estate planning for farmers” has less search volume, only 2,120 searches and 4,500,000 competing pages.
  • Estate planning for couples, Atlanta GA” has even less search volume, 30 plus a month and very few competing pages.
  • Estate planning for second marriages Atlanta GA” has about 40 searches a month and by the time I got to the bottom of page 4 on Google, I started getting sites that weren’t relevant or local which means only 40 (local) websites are ranking for this keyword at all.

If we analyze the very last search term “Estate planning for second marriages Atlanta GA”, “Estate Planning” would be considered to be the “Head Term” and the rest is called the “Long Tail”. Keep this in mind as you read below.

When you add up the hundreds (often thousands) of keywords that people type into Google when they are searching something, the ones at the top of the long tail are called “head terms.” These get a LOT of traffic and are very difficult to rank for due to lots of strong competitors. As you move down the tail the keywords get more and more specific and easier to rank for.

What is so great about the long tail of search?

70% OF ALL SEARCHES ARE IN THE LONG TAIL. Regardless of your industry.

70 percent
Think about it, which would you rather try and rank #1 on Google for?

  • A very general, very popular keyword like “accident attorney” that gets thousands of visits a month (many of which are very general and have no buying intent) and costs a fortune and a mountain of time to rank for?
  • Or 15-20 much easier keywords that get less traffic but are much easier to rank for?

The key is to target keywords that, added together, have significant search volume but not a great deal of competition (or strong competitors).

This is a tremendous opportunity for small businesses to beat the much bigger players in their market while spending very little money.

So although ranking for “Estate Planning” may not be in the near future for your website, ranking for longer tail keywords such as “estate planning for second marriages Atlanta Ga” certainly is…and should be.  Over time, as more and more content is created and your site attracts more and more visitors, your ranking for more popular terms such as “Estate Planning” will improve without specific effort towards it.  Focusing on the long tail over time improves your results on the head terms.  Consider that every long tail keyword includes the head term (naturally!) so all the content created for the long tail also support the head term. Over time, you site will naturally rank higher and higher for the head term.

Let your competition spend their time and money ranking for terms that are highly competitive, show little to no intent, will take forever to rank for, and will cost a good deal of money to get there.  Far better to let them do that while you rank smarter.

You can read more about long tail keywords here if you wish:

http://www.wordstream.com/long-tail-keywords

https://yoast.com/focus-on-long-tail-keywords/

So what is a great way for you to create a wealth of Long Tail keywords and dramatically improve their chances of ranking better and turning your website into a true asset that helps grow the firm?

Interview a client (or potential client) once a week or once a month. Hell, have a mock interview with their IT guy, receptionist, or a friend.

That’s it. Take me for example. Imagine if one of the attorneys on the Chambers team and I were to sit down and we had a conversation where I asked questions and they answered them and we made a blog post out of this every month, what would we have?

A ton of really, really great long tail content. What would make it SO great?

You would be answering MY questions, a potential client who isn’t familiar (very much) with estate planning. This means I would be using verbiage that your customers are using when they search on Google!

I am 51, married and have 3 kids. I own my home and have stocks, and IRA and own some property here and in California. I have three brothers, two children and one grand daughter.  I own an SEO business (that I love!).

  • What do I need to worry about first?
  • What would happen to my assets if I were in an accident and died tomorrow?
  • What can I do to eliminate or reduce the hassles my family will face if I die?
  • What should I be concerned about most at my age?
  • If I don’t have a will, where to my assets go?
  • etc, etc, etc.

I hope you see the value here.  This is not done in “legal-eze”, it’s done in plain English and using terms your potential clients will be using to search for your services.  It’s a natural match!

My questions, coupled with your simple answers, times 6-10 of these could work wonders for helping the Chambers website rank for keywords that have intent, very little competition yet enough search volume to make them worthwhile – that’s a perfect recipe for SEO success (Coupled with a handful of other suggestions throughout this document).

I would recommend this approach regardless of anything else you do. I would make it a point to interview one customer each month from here on out – forever – and transcribe that interview and post it. If you can video it or record it, post that as well.  I’d create a menu item called “Client Interviews” that linked to a “Client Interviews” page that had links to all of this information.  This single page would boost the rankings for the rest of your site tremendously.  I would probably seed this a bit with maybe 4 or 5 interviews up front to get the ball rolling and then settle on this as a monthly effort.

Interviews are just one method of creating useful content.  Another approach which is probably my favorite is to find a subject that many clients or potential clients are curious about and create a single page on your site that is the best on the internet for that topic.  Back to the Power of Attorney subject from before, imagine a page (as long as the one you’re reading now) that described every aspect of Powers of Attorney. Anything anybody wanted to know, they could click on your page and find out about it. This becomes a valuable resource that we then socialize to other sites and they link to from their sites. So, as a pie-in-the-sky example, we create a page like this and reach out to the Harvard Law School and say “hey, check out this page”.  They like it and link to it from their own resources page.  You now have a link from Harvard Law School to your site which is an incredibly powerful link that brings huge credibility and power to your site.  I talk about links below but I wanted to mention them here as well as they go hand-in-hand with creating content that is so valuable, other sites link to it.  These links are probably the single biggest ranking factor as they represent votes for the content of your site and votes from established and credible sites are like gold.

Optimizing your website


What does it mean to ‘optimize’ a website page? It’s not as complex as many SEO geeks want you to believe.

Let’s use your estate planning page for an analysis:

http://www.chamberslawfirm.net/estate-planning-attorney-lawyer-atlanta-ga.html

We’ll look at how well this page is optimized for “Estate Planning”.

The very first thing I do, and I hear it’s also one of the first for Google as well, is look at that is called the “Title Tag” for the page. Easy to find – what does the tab at the top of your browser show?

This is called the ‘Title Tag’ and is the #1 suggestion in the Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide put out by Google themselves.

estate-planning-title-tag

This is good, but not great. The most important keyword we want to rank for is FIRST. Not the business name which is a huge mistake I see almost daily. Our goal is to rank for “Estate Planning” not “Chambers, Chambers & Chambers, LLP” so this starts out well.

…but goes downhill after that…

The problem is that there is too much in there for this page. The Title Tag also mentions wills, trusts, probate and many other items that this specific page is not trying to rank for.  Remember, Google ranks pages, not websites.   The title tag for this page should read only “Estate Planning Atlanta, Chambers, Chambers & Chambers, LLP”.  For your Contracts page, it should be the same but replace Estate Planning with Contracts (or maybe Legal Contracts).  Your site isn’t currently set up like this but it’s worth the warning anyway – you do not want to use the same title tag for each page.

Notice the URL as well, you also have the search term in there as well. Again, perfect!

The next thing I look for is accurate use of H1, H2 and H3 heading tags. These are what sets the text of your pages off and tells Google what is important. You can look at these as an outline with H1 being the highest level, H2 second and H3 the third.  Whatever the page is ranking for should be mentioned in an H1 tag and each page should have only one H1 tag.

In the case of the page we are looking at, “Estate Planning Basics” is your H1 so again, perfect!

What about H2’s?  Not as important but if the context makes sense to support H2’s and H3’s, they should be used. In this case of this page, there are no H2’s or H3’s found at all although there are several very good places to use them.  Google likes to see H2’s, so if it makes sense to use them, they should be used.  Google views the use of these tags as an indicator of a site that has taken the time to make their content easily readable which, once again, Google will reward you for.  Have a large amount of text that is not broken up is ugly and not user friendly. You can guess how Google feels about that.

The next thing is to actually read the content and look for mentions of the keyword itself.  On this page there are 79 mentions of the word “estate” and they are used very well, combing additional terms such as “estate tax purposes”, “testator’s estate”, and “estate owner” which is important.  The days of simply stuffing “Estate Planning” onto a page hundreds of times to rank are long gone and Google penalizes heavily for that. However, using keywords in various forms as is done on this page is well rewarded.  Remember we discussed Latent Semantic Indexing before…using synonyms to the primary keyword the page is focused on? This is very well done on this page.

What would I do to this page to make it more valuable to readers and to rank better?

  • Consult the previous keyword output and see where some of those keywords would be a natural fit in the context
  • Link out to two or three credible websites that explain concepts you are talking about.
  • Link out to two or three other pages on the Chambers site to help explain concepts and keep the user on your site
  • Provide one or two testimonials
  • Break up the heavy text with images and videos
  • Images should be used with “alt text” as this tells Google (and the reader) what the image is about. Google cannot read images yet so they rely on the alt-text setting.  You could have a picture of a dog eating a pizza with alt-text reading “Estate Planning” and Google would think it’s an estate planning image. I don’t recommend the dog picture, I strongly recommend the Estate Planning image.
    • As mentioned before, images can also be geo-tagged before uploading to your website. This puts an actual latitude and longitude aspect on your images that shows Google you are actually located in Atlanta – this is becoming a very heavy hitter for local SEO efforts.

I think you’re probably getting the idea here. Tell Google what they page is about, then tell them again, then reinforce and then reinforce it again. Leave no doubt in Google’s mind that this page is the single best reference for Estate Planning and Google will reward you for it.

For what is probably one of the best On Page SEO articles I’ve found, take a look here:

http://backlinko.com/on-page-seo

Links


Last but certainly not least, no SEO analysis would be complete without talking about links.

You can think of a link as a vote for you website. When you get a link from another site to yours, the site that is linking to yours is saying “there’s valuable information here, that’s why I’m linking to it”. The more you have, the higher you will rank.

A concept to be familiar with is “Link Juice”, which I think of as the power a link brings to your site. A link from a strong site (Harvard Law School, for example) has more Link Juice than a link from the pet store down the street.  Ideally, we want links that are credible and relevant.  So a link from the pet store down the street is neither credible nor relevant for your site.  A link from PetCo (petco.com) is credible but maybe not relevant.

This isn’t cut and dry though – as the following example explains:

My brother is a plumber and his company’s strongest links come from the Verizon Amphitheater.  Seemingly, little relevance to plumbing but when I visited Verizon’s site, there was an extensive article on how professional my brother’s company was to deal with and gave a very strong recommendation for them.  In this case, it’s an extremely strong link with strong credibility and although the relevance isn’t on track at first, in the end it actually is so I consider that link to be quite valuable for their site. So relevance is a little dodgy and the end game is that I would not be upset about a link from any credible website regardless of perceived relevance.  Some SEOs will tell you different.

So keep in mind the concept that links from other sites bring link juice (ranking power) to the pages on your site.  Links from your site also send link juice! As your site becomes more powerful, your link juice will be more powerful and other sites will be happy to have a link from you.

As mentioned above, links from some sites are more powerful than links from others.  For a long time, a link from a Government site (.gov) or an Educational site (.edu) was kind of the holy grail for a website, it brought a lot of power.  These days, that is lessened a bit but they are still very good links to get. So, if you are a member of a government or educational party of some sort, or if one of these types of sites likes and links to content on your website, that’s very helpful.

There are a couple of contradictions we deal with though:

  • Anybody can create a link to your site, there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop them
  • A backlink from a site that is not credible (think porn or gambling) may actually hurt your rankings but Google realizes you can do nothing about this and rumor has it they don’t penalize as much as they used to for this.
  • The more links you have, generally the better you will rank as long as those links are valid.  There are sites that will send “5,000 high quality backlinks” to your site for $4.99.  Doing this can destroy your site’s credibility and ability to rank so tread carefully here. Google knows when you’re doing this and will severely penalize your site for it.
  • Links from highly credible sites are MUCH more powerful than from non credible sites.  Quality is more important than quantity.

If the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes a story about Legal firms in Atlanta and mentions Chambers, Chambers & Chambers, LLP, and links to your site, that’s a very, very powerful link and will help raise your rankings.  If Joe’s House of Probiotics (making that up) links to your site for some reason, it will not carry as much weight as the AJC link. We want to attract good links…we do that by creating good content that other sites want to link to.

Another concept of backlinks is that you can have more than one from a given website.  In the above example, the AJC may have run an article last year in which your firm was also featured and received a link.  In this case, we’d say you  have two backlinks from a single referring domain (ajc.com).  With this in mind, it’s better to have many backlinks from many different domains than a lot from a single domain. It’s not bad to have a lot from few, but it’s better to have a lot from a lot, if that makes sense.  Looking at the Chambers site, I see that you have 44 backlinks from 2 different domains (Referring Domains in the image below), which is something we’ll want to work on.

For the purpose of the below comparison, we’ll take a look at “Referring Domains” since it is a more highly regarded metric.

Another important metric we use is called “Domain Authority” which is loosely defined as the likelihood of a given website to rank.  Basically, how authoritative is that website.

Let’s compare link profiles for your firm and a couple of other firms that are ranking well on Google.

legal-comparison

Importantly, the sites listed above are regularly showing above your site in the Search Rankings and yet we can see that they are not really that far ahead of you in terms of DA and Links.  These are metrics we can make ground on fairly quickly.

What is so valuable about this approach is that I can find where the other sites are getting their links from and often these are fairly free and easy places to get links.  One of the early efforts would be to identify where the competing sites are getting their links and determining if we can mimic those links. That, coupled with creating valuable content that sites will want to link to will result in us gaining and passing your competitor’s sites.

SUMMARY

Whew!

I promised about 10,000 words and by my count we have 12,430 so I went over a little bit.  I tend to get excited about this stuff though and I hope you see the potential value.

If we take a look at what has been explained above, much of the changes involve surface level and easily changed items that can make an immediate difference.  Other items such as content creation and interviews will take a bit longer to complete.  The long term effort at building a good backlink profile is usually the most difficult and time consuming but it is also the most rewarding in terms of Google Rankings.  As a comparison to a recent customer of ours, we built their website from scratch and started SEO efforts in a somewhat competitive market.  Not high dollar, not extremely competitive, but there were some big names we had to overcome. It took about three months to top the other sites and an additional three months to move firmly ahead.  That was about a year ago and I still track their rankings. From work done then, they continue to rank #1, #2 and #3 for several high volume keywords and we’ve literally not added a thing to their site in the past year. So SEO results can stick for awhile depending on the nature of the industry.  For the legal industry, we would want to be consistently updating to keep ahead of competitors.

As a quick checklist of items, the following outlines a solid approach:

  • Keyword selection:  Stop the effort at competing for low volume, highly competitive keywords
  • Website updates: I would recommend an overhaul of your site.  The content is extremely good but the look-and-feel is dated
  • Content creation: I would take a two pronged approach here
    • Start with creating maybe 4 or 5 interviews and get them onto the site in the very near future. After that, conduct one per month. Best case would be to have video and text but if it can only be text, that would still be immensely beneficial
    • Start creating a “power page” document on a given subject your clients as well as other websites will find valuable. Take your time on this to ensure it covers every angle your user base will be interested in. It could end up being as long as this article. In fact, I consider this article to be an excellent article that outlines what any website should look for and having it on my own web page is something that will give my own site a boost. Also, as a side note, since I’m linking to your site in this article, I’m sending a bit of link juice your way!
  • Building a solid link profile: Your link profile right now needs work.  A couple of very easy, powerful links you can get are from places where you are a member. For example, I’m a member of my local Chamber of Commerce and have built a profile page on their site with a link to the SnugData site.  This is a powerful and credible link. Anywhere you or your employees are members of and can create a link back to your site is very helpful.  Mr. Chambers is a graduate of Emory – is there a chance he could create an article that could be posted on their site? This article would, of course, have a link back to the Chambers website.  A link from Emory would be incredibly valuable.  Aside from this, building valuable content and then doing outreach to share that content and ask for links…and following up…is something we do for our customers so they can focus on their own business.  But, saying that, there is nothing stopping you from doing that for yourselves either.
  • Competitive Analysis: Find out the strong pages that you will compete with, look into their Link Profile to see what you can mimic, look at their content and see what’s weak that you could do better, etc, etc.  I like to say  it’s OK to be a copy cat, as long as you’re copying the right cat.
  • Google Analytics: We didn’t discuss this much but Google Analytics is a free tool, although somewhat complex, that shows pretty much everything you need to know about how visitors to your site behave.  Where they came from, what page they landed on, how long they stayed on that page, where they went next, what device they’re using, etc, etc.  Effective use of Google Analytics helps to understand how to fix under performing pages, where to link, problem areas to address, etc, etc.  Very useful!

If we were to implement the majority of these suggestions and intelligently (and aggressively) build relevant links and give it a little time, that’s it, Chambers Chambers and Chambers LLP will dominate Google when it comes to estate planning and other terms we decide to focus on.

I would love to work with the Chambers team and help you dominate Google!

If you would like to have these suggestions (and a lot more) implemented and really see for yourself what it would do for your firm to start ranking well for potentially hundreds of different keywords you can reach Perry at 404-849-6615 or send us a note using the form on the page HERE.  I hope you found this useful and even if you decide to not work with us, there is a goldmine of recommendations in here that you can implement for yourselves.

Best wishes!