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Our site gets lots of traffic—not TMZ traffic, but lots of traffic. We have thousands of visitors per day.
We launched the site in 1994. Each year has garnered more visitors. This year is off to a good start.
We don’t employ a search engine optimization firm. I don’t think we ever have. I say I “don’t think” because we’ve used so many consultants and vendors over the 21 years that it’s hard to be absolutely certain.
We don’t focus on search engine optimization, yet we rank really well on Google. Here are our “secrets”:
- We write for our visitors and not Google. We don’t stuff keywords, and we don’t spend energy getting the “keywords” exactly right.
- We think about what our visitors need to know. We use our education and training and figure out what information is most useful to them and provide it.
- We also figure out what our visitors want to know. We check our search logs for clues to what they need and aren’t finding. We write articles to answer the questions our visitors are asking. That search box on your site is a key place to find insights.
- We manage a forum on our site and carefully examine the questions the users are asking so we can write more articles for them based on their needs. We then refer them to the articles.
- We study the articles and other content users are visiting on our site and create more of the good stuff. For instance, they’re far more interested in text than video. That’s why we give them more text, and when we do a video, we transcribe it for them.
- We put ourselves in their shoes. We think about what they’re thinking and how they’re looking for help. Then we try to put our insights into action. We think about what happened right before they searched for information. What triggered the need?
- We run user tests and observe our visitors. We do that with a variety of tracking products that show us real-time data for our visitors. Some of our favorite (and most painful) feedback comes from UserTesting.com.
- We worry about the title of our articles. We try to make them simple and helpful. The visitors appreciate clarity over cleverness. We tweak the titles as our understanding evolves.
- We write long articles, usually, because most of what we explain is complicated.
- We try to make our content scannable. We break up our articles with subheads, numbered lists, and bullets as often as possible. We’re lawyers, so we often forget to make things easily readable, and we revisit pages to update and reformat them.
- We link from one article to others on our site, or elsewhere, when it’s helpful to our visitors.
- We don’t blog. We don’t have anything to say that’s that urgent or current. We’d rather use our time to reorganize, clarify, and edit our existing material.
- We ask our users for help. We nurture our community of users. We send them gifts for giving us insights and participating on our forum. We encourage them to provide us with feedback. We welcome their input, and we act on their suggestions.
- We take what they tell us about their needs and turn that information into apps, tools, and calculators. We’ve built iPhone, Android, and web apps that do the things our users need done. We provide calculators, calendars, property dividers, and whatever else they tell us they need to make life easier as they navigate tricky situations.
- We never stop. We’ve got a long list of article ideas, and we add to it every day. We’re constantly assigning projects to our lawyers.
We don’t employ a search engine optimization expert. We don’t pay someone who specializes in optimizing law firm websites for the search engines. But we’re optimized for search engines. We rank well in Google. That’s a big part of why we have so much traffic.
Some SEO firms help lawyers by doing exactly what we’re doing. They’re helping shape material for prospective clients. Some SEO firms targeting lawyers do something different. Those firms look for the angles. They do whatever they can to move the firm up in the rankings. Then, when Google figures out the latest manipulation, those firms get spanked.
There’s a better way, and it’s working for us. Instead of gaming the system and looking for tricks, we’re delivering what our visitors need to solve their problems. That’s exactly what Google wants us to do. It’s exactly what Google is doing for its visitors as well.
Our approach is simple. We listen, hear what our users need, and then work diligently to deliver to them what they require. They ask questions, and we provide answers. That’s our approach to getting more attention, and it works.