What Is A Search Engine?
A search engine is an online tool such as Google, Yahoo or Bing that matches a query with a list of possible answers. They are an important consideration in your online marketing plan because search engines have become a primary source of information for a vast and diverse audience.
When faced with a question, it is routine for a growing number of people to turn to search engines for an answer. If the question is of a legal matter in your field, your website and in turn your law firm, can provide an answer.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Search engines match a series of words, or “query,” to a list of websites based on relevance. Google currently boasts that they’re searching 8,058,044,651 webpages, so reading and ranking all of these websites is a daunting task to say the least.
Search engines ‘plan ahead’ to assist in the collection of information from the websites. Instead of waiting for a user to enter a query, and then running around the Internet trying to find an answer, they gather and remember, or ‘index’ the information on an ongoing basis.
This ‘indexing’ is carried out by ‘robots’ or ‘spiders’, which are basically computer scripts that read and remember the information on a website.
Once the search engine has gathered the information, it has to decide how to assign relevance, or rank, individual pages.
This ranking is carried out by a mathematical formula called an algorithm, which is undisclosed by the search engine companies as well as ever changing in order to maintain the integrity of the results.
What Can I Do To Improve My Website’s Rankings In The Search Engines?
In this confusing and turbulent environment of competition in the billions, spiders and top secret algorithms this can start to sound more like a nightmare than a marketing approach. But if you follow a few simple tips, you can start to see strong results for your site in the search engines.
Content is crucial.
There are many ways to optimize and organize your site that are favorable to the search engines, but content is the foundation of strong search engine results, as well as client conversion. Look over the content on your site keeping in mind the words and phrases that involve your practice, and/or the words that you would anticipate your potential clients using when searching for an answer on a legal matter.
There are several ways to add content to your site; frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages, newsletters and stories about recent happenings in your field of law are a few good examples. If you have content original to your firm or that you have been given permission to use and think it would be beneficial to potential clients, have it added to your site.
If you need assistance in adding content to your site, Marqui Management can arrange to have a content writer refresh and/or add selected pages. Contact your dedicated Marqui Management Account Manager for details.
What’s better than content? More content!
When the spiders crawl your site, they read and follow the hyperlinks. Hyperlinks within your own site will encourage the spiders to also read the linked pages.
- This becomes even more beneficial because the more the spider ‘reads’ about a topic, the more relevance will be assigned to your site.
- This is why it’s a great idea to have your practice area page linked to your FAQ page on the same topic…
If you don’t have an FAQ page or a practice area page, take the advice from the preceding paragraph and contact your Marqui Management Account Manager.
What about meta tags and title tags?
Meta tags and title tags are keywords embedded in the code of a website. In the past, these were principal drivers of search engine results, but because of some webdesigners “gaming” the system, this eventually led to inaccurate results and the search engine companies giving them less weight. While not thought to be as important as they once were, meta tags and title tags still assist in putting a title, or a summary around an individual webpage.
If you’ve used search engines before, you know that at least on some level they work, which is to say that they provide you with a list of sites that are pertinent to your query.
So, to be a top result for a given query, it stands to reason that you’d need to provide exactly that; a site that is pertinent to the query. The site needs to be accessible to the search engines, full of original keyword-rich content, and have metadata that accurately reflects the key terms on each page.
If you need assistance with your existing law firm’s website or other legal marketing services, contact one of our account manager’s to see if you’re eligible for a content, design, or search engine optimization refresh. We usually schedule between two and three weeks out based on the availability of our team.
If you need help establishing an online marketing presence, contact your local Marqui Management Client Development Consultant who can provide you with options and information about how to leverage our experience in working with public relations and legal directories to land new clients for your firm.