Can I Do SEO Myself?
Date: December 6, 2022
The Value of SEO
SEO uses a series of strategies and practices including increasing the quantity and quality of website content, layout, and user experience to drive a website’s ranking higher in an online search. SEO creates online exposure, increases brand awareness, and serves as market outreach.
SEO works by utilizing keywords, link building, and quality content to allow your website to appear more often on search engine result pages.
For a law firm or other similar professional service organizations, when done well, an SEO strategy can increase the likelihood that more people using online searches (Google, Bing, etc.) have an easier time finding your website.
The Limitations of DIY SEO (When You’re Not an SEO Nor Developer)
SEO can get pretty complicated, especially if you’ve never done it before. Because Google and other search engines update their algorithms regularly, it’s important to make time to keep yourself up to date on the latest changes.
Look at DIY SEO the same way you may view your car care: you can make repairs to your car, cover scratches, fix dents, and do the basic maintenance like changing the oil, rotating tires, or swapping out brake pads. But if you need to replace a motor mount or repair a fuel line, it isn’t likely you’ll just jump headfirst into car repair. Instead, you would call a mechanic.
Managing your SEO in-house follows the same premise—you can teach yourself the basics of search engine optimization, study long tail keywords, create quality content through relevant blog posts, and even invest in a keyword research tool (there are even free tools!) to help you get the job done. (Note: Not all free tools are created equal. Do your research!)
However, an SEO or web developer is always going to be your SEO expert. They are going to know how to utilize your keywords to climb the ranks of search engine results pages. They can find topics that will work for your business’s notoriety and help you build content that has a positive effect on your site. With a good developer who can present a well-planned SEO strategy, you will be allowed to maximize the effectiveness of your website without jeopardizing the integrity of your website or reputation.
Are You Ready for Your Firm to Tackle SEO?
Often, the biggest problem that leads to a DIY SEO failure is a lack of time and dedication. This is especially common for small business owners who are eager to get their company’s name out there but don’t have the time or manpower on their side to execute an SEO campaign successfully.
Regardless, when looking to grow your firm and get your name out there, SEO is one of the best places to start.
Ask yourself these questions, when determining whether you’re ready to DIY SEO or are considering hiring an SEO expert:
- Are you comfortable with your SEO knowledge? Have you done it successfully before?
- Have you researched your competition? How fierce is it? Do you have the SEO knowledge to drive your page to rank higher than the competition?
- How much time do you have to devote to SEO? Often, small business owners don’t realize the time it takes to set up a proper SEO campaign or the frequency with which it needs to be updated. Make sure if you choose to do your SEO in-house, there is an adequate amount of time alloted to achieve consistency with your SEO strategy.
- Is it cost-effective? You’ll want to crunch the numbers and do the math to see if it makes sense to go through trial and error with SEO yourself or whether it makes more financial sense to hire someone else to do it right from the start, the first time around.
Why is data critical to your business? It helps you review, track, and adjust your digital marketing strategy.
To get the most out of your analytics, you should schedule regular reviews of the most important algorithms and data — reviewing on a weekly/bi-weekly/ monthly/bi-annual/annual basis helps you to identify and track trends over time. The trick, however, is to not get lost in the mounds of data that Google Analytics produces. Also, Google changes and adapts its algorithms constantly — so you need to stay on top of those changes to get an accurate understanding of your firm’s website performance.
Website traffic is useful to track seasonally, quarterly, and annually. Shorter periods may not yield as useful data. If you’ve made changes from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, evaluating and comparing results for those two quarters, for example, can help you identify your organic traffic in addition to the success of your new marketing strategy.
Bounce rate identifies the number of people who arrive on your page and continue to click through the site. Initially, experts set the target bounce rate to 40% (so 60% of visitors arrived on your page and stuck around) but that bounce rate isn’t as critical a metric, especially if you don’t have a call to action on each of your site’s pages. If, however, your landing pages have a 90% bounce rate, there is a problem worth checking into further.
The acquisition overview report identifies the number of people who visited your site and how they found it. Check out the search traffic rating, which should be 50% or higher, because it indicates the number of visitors who found your website through search engine results pages (like Google or Bing). It is here where SEO becomes your best friend! An effective keyword strategy positions your website on the first page of the search engine. Since 75% of internet users never scroll beyond that first page, your page must appear there to have a chance at being seen!
Here are seven Google algorithm updates that every SEO expert (or soon-to-be export) should know because not all SEO is equally good. Google is the decision-maker between good sites and bad while measuring their value.
Before you hire an SEO agency or consultant
If you’re ready to give SEO a try yourself, follow these steps.
Know your online market and target audience. If you know the client demographic that’s walking through your doors on the regular, great. But your website’s not marketing to them. Before you start building an SEO strategy, Google other law firms or companies that offer a service similar to yours. Analyze the most prominent websites’ customer reviews, social media presence, and activity. Note what’s working well for them. Note what you know will not work well for you. This is a great place to start getting an idea for the type of quality content your potential clients are seeking.
Master keyword research. Become Zen in your knowledge of the proper industry keywords and phrases, search terms, and online demand for your resources. Identify (and print out) key phrases that yield high search volume and long-tail keywords, which are more specific key phrases of at least four words. Use free keyword research tools like Übersuggest or Google’s Keyword Planner.
Plan your website. Whether you’ve already got a website or you’re starting from scratch, create a wireframe, which is a flow chart that lists all the top, mid, and low-tier web pages and their corresponding keywords. Assign high and medium priority keywords to a corresponding page on your site, and use long-tail keywords in blog posts, FAQs, and the meta description. You can create a wireframe using a spreadsheet or paper—this resource shows the best wireframe tools for 2022.
Build or revise your site. Work with a professional web designer or agency to build or update your site. Spend time researching the sites of other companies who offer products similar to yours and note what you like about their sites. Remember to account for people’s browsing habits, too—more people use mobile devices to surf the web, so make sure your site is optimized to ensure a good user experience regardless of the type of device they’re using.
Blog and/or update content regularly. You don’t have to blog every day but publishing your own original blog posts regularly (at least weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly) helps drive your website higher in the Google rankings. Publish content specifically tailored to your industry and the consumption habits of your target audience. For example, gardening centers may publish pictures of new plants; real estate agents may publish weekly video bulletin updates of current inventory; bakeries may publish pictures of cake designs. Your law firm could cover common questions asked. You could discuss local laws and other community discussions. Whatever you can do to give your target audience a glimpse into your firm and the expertise you can offer is golden in terms of creating quality content.
Grow and cultivate your social media network. Social media provides additional forums to connect with users online. Create a Google My Business, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and/or Instagram to increase your market outreach.
Get up close and personal with Google Analytics. Think of this tool as the equivalent of financial reports in accounting. It allows you to measure the results of your campaigns in real-time and analyze the effectiveness of the channels directing traffic to your website, like organic search (SEO), paid search (PPC), social media, referrals/backlinks, and direct traffic. Start with the basics by understanding each of the reports that Google Analytics covers: audience, acquisition, behavior, conversions, and real-time. Here are 15 of the most important metrics to track.
Useful resources before you start
It’s worth it for your and your business’s website to invest some time to really get to know how SEO works. The following blogs will give you an idea of where to start.
- A Minimalist Guide to SEO: Get it Done in 6 Steps
- The Best Free SEO Tools Every Law Firm Should Be Using
- SEO Fundamentals to Grow Your Law Practice
- 5 Common SEO Myths Debunked
- 5 On-Page SEO Ranking Factors for Law Firms
Contact 9Sail today to learn how SEO experts can grow your business!