Friday, September 14, 2012

The Future of Legal Content & The Search -- Beyond Google

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to increasing one's presence in online searches.  When thinking about searches everything basically begins and ends with one search engine: Google.  Of course, Google is not the only game in town, Yahoo, Bing, and other sites exists for web travelers to navigate the intricacies of the ever-expanding WWW.  But it is folly to assume that these alternatives have anywhere near the use or influence of Google.

For that reason, changes to Google algorithms (the rules which determine the ranking system) result in immediate changes to SEO plans.  That includes changes to things like legal content writing and blog writing for law firms.  None of this makes blogs less effective--in fact they are becoming more and more useful--but they do change some smaller details.  There have been changes in how links are used in posts, what location keywords are referenced, the length of the material, and more.  We will likely write a more in-depth post on the most recent changes as they affect law blogs soon.

But the bottom line is that as goes Google, so goes the world.  But will that always be the case?  Who can say.

Facebook Search?
News was made this week when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg indicated that "at some point" the social network king would enter the search market.  When they do, the company will be "uniquely positioned" says Zuckerberg.

Interestingly, Facebook already does some "searches" within the network--people searching for other people, brands, or companies.  According to the story at Search Engine Land, FB is doing a billion searches a day "without even trying."  But they may actually try in the years to come.

When they do, the format of the search may be different than today.  Instead of producing a straightforward list, the search may be more about "providing answers."  It doesn't take much extrapolation to figure out that a search that shifts from ranking well to "providing answers" will be critical for law firm online marketing in the years to come.

For example, instead of searching for "Chicago DUI Lawyer," one might ask, "How Should I Defend My Chicago DUI?" or "What are the punishments for DUI in Chicago?"  Firms that tailor their content on answering questions will likely be well-positioned to thrive in a search world based on answering questions.

Legal Ghostwriters
No matter what, however, it is simply undeniable that creating new interesting legal content, using law blog writers, or legal content ghostwriters will continue to be a crucial component of SEO for law firms.  But, it will be interesting to follow as the world of the search grows and perhaps includes new competitors to the Google Gialiath.

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