For law firms, SEO is an important part of the marketing plan. After all, it helps potential clients find you online. There’s a lot of information out there about SEO. There are also a lot of individuals and companies targeting law firms to provide them with “expert” services that will give them “guaranteed rankings” or promising that your law firm will appear on page 1 of Google.
Related: Law Firm SEO Guide
It sounds really good, right? Sure, it sounds good. However, like most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In addition to guaranteed rankings or promising that your law firm will definitely show up on the first page of search results for Google, these “experts” also try to lock you into long term contracts.
In this post, you’re going to learn why both a promise of a guaranteed ranking and being on page 1 of Google is a scam. You’ll also learn a little bit about the realities of SEO and what you can expect.
“Guaranteed Rankings” Is Utter Nonsense
A company that advertises that they can obtain “guaranteed rankings” for a law firm is either misleading, at best, or lying.
There is absolutely no way to guarantee where your law firm will fall within the search results. Especially in a certain narrow time window.
The fact is that SEO takes time. Good SEO involves several components. Creating the proper on-site SEO structure: metadata for each page (including the use of the proper keyword), well written content that is keyword optimized, and regular updates are the most common components that people recognize. In addition, you will need links from other reputable websites.
Just because your law firm chooses certain keywords and phrases doesn’t guarantee anything.
Yes, it’s important to choose keywords that people actually use in their search queries. However, your law firm certainly isn’t the only one using them. Great keywords may also be highly competitive. It can take time to show up in the search engines for results on any keyword. And there’s certainly no way to guarantee when or where you will rank on any keyword.
Here is how “guaranteed rankings” are either misleading or deceptive:
First, the common thing we’ve seen is that SEO agencies can “guarantee” you rankings, but you do not get to choose the keywords and location. You may in fact show up on the first page of Google in a very short amount of time, but it could be for: 1) a keyword that you were already ranking well for; or 2) a keyword that is very niche, with low traffic and no competition; or 3) a very long, specific keyword that is unique to your site, and has low competition.
The next common thing we’ve seen is black hat. An SEO company could use “black hat” tactics that may appear to work in the short-term, but those methods can and will also get your domain penalized in the search engine results in the long run.
Good SEO agencies should be confident in their abilities to get you better rankings. But no agency can guarantee you a top Google organic spot for a competitive keyword. That takes time, effort, and effectively displacing the other law firms that are already doing great SEO and on page 1.
With that being said, once you have a good SEO plan implemented, you may start seeing results within a few months. However, if you don’t have good content that people actually want to read, and if you don’t update your content on a regular basis, and you are not building good links, your ranking can slip. Regularly reviewing the plan as well as the current results can help your law firm refine its SEO plan to obtain better results, but there are simply no guarantees.
If anyone promises your law firm guaranteed results, run the other way. It’s a scam.
“Page 1” SEO Promises Debunked
Promising law firms that they’ll show up on “page 1” of Google (or any other search engine) is another scam commonly used.
The fact is that the only way your law firm will definitely show up on page 1 of Google is if you buy an ad…and that ad has the right keywords and click-thru budget to get it there.
Remember what you learned in the last section about keywords and competition? It takes time to get ranked. And, again, there are no guarantees. The best way to improve your chances as a law firm to reach page 1 of Google is to choose the right keywords and phrases along with content that people want to read.
Just Say No to Long-Term Contracts
Often, the above scams are made to law firms as promises by SEO “experts.” In order to get these benefits, they’ll require you to enter into a long-term contract with them.
If they could really provide you with a guaranteed ranking or get you on page 1 of Google, why would they need a long-term contract?
If they’re that good, a long-term contract wouldn’t be necessary. They know that they cannot fulfill those promises and expect you to cancel your service.
Stay away from SEO companies that want you to enter into a long-term contract (1 year+) as well as those that make outlandish promises they have no way of following through on.
Instead, look for an SEO company that verifiable experience working with law firms, that do not use long-term contracts, and that can explain the SEO process to you as well as be honest with you about when you could expect to start seeing results.