Among the factors in achieving a high page rank on search engine results pages are the age of the content and how frequently a website’s content is refreshed. Now, if you’re like the majority of legal professionals and looking to take care of your core activities – namely, billable work – it can sound like another task that may slip down the priority scale. However, it can be approached in a manageable, timely and efficient manner that will enhance to your ability to be found on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines.
Fresh Content Important with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Content is the number one factor in SEO. Using keywords and phrases that paint an accurate, sincere and honest picture of your business should be at the top of the list when creating website content. Incorporating those terms into page titles, headings, bullet points and links help define to millions of viewers who you are and what your practice is about – but the search engines are looking for more. In an effort to provide the greatest value to their visitors, the search engine robots examine websites that they think will provide the richest, most recent and most accurate information they can. Their algorithms are very sophisticated and have the ability, among other things, to determine how recently a site’s content was updated. That’s where blogging can come into the picture. “But I don’t have time to blog,” you might say, as you picture a stereotypical geek perched over a smoldering keyboard, fingers flying at 190 WPM. It can take far less time that you’d expect when you start gradually and with a plan.
WordPress Makes Blogging Easy
When it comes to selecting a website building platform, I am a big proponent of WordPress. It is the world’s most widely used content management system, combining power, visibility and ease-of-use for website owners, authors and viewers. Blogging is inherent to WordPress, it started off as a simple tool for bloggers and has evolved into a full–blown development environment for building websites that seamlessly integrate blogs. Without diving into the technical end, a WordPress author has the ability to create blog posts of any length, as frequently as they want, virtually without limit. Frequent blogging is beneficial, but that doesn’t have to mean starting with a blank screen every time you want to publish a post. One strategy that makes it more manageable is to set aside time to create multiple posts and schedule their release in intervals, say over the course of a month. Wordpress allows an author to select a publishing date, and automatically release the content when that date rolls around. Over the course of time (and remember, search engine page rank doesn’t change overnight), the search engines will notice your site’s pattern of updated content, and gradually reward you with a higher page rank.
Blog Posts Can Be Brief
A blog post needn’t be lengthy. For example, it can consist of a few sentences about an article you’ve read online, along with a link to that article. By doing so, you work toward satisfying another tenet of SEO link popularity. When search engines see links coming into and going out of your site, they potentially see you as a source of traffic. The higher quality of those inbound and outbound links will benefit your own visibility.
But what happens if you have a mild case of writer’s block? Here is a simple strategy that can help kick off your blog and set your efforts in motion. Think of a top 10 list, get in touch with your inner Letterman if you think that is going to appeal to your audience, but more practically, think about 10 tips relative to your field that you don’t mind sharing with the world. When constructing this list, think a little about who you perceive your audience to be and provide them with some common sense information upon which you may be able to build a client relationship somewhere down the road. An estate planning attorney may create a list of the top 10 reasons to establish a living trust. You can now consider each of those reasons as a short blog post and release them in serial form over the course of a month (or any interval you wish). Keep your writing clear and concise, and be sure to use words and phrases that you think people would enter into search engines to find your business.
Blog posts are also a way to engage in dialogs with your readers, but that does require more effort. Wordpress can be configured to provide a mechanism for readers to submit comments, but that in turn requires some level of moderation to prevent abuse or the submission of inappropriate materials. Additionally, while short blog posts have some benefits, longer blog posts have the potential for more keyword hooks, more links and more visibility. My standard advice is to start slowly and gradually work up to the next stage, but only after determining your own comfort level with the process.
Rocky Laber is a web designer and developer with experience in online visibility and marketing that dates back to 1994. He is a partner in DSD LawSite Solutions, reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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