SEO, like love, is all you need; at least, that’s what John Lennon might say if he had been an Internet Marketer instead of a musician.
SEO has different meanings to many different people, which can lead to confusion and misconceptions; yet, there is a basic understanding of what search engine optimization is and does. The catch-22 of SEO is that it is both influenced by and influences many, many things itself; therefore, ultimately, it’s not the only thing we need (which is why it is a good thing John Lennon was not an Internet Marketer).
A lot of people would argue that a relationship needs more than love to survive - there is also trust, common interests, support, loyalty, communication, and commitment to consider. Similarly, high search engine rankings and growing your business online to get more clients requires more than SEO - there is also custom website design, content marketing, lead generation, social media, link building, and more.
Your Tree of Success
Think of Internet Marketing and your online success as a giant tree. SEO is the branches and all it would be good for is firewood if it weren’t supported by the other aspects of Internet Marketing that are the tree’s roots, trunk, and leaves. But without the branches, the tree would just be a rooted stump with no leaves. Internet Marketing cannot flourish without SEO and SEO would not be beneficial without the other aspects of Internet Marketing.
To help your business be easily found by your target audience and appealing enough that these visitors will actually contact you, you have to begin with a service that people need and a brand that emphasizes what answers and solutions you can provide. As an attorney, you have to be especially focused on this because there are several other lawyers out there in your state and city that practice the same area of law as you do. You aren’t offering a service that no one else provides; instead, you are offering unique legal experience, knowledge, personality, strategies, and dedication that will lead to positive results for the client.
Understanding Your Roots in Order to Grow
Why should someone hire you instead of the law firm down the street?
Knowing your roots (the brand) and what makes you unique is just the beginning. The next step is translating the qualities that make you stand apart from the rest. What your brand is translated into on the Internet through language and images is the trunk. How you help people and why you’re the best at it must be conveyed (not forced down the throats of web users, mind you) with content (web pages, blogs, press releases, etc.), design (logos, layout of website, flash, navigation of website, etc.), and social networking (Avvo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.); once again, developing the strong central support of the trunk.
What are the leaves? The fruit of your labor of course! Client testimonials and case results are where your track record can speak for itself on the web. Since SEO helps generate leads, it makes sense that the branches are the link to the leaves (your client base).
Did I mention that this tree of success is evergreen? Have no fear of leaves falling; only more will grow, as long as the roots are strong and the trunk is solid.
To keep your tree healthy and alive, you have to water it, make sure that the sunlight is just right, and watch out for bug infestations. And to play along with our metaphor further, think of time, effort, and yes, money, as your water and sun. Maybe your competition is the bugs, or perhaps the ongoing problem of spam is the bugs, or maybe both…I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
For pruning, think of keeping up to date on the latest developments online (Google algorithm updates, new tools, new social networks, etc.). If you let your tree grow wild, things may get out of control and that tree could topple over, it may become unhealthy and weak, or simply die if you neglect it. The thing about pruning is that it’s a balance: you want your business to look good, but it can’t just be about what’s on the surface; you also have to deliver with quality service and favorable results.
Planting a seed and not watering it, and expecting it to grow into a tree, is similar to buying a URL or building a website without giving any sort of content marketing, social marketing, custom design, or SEO plan a second thought.
Properly Tending Your Garden for Optimal Growth
Not to insult The Beatles, but there is more than just love in terms of what we need, just like there is more than just SEO in terms of what our business needs. It’s not so much about investing in one thing as it is about making sure the foundation of your legal Internet marketing campaign is strong and steady to support the other necessary elements that contribute to the whole.