What can you do to increase your visibility among search engines and drive traffic to your Web site? Search engine optimization? Incoming links? Obviously both help, but the former requires special expertise. The latter involves persuading others, which isn’t always easy.
So how about a solution that is completely within your control and doesn’t require paying for links or hiring a consultant?
Complete Online Profiles
The first stop on your journey should be completing online profiles that point back to your Web site. The most popular free site is LinkedIn. Others include Avvo, FindLaw, JD Supra, Justia, Lawyers.com, Lawyer Profiles from ConsultWebs, Legal Match, LLRX, Martindale, MyLegal, and Naymz. A word of caution: know what you’re getting into when you sign up for these services. Some are free. Some are not. Be mindful of advertising and solicitation rules – you may be required to use disclaimers or opt out of certain features entirely (such as lawyer rankings or client testimonials and endorsements). On the plus side, many of these services allow you to share more than just biographical information. By posting articles, pleadings, forms, and presentations or displaying blog posts and tweets you can take full advantage of your profile. While you’re at it, don’t forget to complete your Google Profile and Google Business Listing. If others request permission to reproduce or reprint your material, require proper attribution, included a link back to your Web site or blog.
Engage in Social Media
If you haven’t joined social media yet, I hope you do. It’s fantastic IMHO. If the King is Facebook, the Queen is Twitter. I won’t try to reinvent the wheel here. Instead, visit the Mass LOMAP blog (our law practice management counterparts in Massachusetts). Once there, click in the Search box in the upper left hand corner and enter “Facebook” to find all their great posts on setting up a Facebook business page. You can also learn a ton from the ABA book, Social Media for Lawyers. Save some bucks and get it at a discount through the Professional Liability Fund. From the PLF Web site, select ABA Products. Once at the ABA Web store, enter the PLF discount code. Mashable is also a wonderful source for how-tos and breaking news on all things social media.
Try Social Publishing
Social publishing could easily fall under online profiles or social media, since the whole idea is to set up a profile, then share with others. No matter how you slice it, sites like YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, Scribd, and Docstoc are great places to post photos, videos, PowerPoint presentations, articles, and related content. When your items are published, share them via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. LLRX also welcomes contributions.
Keep it Free and Local
Are profiles or online listings part of your state or local bar association memberships? Specialty legal organizations? Bar sections or committees? If yes, take advantage!
Obviously you’re a blog reader, or you wouldn’t be here. But are you blogger? It takes time and effort, but the best way to raise your visibility is to give search engines what they crave: frequently updated content. That’s what this post is all about – giving you as many avenues as possible to get your material out there. Tough to do using your Web site, which can be static by comparison. But a blog fits the bill quite nicely. You can read more about the process here and compare blogging services here.
Always Keep Ethics in Mind
If you’re not fully informed in the premises, read:
Monitor Your Online Reputation
Now that you’ve jumped in with both feet, you should keep tabs on yourself. Sound a bit strange? It won’t if you’ve Googled yourself before. In addition to the occasional Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, search, sign up to receive alerts whenever your personal and/or business name is used. Google and Yahoo! both offer Web monitoring services. Don’t overlook Social Mention, which monitors over 100 social media properties including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, and YouTube or BoardTracker which searches and tracks threads on forums and message boards.
Copyright 2011 Beverly Michaelis