1. What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is defined as the practice of including features in a web site so it is more likely to appear high in a list of "organic" (as opposed to paid) search results in response to particular keywords. The diagram below depicts the location of the paid and sponsored links.
Many lawyers have opted for web sites coupled with SEO services. Findlaw is one example of web design services coupled with SEO, there are many others.
2. What is the Value of a SEO Campaign?
Increased traffic to a web site.
Provided your site is optimized for the right keywords and it converts visitors into clients once they arrive, SEO can mean more business.
Recent research into Google user behavior has revealed the existence of what is called the “Google Golden Triangle.” The Golden Triangle, situated over the top organic search results, receives an overwhelming majority of clicks. Users mostly ignore sponsored links and rarely go to the second page of results; rather they start a new search. A diagram generated by the actual number of clicks made by Google users.
Organic search that lands a page on the first page of results is the game when is comes to getting traffic from Google.
3. What is PPC and how do Sponsored Links work?
PPC stands for Pay Per Click.
It means an advertiser pays each time a search user clicks on their link when it appears on the search results page.
Google's Adwords is the premier program that offers PPC advertising. Site owners choose keywords relevant to their site and when a Google user searches for those keywords, a link and description of the site appears in the Sponsored Links section of the Google results page. If the Google user clicks on a sponsored link the site owner pays the amount of their bid for each click.
PPC Adword campaigns are often used in conjunction with SEO campaigns but paying for links does not increase a site's organic importance within the Google search engine. If an advertiser stops paying, their presence will disappear unless the site has established a high rank in Google under the SEO principles.
4. Why is Google so Popular?
Google dominates because their page ranking algorithm named "Page Rank" after co-founder Larry Page - a fateful coincidence indeed - resolved problems that dogged precursor search engines and produced results people wanted to see. Understanding Google's basic innovation comes easily to lawyers because it is the same approach we use to assess the importance of a case or journal article. The more cites from important people makes a case or journal more important, that's it.
Prior to Google, search engines used primarily the number of keywords, once understood that system was easily defeated. The porn industry was frequent exploiter. For example, they would include the keywords "Chevrolet Suburban" hundreds of times in white text on a white background. Search for an SUV and find something else.
Google's algorithm crunched keywords, links, content, and other factors, and gave us back the Internet and very likely saved it from the junk heap.
5. Is there Good and Bad SEO?
Google's goal is to optimize user experience by delivering relevant and useful information in response to user queries. Google actively pursues this goal. Their algorithm is confidential and they often change it to improve performance. Anything that prevents Google from achieving their goal is bad SEO.
Bad SEO is called "black hat" and if Google discovers a site employing such tactics they may penalize or ban that site from their index. That’s right, not every site is in the Google index, and no site is there as a matter of right. Who knows if a site, once banned will be allowed back.
Anyone who claims to have mastered Google and guarantees first page results cannot be trusted, because no one can. Similarly, you should hang up on anyone who claims to be able make a “priority submit” to Google, because there is no such thing.
Ask questions about how someone intends to help your site and if they are vague or give confusing answers you may want to move on.
6. What is Good SEO?
The legitimate SEO practitioner uses "white hat" techniques that help Google give users relevant results. White hats will state that SEO is important, but is a process that takes time, and is without guarantees despite best efforts.
Building a site in a way that Google best understands is a legitimate component of SEO. Keyword selection, e.g. “criminal lawyer” and placement on a page is another part of it. Meta-descriptions are yet another part of SEO. Depending on which SEO specialist you ask, you will get different answers about the relative importance of difference types of meta-descriptions.
However, there seems to be consensus that the single biggest factor in Google rankings is the number of inbound links to a site. That is, the number of other sites that link to a site. Within the realm of inbound links, unilateral links are better than link exchanges, links from sites with similar or related content are preferable, and links from important sites are better than links from just any site.
Understanding why links are important and their relative impact is just common sense becuase each link is like a recommendation. Like off-line recommendations, building these links is real work and there is no free lunch, but it is not mysterious.
Just think about what your potential clients would want to see and build your site for them.
7. What Does SEO Cost?
Legitimate SEOs may charge thousands a month.
SEO is both an art and science. The science largely relates to building a site Google's robots can read easily and ensuring the right words or in the right place. The art is more about getting people to react to it.
8. Are There Any Alternatives?
The most popular way for regular people to get known in the search engines is by writing a blog. Keywords occur naturally in the content and Google loves the new content. The hope is that people will like an entry or the site enough to link to it or interact with it. Google Webmaster Guide.
The web is growing very fast and search engines are getting smarter and someone will have to work to make your site work. Top