Referencing the Sunday NY Times story on Google’s search engine algorithms, Seth Godin says it’s more important than ever to perform well on Google and it’s more straightforward (but not easier) than ever to do so.

And Seth uses the case of a lawyer to explain:

It seems to me that in the SEO arms race, shortcuts have a shorter shelf-life than ever before. Building 43 (search algorithm building at Googleplex) is obsessed with them, and they outnumber whoever you might hire to beat the system. Organic success, on the other hand, is a clear path. If you want to be on the front page of matches for ‘White Plains Lawyer’, then the best choice is to build a series of pages (on your site, on social sites, etc.) that give people really useful information. Not just boilerplate information you stole from a legal website, but really useful stuff about you, the local courts, the forms people need… the things you’d want to find if you were doing that search.

Once you’ve done everything you can… once you’ve built a web of information and once you’ve given the ability to do this to your best clients and your partners and colleagues, then by all means apply the best SEO thinking in the world to your efforts. Hire the best consultants and use the resources you’ve got left to be sure you’re playing by the right rules.

Betting against Building 43 doesn’t seem nearly as smart as betting on them.

Bottom line, it’s all about valuable content whether you’re a lawyer looking for consumers or corporate exec’s to see you on the search engines. In addition, that content needs to be substantive, as to be promoting yourself. When lawyers learn this, they’ll start performing better on Google.

Good Times article to read if you haven’t seen it.