Other than good content, good title tags, good site architecture, site speed, and engaging others via content to generate organic links to my blog, I never worried much about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Years later when I search for terms relevant to LexBlog’s business, my blog and our website are always at the top of the page. Usually the first or second result.
When lawyers grilled me about SEO over the years, I said search results take care of themselves.
Write informative, relevant, and engaging content in a way that demonstrates your passion, care, and experience. You’ll get plenty of search traffic and out rank other lawyers who pay thousands of dollars a month to get to the top of Google.
That didn’t stop lawyers and law firms from spending millions trying to game Google. Some with legitimate companies. Many with snake oil sales people promising the top listing.
In the “old” days, SEO was a matter of stuffing your metatags with top keywords; then it became more complicated as Google continued to refine its search algorithm. The current state of SEO, in rather sober fashion, calls for “quality content,” no keyword stuffing, longevity of the domain, lack of duplicate content, a well-ordered site-map and other items more esoteric. Really, it’s become more about just building a great site with great (and focused) content.
Now SEO may be going the way of Megalodon, a 100-foot shark rumored to exist but mostly accepted to have gone extinct a million years ago. If it isn’t functionally dead, it’s certainly in the sick-house. Google does not especially want the SEO industry playing games with its rankings, and what Google wants, especially in a case like this, Google gets.
It was only a matter of time for Google’s algorithms to catch up with the gaming of search results. Google knows you’d rather have sites with relevant and authoritative content at the top of the search results than marginal sites optimized by the gamers.
After all, if your search engine results are lacking, Google gets hit in the pocketbook. Google makes its money by selling AdWords. If people stop using Google as much, AdWord sales drop.
Legitimate search experts can still help lawyers. Site architecture, indexed pages, site speed, proper domains, local search, and more remain important. They’re also things lawyers don’t know how to get done.
If you want to get to the top of search results, do what blogging lawyers have been doing for years. Self author relevant content in a caring, conversational, passionate, and engaging fashion.
People who Google knows to be an authority will cite and share what you write. You’ll build authority and influence and it will be shown in high rankings.
Is SEO going to die over night? Hardly.
Per State of Digital, 863 million websites reference SEO and 105 people a second search for SEO on Google.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Thos Ballantyne