Can we stop obsessing about keywords?

27 Sep Can we stop obsessing about keywords?


Recently, I attended a webinar hosted by LexisNexis® and featuring guest presenter Larry Bodine. Although in my view, this was clearly a sales presentation rather than a true learning opportunity, they presented a shocking and telling statistic: of the 58 million people who sought an attorney in the past year, a whopping 73% searched for a lawyer by asking friends and family!!  I don’t think they wanted the audience to focus on this though.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I hear a professional obsess about SEO and keywords and Google page rank.  When will we all stop obsessing about keywords?  Clearly this statistic shows that the trust-factor rules when it comes to choosing a professional.  A consumer searching for a lawyer has to know you and trust you or they have to know somebody who does.

Yes, other search statistics are critical for business success and the webinar included them, like 36% of those searching for lawyers seek to validate their decision online and 65% gather data online before making their decision.  So here’s the upshot in my humble opinion:
Yes, you have to be online.
Yes, you need to optimize your web presence (content still rules).
Yes, you need to be listed in high profile directories.
Yes, you must master the technology and not allow it to be master of you!

For those who can’t help themselves, go ahead, take a look at Google Zeitgeist, 2011: Here are the top 5 searches in 2011: Rebecca Black, Google+, Ryan Dunn, Casey Anthony and Battlefield 3.  No lawyers in that group! And if you really want to obsess about competing online, check out Google “personalized or custom search” and Google+ preferred ranking. Believe it —advertisers will have increasingly less and less control over how they are positioned unless they pay for the Park Place and Boardwalk positioning they crave….the power is always moving into the hands of the consumer and rightly so.  We all need to stop fighting it and give our clients, customers and prospects the respect they deserve.

So I challenge you: have you searched?—not on the internet—but inside your own firm and within your own client base for clues as to how to improve your reputation?  I still say: do good work.  Pay attention to your clients who have friends and family who will ask them for referrals.  Pay attention to past and present referral sources and communicate with them often.  And for heaven’s sake, STOP obsessing about the internet unless you have lots of time to waste!

Master the technology, conquer your market.

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