by Nick Gromicko

Be careful who you hire to do your online marketing, especially your search engine optimization (SEO). “Black hat SEO” refers to techniques that attempt to fool search engines. While black hat SEO can work, it puts your law firm’s websites at tremendous risk of being penalized and even de-indexed (removed from search results). Penalized websites have literally bankrupted some law firms. Don’t ever try to trick search engines. Instead, provide your visitors with a great online experience.

Here are some things Checkmate Marketing® tries to do:

  • Provide simple-to-understand legal content on your site.
  • Keep page titles clear and relevant to the content of the page.
  • Make pages primarily for potential clients on your site, not for search engines.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is if we wouldn’t feel comfortable explaining what we’ve done to a Google employee, we don’t do it.
  • Regularly ask ourselves: “Does this help the law firm’s potential clients?
  • Regularly ask ourselves: “Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
  • Market using social media.
  • Improve your website’s page speed.
  • Use image titles to describe the images, thus helping search engines understand them.
  • Ensure that clean, concise, keyword-inclusive URL structures are in place.

Here are some things we never do:

  • Buy links back to your law firm’s website.
  • Use automatically-generated content and legal news.
  • Participate in link schemes and link-sharing clubs.
  • Creating pages with little or no original content.
  • Engage in cloaking, which is the practice of showing search engine crawlers different content than visitors.
  • Hide text and hyperlinks.
  • Install doorway pages or pages created to rank well for specific searches to funnel traffic to your law firm’s website.
  • Try to deceive your potential clients.

In summary, you want a marketing agency that helps your law firm organically and never takes shortcuts that could end up harming you.

The internet is big, and I know how it works.® – Nick Gromicko