It’s a valid question: Should I take time to write daily, regularly updated, keyword-enriched, geo-targeted articles and blogs so that I can be found by more people who are looking for my service? The answer isn’t necessarily one-size-fits-all but based on a few factors, you should be able to easily decide whether or not doing your own search engine optimization makes sense for you.
Be warned - SEO is much more than regularly publishing quality content with appropriate heading designations, title tags, and meta descriptions. Consider this detailed post on , or for the more industrious types, these five variables to consider when making the decision to either take SEO upon yourself or to have a professional internet marketing agency do it for you.
When considering SEO for lawyers, take into consideration the following:
If you Bill by the Hour
If you bill by the hour, SEO may not be worth your time. An attorney that writes a blog post for better exposure might take an hour and a half from start to post, if she’s experienced. It’s too bad that in those 90 minutes, the $200/hour she charges have become $300 in potential revenue that was lost on a single post. In a different situation, she missed out on the opportunity for a consultation which was likely to end up in a $3,500 retainer or, in a worst-case-scenario, a 6 figure settlement.
If Your Location is Competitive
Someone with long-term vision might make the argument that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s easy to sacrifice one piece of business for the many more that would result from prime front page exposure. The issue is, there’s no guarantee that one or two or 10 blog posts can even make a dent if your location is competitive. Unless you enjoy writing for fun, which you may, it becomes a sisyphean task to gain traction by yourself in a location with over 100,000 people. It’s also worth considering the firms who have tens of thousands of marketing dollars per month to throw at an agency who may have 10-15 individuals working on a campaign. A 15 person team working full time has a pretty significant advantage over even the most tenacious small business.
If you Need Business Soon
The nature of Search Engine Optimization is that it’s for the long term, it’s not a light switch in the same way something like Adwords is. If you want business tomorrow then don’t invest time or money in SEO, invest in something that’s going to provide an immediate return. Having the luxury of time means thinking about this time next year when you invest in SEO and not expecting marketing to be a spigot that you can turn on quickly or easily. If you’re figuring out what furniture to sell in order to make rent, then SEO is not the solution for you.
If You’re Tech-Savvy
Does the word ‘meta-description’ freak you out? If you’re not tech-savvy, it’s not necessarily appealing to get up to date with the latest SEO blogs, books, and forums about Google’s latest algorithm updates, how to increase domain authority, and how to make sure you don’t get flagged while doing it all. The problem is that most people don’t have an extra 20 hours/week to do the research. The good news is that you absolutely can get up-to-date yourself. If you’re into tech and are constantly on the vanguard of what’s happening online, then you’ll have no problem devouring and applying new methods and principles for better rankings to your site - you may even have fun doing it!
If You’re Not a Fastidious Person
SEO is extremely technical! If you wouldn’t consider taking the painstaking attention to detail and time needed with some of the technical intricacies of SEO e.g. site structure, internal and external linking, backlinking, etc, then it’s not really worth it to start. Not to mention the respective guidelines that organizations like the Bar have set up. Are you familiar with the regulatory compliance guidelines for attorney marketing on the internet? Do you have time to ensure that your content meets these guidelines? The first question asked was, “should I do my own SEO?” but it may be more appropriate to ask, “Can I do my own SEO?”
What it Really Comes Down To
The bottom line really comes to down to opportunity cost. Ipso facto, is the time I spend generating content or creating citations or researching the newest ways to stay relevant without crossing into blackhat territory really worth the time I could be operating my business? Or, alternatively, does it make more sense to outsource something this labor-intensive to a company that has clear deliverables and a price point that makes sense for your budget. The decision is up to you but if you weigh your options, it’s likely that unless you’re in a non-competitive place or you started working at your site before Google was a verb, it’s a more sensible idea to outsource your SEO.