A year ago, I wrote an article called “Have You Googled Your Name Lately?” for the Family Advocate magazine by the American Bar Association, I thought I would share some of my points here since this topic is still highly relevant.
You may ask yourself: How can I keep writing new articles and blog posts when I am so busy servicing my clients and running my business? I know, it is not easy, but here’s one tip to help you out: repurpose what you have written.
Author’s update on April 22: It’s better late than never! Giving Google what Google wants is like paying tax. If you don’t do it by the due date, you will pay a penalty, but it still has to be done and the penalty will stop as soon as you do it. So it’s time to make your website mobile-friendly, it only takes a few days!
Google recently made an announcement that as of April 21, 2015, they will favor websites that are mobile-friendly. Google has been testing this idea for some time now, and they have now made it official policy. Essentially, Google will determine whether your website is mobile friendly or not; if it is not mobile-friendly, for mobile searches, your website will show up after those that are mobile-friendly.
Over the past 19 years, our CEO, Dan Couvrette, has seen many family law practice grow while some of them have not. Some family law firms have experienced challenges and have been losing business because they have not evolved with time, never mind being proactive. He thinks that they lose clients because:
1. There are more do-it-yourself divorces thanks to the availability of information on the internet.
2. Here is increased competition for business and the Internet has had a significant impact on how and why a family lawyer is found and hired.
3. Less people are divorcing. In fact, about 25% less over the past 30 years.
4. More lawyers are taking on divorce cases to offset business they have lost in other practice areas as a result of the economic downturn.
While all family lawyers are concerned about their reputation, not all of them are attending to their online reputation. The unfortunate outcome of not managing your online reputation is this: you will lose business to those lawyers who have a good reputation online and offline and a good AVVO rating. In fact, you may even lose business to family lawyers who in your opinion is no match for your experience and service, but they sound and look good online.
To me, the reason is obvious: the internet has made it easy for everyone to look for and check out family lawyers online before deciding whether to consider contacting them.
There is a service being offered by a few law firm marketing companies: blog posts for law firms. With this service, blog posts written by “someone” “on behalf of” the law firm or a lawyer from the firm would be added to the law firms’ websites on a weekly basis. Because this service has been sold and purchased by hundreds, maybe thousands of family law firms, these have to be mass produced blog posts. The onus is on the law firms to check these blog posts and make sure the content is accurate, of quality, relevant and good for business. This service is mostly sold in the name of adding fresh content to their websites and for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.
I have talked to various family lawyers and divorce professionals about having our marketing agency make their website smartphone friendly. Some have taken us up on it, but many gave us basically this comment: “It is not necessary. I can see my website OK on my smartphone.” This reaction reminds me of the reaction a lot of law firms gave me 15 years ago when we told them they needed to get a website for their business. Really, how does your website look on a smartphone?
Quite frankly, you cannot afford to have a website that is not smartphone friendly.
Google your name – it is not because I am vain that I monitor my name through Google Alert and Google my name every now and then. It is because as a marketer, I know how important it is for me to protect my reputation online. My advice to you is to do the same thing.
Why do You have to Google Your Name?
To fully illustrate this point, I will use the example of a family lawyer. You will want to monitor and Google your name on a regular basis so that you may be aware of
Are you surprised that the Queen of England and the British Monarchy has a website? You should not be, after all they have to market the Queen and the Monarchy too. Its time to get a website for you too.
Or did you think that they are so well known that no marketing is required? I’ll let you in on a little piece of intelligence, when there is a business, there is marketing. It’s Marketing 101.