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Attorney Website Design Blog

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Search Engine Optimization Tip: Gaining recognition on other websites and with search engines

When researching the many strategies used in search engine optimization, the term “PageRank” is sure to come up. Quite simply explained, "PageRank" generally measures how many, if any, websites provide a hyperlink back to your website.  In essence, search engines interpret these link-backs to your website as an endorsement of your website’s credibility and relevancy.  All other things being equal, a website that has “link-backs” from many other highly ranked, relevant sites will rank better than a page with no "link-backs."

If you want to increase traffic to your website, you should understand how Google and other search engines use this technique so you can attain higher positions on search engine result pages (SERPs) for important searches including your practice areas and location.

When determining how and where to get these links back to your site, it is important to understand that search engines measure not only the quantity of outside links but equally important the quality and relevancy of the sites that link back to you.  Some companies engage in “link schemes”, posting a link to your site for payment or in exchange for placement on your website. We advise all website owners to steer clear of such proposals as these tactics can actually adversely affect your rankings with search engines.

When considering your site's PageRank, follow the tips below:

  • Less is more in some cases: It is better to have 3 highly ranked pages link back to your site than 40 “spam” sites.
  • Update your professional profiles: As attorneys and members of professional organizations, you may be able to post your profile on the respective organization's website. Take advantage of this opportunity, when available, and use this space to list your experience, practice areas and website URL. If you are not sure if your local bar association or other membership groups offer this option, contact your membership coordinator and play an active role in gathering links to your website.
  • Give the links more meaning: If given the opportunity to place your link on an external site, have the “anchor tag” (the text that is displayed in the link) include key words such as those of your practice area and city and state as well as a word denoting your profession (attorney, law firm, etc).  Further, have the links go to relevant pages inside your site, not just your home page.  This is known as “deep linking” and can be especially effective.
  • Give them something to talk about: The greatest way to get links back to your site is to make your site a resource that other website owners will come to trust and value. If a blogger or editor of an online publication sees your site as a resource, they will be more inclined to post it on their site.

And one final note, “PageRank” was first developed by Google and named in honor of co-founder Larry Page- it does not refer to a web “page”.  Since then, other search engines have adopted similar methodologies as part of their algorithms. 

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