SEO scams: Marketers who promise to get you on page one

Law firm and page one on search enginesIf you are running a law firm, getting new business can be important.  It used to be important to be on the front or the back of the phone book.  It also used to be, and still is to some, important to be on the big billboards in the area where your law firm is located.

The new front and back of the phone book, or the new billboards, is being on page one of the search engines when individuals look for lawyers in the area of law in which you practice.  Being on page one can be a prized possession for many law firms.  Almost everybody wants it.

The thought is that when a law firm is on page one, that will result in more calls and e-mails from potential clients.  More calls and e-mails from potential clients will then result in more new clients.  More new clients will then result in a law firm that is in a much better financial footing.

To capitalize on this perception, there are many marketing agencies, and professed gurus, who claim to be able to get law firms on page one quickly.  All you have to do is sign up for their advertising services — and the professed schtick is that you will be on page one in no time.

Marketers like this will likely call your law office, if they have not done so already.  They will also likely send your law firm e-mails, if this has not already happened.  They will be along the lines of: “Do you want to be on page one right away?  We can help.”

Out of the gates, it is important to understand what these marketers are selling.  Are they claiming to sell pay-per-click advertising where they will get you on page one through the paid advertising section of the search engine?  Or, are they claiming to be able to get you on page one organically (the non-paid portion of the search)?

If they claim to be doing the latter, you should know that claims like this are almost completely not credible.  Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing have complex algorithms that determine where a webpage ranks on the search engines.  The algorithm can include all kinds of factors from the content on your webpage, who hosts your webpage, how long your webpage has been in existence, the relevant external links coming to your webpage (and the trust flow of these links) and the coding your webpage designers utilized.

Simply put, there is not a marketing outfit that can legitimately claim that they can get you on page on the search engines organically in short order.  If any marketing outfit makes this claim, you should really take this claim with a serious grain of salt — and it is likely nothing more than a scam.

In terms of pay-per-click advertising, some marketing outfits can get you on page one quickly if you are willing to spend enough money to get there.  But you should know that every time your advertisement is clicked, it is going to cost you money.  In many areas of law, the cost of getting on page one for pay-per-click is quite expensive.  In many ways, it can cost as much as being on the front of the phone book would have cost.

So, if this is the sales pitch, you have to ask yourself whether you can afford pay-per-click advertising?  To stay on page one for pay-per-click advertising consistently, the reality is that you are likely talking about a significant investment of regular funds that many law firms simply do not have.

You also need to be sure that you ask the entity giving you the sales’ pitch what fees they would be charging you just to run your pay-per-click campaign.  Many marketing outfits can charge a significant amount to do this for your law firm.  Again, for some law firms, this might work.  But for other law firms, this might be cost prohibitive.

In the end, being on page one of the search engines can certainly be an aid to many law firms.  But be sure not to fall for sales’ pitches without asking a lot of questions.  There simply isn’t a marketing entity out there that can get you on page one immediately in the organic, non-paid search.

And, in terms of pay per click advertising, you have to make sure you can afford to do this?  Spending nominal sums of money on pay-per-click advertising might simply be like running a very small ad in the phone book back in the day that has minimal effect because you might not even end up on page one.  Or, if you end up on page one, it might be for a very limited time each day.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.

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