Lawyer Marketing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly About Outsourcing SEO Content.
03/09/2012 // Palm Beach, FL, USA // Rene Perras…… Le Buzz // Rene Perras
Google at its core is a business, not a benevolent behemoth looking to help your lawyer marketing efforts out on the Internet. They want to make money. One of the main ways they generate revenue is through Google AdWords, aka Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads. Advertisers vie for higher rankings through a bidding war and the quality and relevance of their ads. Consumers see these ads on search engine results pages (SERP’s) after they perform a search. If consumers consistently get irrelevant results from Google either through organic results or PPC they might move on to another search engine, shrinking Google’s audience and chances to sell ad space. So in the long run, bad search results equal bad business for Google.
Okay so how does this affect you and your lawyer website and why isn’t this Google’s problem? Well, in order to protect their AdWords revenue dollars Google needs to make sure its results are the most relevant. With the intention of delivering the most relevant results they are continuously updating their algorithm and the Panda update has been very significant. Since Panda many lawyers have seen their rankings go down or their websites even dropped, as Google’s filters have become more discriminating. If the Panda update has seriously affected your site, chances are you may have developed some bad habits. Shortcut practices such as duplicate content, poor quality content, buying links, article spinning etc. are all ways to get your site demoted. Writing quality content and playing by the rules is the only way to protect your lawyer website from being penalized by Google. This seems obvious but many are slow to practice it or in their rush to develop new content they outsource the job.
Outsourcing has its own set of issues especially if English is the writer’s second language and they live halfway around the world. Many law firms have turned to overseas content writing firms with the hopes of keeping costs low and saving their valuable time. Though the low cost may make the decision to outsource seem like a no-brainer, after searching Google for Indian content writing firms and reading many articles written by these firms, I would be extremely reluctant to outsource. The first post I came across was from an Indian firm with an office in California. They offer a wide range of services, one of which is technical content writing. What I found interesting was that their blog post pitching their own work had 6 grammatical errors. They were all minor but just enough to make you pause and think, “Something’s not quite right.” Again and again each article or blog post I read had these same mistakes. Such small mistakes may not seem like they would have much effect in relation to optimization, but SEO is such a language-based game and thanks to the Google Panda update grammar really counts. Never mind the branding and image issues bad grammar can raise and subsequently interfere with your lawyer marketing effort.
Another post I came across was on an online journal written by an American discussing the pros and cons of outsourcing SEO writing. The article made many great points but the writer confused then and than. Then is used to describe time while than is used to make comparisons. My point is not to pick apart other writers’ work but rather to draw attention to the fact that writing is difficult. Dialect is regional and even writers homegrown in the USA or other English speaking countries can have difficulty. By way of example, my first language is French and all of my schooling was in English. I am married to a woman who grew up in Seattle on the West Coast and whose father is a first generation immigrant from India, who speaks very precise British English. We both laugh at each other’s occasional misuse of language. I say things like “close the lights” which is really a direct translation from French of the phrase, ferme la lumiere. You would never say this in English and you can bet my wife corrects me. The West Coast in her says, “pop” instead of “soda”, and it wasn’t until she entered grade school that she learned the words she used for yogurt and other foods were not English at all. My wife and I try to understand what the other has to say, most of the time. We have the advantage of seeing the others non-verbal cues, and we are in the same time zone (we haven’t outsourced the other) so if we don’t get it, we can always ask again.
All of this goes again to my point, language is difficult, communication is difficult, and understanding is key. Outsourcing content writing for your lawyer website and gambling that your customer might misunderstand you should be too high a price to wager especially if it means your Google rankings could suffer.
About the writer:
Rene Perras is a search engine optimization consultant, who has helped law firms of all types with attorney websites for over 20 years. For a free consultation about lawyer marketing and attorney websites, please contact Rene Perras at 720-ONE-RENE or visit Cepac.com.
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