+ Precision SEO campaign targeted the most highly competitive keywords related to “law firm” and “San Francisco”
+ 1st page Google rankings for 8 valuable “law firm”-related keywords with wide reach within first 3 months of the campaign
+ One single keyword ranked had an open market value estimated at $4,050/month in AdWords bidding
+ Audited and provided quality control for social media networks and micro-sites created by an offshore SEO company, which were dragging down results
+ Wrote optimized press releases and blog content for the firm that worked to enhance the firm’s reputation and keyword rankings while eliminating negative duplicate content
Here’s how those first page keyword rankings were achieved:
1) Online Visibility & Brand Audit
Having hired an offshore company to create a series of interlinking websites and social media accounts to help drive online traffic, there was a need to audit the content they had been creating and uncover the cause of their ongoing lag in SEO and overall online reputation results.
As happens too often, much of what the offshore company was doing was low-quality article spinning and content for the sake of content – sometimes even the exact same content. The company had stopped bothering to even create lousy unique content. Many website pages were simple cut and pastes. Over and over again. We’d find the same page appearing 2 or even 3 times across the different websites the offshore company had built. In this case, it soon started to appear that the company hired to protect their reputation was who they needed protecting from.
Among the other issues discovered was a problem with duplicate title tags and meta description tags. The All-in-One SEO plugin installed on their WordPress site was creating the problems. Red flags were coming up all over on the meta tags when a diagnostic check of the website was performed. This was a case of trying to do the right thing by checking meta tags off the DIY SEO list of things you’re supposed to do for SEO, but not going about it in an organic way with thoughtfully composed meta data. Certainly not the way Google tells you to do it. Google’s own Matt Cutts has remarked on automated content, “You can either have a unique meta tag description, or you can choose to have no meta tag description.”
With push-one-button-and-it’s-done marketing, it’s so bad that you’re often better off doing nothing. And you’re definitely not getting ahead of anyone with it, since anyone can push a button. Here’s what we found that was hurting the firm’s SEO:
- Hundreds of duplicate content issues on own site and between interlinking mini-sites created by an offshore SEO company
- More than a hundred duplicate content entries on the firm’s own main website, which had been caused by simple misuse of WordPress in updating the site
- Advertisements being run above-the-fold on the firm’s websites
- Ads that ran pictures of accused convicts on their website with the headline “Ever been arrested?”
- Inane Pinterest pins unworthy of one of San Francisco’s top firms, such as hiring your dog as your attorney when going for an insanity defense
- Affiliate links for San Francisco Giants clothing for purchase in the Twitter feed of one of the firm’s partners
- Uncovered hacked Twitter account in name of one of the attorneys
- Low-performing keywords were currently placing in search engine results pages, but many valuable keywords needed first page rankings to see real results
2) Content Strategy
With a solid new WordPress website already built, the focus was on optimizing existing content and putting optimization into place for news, blogging, and press releases going forward. Starting with meta tags, there were quality issues surrounding automated content for this particular San Francisco law firm’s website due to the use of the automated content generated by the All-in-One SEO plugin, as was uncovered during the initial audit.
- Regained control of websites/social media accounts
- Conducted in-depth keyword discovery process to ensure associated mentions were covered (i.e., nicknames, full names of attorneys) for major non-branded keywords
- Put all content through quality audit
- Reviewed Social Media networks for appropriate content and context
- Started a practice of doing what Google likes, and using recommended Google products such as Google +, Google Webmaster Tools to get better rankings
- Took ownership of company listings to improve Local SEO, Google Places, etc.
- Created new content that is in line with brand
- Leveraged existing assets with a more integrated content creation and outreach process
- Targeted the most valuable keywords likely to bring in new business
- Optimized primary website and ensure correct meta tags usage
After researching keywords based on search volume and competition, a page-by-page process was put in place to target prime keywords and make content changes on an ongoing basis to the website content, news & announcements, video content, press releases, and external blog content. Internally, there were some issues with using the WordPress website correctly, which resulted in duplicate content being accidentally generated. All additional versions were deleted.
Although the firm had a PR company writing many of the actual releases, the content needed to be rewritten for the corporate blog. By writing fresh blog posts, no duplicate content penalty was triggered and the content was targeted to the audience of clients and potential new clients reading about the firm. Key content was extended out to the firm’s external blog, which specialized in victim’s hazing rights.
With the offshore SEO company’s emphasis on churning out large quantities of content for the law firm, there was nothing resembling the quality control one of the Bay Area’s top law firms demanded for their main website, their “real content.” All current pages had to be inventoried and cross-checked for duplicate content. Each page had to be checked, as the same content would often be repeated over and over again – even on the same page due to large scale cut-and-pasting. Once many of the duplicate content issues were handled both on the main site and the mini-sites, overall ranking also began to improve.
- Social media accounts were centralized into a time-saving management platform that made it possible to schedule messaging and monitor brand mentions
- Duplicate content issues were resolved
- New articles added to KerrWagstaffe.com and Victim’s Rights blog
- Claimed Google Places account and fixed phone number, additional profile details added
- Main website was optimized with unique, compelling content in line with brand messaging
- Google Webmaster Tools was implemented to monitor the technical health of the website and a plan for implementing Google+ was outlined
- Recommended creating a company-wide calendar, which would allow for content creation with minimal attorney involvement
- Local SEO presence optimized through account set-up and claiming listings on major business directories
Getting to the first page results typically in an exponential increase in website traffic, as it’s estimated that 50-70% of searchers never go past the first page of Google. Prior to optimization, the firm ranked for more obscure long-tail keywords such as “la fitness class action lawsuit.” The following highly competitive terms combining the general term “law” and “law firm” with variations on “San Francisco” gained first place rankings for the first time.
“law firm in san francisco”
“law firm san francisco”
“law firms in san francisco”
“law firm sf”
“san francisco law firm”
“san francisco law firms”
“sf law firms”
Melissa has worked with my firm on the Kerr & Wagstaffe group of websites (10 websites in total counting all their blogs). The firm has several heavily involved partners that we successfully work with through their marketing coordinator. She has been a tremendous help in strategically thinking through and explaining all of the options to the client. Here are a few: raising local search results, branding the firm more for the web, coming up under search engine terms relating to their practice areas, attorney names and big cases.
She was instrumental in cleaning up some black hat SEO practices another SEO firm used, as well as getting them more search engine placements to push down a fraudulent blogger attacking one of the partners. Melissa has a solution for every problem, it is a delight to work with her ‘can do attitude.’ This is just one of four clients who all have multiple websites that Melissa consults with us.
Founder & creative director, BB Creative San Francisco