5 Warning Signs Your Legal SEO Agency Is Cutting Corners

Jon Robinson (00:00):

Hi, I’m Jon Robinson, VP of SEO at CAMG, Consumer Attorney Marketing Group. Today, we’re going to talk about five warning signs your SEO agency is cutting corners. We’re going to run through these very quickly, but I’m going to give you five ways that you can do quick checks on your website to see whether or not your SEO agency knows what they’re doing, are they’re doing things the right way, are they cutting corners. So, the first thing we’re going to talk about is link building. For those of you that don’t know, links and content are the top two factors that help determine how your site is going to rank to Google. Content, very, very important. A lot of people know about content, but link building, these are the links that are pointing to your site from other websites on the internet. Links in Google’s perception, need to be very natural.

Jon Robinson (00:45):

So, think about if you develop a piece of content that is extremely educational and another site writes a piece of content and then links back to your site as a source, that is what link building is. Those types of links are extremely important and valuable in helping to determine how your site is going to rank organically on Google Search. So, what a lot of agencies do is they manipulate those external links by either paying for links through link networks or creating guest posts, and Google has come out and said both of those tactics are not abiding by their rules. So, if your SEO agency is reporting backlinks to you, and they’re showing you links that are embedded in guest posts, or you’re being charged per link for links, those are things that are going to be hurting your SEO and your agency is cutting a corner.

Jon Robinson (01:35):

The second thing we’re going to talk about is technical SEO. These are things that are in the background on your site that helps Google determine whether or not your site is suitable to rank after the content, after the links. These are things like the title tags, the alt text, how your scripts and CSS are optimized. A real quick way for you to check whether or not your technical SEO is being handled appropriately is really based around the Core Web Vitals update, which is happening in June of 2021. If you’re watching this before June 2021, hopefully your agency has already taken care of these things and you’re prepared. A quick way for you to check, to see whether or not your site is prepared for this Google update that is happening in June is to go to a site called gtmetrix.com. It’ll pull up here, this is CAMG.

Jon Robinson (02:26):

So, if you go to gtmetrix.com and you put your website in and then run the report, it takes about 30 seconds to a minute. What’s really important are these three core web vitals here. What you want is for all of these to come back in the green. The largest contentful paint measures how long it takes the largest content element on the page to load. The total blocking time tells you how much time is blocked by scripts while the page is loading. And the cumulative layout shift, that shows you how much of the layout shift is experienced by users as your page is loading. So, there are a ton of things you could do to optimize your site technically, but the quick way for you to determine whether or not your SEO agency is actually handling your technical SEO appropriately, very quickly, just run a quick check on GTmetrix, it’s free. Put your website in, see how these three metrics come back.

Jon Robinson (03:18):

What’s really great about GTmetrix is it actually tells you specifically what the things are that are causing any types of delays on your site. I would not expect that everybody has an A in the GTmetrix grade and very high-performance scores, but really the most important things here are the core web vital. So, make sure that your agency is keeping track of those things. The next thing that we are going to look at or discuss is content. And when we talk to a lot of law firms, they tell us that the agency they’re currently using creates a few blogs a week. They’re really focused on fresh and new content and they do that through creating blogs. We take a completely different approach at CAMG. We believe that we should be creating very long-form content, as opposed to creating shorter form frequently posted blogs.

Jon Robinson (04:13):

And the reason why that is, is because if you’re trying to rank your law firm for a city plus a practice area, or for a specific practice area, how is a blog going to help you do that? A blog is actually going to help you rank for long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword is something that is not searched as often, but has very clear intent. So, think of something like, “How much does it cost to repair my car and will the insurance company cover it when I’m in an accident?” Very, very long phrase. You would write a blog post around that specific topic. Could be valuable to some extent, to maybe get a few visitors who may be searching for that very specific topic, but you compare that to creating a page around personal injury lawyer, or car accident lawyer in Chicago, very, very different strategies.

Jon Robinson (05:15):

Those blogs will help those SEO agencies show you that you’re ranking number one for these very, very long, long-tail keywords. It’s an easy way for these agencies to show you that you’re ranking number one, but ranking number one for something that gets barely any searches, really not valuable to your firm. And you’ll see that reflect in the traffic that doesn’t increase from these blogs. So, I encourage you to just review your content strategy with your SEO agency, make sure that if they are creating blogs, that it is around content and keywords that are being searched and that they do have a strategy that is going to help you rank high for practice areas plus cities. Very, very important.

Jon Robinson (05:58):

The next thing we’re going to talk about is local content. So, what we’re seeing other SEO agencies do is either create content that is non-specific to an area or not creating local content at all and just focusing on the practice area. We’ve come across a number of firms that have both of these issues and the way for you to check whether or not your content is optimized for search to show up for these local-based queries is to read two of your pages. Check a city page on Chicago personal injury, and a Naperville personal injury page, and see if you remove Chicago and remove Naperville from those pages, can you tell what city that page is about? The reason why this is important is because there’s no additional value for creating pages that are really not about the cities, other than stuffing in the city name keyword multiple times throughout the article.

Jon Robinson (06:57):

What you need to do is create content that mentions local roads, intersections, local businesses, local events. Are you embedding maps? Are you providing statistics? Are you really showing that there is something unique about this page for this specific city? Or are you just talking about a practice area and trying to stuff in the city name as many times as possible? So, the quick way for you to check whether or not your agency is cutting corners and your local content is up to snuff, read two of your city pages, remove names, see if you can tell what city they’re talking about. The last thing I want to discuss, this is very simple. It’s something that we’re surprised to see as often as we see it, but there are many law firms that we come across and many agencies that recommend a strategy to separate out your blogs from your website, your main firm website on separate domains or on a subdomain.

Jon Robinson (07:54):

So, what I mean is look at camginc.com, there’s not blog.camginc.com. Our blog is on the main domain, we don’t have a separate website. We see some firms have personalinjurylawyerchicago.news, and that’s where their blog is, and then their main website would be mylawfirmchicago.com. The reason why this is important, if you are separating out your domains, Google looks at those domains or even the subdomain, blog.mylawfirm.com as a completely separate website than mylawfirm.com. Extremely, extremely important that you keep all of the content about your firm on one single domain.

Jon Robinson (08:38):

This is because Google looks at the value of all of the content and all of the backlinks together on one domain. And if you separate out onto a separate subdomain or a separate domain that is a completely separate site, that will not help rank your main website in any way whatsoever. So, there you go. And under 10 minutes, five quick ways that you can tell whether or not your SEO agency is cutting corners. If you have any questions for me, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn or contact us at CAMG by going to camginc.com.

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